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Playing Elder Scrolls Online in 4K

After reviewing the new 5K Apple iMac I made a decision. That decision was to buy a gaming PC. I have a Steam press account, meaning I get all the games on Steam for free; and with the current-gen consoles not blowing me away, I thought it was time to move to a powerful gaming rig to get the most out of my play time.

This is what I'm currently running:

  • Intel Core i7 4790K @ 4GHz
  • Twin Asus Strix Nvidia GTX 970s in SLI
  • 16GB of RAM
  • 256GB Samsung SSD for boot and ESO files
  • 2TB Seagate HDD for storage
  • Asus Maximus VII Ranger Mobo
  • Asus Strix keyboard
  • Asus ROG Gladius mouse
  • 28-inch 4K Asus PB287Q monitor

That last item is the killer. With it, I've been playing The Elder Scrolls Online at 3840 x 2160 UHD resolution @ 60fps (v-sync capped to monitor refresh) and with all graphics set to Ultra, or whatever their maximum is.

Playing this game at this resolution is insane and amazing. The rig handles it easily, and the 60fps is capped by the v-sync. With v-sync off it's hit 100fps and higher before now. Even in dungeons with mobs, it remains at 60fps, with the occasional unnoticeable drop to 55-58.

There's never been any doubt that TESO is one of the most beautiful and graphically-rich MMOs on the market, and indeed ever on the market. But viewing it at 4K makes this even more impressive. The only downsides are that some textures, particularly NPC faces and armour, can be blurry up close because despite the game supporting 4K rendering, the textures themselves seem upscaled past 1080p mark. And don't get me started on what horses look like as a result of this -- they might as well be made out of plasticine and spit for all the beauty they deliver at 4K. Or even 1080p. They need redrawing from scratch.

One of the advantages of the Asus monitor here is its response time and viewing angles. In a previous test of a Shart 4K monitor with Apple's 2014 Mac Pro, the refresh rate was note good enough for high-performance gaming. This is an area Asus's model starkly improves upon, and at a lower cost thanks to the continuing reduction of expenditure required to acquire Ultra HD at home.

Yoyotech built the PC rig itself, which was impressive enough that I ultimately decided to buy a system for myself. Aside from the performance of the core components, I was impressed with the neatness of the internal build. Cables are exceptionally tidy and well wired throughout the chassis. This was useful when I needed to replace the motherboard. My background in building PCs from scratch was certainly helpful too, but rewiring each component was made much simpler by the original positioning of the cables in and around the internal chassis. 

Below is a collection of full-resolution screenshots that I have taken. Most were captured on the 1.5.7 edition of the live game; some are from 1.6 on the pts. I'll leave you to work out which.

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