Skyrim SE 2020 Graphics – Optimized & Performance Friendly (High FPS & No ENB)

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Making Skyrim look great is a big part of the modding game. There are hundreds, and even thousands of graphics mods out there. In this guide I’ll mention pretty much everything that I use in my full modded build. I’ll give you the big ones and if anything else shows up later, you can find on Nexus yourself relatively easy. We can try and categorize them a bit too.

If you don’t know how to mod Skyrim, check out my beginner’s guide to modding Skyrim SE (Special Edition). It opens in new tab so go ahead and click it.

It’s the same for LE (Legendary Edition). You just need to download appropriate mods between them.

If you notice any broken links or discontinued mods, leave a comment!

ENBs & LODs

I’m not going to talk about ENBs because on Skyrim SE their performance is horrible. However, if you do have a monster GPU and you’d like to try one of them, here’s my ENB guide.

I’ll also skip all the LOD generation stuff because that deserves its own guide as well. If you don’t know, LODs are basically those small objects you see in the distance while playing.

In vanilla Skyrim they are very low detail and the textures are badly optimized, so learning how to fix up the LODs will not only improve how the game looks, but actually net you even better performance depending on the settings that you use (it frees up your vRAM).

Weather & Lighting

Probably the most important graphics mods that you can install. Usually players always go for textures first, and while those are really important as well, I do those last.

Why? Because unless your GPU is monster-level, you don’t know if you’ll have enough vRAM to handle them all. So you want to get all the essentials up first, and then start re-texturing the game until you no longer can’t.

You need to monitor vRAM consumption while playing to test this.

Here I use Vivid Weathers Definitive Edition and Enhanced Lights & FX.

These two mods alone will overhaul the game’s atmosphere like crazy. I also use the hardcore option for ELFX because I love my dungeons dark and creepy in combination with high difficulty, audio overhauls, combat mods, new enemies etc.

I also use True Storms but you need a patch for Vivid Weathers.

All links open in new tabs so if you want to see exactly what a specific mod does, just click on it and read the description of the mod’s page. Usually there’s screenshots too.

Flora & Fauna

Skyrim Flora Overhaul is my favorite environment mod. There are other ones but they can be even more taxing on the system than this one. You should also install performance textures and overwrite the main mod’s files.

Water, Snow & Mountains

Sky & Roads

Environment Texture Packs

These are pretty much the most important textures you could install. There are many such packs out there, but these are my favorites:

Also remember that some of them might need patches to work together.

Or for example, if you overwrite Noble’s textures with Skyrim 2019 or 2020, then those are the ones you’ll see in the game. So asset loading order matters here.

Noble Skyrim has nice environment textures as well by the way.

Fire & Effects

Fog Removal

If you’re like me and you want to get rid of those badly done fog effects (just look at some of the screenshots).

More Textures & Texture Packs

Small Re-Textures (Environment, Creatures & More)

Everything in here is categorized as a small re-texture, but in reality there might be a few larger mods (in terms of size and file count) as well. I just keep them all bookmarked under that folder so that’s why.

Most of these can be placed in a single folder in MO2 with almost no conflicts (and if there are any, it won’t matter really).

Also, if you notice any Skyrim LE links, they are fine for Skyrim SE as well.

1st Group.

2nd Group.

3rd Group.

4th Group.

5th Group.

6th Group.

7th Group.

8th Group.

9th Group.

10th Group.

What’s Next?

Want to know more about Skyrim SE (Special Edition) & Mods? Check out my other Skyrim SE Guides & Skyrim SE Playlist on Youtube.

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About the author

Legendary Mage

Welcome adventurer. My name is Alex and I play MMOs, RPGs and Digital Strategy Card games. I enjoy producing content.

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@LegendaryMage

Welcome adventurer. My name is Alex and I play MMOs, RPGs and Digital Strategy Card games. I enjoy producing content.

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