Here's a mod to boost your outdoor framerate in Skyrim Special Edition

Ominous ENB makes Whiterun gloomy
(Image credit: firemanaf)

If you take advantage of the way Skyrim Special Edition handles heavy mod loads to tweak the heck out of it—and especially if you use an ENB to overhaul the graphics—you've probably taken a hit to your framerate. (I've been using Ominous ENB to give things a gloomy, somber look, but it costs up to 20fps in some areas.) If that's you, exterior FPS boost is here to help.

It works thanks to occlusion culling, which prevents geometry you can't see from being rendered. While Skyrim already has occlusion culling, eFPS adds significantly more. Have a look at the changelog in the mod's description to see just how many cells have had occlusion panes added to them. It's a lot.

The existing Project Optimization mod does the same for interiors, and the two mods work together. However, eFPS is incompatible with mods that rearrange structures, like Open Cities and JK's Skyrim. The description also recommends starting a new game, since "We still haven't completely figured out how eFPS behaves with existing saves." I didn't notice any ill effects on my current save, however, and picked up about 5fps in Whiterun even with Ominous ENB making it all dark and smoky.

That's not a huge improvement, but your mileage may vary. As the mod's description notes, "the increase in performance is inversely proportional to the power of your computer. If you have a very very very powerful PC, you may only see a small improvement in FPS. On the other hand, the idea of this mod is to improve performance especially for those who do not have an ultra-powerful PC."

To make sure your framerate's hurting in the first place, here are some of the best Skyrim Special Edition mods

Jody Macgregor
Weekend/AU Editor

Jody's first computer was a Commodore 64, so he remembers having to use a code wheel to play Pool of Radiance. A former music journalist who interviewed everyone from Giorgio Moroder to Trent Reznor, Jody also co-hosted Australia's first radio show about videogames, Zed Games. He's written for Rock Paper Shotgun, The Big Issue, GamesRadar, Zam, Glixel, Five Out of Ten Magazine, and, whose cheques with the bunny logo made for fun conversations at the bank. Jody's first article for PC Gamer was about the audio of Alien Isolation, published in 2015, and since then he's written about why Silent Hill belongs on PC, why Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale is the best fantasy shopkeeper tycoon game, and how weird Lost Ark can get. Jody edited PC Gamer Indie from 2017 to 2018, and he eventually lived up to his promise to play every Warhammer videogame.