GTA IV runs slowly on my system

By drew081886
Jul 11, 2010
  1. I just bought GTA IV and according to System Requirement Labs, I meet all the minimum requirements from the game.

    Minimum Rquirements according to the game:

    OS: Windows Vista Service Packk 1 or Windows XP Service Pack 3
    Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.8Ghz or AMD Athlon X2 64 2.4 Ghz
    Memory: 1.5 GB for Vista, 1 GB for XP, 16GB free hard disk space
    Video Card: 256MB Nvidia 7900 or 256 MB ATI X1900

    Here are my system specs:
    Windows XP Service Pack 3
    AMD Athlon X2 3600+
    1.5GB of RAM
    Nvidia GeForce 210 512 MB video card

    The game runs at an almost unplayably slow frame rate on my system even on all the lowest settings.

    A few things:
    System Requirement Labs says that I have 1GB of Video RAM even though I know for a fact my card is 512MB.

    They also say that my processor speed is 1.91Ghz rated at 3.91Ghz. What does the "rated at" speed mean exactly?

    My suspicion is that either my processor simply can't handle this game, or that my RAM is too low. I'm hoping it is the RAM because that would be much easier to remedy.

    What could be the issue here?
  2. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    GTA IV is a very unoptimized game on PC, and poor performance is quite common even on more powerful systems. Meeting minimum requirements is simply not enough. I would recommend at least 2-3GB RAM and a 1GB card to run the game at decent resolutions. I believe the processor speed is more important with this game than graphics horsepower, but I know 512MB-1GB is good. Your CPU runs at 1.9Ghz, which is relatively low for this game, but you may be able to play at a decent framerate if you drop detail levels and maintain regular temps.
  3. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,433   +143

    Almost unplayable FPS sounds about right, depending on your opinion of almost unplayable.
  4. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Almost unplayable...slow framerate, slow response times to button presses, poorly synched audio and video, constant momentary freezes.
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    Judging by your spec's I'd guess that attempting to play GTA4 is something akin to slow torture.
    Depending on your screen resolution -which you will more than likely need to drop a notch or two- this game will brutalize your system.
    GTA4 prefers 3+GHz (preferably 3.4 and above), 4Gb RAM and a graphics card with reasonable (minimum) to good (recommended) shader horsepower. I would consider a 128 bit frame buffer the minimum for good gameplay (HD 5770, GT 240) with moderate settings.
    If a system overhaul is not the immediate future then you can maybe eke out a few more fps by dropping the view distance back further, along with texture and render quality (AF), distance detail, vehicle and shadow density.
    If you have the disc (non-Steam) version you also have the option to run further settings via command line (I don't think the Steam version allows for this unless you create a shortcut).
    Also make sure the game is fully patched.
  6. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    I had my resolution set at 720p and I dropped it down to 1028x768. It made very little difference. I'm pretty sure this isn't a graphical issue because even with all settings at their lowest, and my resolution dropped down there is very little improvement. That would mean that it's either a processor issue (which I'm hoping it is not) or a RAM issue (which would be much easier [read: cheaper] to fix). I checked Task Manager and with GTA IV running, it takes up almost 70% of my system memory. I'm going to upgrade that first by adding a 2GB stick and see where that gets me. If all else fails I'll look at a processor upgrade, but I'm trying to save that for last as it is the most expensive.
  7. g4mer

    g4mer TS Maniac Posts: 310

    I have a friend which has a similar PC to you and he can barely play on 1024x768 low settings. Hes specs 8600GT, 2GB DDR2, Athlon64 4000+ X2. You shoudnt worry beacause that game is very very demanding. You need a better PC for that game.
  8. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    It's strange because it's very hit or miss. What I mean is that sometimes it runs at a playable (although still slow) framerate and sometimes it slows to a crawl and becomes unplayable. Don't get me wrong, it's never anywhere near a smooth experience, but sometimes it is playable and sometimes it's just too slow. Hopefully a RAM upgrade will at least make some difference.
  9. Relic

    Relic TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 1,379   +16

    As EXC already pointed out this game is a poorly designed port and doesn't run very well on a lot of systems. Your hit and miss experiences can be from what is going on in the game, intense action vs slow to none. Also a RAM upgrade might give you a small boost, but don't expect night and day differences.
  10. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    This game barely runs on a decent system with a quad core, heck even with my i7 at 4 GHz and a 5870 I can't run the damn game on max settings. Rockstar basically took the game that barely ran on console and open up all the settings to go as high as their engine could go, unfortunately the engine was not optimized to run in the PC world. I'm almost positive you could play Crysis at higher settings than this game, if you really want to play it you'd almost be best picking up a 360 or a PS3 because it would be a much cheaper alternative, the PS3 also comes with a bluray player which is pretty sweet too.
  11. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Yeah I'm not expecting a major difference with a RAM upgrade, I'm just hoping that will make it more hit than miss. And either way, I'm due for one. 1.5GB is just too low anyway.
  12. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    More RAM might help a little but I think your graphics card is your biggest bottleneck. Even at the lowest game settings for fairly demanding games, IMHO, this card is just not a gaming card.
  13. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Honestly, I'm not a huge PC gamer. If I had my way, I would go get a PS3 but that's just not feasible for the time being. I bought this card because it supports HDMI and dual displays and I came into (was given) a 15in. LCD HDTV that I use as a monitor.

    But this card does okay. It runs Batman: Arkham Asylum smooth as silk on all medium to high settings and the game looks great. I'm sure the folks with much higher end gaming systems would disagree, but for my taste it looks great and only cost $70. Besides, I'm not really as much about graphics as I am about gameplay anyhow.

    Oddly enough, lately it's been running fairly smoothly no matter the level of action on screen. There are a few stutters here and there, but it's done okay. I turned all graphic and detail settings to there lowest and that seemed to help. I'm still due for a RAM upgrade so I'll update when that happens, even though I'm sure it won't make a huge difference.
  14. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    The card will play different games differently. Some games will be unplayable while others may play okay. Okay is kind of a relative term, however. Okay to you might be unacceptable to someone else. Still, if you are more or less satisfied with its performance, I don't have a problem with that. Nonetheless, if you are asking why your PC plays some games with low fps, my opinion is it's mainly because of your low end graphics card.
  15. Adhmuz

    Adhmuz TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,617   +494

    ^ Coming from the owner of a GTX295

    If a GPU upgrade is out of the question just make do for now or play something else, GTA IV isn't the best PC game you can play IMO anyways.
  16. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,433   +143

    Well then, good luck I guess,
    You could overclock, not a huge difference though.
  17. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    The game is like trying to run an 18-wheeler with no wheels. No matter how big the engine is that sh** aint going anywhere!
  18. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    I've looked into overclocking but I can't access my CPU's BIOS. No idea how and I'm not knowledgeable enough to try. I found a few cheap 3GHz quad cores on eBay so I might try to get a hold of one in the next few weeks.
  19. hellokitty[hk]

    hellokitty[hk] Hello, nice to meet you! Posts: 3,433   +143

    I meant your graphics card actually.
    But whatever.
  20. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Either way, I'm not knowledgeable enough to try that either. Thanks for the suggestion anyway though.
  21. EXCellR8

    EXCellR8 The Conservative Posts: 1,835

    It's not likely that you would be able to overclock the card and notice any significant changes anyways. The problem isn't your hardware, it's the game. It's pretty worthless on PC and takes up a TON of HDD space. I tried it out about a year ago running two 4870's and an overclocked Q6600; the game was still choking in a lot of areas. It was playable but not worth the stress on the hardware. My cards were heating up a lot and the graphics aren't even that good, so that just goes to show you how unoptimized the game is.
  22. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Yeah I've done some research and found that this game really just was slapped together for PC and not a lot of effort was put into the port to make it playable. I just wish I would have known that before I bought it. Good thing I caught it at Target for only $20.
  23. nismo91

    nismo91 TS Evangelist Posts: 899   +15

    if you're desperate for it, you can search some tips from youtube and google things that optimize GTA4. i have to agree to most of the people here, passing the sysreq is not enough, same with gta EFLC.

    i don't know if those are real, but i have seen GTA4 run in things like 7300gt, 7600 with playable fps in low settings. btw it's been 1.5 years since i finished it.
  24. drew081886

    drew081886 TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 26

    Just a small update for anyone who caes. I installed a 2GB RAM stick today (bringing my total RAM to 3GB), and actually the difference is noticeable. The settings are still on low but the framerate has increased noticeably. It's still not blazing fast, but the difference is noticeable. My next step is to replace the CPU if I can find a cheap enough quadcore. But that's going to be pretty far off.

    I tried that. It doesn't work. It actually slowed the game down considerably.
  25. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    We do appreciate the feedback on your results. We can learn from them. Let us know how the rest of your upgrades do.
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