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A True Port: Hardware-wise, What You Need to Know
It's nice to see that Rockstar went the extra mile and provided PC gamers with a built-in benchmark tool that helps accurately gauge system performance and ideal settings. Though we would have liked it to be more user-friendly and it's not without its bugs, the tool is in-depth and provides a number of statistics about the run.
We've come away impressed with the PC version of GTA V. Rockstar has delivered on its promise of giving PC users full control over every aspect of their graphical experience. The game looks breathtaking yet it can still be played maxed out on modest hardware with FXAA.
Those using graphics cards with a 2GB memory buffer will be best off using the 'normal textures' with FXAA. When gaming at 1080p with these settings we found affordable graphics cards such as the Radeon R9 270 and GeForce GTX 660 Ti, GTX 760 or GTX 960 were able to deliver smooth playable performance.
Gaming at 4K with very high quality textures requires at least 3GB of VRAM and a lot of GPU power. Even the R9 295X2 fell short of 60fps with an average of 51fps, while the mighty GTX Titan X delivered 47fps. Anything less struggled as the GTX 980 was only good for 36fps and the R9 290X just 33fps.
Enabling all of the advanced graphics settings reduced performance by ~20-30% depending on the GPU. MSAAx4 hammered performance down by around 40%, so we don't recommend using this anti-aliasing method at high resolutions -- you shouldn't need to anyway.
When it comes to CPUs we find ourselves repeating the same old story: Intel's Core i5 is the way to go. The Core i3 punches well above its weight for a dual-core processor in a game that easily uses four threads but jumping from the Core i3 to the Core i5 will net around 20% more performance with a single high-end GPU, while the Core i7 will only get you a few extra frames over the i5.
That said, if you are gaming with a GTX 960 or less, the difference between the Core i3 and the Core i5 is going to be negligible.
Sadly AMD's current FX series doesn't hold up well and the flagship parts struggle to compete with the likes of Intel's Core i3. It's shocking to find that the i3-4130 is around 20% faster than the FX-8370E in a game that heavily loads eight threads at 60% utilization or greater. The i3-4130 saw around 70-90% utilization across all its four threads.
As a parting note, AMD and Nvidia have also made their part delivering on the drivers front. Both the Radeon and GeForce cards delivered superb performance and stability. Crossfire and SLI appeared to be working well, though for now Crossfire seems a little more jittery than SLI.
Until the next one, you can check out more PC gaming benchmark tests here, including Battlefield Hardline, Evolve, Homeworld Remastered, Dying Light and more.