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Grand Theft Auto IV (2008): PC Performance Benchmarks for Graphics Cards and Processors


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Year of release : 2008
Genre : Action / Racing (Cars) / 3D / 3rd Person
Developer : Rockstar North
Publisher : 1C 

 GTAIV sys

Where can you steal dozens of cars a day, beat passers-by, shoot prostitutes and make money selling drugs? In what game do you shoot a police squad with impunity with a grenade launcher, and a minute later have a peaceful dinner at the nearest pizzeria? The Grand Theft Auto series is known for its scandalous nature and huge scope for creativity.

However, in GTA 4 there is no absolute permissiveness - this time the game follows the rules of real life. Real cops, natural city, harsh rules of the criminal world allow only one alternative: adapt or die!


In this subsection of our review, the main graphical aspects of this game are revealed. Particular attention is paid to the version of the graphics engine used, the version of the API used, graphics settings and the quality of the development of the main visual aspects.

Supported OS and graphics API

Grand Theft Auto IV only runs on Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8. Other operating systems are not currently supported and are unlikely to receive support.

GTA IV steam 

The primary and primary graphics API for Grand Theft Auto IV multiplayer is DirectX 9.

Game engine 

Grand Theft Auto IV  uses the Rockstar Advanced Game Engine at its core. "Rockstar Advanced Game Engine" is a full-featured game engine that contains a graphics engine, physics engine, sound engine, animation engine, game artificial intelligence, networking, scripting language and other components. The sound engine and network code was developed by Rockstar North, while all other components were developed by Rockstar San Diego.

476px-Rockstar Advanced Game Engine.svg

Since the engine was geared towards use in games that have an "open seamless world", the main advantage of the engine is its ability to handle large game spaces efficiently. So, when the character moves through the level, the engine constantly and dynamically adds some and removes other objects. The developers reported that for this it was necessary to develop a reliable engine memory manager that could constantly allocate and remove objects from RAM without fragmenting it.

 game 2

RAGE uses an external physics engine called Bullet Physics Library, which is free software. The developers paid a lot of time and attention to the physics of cars, which they tried to make as close to reality as possible. This system takes into account the weight of the machine, the traction of the tires on the surface and other characteristics. The behavior of the car depends on the surface on which it travels, as well as on weather conditions.

game 1 

To animate humanoid characters, "euphoria" is used - a software component that independently automatically creates character animations on the fly. euphoria was developed by NaturalMotion and has been used as a permanent component in RAGE since Grand Theft Auto IV. 


Advanced game settings


Grand Theft Auto IV has a very wide range of graphics settings, thanks to which you can adjust the performance of the game to almost any modern gaming configuration. The only graphical flaw  in Grand Theft Auto IV is the lack of full-screen anti-aliasing.

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Below we have provided screenshots of the game at various graphics settings, where our readers can see the difference between the minimum, medium and maximum graphics quality settings. 

Various quality modes
bottom 2 sr 2 max 2
bottom 1 sr 1 max 1

 The difference between the various quality settings in Grand Theft Auto IV is quite significant. 

Comparison of FullHD and 4K 
hd 1 4k1
hd 2 4k2

In 4K, Grand Theft Auto IV looks much better than in FullHD, the clarity is noticeably higher and the lack of anti-aliasing is less pronounced.

General visual design and game physics

Grand Theft Auto IV for its time was a real monster for computers. The game required more than 1.5 gigabytes of video memory, which was not available to gamers of that time, moreover, the game required the mandatory presence of 4 cores for comfort, which at that time "advanced" owners of gaming PCs could afford. And now, after so many years, an ordinary gamer can finally run this game on his PC without any infringement of the graphic component.

game 3 game 4

game 5 game 6

Next, we will go directly to the gaming tests and determine what impact this game has on modern computer hardware.


Test configuration

test stands

Benchmark #1 based on the Intel Socket 2011 v3

Testbed #2 based on the Intel Socket 2011 platform

Test stand #3 based on the Intel Socket 1155 platform

Test Bench #4 Based on AMD Socket AM3+ Platform

Testbed #5 based on the Intel Socket 1150 platform

multimedia equipment

Dell U3010 Monitor 

Monitor  ASUS PQ321QE

Software configuration

operating system

Microsoft Windows 8.1

Graphics driver

Nvidia GeForce/ION Driver Release 347.88

AMD Catalyst 15.3 Beta 1

Monitoring program

MSI Afterburner 4.1


GPU test

All video cards were tested at maximum graphics quality by MSI Afterburner. The purpose of the test is to determine how video cards from different manufacturers behave under the same conditions. The average and minimum FPS were taken as the performance indicator. Below is a video of the test segment: 

Our video cards were tested at resolutions of 1920x1080, 2560x1600 and 3840x2160 at very high and maximum graphics quality settings allowed by Grand Theft Auto IV. AMD CrossFireX and SLI are fully supported by the game. Video cards are limited by the capabilities of the CPU.


Testing at 1920x1080 resolution


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Testing at maximum quality settings 1920x1080 

GTA IV 1920  

With these settings,  video cards of the Radeon R7 260X or GeForce GTX 750 Ti level showed an acceptable FPS. 

Testing at 2560x1600 resolution

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Testing at maximum quality settings 2560x1600

 GTA IV 2560

With these settings,  video cards of the Radeon R7 260X or GeForce GTX 750 Ti level showed an acceptable FPS. The best solutions would be   Radeon HD 7850 or GeForce GTX 750 Ti .

Testing at 3840x2160 resolution

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Testing at maximum quality settings 3840x2160

 GTA IV 3840

With these settings,  video cards of the Radeon R9 270 or GeForce GTX 660 level showed an acceptable FPS.   Radeon R9 285 or GeForce GTX 760 would be the best solutions  .


Testing of the video memory consumed by the game was carried out by the  MSI Afterburner program. The results on top video cards from AMD and NVIDIA were taken as an indicator at resolutions of  1920x1080 and 2560x1600 with various anti-aliasing settings.

Testing at maximum memory GPU quality settings

 GTAIV vram

The recommended amount of video memory usage for a resolution of 1920x1080 will be 1280 MB of video memory, for a resolution of 2560x1600 - 1536 MB of video memory and for a resolution of 3840x2160 about 2048 MB of video memory. 

CPU test

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We tested processor dependence on 16 models of basic configurations that are relevant today. The test was carried out in those places where the value of the video card for the game is minimal and its load was less than 99%, this time at a resolution of 1920x1080 with maximum graphics quality settings. 

Testing at maximum quality settings 1920x1080

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The CPU performance in the game is sufficient for all models.

Loading of processor cores at maximum quality settings 1920x1080 Intel % 

gtaiv intel 

Loading of processor cores  at maximum quality settings 1920x1080 AMD % 

GTAIV amd 

Grand Theft Auto IV is disproportionately capable of supporting up to 6 processing threads, but only 4 processing cores are fully utilized.

RAM test

The test was carried out on the base configuration Core i 7 5960X @ 4.6 GHz with 16GB DDR4 2400 MGz pre-installed memory. All used RAM was taken as an indicator. The RAM test on the entire system was carried out on various test benches without running extraneous applications (browsers, etc.).

Testing the game's RAM consumption at various quality settings 

gtaiv ram 

As we can see, with various quality settings, the amount of RAM consumed in Grand Theft Auto IV is at the level of 1200-1400 megabytes.

Testing system RAM consumption  

 gtaiv ram2

On a 6 GB system, Grand Theft Auto IV consumes about 3.3 GB of RAM. In the presence of a system with 8 gigabytes, the RAM consumption of all RAM was 3.5 gigabytes. With a 16 GB system, total memory consumption was almost 4.21 GB. And with 32 gigabytes of RAM, the system consumes 4.9  gigabytes of RAM.  

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