What kind of CPU is necessary for Rockstar's game?

GTA 4 (PC): CPU benchmark review with 13 processors

GTA 4 (PC) seems to be quite demanding as hardware is concerned. Thus we tested the game with several processors to find out which CPU is best for a trip through Liberty City. Furthermore we give a short overview about the required graphics card power.
GTA 4 (PC): Processor Benchmarks (picture: PCGH)
GTA 4 (PC): Processor Benchmarks (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]

If you haven't heard anything about the PC version of GTA 4, you might want to take a look at our related articles:

GTA 4 (PC): Several problems solved [Update: Known problems and solutions]
GTA 4 (PC): Radeon graphics cards cause crashes - patch en-route?
GTA 4 (PC): The ups and downs of the graphics effects
GTA 4 PC DRM: Copy protection and activation in detail

GTA 4 (PC): The location of our benchmark sequence (picture: PCGH)
GTA 4 (PC): The location of our benchmark sequence (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
GTA 4 (PC) - Problems when changing CPUs
Although we uninstalled GTA 4 inclusive Securom, Games for Windows Live (GFWL) and Rockstar Game Social Club (RGSC) and "revoked” our license before we changed the CPU of our system and reinstalled the game afterwards, GTA 4 could be run anymore. Therefore we had to change the hard drive with the operating system on it to get it running again. Unfortunately was GTA 4 refusing to start once more as we changed the clock speed of our Phenom CPU.

Because of this we can't provide any results for Yorkfield and several Phenom CPUs at the moment. We contacted Rockstar and the processor producers in order to find a solution for the problem.

GTA 4 (PC) (picture: PCGH)
GTA 4 (PC) (picture: PCGH) [Source: view picture gallery]
GTA 4 (PC) - Graphics card guidelines
As GPU power is concerned, we can give an all-clear. Even at 2,560 x 1,600 (but also at 800 x 600) a Geforce 9800 GT is only slightly slower than a GTX 280 - GTA 4 primarily requires CPU power, reducing the resolution doesn't result in much more fps. On two test systems we were able to get a Radeon HD 4870 running. The benchmark revealed that this card also delivered similar results.

Currently we are keeping in touch with Rockstar and AMD to find a solution for the problems with Radeon cards. The Catalyst 8.12 WHQL, that we were supplied with in advance, could solve the Radeon startup problem - we will check that of course. But we think that it is unlikely to be a general driver issue.

GTA 4 (PC) - PCGH test sequence
To check the performance of the CPUs, we use our "Promenade” benchmark. In this is, due to heavy traffic, many pedestrians and a far view distance, quite challenging for the processor and rather representing for GTA 4 since you will spend a lot of time on the street. Because we don't want to repress the frame rate too much, we use maximal details but reduce the range of visibility to 50 percent - a value reserved to graphics cards with 1,024 MiByte VRAM according to Rockstar's in-game presets.

Author: Marc Sauter (Dec 05, 2008)

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