AVG Signal Blog Performance Gaming The Ultimate GTA 5 Guide to Boosting Your Graphics & FPS
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Grand Theft Auto V (also known as Grand Theft Auto 5, GTA V, and GTA 5) is the latest in the iconic video game series from Rockstar Games. 

You’re here because you want your GTA 5 graphics and gameplay to look and run as fast and smoothly as possible. Let’s boost those graphics and fix low FPS — and check out some of the best GTA 5 mods out there!

This article contains:

    How do I boost graphics and frame speed for GTA 5?

    A GTA V performance boost for graphics and FPS (frames per second) means making your game look great and run smoothly. Let’s define a few terms:

    • Graphics: Your graphics are how the game looks. Better graphics are cleaner and sharper. They’ll show more details, include more textures, feature more realistic lighting and shadows, and run the game at a higher resolution.

    • FPS: The number of frames per second you see as you play is the FPS, also known as the “frame rate.” The ideal gameplay experience runs at a frame rate of 60 FPS. For comparison, most movies show at 24 FPS. A higher frame rate means your game looks smoother, while low FPS will appear choppy.

    • Boosting: You can boost, or increase, the graphics and FPS in your game by tweaking the settings and using “mods” that change various aspects of the game.

    • Mods: In gaming, a mod is an alteration to a game that can range from small graphical tweaks, to additional levels, to a completely new game built on the bones of the original. Players create mods to improve a game and increase its lifespan.

      In this article, we recommend some of the best GTA 5 mods to improve the graphics and performance of GTA 5 on your PC.

    GTA 5 supports a wide range of graphical and performance optimizations, but even the newest computers can struggle to handle them all. We’ll show you how to improve your computer’s graphics and get optimal FPS so you can have the best PC for GTA 5.

    Graphics and FPS can’t both be perfect — unless you’re willing to buy or build a very expensive gaming PC. Generally, if you want the best possible graphics, you’ll have to accept lower FPS. Conversely, optimizing your game for FPS usually means a few graphical sacrifices. So you’ll need to balance your gaming expectations with your PC’s capabilities.

    Optimizing graphics and FPS for the best GTA V performance.Balancing graphics and FPS for optimal GTA V performance.

    To unlock the best PC gaming experience for GTA 5, get AVG TuneUp — specially designed by gamers and PC performance experts. AVG TuneUp eliminates hidden processes clogging up your PC’s memory and CPU, and the built-in Sleep Mode feature lets you put background programs that are slowing you down to sleep. 

    Try AVG TuneUp today and unleash the full power of your gaming rig.

    What PC hardware do I need to play GTA 5?

    According to Rockstar Games, the GTA 5 system requirements are: 

    • Operating system: Windows 8.1 64 Bit, Windows 8 64 Bit, Windows 7 64 Bit Service Pack 1, Windows Vista 64 Bit Service Pack 2 (Nvidia video card recommended if running Vista OS)

    • Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 @ 2.40 GHz (4 CPUs) / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor (4 CPUs) @ 2.5 GHz

    • Memory: 4 GB

    • Video Card: Nvidia 9800 GT 1 GB / AMD HD 4870 1 GB (DX 10, 10.1, 11)

    • Sound Card: 100% DirectX 10 compatible

    • Hard Drive Space: 65 GB

    • DVD drive: Only if you have a physical version of the game

    These are the minimum requirements for the game to function. You’ll get much better FPS with an Intel Core i5 to i7 or AMD Ryzen quad-core processor from the last five or six years and a similarly recent graphics card.

    For smooth FPS at full HD, you’ll want a 3 GHz Core i5 that’s no more than four years old, and at least a GeForce GTX 1660 graphics card. Consider getting a GeForce RTX 3070 if it’s within your budget. You’ll also want to upgrade to at least 8 GB of RAM.

    Only the highest-end graphics cards — such as the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT — can render the game at 4K resolution with all the top GTA V graphics settings and performance tweaks. For the best results, combine two graphics cards in SLI, which lets them work together.

    You don’t need the fanciest gear, or even a desktop PC, to play GTA 5. An Intel HD graphics card can handle gameplay, just not as smoothly as a better one. But with this guide, you’ll still be able to boost your GTA 5 graphics and FPS.

    Optimize your PC and laptop to fix GTA V low FPS and improve performance

    No matter what type of hardware you have, your first step is to optimize your PC for gaming so you can have the best PC for GTA 5. These tips serve as both high-end and low-end PC settings tweaks alike.

    1. Upgrade your graphics drivers. You can do this manually, or let AVG Driver Updater do it for you automatically.

    2. Disable unneeded background activity with AVG TuneUp to ensure your CPU is dedicated to GTA 5.

    3. Defrag your disks. 

    Lastly, make a few internal changes to speed up your computer and improve its performance.

    For ongoing GTA 5 optimization, try AVG TuneUp — our specialized PC performance booster. AVG TuneUp automatically streamlines your computer, removing junk data and disabling unnecessary programs that hog your CPU’s power.

    How to benchmark GTA 5 (and why you should)

    GTA 5 comes with an integrated benchmark tool that can identify the settings, graphics, and FPS that will have the best effect on the game’s performance for your PC.

    You can perform a GTA 5 benchmark test by heading to the graphics menu and pressing the TAB key. Once you’ve benchmarked your game, you can open up the GTA 5 settings menu and make some tweaks.

    Depending on your GPU, your GTA V benchmarks will look different than other people’s. An RTX 2080 or better will run GTA 5 at 60 FPS at 4K resolution and all lower resolution settings, but graphics cards like these are as expensive as they are hard to find. 

    An RTX 2070 will give you smooth graphics at 1440p. If you’re playing at 1080p, you can go with a Radeon RX 570.

    Why you should benchmark GTA 5 for current graphics and FPS

    The GTA5 benchmark tool will show you which settings should improve your graphics, performance, and FPS the most. Use it before changing any settings, then check it again after you’ve made your changes to see if performance and graphics have improved.

    Find the best GTA 5 graphics settings for your PC

    In-game GTA V graphics settings are your first port of call to boost your graphics and fix low FPS. Unless you’ve got a beast of a gaming PC, you’ll need to balance smooth graphics and frame speed. The GTA 5 low-end PC settings shown here will let you run the game on a typical computer not optimized for gaming.

    With GTA 5 running, open the settings and select Graphics.

    The Graphics settings in the menu for Grand Theft Auto V on Windows 10

    GTA 5 will automatically balance graphics and FPS based on your hardware. The Video Memory bar at the top shows you how demanding the game will be on your graphics card. Higher settings make the graphics look cleaner and more detailed — at the expense of hogging more memory and likely lowering your FPS. 

    Here’s a quick comparison between the lowest and highest graphics settings:

    Grand Theft Auto V on Windows 10 with the lowest graphics settingsLowest graphics settings

    Grand Theft Auto V on Windows 10 with the highest graphics settingsHighest graphics settings

    In the second picture, the textures are much crisper, giving a more realistic feel. But if you can live without these touches, you’ll get a massive GTA 5 FPS boost with lower settings. 

    Here are the best GTA 5 settings to adjust if you’re not getting the FPS you want.

    1. Use MSAA instead of FXAA

    MSAA (Multisample Anti-Aliasing) usually looks a bit better than FXAA (Fast Approximate Anti-Aliasing). Turn off FXAA and try turning on MSAA at either 2x or 4x to improve low FPS.

    2. Try VSync

    Turning off the VSynch feature deactivates frame rate limitation and can boost your FPS. But you may notice some screen tearing, which happens when a game displays images from multiple frames at the same time. If you’re seeing that, turn VSync back on.

    3. Lower the population density and variety

    Turning the population density down reduces the number of pedestrians and cars in your world. If you don’t mind your city feeling a bit empty, you might see a considerable jump in FPS, especially on a laptop or older PC, with a lower population density.

    4. Lower your texture and grass quality

    Lowering your texture quality will boost your FPS, but at the cost of less-detailed graphics. You can also find individual GTA V graphics settings for grass and water, but only a lowered grass quality will give you a big FPS boost. Lowering water quality didn’t result in significant FPS gains in our tests, so you can leave it on High and enjoy those sparkling waves and ripples.

    Check out this GTA V graphics comparison between low and high textures to see the difference.

    The difference between lower texture settings and higher texture settings in Grand Theft Auto V on Windows 10Lower texture settings (left) compared to higher texture settings (right)

    5. Drop your shader quality

    While you’re adjusting individual GTA 5 graphics settings, try reducing the shader quality as well. In addition to lighting — what shaders usually control — the shader quality setting determines how much detail is preserved on parts of objects that are farther away

    Lowering your shader quality will cause you to lose some detail, but it’s not that noticeable at a glance, and you’ll get a big FPS boost.

    6. Deactivate reflection MSAA and lower reflection quality

    Reflection MSAA controls the smoothness of reflective surfaces, such as a shiny car or a puddle of rainwater. In our test, deactivating reflection MSAA netted us a 5 FPS boost without a significant loss in graphics quality. So you can safely turn off reflection MSAA to get a small FPS boost without sacrificing visuals.

    Reflection quality determines the crispness and detail in the reflections you see around Los Santos. Lowering the reflection quality to Normal means you’ll lose all reflections on vehicles, and on wet roads in the rain. Try setting your reflection quality to High for a decent FPS gain without sacrificing all graphical effects.

    7. Lower your resolution from 4K to Full HD or 720p

    If you’re playing on a big Full HD or 4K screen, you’ll want to run GTA 5 at its native resolution (1920 x 1080 or 3840 x 2160). But 4K means you should have a top-of-the-line graphics card (or two) to run smoothly.

    What about frame scaling?

    GTA 5’s frame scaling system can adjust the game’s resolution without changing the actual resolution setting. People with wall projectors or oversized TVs can use frame scaling to upscale the game so it still looks good on massive displays. But without a powerful computer, frame scaling will result in a big performance hit. Try dropping the frame scaling under 1x to see if your FPS increases.

    8. Reduce distance scaling

    Distance scaling in GTA 5’s graphics settings determines the level of detail you see in objects that are far away from your character. High distance scaling populates your screen with buildings, terrain objects, cars, and pedestrians, and outfits them with full textures even at long distances, but doing so takes lots of juice from your GPU. The Extended Distance Scaling setting is the most demanding, but most visually rewarding, version of this GTA 5 graphics setting.

    Turning extended distance scaling off will increase pop-in — when buildings and other objects suddenly appear as you get closer to them — but it will also increase FPS. You can adjust it while playing depending on where in the game’s world you are. Some environments are busier than others, with many more objects to render at once, and lowering distance scaling in those areas can give you a quick GTA V FPS boost.

    9. Turn off advanced shadow settings (under Advanced Graphics)

    Go to the Advanced Graphics section to find your advanced shadow settings. In our tests, increasing the High Resolution Shadows and the Extended Shadows Distance incurred serious FPS costs while raising our video memory use by up to 800 MB. For top performance, keep these settings at a minimum.

    High Resolution Shadows and Extended Shadow Distance

    Turning off High Resolution Shadows will leave your object shadows with less definition — the objects will look soft. Deactivating Extended Shadow Distance will save your computer the trouble of rendering shadows for objects that are farther away from your character. But you’ll trade this fidelity for much higher FPS.

    Soft shadows and long shadows

    Choose sharp shadows over soft shadows to boost FPS even more. The shadows won’t look as lifelike, but your game’s performance may improve. You can also get rid of long shadows — shadows that stretch as the sun drops closer to the horizon — for additional FPS gains.

    10. Anisotropic filtering, tessellation, particle quality, and other GTA V graphics settings

    The GTA 5 performance tweaks listed above aren’t the only settings you can dial back to boost FPS, but they’re the ones that’ll give you the best results — making them GTA 5’s best settings to boost FPS on a low-end PC. 

    Other settings aren’t as impactful on FPS, and you can leave them as high as you’d like to enjoy the gorgeous scenery.

    • Anisotropic filtering in GTA V sharpens textures in the environment. Turning it off won’t have a noticeable difference in FPS.

    • Tessellation is a technique that adds more detail to trees and other objects. Leave this on, too.

    • Particle quality determines the level of detail in particle effects like smoke and sparks. You can leave this on Normal.

    Secret GTA 5 graphics settings and launch options: commandline.txt tweaks

    GTA 5 has some additional settings and launch options that aren’t visible in the main menu. These launch options define how the game looks and functions when you open it, so you won’t have to adjust anything in the GTA 5 graphics settings menu.

    We’ve picked out a handful of graphics settings and launch options that can further boost your FPS and graphics. Note that for these changes, you’ll need to make commandline.txt tweaks. 

    Here are additional GTA 5 graphics settings and launch options to adjust to get the best PC for GTA 5:

    Step 1: Navigate to your game folder: for example, E:\Games\steamapps\common\Grand Theft Auto V.

    Step 2: If you see a file called commandline.txt, open it. If not, create one yourself:

      1. Right-click in the folder and select New.

      2. Select Text Document.

      3. Rename the new document commandline.txt, or commandline if file extensions are disabled.

    Step 3: Open this commandline with Notepad or your preferred text editor.

    The commandline text document in Grand Theft Auto V on Windows 10

    Now, with your commandline text file open, type in the following options to modify the game beyond what’s possible in the settings menu.

    1. -disableHyperthreading

      Most modern processors have virtual cores for better multitasking. Adding this can boost performance on older machines, so it may be worth trying if that’s your situation.

    2. -hdr

      Rockstar Support says this setting “sets the whole rendering pipeline to 16-Bit.” We didn’t notice any significant changes when adding this, but your eyes may be sharper.

    3. -Noquattransform

      Quaternion transformation is the fastest technique for rotating objects in 3D space, but it may introduce errors. If you see objects floating in space, use this command to disable quaternion transformation.

    4. -adapter

      Add this setting followed by a number between 0 and 4 to instruct GTA 5 to use your chosen graphics card. For example, if the game is using your integrated chipset (adapter 0), you can enter “-adapter 1” to make GTA 5 choose your discrete graphics card. Use this in combination with the next option.

    5. -ignoreDifferentVideoCard

      This setting makes GTA 5 use only the one graphics chip you specified with the above command — and it can fix stuttering. 

    6. -FrameQueueLimit

      This limits frames pre-rendering. Reducing this can also fix GTA 5 lag and smooth things out a bit. Use -FrameQueueLimit 0 or -FrameQueueLimit 1 and see what works best.

    There are more parameters available here, but many of them refer to settings in the game’s menu.

    GTA 5 graphics & gameplay mods

    If the two techniques outlined above aren’t enough, try the world of GTA 5 mods. Recall that mods are additions to a game that can alter the way it looks or plays. Many mods are fan-made labors of love.

    How to install GTA 5 mods?

    In most cases, it’s simple. Download the GTA 5 mod file and paste it into the game’s folder on your computer. More complicated mods may ask you to install additional software, and they usually feature detailed instructions on their download pages. You can also find lots of GTA V mod installation guides on YouTube.

    Mods are typically used for computer games, since you have access to all the installation files. It’s more difficult to mod GTA 5 on PS4 or Xbox One. In general, it’s best to keep your console games as they are, and play on a PC if you’re interested in modding.

    Once you’ve decided to mod, all you need to do is install your mods of choice. And that’s it - now you know how to mod GTA 5.

    What are the best GTA 5 mods?

    There are a ton of mods available for GTA 5 on PC, many of which can be found at GTA5-Mods.com. Some provide graphics improvements while others deliver new character models, vehicles, and weapons. 

    Here’s a short list of some of the most popular GTA 5 mods for visual and gameplay upgrades:

    1. Script Hook V for GTA 5

      Script Hook V isn’t a mod, but it’s the tool that many GTA V mods use to work with the game. After downloading and unzipping the .ZIP file, copy the ScriptHookV.dll file into the same folder that holds the GTA5.exe game file. Some mods will auto-install this file for you, but not all of them do — so do it yourself up-front.

    2. GTA 5 Redux

      With photorealistic 4K graphics, GTA 5 Redux is one of the most visually stunning mods out there for GTA 5. The comprehensive mod delivers improved vehicle handling and modified police and NPC behavior, along with its reworked weather effects and other graphical improvements.

    3. GTA V Natural Vision Evolved

      By aiming to bring the over-the-top GTA 5 experience closer to real life, the GTA V NaturalVision Evolved mod aims to faithfully recreate Los Angeles with better textures, more realistic lighting, and enhanced weather effects. The high-quality mod is currently available exclusively as a Patreon subscription.

    4. Complex Control

      If you’re into battle royale games like Fortnite or Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds, Complex Control is the mod for you. Transforming GTA 5 into a single-player survival game, the mod equips your character with new abilities (like teleportation!) and gear to help you survive the slaughter.

    5. GTA V FoV

      If you like playing GTA 5 in first-person view, but find the field of vision limiting, this GTA 5 mod will let you expand what your character can see. GTA V FoV is a must-have for fans of first-person shooters like Call of Duty and Overwatch.

      The GTA V FoV mod expands what your character can see during game play.
    6. LSPD First Response

      Want to see what the world of GTA 5 is like on the other side of the law? LSPD First Response lets you try your hand as a badge-bearing, gun-toting member of the Los Santos Police Department. Choose to arrest suspects (not shoot them) and call for backup in your quest to make Los Santos a more law-abiding place.

    7. Open All Interiors

      Los Santos is a massive city filled with tons of buildings that you can’t enter — unless you install the Open All Interiors GTA 5 mod. With it, many of the previously locked doors will be open, with complete interiors to explore. Duck inside a building to ward off the cops, or wander into a shop that catches your eye.

    Are mods illegal? Will I get banned?

    Cosmetic mods like those described above are usually legal to download and use, though many developers disapprove of modding because some players use mods to cheat online. You can use as many mods as you like in single-player GTA 5, but Rockstar may ban you if you go online with mods. To be completely safe, disable all mods before playing GTA 5 Online.

    Tune up your computer for optimal gaming

    The greatest graphical mods and performance tweaks won’t be much use if your PC isn’t set up to deliver a premium gaming experience. AVG TuneUp ensures that 100% of your computer’s resources are dedicated to fueling the ultimate gaming session. 

    Eliminate CPU-hogging bloatware, put background programs to sleep, and deep-clean your drive so that no matter the computer you have, GTA 5 will look and play as buttery smooth as you want it to.

    Check out our other gaming guides to Ark: Survival Evolved and Dark Souls 3. Then, learn how to overclock your CPU quickly and easily and boost your GPU for better PC performance.

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