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!
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.
Balancing graphics and FPS for optimal GTA V performance.
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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.
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.
Lower 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.