GTA V performance review take 2: 23 GPUs and mid-range CPUs

What performance can you expect from a Core i5 or Core i3?



We previously published a performance review of Grand Theft Auto V, in which we tested the game using 23 graphics cards, ranging from an entry-level Radeon R7 240 to an ultra high-end GeForce GTX Titan X. We ran the tests on our standard test system for graphics cards that is based on an Intel Core i7-5960X, which of course is the fastest desktop processor out there. However, many readers asked us if we could also test how well more conventional (and affordable) processors hold up. Your wish is our command! Given the high amount of interest in this game, we performed another set of benchmarks, featuring both an Intel Core i5 and an Intel Core i3 processor.

Grand Theft Auto V (PC)

For testing GTA V on these more affordable platforms, we used the same method as we did in our last performance review. This means that we utilize the built-in benchmark, which determines performance based on different scenes in the game. We report the scores of the most demanding portion of the benchmark, so you could consider our scores to represent a worst case scenario: if your graphics card is capable of handling that, the rest of the game should be a piece of cake.

For this additional test, we use the same 23 graphics cards that were featured in the previous review. Obviously, the platforms are different: we now test the graphics cards in conjunction with a quad-core Intel Core i5-4690K, a processor that costs about £190, and a dual-core Intel Core i3-4370, which'll set you back around £120. We combined both CPUs with 8 GB of Corsair Vengeance DDR3-1600 memory and a Samsung 840 Evo 1TB SSD. We tested the Core i5 on an ASUS Z97-Pro Gamer motherboard, and combined the Core i3 with an ASUS H97-Pro Gamer motherboard. We ran the tests under Windows 8.1 x64, using the most recent AMD and Nvidia drivers.

Those who have a mid-range configuration will primarily be playing at the Full HD resolution (1920x1080), which we have tested using both Medium and Ultra settings. Additionally, we also tested Ultra HD (3840x2160) with Medium settings. Given the results from the previous test, we didn't bother testing Ultra HD with Ultra settings this time around.

Two options were adjusted with respect to the settings we used in our previous review: for Ultra settings, we set the anti-aliasing option to 2x MSAA rather than 4x MSAA, and disabled the Reflection AA option rather than setting it to 2x AA. Both forms of anti-aliasing cause a substantial drop in performance, despite the fact that Reflection AA in particular has a rather negligible effect on the resulting image quality. To give you an idea: when using the Core i5, our Titan X produces 44.0 fps on Ultra settings without anti-aliasing, 37.6 fps with 2x MSAA, and 33.7 fps with 4x MSAA, for a performance drop of close to 25%.

Refer to the table below to learn what settings we ended up using in this review.

Vsync Off Off
Pause Game on Focus Loss On On
Population Density 100% 100%
Population Variety 100% 100%
Distance Scaling 100% 100%
Texture Quality Normal Very High
Shader Quality Normal Very High
Shadow Quality Normal Very High
Reflection Quality Off Ultra
Water Quality Normal Very High
Particles Quality Normal Very High
Grass Quality Normal Ultra
Soft Shadows Soft Softest
Post FX Normal Ultra
Motion Blur Strength 0% 0%
In-Game Depth Of Field Effects Off On
Anisotropic Filtering X16 X16
Ambient Occlusion Normal High
Tessellation Normal Very High
Long Shadows Off On
High Resolution Shadow Off On
High Detail Streaming While Flying Off On
Extended Distance Scaling 100% 100%
Extended Shadows Distance 0% 100%
Reflection MSAA Off Off

Product discussed in this review

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Grand Theft Auto V (PC)

PC, Action


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