GTA V PC performance issues, and how to fix ‘em

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GTA V for PC might have been in development for an extended amount of time, but it’s still unable to escape a painful reality. It is still a PC game, and PC games will always have problems at launch. That’s why it took me quite a while to get things running smoothly on my side, with an array of settings options doing the opposite of what they should. Don’t worry though, because I’m here to help.

There are many, many things wrong with GTA V that stem from a variety of hardware configurations. That’s the nature of PC gaming – I might not be getting issues that you get, and you might not get the ones I do. But if your issues happen to line up with mine like stars on a romantic night (aw), then these quick fixes might do the trick for you.

Keep that memory slider in the green

GTA V has a beautifully robust suite of settings for PC, and one of the more useful features is a bar indicating the amount of VRAM your current configuration is going to chew up. It’s incredibly useful because some settings have no direct impact on it, while others like to hog up countless megabytes. The bar is colour-coded to indicated stability and efficiency, and I’ve found that keeping it in the green usually yielded the best results. That meant only reaching around 3100MB of the 4000MB (Ed’s note: 3.5GB lol) my GTX 970 has to offer, but it helped keep things at a smooth 60FPS.

Keep background apps closed (or get your virtual memory on)

GTA V loves to take a massive chunk out of your desktop’s RAM, and I often had the game crash on me with message errors of memory reaching its limit. If you’re playing with just the minimum memory requirements, you’re going to want to cut down on background applications. That means no 20 window chrome browsing, no music in the background, nothing.

If that’s still not helping, and you’re running Windows off a regular HDD instead of SSD, you might want to look at dealing with your Paging file. Windows uses this file as virtual memory, and it’s quite handy to have it stored on the same drive as the game. You can follow the guide here to get it up an running with a few click and a reboot. Be warned though – if you’re not entirely comfortable with this, don’t mess around with it.

Try kicking V-Sync to the curb

V-Sync is usually the one setting that I don’t compromise on, because encountering screen tearing is sometimes far worse than lower framerates. The setting in GTA V, however, gave me many headaches. The game would periodically dip below 30FPS from 60 FPS, which was a jarring stutter at the best of times. Worse still is that it seemed to lock the frame rate at 30 on occasion, regardless of how intense things were on–screen.

A flick of the switch and things we’re immediately better. In fact, I was able to turn MSAA and TXAA back on afterwards, which I assumed where the issue to begin with. Some players are reporting the exact opposite issue to me, with V-Sync being the only way to achieve a stable framerate. Give both options a go.

When in doubt, Alt-Tab

The most peculiar fix I came across last night was the power of Alt-Tabbing. Usually I stay away from this because of the havoc it causes with some fullscreen games, but it seems a simple Alt-Tab out and in of GTA V cleans things up a bit. I have no idea why, but it seemed to work on a few occasions where stuttering caught up with itself. Can’t hurt to try.

Like I said, GTA V is still a PC game, and by know you probably all know the baggage that it comes with. If you can get it running though, GTA V is unbelievably gorgeous even at modest settings – and it truly is one of the best ways t play the game. Share some of your technical tips in the comments below, and what weird PC black magic has worked for you.

Last Updated: April 16, 2015

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff's a bastard.

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