Grand Theft Auto V (GTA 5) PC Optimization & Benchmarks

Here are the best graphics settings for Grand Theft Auto V, optimized for your PC

Grand Theft Auto V was released on PC on the 14th of April 2015. That means the game will be nine years old in four days, and it’s still among the most-played titles on Steam. With a 24-hour peak of 145K players, it’s as popular as Baldur’s Gate 3, Apex: Legends, and Destiny 2. We tested the game on the latest hardware to see how it holds up, and if there are still any CPU or memory bottlenecks.

Our Test Bench

  • CPU: Intel Core i9-12900K.
  • Motherboard: ASUS Z790 Maximus Hero.
  • Cooler: Lian Li Galahad 360.
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 4090.
  • Memory: 16GB x2 DDR5-6000 CL30.
  • Power Supply: Corsair RM1000e.

Grand Theft Auto V: Resolution Scaling

GTA V delivered roughly the same averages at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K on our GeForce RTX 4090. It’s clear that the game is CPU bound, but we still see better frametimes at 1080p and 1440p (compared to 4K).

Ambient Occlusion, Shadows, and Reflection Quality

Grand Theft Auto features NVIDIA PCSS (Percentage Closer Soft Shadows), AMD CHS (Contact Hardening Shadows), and Rocktstar’s own “soft shadow” implementation. All these perform roughly the same, with “Sharp” and “Softer” being the fastest.


The “Shadow Quality” setting affects the shadow clarity and accuracy, with higher settings making the shadows more detailed at the cost of higher memory usage. High looks like the balanced option being nearly as fast as “Normal.”

Ambient occlusion refers to the shadows cast by diffuse lighting. They are found along edges, crevices, and corners of surfaces. “Normal” and “High” look and perform the same, with “Off” being 2-3 FPS faster.

Reflection Quality controls the resolution of Screen Space Reflections. The “Normal,” “High,” and “Very High” settings perform roughly the same, with “Ultra” being 3-4 FPS slower.

Reflection MSAA improves the reflection quality by including additional depth samples. This has a subtle impact on quality and performance.

Shader Quality, Foliage, Water, and Particle Effects

Shader Quality controls how light interacts with different objects, and its accuracy. In Grand Theft Auto V, this setting also affects shadows, water surfaces, and texture clarity. “High” and “Very High” perform the same while “Normal” is 5-6 FPS faster.

Grass Quality affects the complexity of, well, grass. Lower quality options use a 2D model to represent the vegetation, while higher quality uses 3D models with individual strands for every plant. “High” and “Very High” perform similarly, with “Normal” being over 10 FPS faster.

Water Quality sets the fidelity of water bodies and streams. Lower-quality options reduce wave/ripple density, while also disabling underwater effects. Like previous settings, “High” and “Normal” perform similarly, while ” Very High” is slightly taxing.

Particle Quality sets the resolution of smoke and embers from explosions, while also affecting dust/pollution and related effects. The performance impact is only apparent during explosions or combustion.

Texture Filtering, Post Processing, and AA

Texture Filtering improves the clarity and detail of textures, especially those perpendicular to the screen and on the peripheries. In this case, “2x” and “4x” are about as fast as “Off,” while “8x” and “16x” are slightly more taxing.

Post-FX enables blur effects like motion blur, depth of field, lens flare, glare, etc. It also affects volumetric rays, haze, and bloom quality. Once again, “High” and “Very High” perform similarly, while “Ultra” is a few frames slower.

Grand Theft Auto V features MSAA (Multi Sampling), FXAA (Fast Approximate), and TXAA (Temporal Approximate) anti-aliasing options. FXAA is the fastest but can cause texture blur. MSAA produces the best quality but doesn’t work on transparent textures. TXAA combines MSAA with a temporal filter, producing the least aliased image at the cost of reduced texture detail. FXAA and MSAA 2x, when used together, tend to render the best result.

Tesselation is a method used to increase mesh complexity by dividing large triangles into progressively smaller ones. This improves geometry quality without the need for additional textures or surface maps. Tesselation performs nearly the same across the four presets.

Population and Extended Distance/Shadow Scaling

Among the slider-based settings, Distance Scale and Extended Distance scale have the most impact on performance. Distance Scaling reduces frame rates by up to 8% at 4K, ironically 50 being the sweet spot.

Population Density performs the best with its value set between 50 and 80. That said, gains may vary from system to system.

Population Variety has a negligible impact on performance. As long as you stay under 80, you won’t suffer any drops either.

Distance Scaling from the “Advanced Graphics” options is the most taxing effect in Grand Theft Auto V. It reduces the average frame rates by 7% and brings down the lows at nearly 20 FPS. Extended Shadows, Long Shadows, and High-Resolution Shadows all modestly impact performance. These affect the VRAM usage more than the actual frame rates.

CPU Bottlenecks and VRAM Usage

Despite being nine years old, Grand Theft Auto V is CPU bottlenecked even at 4K. At lower resolutions like 1440p and 1080p, the GPU-Busy Deviation is as high as 56%, implying that the CPU uses more than half of the frame time.

Disabling “Extended Distance Scaling” and “Extended Shadows” helps with this. If your CPU is still struggling, consider reducing “Population Density” and “Distance Scaling” to under 50%.

4K “Extended Distance/Shadows Off

Grand Theft Auto V uses 7.1GB of VRAM at 4K “Max,” followed by 5.8GB and 5.5GB at 1440p and 1080p, respectively. Reducing the texture quality and “High-Resolution Shadows” helps optimize the graphics memory footprint.

Best Graphics Settings for Grand Theft Auto V in 2024

High-end PCMid-Range PCLow-end PC
Texture ResolutionVery HighVery HighHigh (Very High if your GPU has 8GB VRAM)
Texture Filtering16x16x4x
Shadow QualityVery HighVery HighHigh
Reflection QualityUltraUltraVery High
Reflection AA8x8xOff
Shader QualityVery HighVery HighHigh
Grass QualityUltraUltraVery High
Ambient OcclusionHighHighHigh
Water QualityVery HighVery HighHigh
Particle QualityVery HighVery HighHigh
PostFXUltraUltraVery High
Anti-AliasingMSAA 4xMSAA 2xFXAA
TesselationVery HighVery HighVery High
Distance Scaling1008050
Population Density1008050
Population Variety100100100
Extended Shadows10010050
Extended Distance Scaling1001000
Long ShadowsOnOnOn
High Res ShadowsOnOnOn

Definition of High-end, Midrange, and Low-end

High-end (4K)Mid-range (1440p)Low-end (1080p)
CPUCore i7-13700K/Ryzen 7 7800X3DCore i5-13600K/Ryzen 5 7600XLess than: Core i5-12400/Ryzen 5 3600
GPURTX 4070 Ti Super/RX 7900 XTRTX 4070/RX 7800 XTLess than: RTX 4060/RX 7600
Memory32GB (dual-channel)16GB (dual-channel)Less than: 16GB (dual-channel)


Processors, PC gaming, and the past. I have been writing about computer hardware for over seven years with more than 5000 published articles. Started off during engineering college and haven't stopped since. Find me at Hardware and PC Opset. Contact:

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