As you've no doubt noticed we've been busy putting GTA 5 through a series of tests this week, and next up we've got a relatively low-end card by today's standards. Despite this, GTA 5's pretty reasonable system requirements mean the GTX 650 comes in at just below the recommended.
The Nvidia GTX 650 1GB graphics card comes alongside an AMD FX 4100 processor and just 4GB of RAM, so let’s see how this rig holds its own on the mean streets of Los Santos in our latest GTA 5 benchmarks.
Grand Theft Auto 5 Benchmarks GTX 650 And AMD FX-4100
For these benchmarks on the GTX 650 we gave each setting the full work-out, getting into a high-speed car chase with a bunch of cops involved, as well as being involved in a number of shoot-outs. The average frame rate was taken over the course of three minutes of play at each setting. We tested Grand Theft Auto 5 at three different resolutions and three different graphical quality settings. The resolutions tested were 1280 x 720, 1600 x 900, and 1920 x 1080, while the three different graphics quality settings were Medium, High, and Very High.
You can see the different graphical settings we used below. You'll notice MSAA was never enabled as this seemed impractical on the GTX 650, and also switching up the Texture Quality from Medium to High rendered the game practically unplayable, whatever the resolution, so we kept this on Medium throughout all of the benchmark tests.
Grand Theft Auto 5 was benchmarked on an AMD FX-4100 with 4GB RAM and an Nvidia GTX 650 at 1280 x 700, 1600 x 900, and 1980 x 1080 screen resolutions
The GeForce GTX 650 has struggled in a number of games lately, but based on these results you can see it's a solid performer in Grand Theft Auto V. I'd say taking into account fluctuations in frame rate, any of the averages above 30 were perfectly playable, but on Very High 900p and 1080p there were enough hitches that I really wouldn't recommend trying it. Oh and Very High 720p might have all the graphical doodads turned on, but the image quality is far, far worse than playing on High at 900p.
There's few games I've played where resolution has had such a massive impact on the visual quality of a game. Everything about GTA 5 looks considerably better at higher resolutions, and in this instance I would always recommend lowering graphics options in GTA 5 to increase the resolution as far as you can take it. Blaine County looks so much sharper, cleaner and more detailed at 1080p than 720p, and you're only sacrificing around a third of the frames for the biggest leap in image quality of any graphics option in GTA 5.
Rockstar's game is extremely scalable, which is great for finding the performance that suits you, but it does also mean it can look pretty terrible at lower settings. If all your rig can deal with is Normal settings at 720p then it's still a perfectly playable game, but you will be missing out on many of the little immersive details which make it such a cohesive world. Don't let this deter you if you're PC's down at the lower of the scale though, it's still a fantastic experience overall.
Grand Theft Auto 5 Frame Times Medium Texture Quality
Grand Theft Auto 5 Frame Times High Texture Quality
You might have to enlarge the charts to get a better look, but as you can see there is a huge disparity in frame times when Medium and High texture quality settings are used. The GTX 650 has access to just 1GB VRAM, and the jump up to High textures demands a further 700MB on top of what you're already using. There's a significant bottleneck at work here, and you can see the occasional frame at High Texture Quality that was taking a second or even more for the GPU to draw. This led to significant stutter which rendered GTA 5 unplayable, and was noticeably worse when changing camera angles or character direction, as additional objects had to be rendered in quickly.