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I have 940MX GPU laptop with i7 processor and 16 GB RAM.

In this GTA V runs fine (30 FPS) at 1024x768 resolution and low to medium settings.

So I thought since GTA IV is 4 years old than this, it would have a little less realistic graphics and less resource consuming.

But to my surprise, even at lower settings (all settings and details are at their lowest) and lower resolution, my GTA IV struggles to get even 18 FPS. It is extremely slow as compared to GTA V.

It feels like I'm playing a latest graphics rich game on max settings. It's very weird.

I was even more surprised when I found some online YouTube videos about this game (GTA IV) review and they were getting 35 FPS on same 940MX gpu laptop with i5 processor. So I feel something is wrong with my game.

So is this expected behavior and GTA IV actually "heavier" than GTA V? Or could be installation problem?

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  • 1
    You could always try to see if there are any guides (like this one; disclaimer: I haven't tried it, but it does mention things I know work for some other games) on changing config files or command-line arguments or mods that improve performance. It can't solve all performance problems, but it can solve a whole lot of them (not to mention all the other improvements you can get from making such changes).
    – NotThatGuy
    Sep 10, 2021 at 20:49
  • Perhaps some of the bottleneck is in the CPU. You didn't say what models of i7 vs. i5 you were talking about. Although you'd guess that two laptops with 940MX GPUs would have similar generations of CPUs, so this wouldn't be a case of Skylake or Tiger Lake i5 vs. Sandybridge or Nehalem i7. But could it be a ULV i7 vs. a medium-voltage i5? Like 15 Watt Skylake i7 6500U (2c4t @ 2.5 / 3.0 GHz base / turbo, with 4MiB of L3 cache) vs. 45 Watt i5 7440HQ (4c4t @ 2.8GHz / 3.6 GHz two-core max turbo, 6 MiB of L3 cache). (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…) Sep 11, 2021 at 1:22
  • I assume with 16GiB of RAM that's two sticks, so you have dual-channel (twice the memory bandwidth of single channel). Anyway, "i5" vs. "i7" is not a very useful way to say anything about how fast your CPU is. Intel has been calling their CPUs i3..i7 since Nehalem in ~2009, and differences between generations can be more significant than the i5 to i7 difference within one generation. Sep 11, 2021 at 1:22
  • @NotThatGuy unfortunately none of these made any effect on fps 🤣
    – Vikas
    Sep 12, 2021 at 10:23

2 Answers 2

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GTA IV has a notoriously badly optimized PC port, so getting low FPS is to be expected (from personal experience: my current setup can run GTA V's singleplayer at constant 70+ frames with the graphics on a custom high-mid configuration, while running GTA IV at mid 40s-low 50s frames with FPS drops on the lowest graphics). That could also explain the difference in framerate despite the identical hardware.

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That is expected behavior and not due to an installation issue. GTA IV's PC port is very unoptimized.[1] [2] [3] Its successor, GTA V, will usually have better performance on the same PC.

To improve GTA IV performance, see the PC Gaming Wiki's GTA IV article. I'm quoting some of its relevant performance-related text here:

Large framerate drops on densely detailed parts of the city

  • Lower the view distance to 25 or lower. Anything higher may cause drops in performance when looking at the city's skyline or at densely detailed areas (particularly Middle Park) for very little visual gain.
  • You may also increase your performance significantly while minimising pop-in and graphical glitches by setting the Detail Distance between 10 and 40.
  • If you need very high framerates, it is recommended that you disable shadows as they are CPU-intensive and also reduce the Vehicle Density to around 40 (33 is the console default if you want a "vanilla" experience).
  • Keeping Vsync enabled (with the shadows disabled) may help maintain close to stable 60 FPS even on old Core 2 Quad CPUs.
  • Alternatively, you can also try out disabling Clip Capture in the "Game" option in main menu and setting -mispecaudio which can unload the CPU to some extent depending on your specs and -noprecache in some scenarios and -disableimposters excluding flying.

-minspecaudio: forces lower quality audio - good for lower-end processors (while it doesn't decrease the definition of the audio, some extra audio details were removed, therefore reducing CPU load).

Game will load with minimal graphics settings and won't let you change them

  • For video cards that have more than 2 GB or VRAM the game will run but won't let you change the graphics settings to anything better. In order to force the game to allow the changes, load the game's executable with this extra parameter: -norestrictions.

  • Bypass graphics restrictions on Steam version

  1. Open your Steam library.
  2. Right-click on 'Grand Theft Auto IV' and select 'Properties'.
  3. Press the Set Launch Options... button.
  4. Enter -norestrictions into the text field, press 'OK'.
  5. Start the game.
  • Bypass graphics restrictions on other versions
  1. Go to ''.
  2. Create a new text file in this folder and name it commandline.txt.
  3. Open it and add the string -norestrictions to it.
  4. Save the file.
  5. Start the game.

If on Windows 10:

Disable fullscreen optimization

  • Go to the installation folder.
  • Right click on GTAIV.exe and enter its properties screen.
  • Under the compatibility tab, tick 'Disable fullscreen optimisations' and click 'OK'.

There are also other performance-improving software or mods listed on the same PC Gaming Wiki article that you might want to try.

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