I am having a problem deciding which video card to get for the best GTA 4 performance for about $240. Currently I am running a Radeon 4850 512MB and most games look great. Now that I have GTA 4, I can see that it is time to upgrade if I want to enjoy all of the eye candy that Liberty City has to offer. So here is my dilema:
Being that I don't want to spend more than $240 on a new GPU, and it needs to have a semi-quiet fan since this is going into my htpc in the living room, I have only a few options. Unfortunately the best bang for the buck seems to be with ATI, even though Nvidia supposedly has better drivers for GTA 4. The only problem with Nvidia however, is the price/performance ratio at $240 seems to suck, as I can get more performance with ATI. Perhaps I am wrong about that? I understand that GTA 4 needs 1 - 1.5 GB of RAM and a fast CPU to run at full tilt. So here are the video cards I am considering:
Out of all the card you have listed, the 4890 is probably the most powerfull card. However, I personally always prefer nVidia over ATI because they have better drivers.
There are a few other options you can consider if you are lucky enough to have an SLI/Crossfire motherboard with 2 PCI-E x16 slots. It is worth checking because a pair of ATI 4770's in crossfire would cost you $220 and they would out perform all of the cards listed above (see http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/radeon-4770-crossfire,review-31570.html
I must also point out that before upgrading you should check and see if you PSU can support the above cards. The 4850 you have only requires a 450W PSU whilst the cards you have suggested require 550W+.
Whats your current processor? GTA4 loves more processors/cores rather than more powerful GPUs.
If currently if you've got a Core2Duo and/or Athlon64 X2's right now. Switching do a quad core processor will net more performance increase than buying a more powerful video card. The Radeon 4850 is more than enough for GTA4.
Thanks for the responses everyone. My PSU is a Corsair 650 Watt, so I am good on that point. I have a Gigabyte 780G mobo, without crossfire, so I can only use one gpu. Boulard83, that sounds llike a good idea. I think I will try upgrading my CPU first, and only after that will I upgrade my video card. I currently have an AMD X2 5600+ cpu, and plan on getting a Phenom II soon. That should more or less help with the bottleneck, no? I have also read that the more video RAM the better for GTA 4. When I enter the graphics settings for GTA 4, I can see the CPU is at 90% and the video RAM is at 90% also. So I need a faster CPU and at least 1 GB of video RAM.
So the 2GB video card is useless? I noticed that on the 2GB saphire model, the video bandwidth is 256-bit, but most of the 1 GB video cards are 512-bit. Does that make a difference at all?
The 1gb 4870 is a good card. Youll be able to run GTA4 on High texture with it. But the 4890 is better. If you go Nvidia ill suggest GTX260 < GTX275 < GTX285. depand on your Budget. GTA4 is a CPU+GPU ungry game ... I have 60-70% cpu use on HIGH settings ( GPU : aprox 900mb usage ) @ 1680x1050 with 30-60-60-10.
A friend of mine have the first 192sp GTX260 version and he Play GTA4 with a Q6600 not OCed. The games runs pretty well on High settings but with less view distance and shadow VS my config... off corse !