GTA 4: Making full use of 512 MiByte graphics cards
You have a graphics card with 512 MiByte VRAM and you are annoyed by the restrictions GTA 4 imposes on your settings? We explain a solution.
Grand Theft Auto 4 can be upgraded visually with some commands - provided that you can deal with even lower framerates. In the video options the game reveals its immense hunger for video memory and that the maximal available details depend on the amount of VRAM. If you make use of the commands "norestrictions” and "nomemrestrict” you can indeed max out all options, but you will have to face quality loss because the game doesn't swap files into the system memory on its own. We explain how you can get the maximal visual quality out of your 512 MiByte card.
GTA 4 (PC): The commandline.txt
The game accepts several parameters, which can be applied in two ways. The first possibility is to add the commands to the target path of the shortcut. But this method is rather unreliable since the commands are often ignored. The better solution is to create a commandline.txt file in the game's main folder. In this file you write the commands -norestrictions and -nomemrestrict and save the file. This allows you to activate the maximal settings in the game although this exceeds the limit of your video memory.
To work around the streaming behavior of GTA 4 you also need the additional parameter -availablevidmem combined with a figure. -availablevidmem 1.5 for examples, pretends that additional 50 percent of video memory are available - so it's a multiplier actually. After that the game isn't that restrictive anymore when streaming files, but this also means that the local video memory is overflowing. The extra data has to be swapped to the comparatively slow system memory via the PCI-Express interface. Our benchmarks on the next page reveal the performance loss. We also show the positive effect of an overclocked PCI-Express interface.
With a multiplier of 1.5 the game is still playable on a Radeoon HD 4870/512, but with 2.0 there already are annoying lags that increase to an unplayable level if the multiplier is set to 3.0. You can choose "odd” multipliers like 1.2 or 1.3 if you think the performance loss is too big with 1.5.