Grand Theft Auto 4
GTA IV was tested at 2560×1600 with the highest possible graphics settings, patch 1.0.2 was installed (released Jan 23rd) which enables additional graphics sliders.
With the release of patch 1.0.2 Grand Theft Auto 4 becomes a game which really takes advantage of extra memory available to GPUs. In addition to this it benefits cards like the Vapor-X more than its dual GPU competition such as the GeForce 295 and 4870 X2 as those products have their additional memory split between two GPUs.
When using a 1 GB card we are able to set most of our detail levels to their maximum but when we do the card is very close to running out of video memory and the game limits us to a view distance of 36 (out of 100). With the 2 GB Sapphire card we have all of the in-game options available to us and can enjoy the full detail GTA experience (view distance 100 is available).
In terms of performance the first graph above shows the two cards going head to head with a view distance of 36. In that scenario the Sapphire card is slightly faster on average and maximum framerates but shows real benefits on the minimum framerate. The difference between 23 and 26 frames per second actually results in a smoother gaming experience on the Sapphire model as it is passing the 25fps sweet spot.
The second graph shows us the performance achieved by the Sapphire card when we set the view distance to 100. There is actually little difference in the scores between the two view distances and the 2 GB card compares favourably to the 1 GB card, despite the Sapphire version giving us more detail.
Due to the way the GTA IV environment works it is difficult to provide screenshots which show the differences between most of the detail levels. The living environment within the game changes lighting levels so quickly that even screenshots taken 30-40 seconds apart look significantly different. What we can show you is the difference the view distance slider makes to the game between 1GB and 2GB cards.
Objects to pay attention to on the video are the building behind the Liberty Delivery warehouse, the large building directly in front of the car and the barrel type objects to the right of the screen. Each of these changes in detail level significantly as the slider is moved towards 100, the setting used for our Vapor-X testing.
When we add these changes to the increased detail levels it makes for a significantly more detailed gaming experience on the Sapphire card.