Grand Theft Auto V Multi-GPU Performance Review Part 2

This is Part 2 of our full evaluation of Grand Theft Auto V's video card gaming performance. In this part we dive into NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire highest playable gameplay settings and apples-to-apples at 1440p and 4K resolutions. We find out just what it takes to get the most out of GTA V at its highest settings.


Welcome to Part 2 of our continuing series evaluating GPU performance in Grand Theft Auto V on the PC. We started with a preview of the game's performance and image quality settings when the game was released. We recommend starting here if you haven't already, to learn what makes this game unique in terms of features on the PC.

Last week we followed-up with a full single-GPU performance evaluation of the game. We found out what it takes to play the game and enjoy it, how previous generation architectures fare, and how GPUs currently line-up in the game.

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Today we continue our performance testing by expanding into the realm of NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFire, as well as the powerful single-GPU GeForce GTX TITAN X.

To show just how demanding this game can be we are going to test these video cards today in both 1440p (2560x1440) and 4K (3840x2160) resolutions. You are going to find out just what it takes to "max out" this game at 1440p, and if it is even possible to do so at 4K with today's video cards. We will also take a look at VRAM usage, and SLI and CrossFire scaling performance. In our evaluation we will utilize all the graphics features we can, including the Advanced Graphics capabilities to extend view distance and shadow distance with high resolution shadows.

Graphics Settings

What is important to keep in mind as you read our evaluation today is that we try to utilize and turn on, to the highest ability, all of the in-game quality options we can for image quality. We make use of the Advanced Graphics options if playable. This includes the settings: "Long Shadows," "High Resolution Shadows," "High Detail Streaming While Flying," "Extended Distance Scaling," and "Extended Shadows Distance."

These Advanced Graphics settings are extra, extended settings that GTA V supports on the PC. The "High Resolution Shadows" and "Extended Distance Scaling" settings both eat into performance a great deal, but vastly improve image quality in the game. These options also highly eat into VRAM, so cards with lesser VRAM cannot use these as smoothly as cards with higher VRAM.

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When we refer to the game at its "Maximum Settings" state, i.e. the highest possible in-game settings, we are referring to the game with the settings shown exactly as above in the screenshots. You will notice all settings are at "Very High" or "Ultra" if supported and every slider maxed out. These settings shown below are as high as the game can go. One of our goals in this evaluation was to find out what it took to play this game with these settings below at 1440p.

Test Setup

For this evaluation today we are going to use GeForce GTX TITAN X SLI, GeForce GTX TITAN X, GeForce GTX 980 SLI, GeForce GTX 970 SLI, AMD Radeon R9 295X2 and Radeon R9 290 CrossFire. The AMD Radeon R9 295X2 represents two Radeon R9 290X GPUs in CrossFire, on a single-card. Price-wise, this video card has fallen in price since launch and can be found as low as $599.99 after $20 MIR making it slightly less expensive than two GeForce GTX 970 video cards in SLI. If we were going to purchase Radeon R9 290X CrossFire today, the Radeon R9 295X2 would be the preferred way of having that performance. This video card will not throttle performance thanks to the liquid cooled nature of the card.

We are using the latest drivers, Catalyst 15.4 Beta, and GeForce 350.12. We are also running the latest build of the game, Build 350.

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