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Needing advice about memory/performance
blue_sky  posted on Mar 31, 2009 6:44:17 PM - Report post

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For starters, my rig packs a Core 2 Quad Q6600 coupled with a GeForce 9600GT 512mb. A decent rig, at least in the graphical department - the CPU might be above decent. The cherry on top is a modest 2GB of DDR from a good brand.

Now, even after all I read on how badly the game is optimized with this PC port, I was still surprised when I first ran it.
It does not let me get Texture Quality above Medium and Visible Distance (or something) is limited to just near half the bar. I see that it starts to exceed the available virtual memory past that point.
What I'd like to know - or, possibly, just be remembered, I think I knew how - is how to allocate the amount of space I want to the pagefile, or something like that... I'm not so PC savvy. In other words, how I can attribute HDD space to increment upon my graphics card's memory.

If further details are needed, please ask.
I'd really appreciate helpful input.

This is game has been nothing short of astounding so far, even with the lousy performance, but one can only endure so much lag before he is shunned away. I'd like to be able to play at least a modest hour before having to restart.
Such a shame Rockstar didn't do a better job at optimizing this port. The game is a definite step up in the series just as GTA III was.

Offtopic Note: Republican Space Rangers could do well as an actual, real television cartoon, in my book. Just hilarious.

EvilSpenZer  posted on Mar 31, 2009 7:02:32 PM - Report post

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You cant with the Graphic memory as far as i know, i got a GTX260 with 896 mb ram and i cant go full either... but that is my CPU's fault (a very bad one..2.4 GHz Duelcore Xeon clocked to 3.0 GHz) because i got a theory that GTA IV matches graphic card and CPU and sees if the hardware can handle it. so im waiting to get money for a Core i7 to confirm. one of my mates got a rig than me and he runs the game in max settings ... i run the game in low.. because of my CPU. the limit you talk about is about the RAM, i think its about something with XP :P i know i havent been for much help but i hope i could enlighten you alittle... but...

i ran the game in highest graphic's in a resolution of 1680x1050... it ran PERFECT! with the rig i got... but then there was a patch with new things you could turn on/off in GFX menu... and then i had to run the game in low gfx's to just get a decent fps :/ BAD PORT ... but stil fun, if it works correctly :P

blue_sky  posted on Mar 31, 2009 8:18:53 PM - Report post

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Uh? What are you saying, a patch made you have to run the game with shoddy visuals? So reinstall it and don't patch up if it ran perfectly before. This is so obvious that I am probably misunderstanding what you're trying to say.

But, hmmm, what do you mean, the limit I talk about is about the RAM? The one hooked to the motherboard, I presume? Well I have 2GBs, ingame it shows a total of under 600MBs, so that can't be it, can it?
I think I remember now that only this RAM can be incremented upon, however. If so and if this is the RAM the game refers to then I might still be able to do as I had hoped.

I still need to know how to do this, tho.

vchris  posted on Apr 01, 2009 3:28:45 PM - Report post

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Are you are referring to increasing the PageFile size, synonymous with virtual RAM?

My understanding of the PageFile is that it is only used for expanding your system's overall RAM.
(I'm talking about the 2GB DDR RAM attached to your motherboard)

The PageFile uses a small part of your hard-drive to provide the OS with some extra "virtual" RAM.

The instructions for increasing the PageFile size vary between Vista and XP, which are you using?

PerroLoco  posted on Apr 01, 2009 3:50:15 PM - Report post

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There is a very good graphics tweak available here - www.gtagarage.com/mods/show.php?id=5691

This will let you run better shadows. You can also run a commandline.txt file, put it in the same folder as your game executable file (default: C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto IV)

copy this and save it as commandline.txt

-availablevidmem 1.5
-texturequality 1
-renderquality 3

The first command sets no restrictions on your graphics options, you can set to exceed to available graphic resources by a huge amount. The penalty is slow performance.

The second command forces the game to use some of your system RAM as vidoe RAM a setting of 1.5 sets to available video RAM at 150% of what your graphics card has onboard, making up the difference by utilizing your system RAM.

3rd command: sets MEDIUM graphics mode.
4th command: sets High render quality. Doesn't use much RAM but requires CPU resources.

Full list of commanline options in next post.

[Edited by PerroLoco, 4/1/2009 4:01:29 PM]

PerroLoco  posted on Apr 01, 2009 4:03:11 PM - Report post

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Source: www.gtaforums.com/index.php?showtopic=397064&st=0&#entry1058959070

The commandlines feature allows you to tell GTA 4 how it should set itself up when it launches, this allows you to do useful things like use system memory as video memory. It may sound "complexed" but it is really simple. All you need to do is this :-

1. start Notepad up on your PC
2. you can add command lines to this document in the following way "-availablevidmem 1.5" (do not add the quotes)
3. You can add as many command lines as you like as long as each command line is on a new line like this :-
-availablevidmem 1.5
-width 1280
-height 800
4. When you have added all your command lines then save it as a text file called "commandline.txt" (ignore the quotes) and save it into the main GTA 4 folder where you will find the files "GTAIV.exe" and "LaunchGTAIV.exe"

Now whenever you start GTA 4 up it will check it's folder for the commandline.txt file and execute whatever instructions you have in there.

Command Lines and what they do

Command Line What it does Example Usage
-width sets the horizontal resolution -width 1280
-height sets the vertical resolution -height 720
-texturequality changes texture quality low/med/high (0-2) -texturequality 1
-shadowdensity adjusts shadows thrown up by car lights (0-16) -shadowdensity 3
-renderquality adjusts the render quality of the game (0- 4) -renderquality 3
-viewdistance adjusts the view distance (0-99) -viewdistance 25
-detailquality adjusts the detail distance (0-99) -detailquality 30
-norestrictions removes memory restrictions on graphic settings -norestrictions
-novblank removes good ole v-sync -novblank
-safemode runs GTA 4 with everything set to as low as you can go -safemode
-fullscreen runs GTA 4 fullscreen -fullscreen
-windowed runs GTA 4 windowed -windowed
-availablevidmem allocates some system ram as additional vram -availablevidmem 1.5
-percentvidmem how much vram of your gpu GTA 4 can use, 1.0 will be all of it and 0.5 will be half -percentvidmem 0.5
-frameLimit limits your framerate to the refresh rate -frameLimit 1
-refreshrate adjusts the refresh rate (oddly enough) be careful do not set a refresh rate your monitor can't do -refreshrate 60
-fullspecaudio enable high-end cpu audio -fullspecaudio
-minspecaudio enable low-end cpu audio -minspecaudio
-noprecache turns precache off -noprecache
-nomemrestrict turns all memory restrictions off -nomemrestrict
-benchmark starts the in game benchmark and then quits the game -benchmark
-help lists the commands and usage but doesn't look as snazzy as this -help

Some members on the board have raised concerns that by using command lines you can somehow "damage" your hardware. This is so totally NOT possible. The only command line that could come close to damaging your hardware is the "-refreshrate" command and even then the way modern monitors work it would just not display the picture if you set a refresh rate your monitor can't use.

However you should bear in mind the command lines are a powerful set of features and should be used appropriately. Improper use of the command lines can lead to glitches in your game. If you need an example then if you use the "-nomemrestrict" command to remove all memory restrictions and then set your graphics to use 1.5gbs of vram (which you don't have) then you will experience missing textures and graphical glitches.

superweapons  posted on Apr 01, 2009 4:06:29 PM - Report post

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-norestrictions puts a lot of strain for more system memory resources. With 2GB of RAM, allowing GTA IV an unlimited percentage of your system RAM would seriously slow down your system, especially with the already high amount of RAM GTA IV eats up on its own.

-availablevidmem # is a better command line control than -norestrictions. It at least puts a limit on the amount of resources GTA IV can use. It gives you a lot more control over the amount of memory GTA IV uses, unlike -norestrictions. The numerical value is the amount of memory allocation in comparison to the amount of VDRAM your graphics card has.

-texturequality - there's no reason to do this. Most of the time, setting the option in the game menu will work.

-renderquality - once again, this can be set in the in-game menu. It takes up GPU processing power. It's the anisotropic filtering option for the game, if you were wondering what Rockstar calls "Render".

I would try to avoid using hard drive page file for memory-intensive games such as GTA IV. Hard drive page file latency is extremely high, thus producing much more stuttering/juddering. Gameplay will worsen. 2GB of RAM is a bit low for GTA IV when the -availablevidmem control is activated, but relying on hard drive page file for more memory will, for the most part, make gameplay unbearable.

PerroLoco  posted on Apr 02, 2009 8:01:19 AM - Report post

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Unless you set -norestrictions first you can't do the other stuff. My machine has 4 GB RAM, GTA IV runs fine on what's left after I set my graphics the way I want them.

-availablevidmem 1.5 - this really isn't much since I'm running an older nVidia 8600GT with only 256 VRAM

-texturequality 1 - This is the medium texture setting.

-renderquality 3 Works fine for me.

I mostly showed this commandline.txt file as an example, it's not a blueprint.

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