Thought I'd make a pinned topic about this because the way Rockstar stops people from frying their GPU's is by limiting the graphics settings based on your graphics card's memory. Now this may sound like a good idea, however it only takes into account dedicated video RAM the graphics card has.
For example, at the time of writing I have a nVidia GeForce 8800GTS with 320MB of RAM. This card can also make used of shared RAM (memory taken from your system's RAM, of which I currently have a total of 4GB). I'm not sure how much it is possible to use, but DxDiag reports me as having 2GB of graphics memory, pretty awesome, that means it's taken 1.7GB from my system RAM, meaning I've got 2.3GB left, plenty to play GTA IV.
So, naturally I want to play on as higher settings as possible for my computer. But because the game only recognises 320MB of that video RAM, I'm severely limited. Here's what to do to get around those limits:
Retail version instructions
- Create a shortcut on your desktop to the LaunchGTAIV.exe - by default this will be in C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto IV
- Right click the shortcut and click Properties
- Make sure the Shortcut tab is selected. You should see a field called "Target", edit this to say the following, making sure the path is correct, I'm just using the default here:
"C:\Program Files\Rockstar Games\Grand Theft Auto IV\LaunchGTAIV.exe" -norestrictions -nomemrestrict
That includes the quote marks and the options coming after the link to the path
- Click Apply
- Double click the shortcut to launch the game.
Steam version instructions
- In steam, right click the game right click the game in Steam and go to Properties > Launch Options
- Add the command: -norestrictions -nomemrestrict
- Launch the game
To prove it works, here's what I ended up with.
What happens if I'm a dumbass and turn up all the settings too high?
Like I showed in the above screenshot? Well, this is what happened to me. There's simply not enough memory available to load up all the textures. Upon leaving the safehouse I was greeted by the following:
However, the player models looked amazing!
NOTE: Remember to be sensible with the settings. If you've got a shitty card then there's really no point turning everything up high, it'll be way too laggy to play. Play around with the settings until you reach a compromise between nice quality, and good framerate.