GTA 4 (PC) seems to be quite demanding as hardware is concerned. Thus we tested the game with several processors to find out which CPU is best for a trip through Liberty City. Furthermore we give a short overview about the required graphics card power.
The PC version of GTA 4 has CPU power for breakfast - independent on clock speed, L2 cache or number of cores. The latter ones are very important, because without quad-core power GTA 4 is noticeably less enjoyable. For example: A Q6600 is about 52 percent faster than the dual-core E6600 when both CPUs are running at 2.4 GHz. If the clock speed is increased, the difference gets smaller, but is still huge and a QX6850 is 47 percent faster than an E6850. Dual-core processors have a serious disadvantage and only with 3.6 GHz an E8500 is able to beat the Q6600, but GTA 4 nevertheless suffers from frequent lags on dual-core systems - no matter if an AMD or Intel CPU is used. The Phenom X4 9950 easily passes the Q6600 and theoretically is on the same level as the Q6700 (not included in the benchmark).
AMD's Athlon 64 X2 6400+ is doing fine compared to the E6600 and beats Intel's Conroe CPU, while the X2 5000+ is equally fast. A single-core CPU is unsuitable and only reaches single-digit results and additionally the game freezes and the animations of the characters is running in slow motion sometimes. Increased L2 cache results in about 8 percent more fps.
GTA 4 (PC) - Processor benchmark review: Conclusion
GTA 4 benefits from quad-core CPUs as no game did up to now. Even a 4.0 GHz E8500 is not able to compete with a quad-core that has 25 percent less core frequency. Both, the K10 and the K8 architecture are doing quite well.