The news that Grand Theft Auto V is available for pre-order now, with a release date in the spring of next year, has people excited across the world. However, those gamers with laptops and ultrabooks are wondering if their computers will be able to handle the graphics of GTA V without a costly upgrade. Will you able to play GTA V on an ultrabook?
The short answer is yes. Ultrabook technology is taking off thanks to mobile graphics miniaturisation. You’ll need a dedicated card, and most ‘gaming’ ultrabooks available at the moment – such as Lenovo U410, one of the Lenovo ultrabooks, or the Asus Zenbook Prime UX32VD-DB71 – should be able to handle the punt. Of course, to a degree this is speculative – GTA V’s specs have not yet been fully revealed.
YouTube reveals some ultrabooks successfully crunching through Grand Theft Auto 4, which is a highly-esteemed benchmark of graphics. Much of the success can be attributed to current ultrabooks’ lower resolutions (due to smaller screen sizes).
Therefore, the only potential issue lies in manufacturers’ investment in so-called ‘Hi-DPI’ displays – ones that have extremely high resolutions and thus eliminate the ‘aliasing’ (pixelation of edges) seen on normal displays. Most Hi-DPI displays ready for launch will have native resolutions far in excess of ultrabooks’ capacity to render 3D games. However, some of the impact of this may be offset by so-called ‘dual native’ display technology. Let’s explain that here.
Any LCD monitor has a ‘native’ display resolution. This is where one pixel on the graphics card is mapped to one pixel on the display. Because there’s no need for complicated mathematics between the two pieces of hardware, native display resolutions result in more fluid gameplay. Running a game at a lower resolution – a common trick to bump lagging frame rates –- does not result in a linear explosion of speed, as some of the gains from rendering less stuff are offset by the need to work out how to scale the resulting 3D image on to a monitor of fixed width.
Dual native monitors should be able to output 3D images ‘natively’ to two different display resolutions. Because most Hi-DPI resolutions are work by quadrupling the number of pixels (replacing each pixel point with four smaller ones), the mathematics involved in scaling the ‘quarter resolution’ image to the ‘full resolution’ Hi-DPI display are relatively trivial. So, faster gaming.
Add to this the phenomenal processing power a modern ultrabook possesses – many of them packing top-of-the-line mobile variants on Intel’s iX chipset – and the future of mobile gaming looks secure. This includes GTA V.
Of course, the only concerning matter for ultrabook gaming enthusiasts is whether GTA V will be available through some digital distribution network. There’s no news as to whether it will be available through popular portals such as Steam and Amazon Marketplace, and to complicate matters further any ARM-powered Windows 8 ultrabook will need Rockstar to pop GTA V on to the Windows App Store as well – which means certifying the game for Windows 8. There’s no reason why any of this should not go ahead, excepting most games developers’ negative reactions to Windows’ certification requirements.
So, will you be able to run GTA V on an ultrabook? It’s looking extremely likely. Of course, we’ll have to wait for the game’s full release specification before we can be entirely sure.