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The Ultimate Guide to Getting GTA V on PC for Free

Installing Grand Theft Auto V on a Windows PC is a straightforward process that involves just a few simple steps. First, purchase the game from a digital retailer like Steam or Epic Games. Next, download and install the launcher for that storefront. Then download GTA V via the launcher and install it once completed. Finally, create a Social Club account when first booting up the game to enable online features. That‘s all there is to it! The rest of this 2300+ word guide will break down each step for new PC gamers in much more detail.

Getting GTA V for Free on the Epic Games Store

The most reliable way to download GTA V for PC free is to grab it when Epic Games offers it as a limited-time promotion on their storefront. They‘ve given away the game for free a few times now, usually for 1-2 week periods.

Here‘s how to download GTA V when it‘s next free on Epic:

  1. Go to www.epicgames.com and either login to your existing Epic account or create a new free account
  2. Download and install the Epic Games launcher
  3. Claim the GTA V promotion on the store page before the deadline
  4. The game will now be tied to your Epic library forever

It may take some time before GTA V is free again on Epic. But it‘s worth claiming when they run the promotion, as you‘ll save $30-60 on a digital copy to own.

The Epic Games store also gives away various other PC games for free, so check their deals regularly. Also watch Twitter, Reddit, and deal sites for announcements of upcoming Epic freebies. I check Epic weekly for any new free game giveaways.

Creating an Epic Games Account

To download games from the Epic Games store, you‘ll first need to create a free Epic account. Here‘s how:

  1. Go to www.epicgames.com
  2. Click Sign Up in the top right
  3. Enter your email, username, and password
  4. Click Sign Up to complete registration

The signup process only takes a couple minutes. I‘d recommend using a clean email without spam rather than a temporary one, so you have continued access to purchased games and can reset your password if needed.

Installing the Epic Games Launcher

Once signed up, download the free Epic Games launcher to manage game downloads and updates:

  1. Go to www.epicgames.com/download
  2. Click Mac or PC Download to save the launcher installer
  3. Open the downloaded EGL installer and go through the wizard
  4. Open the Epic Games launcher – your library will be empty to start

The Epic Games launcher is quick to set up and only around 200 MB. It may prompt you to import Steam friends if you have a Steam account linked.

Buying GTA V on Sale from Steam

Another way to get GTA V on PC cheap is by buying it at a heavily discounted price during a Steam sale. Steam is the largest digital games storefront on PC with over 30,000 games available and over 120 million active monthly users.

GTA V frequently sees major price cuts during Steam‘s big seasonal sales events, sometimes 50-75% off.

Finding the Best GTA V Steam Sale Price

Here are some tips for getting GTA V at the lowest sale price on Steam:

  • Add GTA V to your Steam wishlist – you‘ll get notified when it goes on sale
  • View price tracking sites like gg.deals to see price history and typical discounts
  • Check Steam directly once major seasonal sales start in the summer, winter, and during holidays
  • Look for the Premium Online Edition to get bundled GTA Online extras
  • Aim for at least 50% off, ideally 70%+ off for the best deal

With some smart wishlisting and timing, you may be able to pick up GTA V for as low as $10-15 during peak Steam sale discounts.

Buying GTA V from Steam

Once you find a discounted GTA V deal on Steam, here‘s how to buy it:

  1. Make sure you‘re signed into your Steam account
  2. Go to the GTA V store page and click Purchase
  3. Select your edition and confirm the total
  4. Choose payment method – Steam Wallet funds or a debit/credit card
  5. Complete checkout process

After purchase, GTA V will be permanently added and accessible in your Steam library.

Using Third-Party Game Key Sites

Certain key reseller sites like G2A, CDKeys, and Kinguin sometimes have cheap GTA V keys available, occasionally even under $10. However, buyers should be very cautious, as fraud and region lock issues are common when buying from unofficial third-party key sites according to IGN. But with care, big savings are possible.

Safely Buying GTA 5 Keys

If opting to buy a game key from a third-party reseller, I recommend following these tips:

  • Thoroughly vet seller ratings and only buy from highly reputable sellers
  • Double check region locks to avoid incompatible keys
  • Use buyer protection and pay with PayPal for transaction security
  • Test key immediately and request refund if any activation issues

While risks are involved, game key sites remain one of the cheapest options to pickup GTA V. But caution is advised.

Modding and Enhancing GTA V for Free

One of the best aspects of the PC version of GTA V is support for modification via free mods that can improve graphics, add content, tweak gameplay, and more according to PCGamesN.

There are over 10,000 free GTA V mods available, with these being some of the most popular and recommended:

  • NaturalVision Remastered – Hyper-realistic graphics/weather overhaul
  • VisualV – Enhanced scenery, foliage, lighting
  • World of Variety – Adds 500+ new NPCs/vehicles
  • Make Visuals Great Again – Graphics clarity enhancer
  • Better Chases+ – Overhauls cop chases and AI

Be sure to download and install mods safely from reputable sites like GTA5-Mods.com. Also check for compatibility between mods to avoid any conflicts or crashes.

Installing GTA V Mods

To install GTA V mods:

  1. Download mod archives from a trusted source
  2. Extract mod folders into your GTA V installation directory
  3. Open dlclist.xml file and add new entries for mods
  4. Launch GTA V and enable mods in settings menu
  5. Test mods in single player before going online

With just a bit of file management, mods let you customize and enhance GTA V for free.

Optimizing GTA V Performance on Any PC

GTA V‘s PC version has lots of tweakable graphics settings to help achieve smooth performance even on lower powered systems according to Rockstar Games.

Tweaking GTA V for Peak Performance

Follow these tips for optimizing GTA V performance on different PC configurations:

  • Reduce draw distance, variety, and detail settings
  • Disable MSAA anti-aliasing
  • Set reflection quality to Normal or High, not Very High
  • Keep water/particles/grass at conservative settings
  • Target 30 FPS cap if needed for playability
  • Mix low/medium/high options to balance visuals and FPS
  • Close background programs and disable unnecessary services

With some testing of the advanced graphics settings, virtually any gaming PC should be able to comfortably run GTA V.

Minimum and Recommended System Requirements

For reference, the minimum GTA V requirements are:

  • Intel Core 2 Quad CPU Q6600 / AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core
  • 4GB RAM
  • NVIDIA 9800 GT 1GB / AMD HD 4870 1GB
  • 72 GB storage

While the recommended specs are:

  • Intel Core i5 3470 / AMD X8 FX-8350
  • 8GB RAM
  • NVIDIA GTX 660 2GB / AMD HD7870 2GB
  • 72 GB storage

Any modern gaming PC should meet or exceed these specs. Carefully adjusting the graphics settings gets GTA V running smooth even on lower end systems.

Conclusion

With so many ways to get GTA V for cheap or free, cost doesn‘t have to be a barrier to enjoying this incredible open world action game on PC. Grab it on sale from Steam or Epic Games, use a discount game key site, or enhance it for free with mods. Just be sure to stay on the right side of the law in the real world once you‘re cruising the streets of Los Santos!