Alright so I signed up just to put down my confusing and lengthy experiences with the framerate in this game. To preface, I play a lot of PC games on a beefy PC. Yes, I am used to high smooth framerates but I'm also well experienced in what sub 20fps looks and plays like.
I bought a Super Slim 500gb ps3 and GTA V. The framerate is very rarely anywhere near 30fps. Most of the time, even without driving fast, it's at 20fps or lower.
To start with I thought I just wasn't used to console performance coming from a pc so I played on and had some fun. Last night I went to a buddy's house and played the game on his old fat PS3. WOW! There was a very noticeable difference. His game seemed to run considerably smoother, maybe high 20s-30fps almost all the time unless he got into a large battle or started blowing things up. It still seemed a little slow compared to PC but it was definitely better than my experience on the Super Slim.
Since last night I've spent all day trying to work out what is going on. I've fiddled with every TV setting on my Panasonic tx-P42X60B. I turned off all the extra settings like the dynamic colour and anything that could be slowing down the refresh. I'd heard it was a decent tv for gaming on, so with those settings off and no real difference I moved on.
I started looking into the console itself. APPARENTLY CERTAIN BATCHES OF SUPER SLIM PS3 COME WITH A HITACHI TRAVELSTAR ZK500. THIS IS A sh*tTY HDD.
After looking around it seems a lot of users are having problems with games that rely heavily on texture streaming and loading from the HDD. Most of them replaced this particular Hitachi with another HDD to find there problems (most of them were complaining about uncharted 3) had disappeared and the game started running properly.
I can only speculate that this HDD is too slow/poorly made to handle GTA V constantly grabbing data ESPECIALLY if you're using the PSN digital version of the game. The reason that my friends old fat PS3 and apparently a lot of peoples' Slim consoles are running the game 'fine' is because Sony used relatively decent HDDs in those versions. Even some of the Super Slims come with Seagate HDDs which apparently are not causing any issues.
So, in an effort to achieve the same performance as my friend's copy I have put an SSD on order and will update when I get it installed and running. I know that the load times and the character switching will have definitely improved, as is the case with all SSD upgrades. I hope that it will also pick up the slack the current Hitachi drive is creating.
It it doesn't I don't know where to go next. Perhaps the issue lies with the blu ray lense. It certainly reads a lot whilst playing. If the disc version + SSD provides no FPS improvement I will try with the PSN digital version and get back to you.
Anyone else having issues with the Super Slim 500gb should check their HDD to see if it's another Hitachi. I would bet that it is.
I also don't know how to approach Sony about the issue. It's not really good enough if I'm having to replace their HDD just to run a game with the same performance as their first iteration of console.