The performance of the digital download version of Grand Theft Auto V on PlayStation 3 is inferior to its disc-based counterpart, says Digital Foundry.

The Eurogamer tech-heads put the two side-by-side and noticed a number of discrepancies, including texture pop-in on the digital release.

“The opening montage across Los Santos' beaches reveals some glaring issues,” said Digital Foundry’s Thomas Morgan.

“Cutting rapidly across several areas, the digital version has ground textures popping in half a second late – plus delays in the drawing of shadow maps and objects like grass. For the disc release, these issues don't manifest to nearly the same extent, with the odd delay in rendering a plant or chair being the worst we see during several retrials.

“Within five minutes of freely coasting around Los Santos' busier Downtown streets there are major instances of geometry bursting into view and textures taking too long to fully resolve,” he said.

“In one case we see an entire skyscraper fizzle in and out of sight, while buildings to either side struggle to update their textures. Our many hours of disc-based testing produced nothing like this."

The extra bandwidth granted by allowing the game to stream from both disc and hard drive offers a clear improvement, said Morgan.

However, the pop-in issues were somewhat minimised when playing the digital version off a newer, non-standard hard drive.

Morgan also expressed disappointment with the PlayStation Network itself, citing the troubles staff members had just downloading the game.

“All in all, considering that the digital PS3 release of Grand Theft Auto V carries a premium price over what you can expect to pay for the disc version, it's very disappointing to encounter technical issues mostly unseen by those who buy it in a box,” he said.

“These are just sampled highlights of the issues we found from the first 20 minutes of capturing the game, and there's every chance they'll continue to manifest over the course of the game.”

Rockstar has advised those playing Grand Theft Auto V on Xbox 360 to not install the game’s second disc for performance reasons. It is yet to comment on the issues with the PlayStation 3's digital download.