Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most eagerly anticipated titles in the last decade…
Launching to much fanfare and after a series of delays, CD Projekt Red has finally released Cyberpunk 2077 to the public. You take control of V, a mercenary for hire in Night City, a fictional metropolis set in the near future where rival gangs wage war. This deep RPG has a mix of futuristic gunplay, cinematic missions and engaging character story paths to follow.
Announced back in 2012, Cyberpunk 2077 has become a title full of promise for PC gamers. Since the advent of ray tracing capable video cards, Cyberpunk 2077 has been high on the list of titles set to feature these new, advanced graphics technologies.
Titles that feature new graphics technologies usually stretch the capabilities of current generation systems. Gamers with high resolution, high refresh rate displays will need significant video card horsepower to achieve smooth framerates with all of the visual settings cranked up.
Make no mistake, this is a difficult game to run on even the most powerful modern system. Cyberpunk 2077 requires a lot of system resources and the graphics engine will tax even the new flagship next generation gaming hardware from NVIDIA and AMD. That being said, there are a lot of options within the graphics menu that will allow gamers with current hardware or lower specification systems to optimise their game visuals to give the best experience.
Cyberpunk 2077 – Next Gen Features
Cyberpunk 2077 features a host of next generation features which make PC the best platform to play the game. Cyberpunk 2077 takes advantage of next gen visual technologies by providing a plethora of video options within the settings allowing you to maximise game visuals and performance.
DLSS is an NVIDIA technology only found on RTX series graphics cards equipped with advanced Tensor cores. If your system has an RTX card installed, it is strongly recommended that you enable DLSS to increase framerates in the game. DLSS (Deep Learning Super Sampling) works by using artificial intelligence machine learning to produce upscaled visuals in supported games. Essentially, the game will render at a lower resolution and upscale to your target resolution with the AI upscaling helping to sharpen and refine the final image. After much testing the ‘DLSS Quality’ mode on Cyberpunk 2077 seems to offer the best image quality on resolutions of 1440p and below. 4K and Ultrawide users may want to try running the game in ‘DLSS Balanced’ mode.
Static Fidelity FX is an option for gamers who don’t have an NVIDIA RTX card installed and works in a similar way to DLSS. We found in our testing that Fidelity FX does not provide quite the same gains in performance as DLSS, but it does a good job of adding more performance for non RTX users.
Ray Tracing is a key next gen feature that has to be seen to be believed. Ray Tracing is a rendering technique that traces light paths and simulates how light interacts with objects. This results in a much more realistic visual experience as shadows and reflections behave how you would expect in the real world. The downside to Ray Tracing is that it can be extremely demanding on your video card and will reduce your frames per second when enabled. In Cyberpunk 2077, Ray Tracing can be set to Medium, Ultra and Psycho. Enabling Ray Tracing on any video card in this game will mean that DLSS must be used to maintain higher framerates. NVIDIA RTX users can already take advantage of Ray Tracing in Cyberpunk 2077 with AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPUs looking set to support Ray Tracing after a future patch.
CD Projekt Red provided a system requirement table before the game launched to act as a guideline for gamers looking to get the best from Cyberpunk 2077. These guidelines are a good base level performance indication but we have elaborated on each point from our own testing to help optimise your game experience. If you are planning to run Cyberpunk 2077 with Ray Tracing enabled at any resolution, a high performance card will be required.
Most gamers are still using the most popular resolution available. 1080P provides a good balance of affordability and clarity whilst not requiring super expensive video cards to drive the resolution reliably. The NVIDIA GTX 1660 Super will run at Medium graphics settings around 60 frames per second which will provide a smooth experience. To enable Ultra settings at 1080P you will need RTX 2060 or higher level video card. Performance on the RTX 2060 will be below 60fps so enabling DLSS in the graphics menu will increase framerates and allow for a significantly smoother experience.
Larger panels are becoming more commonplace in PC Gaming. Many 1440p Panels are around 27-32″ and offer much more screen real estate and visual clarity over 1080p. The downside to having more pixels on your monitor is that driving the pixels will require a higher level video card.
To run Cyberpunk 2077 at Medium settings using 1440p, an RTX 2060 is the minimum requirement for smooth gameplay. Lower class cards will run the game at this resolution if you are willing to adjust some settings to gain better performance but for a smooth 60fps experience, an RTX 2060 is the recommended choice. DLSS becomes almost mandatory at 1440p and above.
Increasing the graphics preset to Ultra, Cyberpunk 2077 becomes a much more difficult game to run at 1440p or higher. You will need some serious video card muscle to drive higher resolution monitors. To enable Ultra settings and have a smooth gaming experience, an RTX 2060 or higher is suggested.
The NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3060Ti, RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon RX 6800 are great options for gamers who want the best experience at 1440p in this title.
4K UHD and Ultrawide Gaming
It may not come as much of a surprise that a demanding title like Cyberpunk 2077 requires the highest performance video cards available to achieve performance at very high resolutions. Cranking the settings up to Ultra on a 4K or Ultrawide display will show just how demanding Cyberpunk 2077 can be. The level of visual fidelity and immersion is ‘breathtaking’ at these resolutions but at a severe cost to framerates.
NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 and AMD Radeon 6800XT provide a good entry level for gamers playing on the Medium preset. For the best experience at these vast resolutions then flagship cards are really the only option if Ultra preset is your goal. NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3080/3090 and AMD Radeon RX 6800XT/6900XT graphics cards are really the only choice at this resolution.
As mentioned previously, AMD Radeon cards are not currently supported for Ray Tracing or Super Sampling features within the game.
Optimising Cyberpunk 2077 for your Stormforce Gaming PC
Everybody will experience different results with Cyberpunk 2077. Our testing has shown that 60fps an acceptable threshold to aim for and the graphics card recommendations in this guide should help you decide what performance settings to set up with.
Cyberpunk 2077 really benefits from being installed onto an SSD. Whilst next generation PCIe 4.0 SSDs will provide huge load time reductions, any high speed M.2 or NVME SSD will perform well and give you an advantage in Cyberpunk 2077.
Higher core count CPUs can help you maintain good framerates when in crowded areas. Our testing has shown that 6 core processors seem to be the sweet spot on this game but CPU frequency is also very important at maintaining high framerates. Intel i5 9th gen or newer and AMD Ryzen 5 3600 or higher seem to be the best options for gamers looking to tackle Night City without any bottlenecks.
Ambient Occlusion, Volumetric Fog and Screen Space Reflections are the settings which seem to have the biggest impact on your framerates in Cyberpunk 2077. On some hardware configurations where the Ultra settings caused huge slowdowns, the adjustment of these settings were pivotal in achieving smooth framerates and in some cases made the difference between playable and unplayable framerates.
Ray Tracing is only available to GeForce RTX owners right now in Cyberpunk 2077 and RTX 20 series performance with Ray Tracing enabled can be hit and miss depending on your resolution. Disabling ray tracing can net huge performance gains at the slight expense of visual quality.
Ensure you have updated your video card drivers to the latest version to get the best from Cyberpunk 2077.
Even on medium settings, Cyberpunk 2077 looks great on PC and there is an expectation that future patches from the developer alongside video card driver updates will help to optimise the game further and increase performance.