Cyberpunk 2077 - best graphics settings for PC: how to get the best performance without sacrificing visual quality - article

Cyberpunk 2077 - best graphics settings for PC: how to get the best performance without sacrificing visual quality - article
There is no doubt: Cyberpunk 2077 is a very demanding game in terms of resources, both at the CPU and GPU level, which requires a solid state drive for an optimal experience. It may be a game suitable for computers of the future but, as it stands today, it is already possible to get a fantastic PC experience.

How? Just follow our optimized settings! We tested every graphics setting in Cyberpunk 2077, measured the performance impact, and evaluated the overall quality you get in each preset. The idea is simple: to keep everything that makes the game "next-generation" from a visual perspective without sacrificing too much in terms of performance.

To be honest, the test system we used is not not mainstream at all: we paired an Intel Core i9 10900K CPU with an Nvidia RTX 3090 and 32GB of 3200MHz DDR4 RAM, running the game from an NVMe drive. However, all of our measurements were made at 4K resolution, which means that going down the resolution scale to 1080p, the requirements for graphics cards will scale down considerably. To put this into perspective, our recommended settings will allow you to run the game without ray tracing at 4K30 resolution using the balanced version of DLSS on an RTX 2060 or hit 1440p at 60fps (with only small dips in the busiest parts of the city). Interestingly, native 1080p resolution appears slightly heavier than 1440p resolution with DLSS and is certainly far less impressive.

Our Cyberpunk 2077 Optimized Settings Guide: How to Improve Performance Without Affecting Too Much Quality visual.

Watch on YouTube. Hopefully this gives you an idea of ​​how graphically scalable this game is - it's pretty challenging. The RTX 2060 may be the least powerful Nvidia GPU of those next-gen features, but it's still a fairly capable GPU. Of course you can adjust many of the settings down and still have a great experience but at that point it would start to reduce the overall quality level. Our aim was to set a standard while maintaining the breathtaking visual impact of the game - achieving this with an RTX 2060 is something impressive. Of course, compromises need to be made - the card's 6GB of VRAM takes ray tracing out of the equation unless you choose to set the resolution to 1080 and settle for 30fps (in that case, you can maximize every single effect. RT). It's still an impressive sight overall.

First of all, to understand exactly how we've chosen our optimized settings, we recommend watching the video. To give you an idea of ​​the usefulness of these settings, on the system with RTX 3090 at 4K resolution without Ray Tracing or DLSS in use, switching from Ultra Normal to Optimized settings offers a 35% performance improvement, recovering 5 ms of rendering time. When a 60fps experience essentially requires a rendering budget of 16ms per frame without affecting visual fidelity, this is a truly impressive milestone.

Please note that we recommend quality mode with DLSS at 1080p , the balanced one at 1440p and the performance mode at 4K, if you're using an RTX card, of course. For optimized Ray Tracing settings, we recommend turning off RT shadows, running RT lighting at medium level, and keeping reflections on. For a lighter alternative, you could also turn off the RT reflections by opting instead for the rasterized version with screen-space reflections. As you might imagine, using DLSS is essential for maintaining good performance. At the moment, Ray Tracing appears to only work on Nvidia cards, despite using the DXR API which should also allow it to work on AMD's RDNA 2 offerings. As Team Red's DLSS Super Resolution is not currently available, however, we can predict that good RT performance on AMD cards will be difficult to achieve.

We can expect system requirements to ease over the next few weeks as it is clear that the game has some major technical problems. For starters, as you may have noticed in the video, driving around town can have a major impact on the CPU and it seems that technologies like SMT or 'hyper threading' do not work properly on Ryzen processors. This means that one of the main mainstream CPUs (the Ryzen 5 3600) suffers more than it should, particularly when driving at high speed around town. Apparently there is a user mod capable of solving the problem but we have not found any improvement in CPU related performance. Hopefully CD Projekt Red addresses the whole situation with some urgency. Secondly, some settings just don't seem to work. We can imagine that the level of detail settings have implications on both the CPU and the GPU but its adjustment made no difference to the presentation. This, along with many other aspects of the game, need to be improved.

Although we expect the developer's optimizations to arrive in due course, our experience with the game again confirms the thesis that this is a title aimed at the next generation of hardware, especially if you are trying to hit 60 frames per second without compromising visual quality too much.

Optimized rasterization settings employ lower quality skies, less defined shadow maps, SSR, SSAO and a less wide color gamut. The images below were captured on a RTX 3090 at 4K resolution. Optimized rasterization settings employ lower quality skies, less defined shadow maps, SSR, SSAO, and a less wide color gamut. Optimized settings for Ray Tracing eliminate RT shadows and reduce the quality of RT lighting. The 'light' version, on the other hand, completely removes RT reflections. Optimized settings for Ray Tracing eliminate RT shadows and reduce the quality of RT lighting. The 'light' version, on the other hand, completely removes RT reflections. The title offers some scalability on the graphics side of the equation but less on the CPU front: we could even say that the CDPR recommended specs aim for a 30 frames per second experience, also suitable for 4 core / 8 thread processors. Players who are still using older i5 chips (4core / 4 thread) will have some difficulty.

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Since the game has proved so demanding on the hardware, we can predict that Cyberpunk 2077 will push many people to upgrade their PCs, especially considering that even the RTX 2060 can't support native 1080p at 60fps even with our optimized settings (DLSS, though, can really make a difference in this case).

There is one latest purchase we would recommend in the list of potential upgrades: a variable refresh rate monitor. Hitting 60 frames per second is one thing, but sustaining them throughout the game is far from it. A G-Sync or FreeSync display will allow you to target a performance "window" (say 50 to 60 fps) which opens the way for more flexibility in settings. On a standard display, achieving some consistency means adjusting presets to suit worst-case scenarios, which is much, much more complicated.

The end result is stunning. The PC version of Cyberpunk 2077 really feels like a generation beyond the console versions and it will be fascinating to see how CD Projekt Red chooses to tap into the graphics and CPU power of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series consoles, especially when it comes to ray tracing. The answers will arrive in 2021 but, at the moment, there is no doubt: the PC is the best place to play Cyberpunk 2077, as long as you have the necessary hardware available to face the challenge. Hopefully our optimized settings will help you get the best experience possible but it will be up to CD Projekt Red to provide significant improvements on the CPU side of the equation.

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