The best processor for Cyberpunk 2077

The best processor for Cyberpunk 2077
Cyberpunk 2077 is perhaps the most anticipated game ever in recent history but it has proved punishing even for the most powerful PCs. We decided to test the new game with a wide range of the best CPUs on the market to determine which processors provide the best performance at various resolutions. We have tested AMD Ryzen 9, 7, 5 and 3 processors of different generations, along with Intel Core i9, i7, i5 and i3 processors.

This article focuses entirely on CPU performance. Our testing was done with patch 1.04, making minor performance improvements over the original game code. However, CD Projekt Red has announced the new 1.05 patch for PC with some performance improvements that we told you about in a dedicated news.

Except for performance with some particular AMD models, we don't expect big changes in CPU ranking we have created below. It's probably possible to see slight increases in the overall performance of each processor, but we expect the performance deltas between chips and rankings to remain similar. In addition, we have applied the manual fix for Ryzen processors.

Cyberpunk 2077 has certainly earned a reputation for being difficult to manage and one of the most surprising mistakes made by developers is how the game code identifies AMD's Ryzen processors. Some users on Reddit have found that the game code significantly degrades the performance of some AMD processors because it apparently checks if the CPU is based on the 2011 Bulldozer platform and if not, disables multi-threading.

The enthusiast community has discovered an easy-to-apply patch that corrects the problem on some AMD models. CD Projekt Red said a fix to the problem was already included with patch 1.05. However, the game developer indicates that the patch only has significant effects on Ryzen models with 6 or fewer cores and that 8, 12 and 16 core models are not affected. Our tests say otherwise, however, we observed performance improvements with the eight-core Ryzen 3000 and 5000 series processors with the fix applied. The rest of the changes listed for patch 1.05 do not appear to have huge implications for the game engine.

In both cases, we have included testing both with and without the patch applied for Ryzen 3000 series processors (Zen 2) and 5000 (Zen 3) with eight or fewer cores, but we found that the patch does little to improve performance with the Ryzen 1000 (Zen) and Ryzen 2000 (Zen +) models. For older Ryzen models, we found that the change introduces unreliable behavior or performance regressions, so we ruled out these extra tests.

With the necessary clarifications, let's see how the various CPUs perform in Cyberpunk 2077 .

Cyberpunk 2077: How was the CPU benchmark conducted?

We ran the test with the largest number of NPCs available and followed the same benchmark methodology used for our article Cyberpunk 2077 PC Benchmarks, Settings, and Performance Analysis.

We begin our test sequence at the entrance to V's condo and walk the path down the stairs, cross the street to the left, stop right at the vending machine, then we head across the street to the two cops. From there we proceed to the right through the pavilion, going down another set of stairs, and towards the building on the opposite side. We have traveled this same route at least three times (manually) for each single result you see below, as long as you are not hit by a car in the game. I have walked this same path in Cyberpunk 2077 so many times that I see the benchmark sequence even in my dreams at night.

Be aware that performance can vary in other scenes or places (with changes that can touch 20% performance), but this scene gives us a good starting point for evaluating the kind of performance that can be achieved with various CPUs.

Our test systems easily exceed the minimum system requirements recommended for Cyberpunk 2077. We have equipped our test systems with a Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Eagle to reduce the GPU bottleneck as much as possible. Be aware that you will see a smaller performance delta with less performing graphics cards. If you are already limited by a bottleneck GPU, you may not notice any appreciable differences with the same processors we tested for this article.

We have tried to remove memory as a potential limiting factor, so we have equipped our test system with 32GB of DDR4 memory distributed across two DIMMs. We have set the memory to operate at stock clock rates and timings with each processor tested, but be aware that additional memory or overclocking may produce better results than ours. Likewise, even using single memory banks could lead to lower performance. It is certainly possible to run the game with 8GB of memory, and 16GB should be sufficient, but using multiple DIMMs can improve performance. If you don't have a high-end GPU, system memory capacity probably won't matter much.

The complete datasheet of our test suite can be found in a table at the end of the article.

Cyberpunk 2077: CPU benchmark with RT Ultra graphics quality

We have included the high-end models of the AMD Ryzen 1000, 2000, 3000 and 5000 series CPU families. We have also included the Intel Core i9 models, i7, i5 and i3 of 9th and 10th generation. We will add tests with HEDT models after evaluating the performance impact of patch 1.05.

Processors marked in the graphs with the Modified label have the manual fix for Ryzen CPUs applied. We tested with three resolutions at various settings, but our first result chart focuses on the RT Ultra preset. This enables Auto-quality DLSS (which uses 1080p Quality mode, 1440p Balanced mode, and 4K Performance mode) and turns on ray tracing, making this the most challenging preset of all our tests. Applying the patch showed visible improvements for some AMD Ryzen processors.

AMD's Ryzen 9 5950X takes the lead at 1080p RT Ultra resolution, closely followed by Ryzen 7 5800X, Ryzen 9 5900X and Core i9 -10900K. These high-end processors are very close together, it would be hard for most users to notice a difference between these CPUs.

The Ryzen 7 5800X with 8 cores / 16 threads makes its way to the top of the chart only after applying the fix. The performance improvement is also evident with the octa-core Ryzen 7 3800XT, casting doubt on CD Projekt Red's claims that the 'Ryzen fix' has no impact on processors with more than six cores from AMD.

Going down the graph, we find the Core i7-10700K missing the Ryzen 9 5950X record by 9%. We also see a substantial gap between Intel's 9th and 10th generation processors, with the fastest 9th generation processor, the Core i9-9900K, being peeled off of the Core i9-10900K by 17% and the Core i7-10700K by 12%. .

A quick look at the bottom of the graph shows how far AMD has come since introducing the Zen 1 and Zen + processors. The Ryzen 7 1800X falls short of Intel's more modern i3-10100, despite having double the cores and threads, and the Ryzen 7 2700X only reaches the Core i5-9600K. The SMT bug still affects these Ryzen CPU models but the use of the modified code made the game unstable, so we don't consider the fix as a possible solution.

Looking at the results at QHD resolution you can see that the delta between chips shrinks dramatically as resolution is increased. Keep in mind that we tested the very expensive RTX 3090, so the difference between these chips will be drastically reduced by mounting inferior GPUs. The 4K resolution, and the resulting bottleneck GPU, pulls all chips (except the Ryzen 3 1300X) to roughly the same level.

Cyberpunk 2077: Average Graphics Quality CPU benchmark

Going down to the medium preset, maximum performance is much higher and CPU bottlenecks continue to play a significant role. This preset has lower graphics fidelity settings than the Ultra preset which we will discuss later, so more substantial deltas are visible between the processors.

These standard rasterization tests stress the processor differently than the default settings. RT Ultra above, and at 1080p we see the Ryzen 7 5800X "fixed" taking a slight advantage over the rest of the CPUs tested. However, many other AMD chips appear in the top 5, with the Ryzen 9 5900X and Ryzen 9 5950X ranking within a few percentage points of the top of the table.

AMD Ryzen 3000 models equipped with enough cores are impressive in this series of tests but the Ryzen 5 5600X, the CPU we recommend for gaming, still achieves a value of 106.5 fps, basically the same result as the more expensive Core i7-10700K. Given the mostly reasonable price point of both the 5600X and 10700K, it's hard to recommend significantly more powerful chips, especially if you're aiming for great value for your new PC.

At the other end of the spectrum. spectrum, first-generation Ryzen processors struggle to keep up in 1080p tests, the unexpected and jerky were definitely noticeable during testing. If playing at this resolution a Ryzen processor at least 2nd generation or newer is recommended.

Again, it is evident that the performance gain depends a lot on how close the system is to a bottleneck GPU. Performance deltas steadily drop as we increase resolution however, unlike the RT Ultra settings from the previous 4K test series, we see a little more differentiation between the full resolution processors. Anything below a Ryzen 7 2700X fails to deliver a smooth and enjoyable experience, with the Ryzen 3 1300X conspicuously struggling to keep up (we would argue that the title on that CPU is unplayable, however some people have standard lower).

Cyberpunk 2077: CPU benchmark with Ultra graphics quality

To conclude our tests we set the graphics to Ultra but without active ray-tracing. As expected, the differences in performance shrink again as we increase the resolution and approach a GPU bottleneck which makes CPU performance less important.

Once again the Ryzen 9 5950X, 5900X , Ryzen 7 5800X and the Core i9-10900K push the RTX 3090 to maximum during 1080p testing, which means we'll have to wait for faster GPUs to notice any significant differences between these chips at these graphics resolution and fidelity settings. We haven't noticed any massive change in performance ranking with these settings, the chips rank largely as we have already seen for the mid-quality 1080p preset, albeit with some differences in average framerates.

It's interesting look at some of the other differences in the memory configurations we are using for testing. For example, Jarred tested the Core i9-9900K with DDR4-3600, times of 16-18-18 and the performance was about 14% higher than what could be achieved with the basic settings given by Intel for that CPU (DDR4- 2666), despite tighter timings of 14-14-14. AMD's Zen 2 and Zen 3 chips have an advantage as they officially support DDR4-3200 memory without overclocking.

However let's be frank, many enthusiasts enable the XMP profile in the BIOS (called A-XMP, AMP, DOHC or in other ways on AMD platforms). With faster memory you can certainly improve performance, but technically activating the profile voids the warranty.

Cyberpunk 2077: CPU benchmark conclusions

Cyberpunk 2077 is one of the most demanding games on market and it is practically impossible to conceive a series of tests that can give a single and definitive answer on how your CPU will behave with the enormous number of possible hardware configurations. You should therefore consider these tests as starting points on which to evaluate how well the CPU of your choice can work with different graphics cards and memories.

Of course the differences between our test samples will decrease significantly with graphics cards from lower performance. However, if you are determined enough, it is also possible to use iGPUs using settings below the recommended minimum. Not that we recommend it to anyone, but the point is that with a little time and patience you can adjust the quality settings to be able to enjoy the game even with slower GPUs.

On the other hand, playing with a good GPU can be a punishing experience for your processor. The new high-end chips, namely the Ryzen 9 and 7 of the 5000 series and the 10th generation Intel i9 and i7 chips, are obviously the most suitable if money is not an issue and you are trying to squeeze to the last frame. However, if you're looking for the best value for money, modern mid-range CPUs, like Intel's Core i5 and AMD's Ryzen 5, are obviously the best.

The previous generation Core i5 too. The -9600K and Ryzen 5 3600XT held up relatively well during our tests, however these should be regarded as the bare minimum if you want to play games with a high-end GPU.

Cyberpunk 2077: test bench for CPU benchmark

Intel Socket 1200 (Z490) Intel 9th ​​and 10th Gen. MSI MEG Z490 Godlike / MEG Z390 Godlike 2x 16GB Corsair Dominator DDR4-3600 - Stock: DDR4-2933, DDR4-2666 AMD Socket AM4 ( X570) AMD Ryzen 5000, 3000, 2000 and 1000 series MSI MEG X570 Godlike / MSI MEG X470 Godlike 2x 16GB Corsair Dominator DDR4-3600 - Stock: DDR4-3200, DDR4-2666 Both systems Gigabyte GeForce RTX 3090 Eagle 2TB Intel DC4510 SSD EVGA Supernova 1600 T2, 1600W Open test rig (no case) Windows 10 Pro version 2004 (build 19041 .450) Corsair H115i Cooling

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