Cyberpunk 2077 Benchmarks Show Even the Fastest GPU in the World Can’t Play at 4K

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Polish developer CD Projekt Red has been working on Cyberpunk 2077 in some capacity since 2012, and that’s a long time for hype to build. Anticipation has ratcheted up each time the game was delayed in 2020, but it finally launched this week. It was probably impossible for Cyberpunk to live up to the hype, but the performance issues aren’t helping. Current-gen consoles struggle, and the latest benchmarks show just how much power a PC needs to run the game well.

Cyberpunk 2077 takes place in Night City, a futuristic megacity where corporations rule. You play a V, a mercenary who gets caught up in the machinations of Night City after stealing an experimental biochip with the mind of a long-dead terrorist (played by Keanu Reeves) stored on it. The visual style of the game is bold, flashy, and apparently very difficult to render unless even with the latest GPUs. 

We’re just starting to get detailed PC benchmarks with the launch version of the game. According to Techspot, even the $1,500 RTX 3090 barely clears 40 frames per second with all the settings cranked and the resolution set to 4K. At 1440p, you can get up above 60 fps with that premium GPU. If you’ve got something a bit more middling like an RTX 2070 or AMD RX 5700 XT, good luck even breaking 40fps on ultra settings. 

I’ve been playing Cyberpunk 2077 on a PC at 3440×1440 with an RTX 2080 Super, which was a $700 GPU in early 2020. The game is very playable on high settings, but ultra sometimes dips below 40fps, which I would not consider an enjoyable experience. Adding ray tracing to the mix makes matters worse — some areas of the game slow to a crawl with 20-30fps with medium RT enabled. Nvidia’s AI-powered DLSS can boost performance somewhat, but any GPU more than a year old is hopelessly outclassed by this game. 

CDPR fans are currently venting their frustration online, but the developer promises updates are on the way. Although, this is a very, very ambitious game. There might not be any magic bullet fixes that will boost performance — time might be the only solution. Cyberpunk 2077 is straddling consoles and GPU generations. The RTX 3000 series and next-gen consoles run the game much better, but you can’t buy any of those unless you’re willing to pay the insane markups from resellers. That’s if you can even find one. Even RTX 2000-series cards are priced over $1,000 because of the ongoing shortage. It’s just not a great time to launch this game, but it wouldn’t have been any better back in April.

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