Cyberpunk 2077: our “60 fps” guide to optimizing PC performance

Released this week with a bang, CD Projekt Red’s long-awaited new track is greedy and has enough to bend even the fastest setups! Here’s our guide to finding the best graphics settings for your PC.

Postponed several times, Cyberpunk 2077 demanded intense periods of crunch from development teams to be available before the end of the year. However, the technical performance of the game makes the gaming world react as a whole, this is true for its PC version, and especially on consoles.

Update 1.03 does however bring some fixes, just like the latest drivers released by Nvidia and AMD, but it is still necessary to put your nose in the graphics options to enjoy a smoother experience and reach the Holy Grail for many: 60 FPS constant without cutting too much on the image quality! We take this opportunity to take stock of Cyberpunk 2077’s graphics settings on PC in order to get the best possible experience, while waiting for the few weeks or months that will be necessary for CD Projekt RED to provide the expected optimizations.

The recommendations that we give below are not, however, to be taken as the word of the gospel; you will need to adjust certain parameters according to your configuration.

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Our test configurations for Cyberpunk 2077

Note that we tested the game with two different configurations: first via the GeForce Now service from Nvidia in order to see the performance with Ray Tracing and DLSS, but also with a much more classic configuration: GTX 1060 6 GB / Ryzen 5 1600 (3.2 GHz) / 16 GB DDR4 RAM (2666 MHz). Two configurations which are therefore sufficiently close to the majority of reasonably priced gaming PCs .

Quick presets: what’s your setup?

The first question to ask yourself is precisely what configuration you run Cyberpunk 2077 with. Depending on your configuration, you may be able to choose one of the “ quick presets ” that you will find in the menu “Graphics”. Depending on your display definition and setup, Quick Presets will help you have the right tradeoffs before you individually change certain settings. The table below summarizes what is needed according to the desired experience: Full HD, QHD, 4K UHD, Ray Tracing or not, but also the minimum and recommended configurations in FHD.

Finally, first of all don’t forget to update the drivers for your graphics card! Nvidia has released its GeForce Game Ready 460.79 WHQL drivers, while AMD, somewhat in advance, has released its 20.12.1 WHQL drivers. If you haven’t already, turn off anything that is able to drain your resources and cause performance slumps, starting with overlays of certain applications, for example.

Video settings

To begin with, within the “Video” menu, it will be interesting to block the maximum number of images per second, so as not to make your graphics card work more than enough. Depending on your screen and the framerate you are targeting, activate the option “ maximum number of frames per second ” and enter the number corresponding to your target. For example, if your screen does not exceed 60 Hz, it may be appropriate to adjust this setting so that the number of frames per second does not exceed the frequency of your monitor. At least it is for Cyberpunk, given the greediness of the title, it is better to avoid too large variations of framerate .

Finally, come back to this menu once you have changed the graphics settings with our recommendations. If you’re still having trouble getting the game to run properly, then you might want to lower your screen resolution. Alas, you will lose considerably in quality.

Texture qualities

Among the presets, texture quality also comes into play. It can be adjusted independently of the quick presets. Three settings are available: low, medium and high. We recommend that you keep the “high” option so as not to lose quality, this choice nevertheless requires having a GPU with at least 6 GB of VRAM. If this is not your case, select “average”.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: “high” for GPUs with more than 6 GB of VRAM, “medium” for others.

No jostling! (Crowd density)

First, go to the “Game” or “Gameplay” menu if your game is in Shakespeare’s language. Under “Performance” you will find two relevant options to adjust as appropriate. The first “ crowd density ” relieves your processor a little by reducing (or vice versa) the population in the streets of Night City. If you set this parameter to a minimum, the game will inevitably seem less lively, but the load on your CPU will also be much less. Both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One are obviously using the minimum setting, at least when the game comes out.

The option “Slow HDD Mode” is to be selected if you ever installed the game on a hard drive and not on an SSD. This parameter has an influence on the management of data by the game between storage and RAM. Finally, disable the option “ Enable Analytics ” to save (very) light resources, or if you do not want to share your data with CD Projeckt RED.

Performance impact (crowd density) : high

We recommend: crowd density “ medium ” or “ high ” for solid configurations, “ low ” for others.

Graphics settings

The quick presets and texture quality should help you automatically set the best fit for your setup. However, you may not be satisfied with the result, especially if it does not allow you to reach 60 FPS. You may want to adjust other settings to improve your experience. Below are the main parameters on which to intervene.

Among the basic settings, you can disable all of them as desired, or only some according to your preferences. The information that appears above the menu when selecting an option should allow you to make your choice. Their performance impacts are minimal, but nothing prevents you from disabling some of the following:

  • Film grain
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Depth of field
  • Flare factor
  • Motion blur

Performance impact: minimal

DLSS to activate ray tracing effects

Before moving on to advanced graphics settings, let’s take a look at the two solutions that will allow you to dramatically increase your FPS, namely DLSS and, for those who don’t have access to it, FidelityFX CAS.

Those with an Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics card should turn on DLSS, an option found at the bottom of the “Graphics” menu. Deep Learning Super Sampling indeed provides much better performance, especially when playing at a higher definition than Full HD, with ray tracing enabled.

Nvidia’s benchmarks are clear: with Ray Tracing enabled, DLSS is essential. Source: Nvidia

The recent Nvidia benchmarks are clear on this subject: even the RTX 3080 and 3090 struggle to keep the frame rate of 60 FPS in Ultra and Full HD, without DLSS. Once enabled, the framerate should increase dramatically with an average gain of between 20 and 30 FPS. It is therefore essential, not to say mandatory, to activate DLSS to enjoy gaming in QHD or 4K with Ray Tracing. In some cases, especially in 4K with ray tracing enabled, DLSS can gain up to 60% more performance!

If you do not have an RTX card, it is still possible to enable AMD’s Dynamic FidelityFX CAS option, which works regardless of your GPU . Interest is reduced compared to DLSS. First, because it does not support Ray Tracing, but also because the performance gain is not as significant. Enabling it, however, will allow you to gain framerate.

Put simply, the dynamic FidelityFX CAS option adjusts scaling on the fly to achieve the target frame rate per second. Static mode applies a predefined resolution scale. With both of these solutions, you may lose noticeably detail, but the number of frames per second should logically be higher.

We recommend: DLSS enabled in “Auto” and “Ultra” with compatible cards, Dynamic FidelityFX CAS for others by indicating the number of target FPS.

Advanced settings

The advanced parameters are quite numerous. Which is why a little guide like this is never too much.

Field of view

The field of view is nothing other than the display of the game environment, the higher the value, the more the environment is covered by the display. We recommend that you keep the original value (80), increasing it requires significant resources.

Performance impact: high if above initial value

We recommend: keep the original value (80)

Contact shadows

This setting allows for much more realistic scenes and adds shadows that are not present with the other shadow settings. If you want performance at all costs, turn off this option, however the appearance of some scenes will seem more artificial.

Performance impact: medium

We recommend: activated

Improved face light geometry

This option makes animations and other facial expressions more realistic. Its performance impact is not very high. Keep it on for more realism.

Performance impact: low

We recommend: activated

Anisotropy

This setting allows you to manage the quality of textures from certain camera angles. The higher it is, the more distant textures will appear in full resolution. Keep the 16x setting on a well-equipped PC, if you are looking for extra (slight) performance select 8x.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: 16x to maintain proper image quality, 8x otherwise.

Quality of the mesh of local shadows

This option controls the quality of the shadows and their projection. The higher the value, the more precise and consistent the shadow will be with the light source. Selecting “medium” seems to be a good compromise.

Performance impact: medium

We recommend: medium

Quality of local shadows

The impact on performance is much greater here. This is about the quality of shadows generated by artificial light sources. Select “low” for best performance.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: bass

Beach of Cascading Shadows

This is the distance to which shadows are generated for objects lit by the sun. Its impact on performance is significant. Select “medium” or even “low” to save valuable resources.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: medium

Cascading shadow resolution

Same as for the previous option, except here it is about resolving those shadows. “Low” or “medium” depending on your configuration.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: medium

Volumetric fog resolution

This setting affects the quality of the “fog” around the player, such as flying particles or dust in the air. The effects created in Ultra are superb and contribute to the realism of the game, unfortunately to the detriment of performance. We recommend setting this option to “medium”.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: medium

Quality of volumetric clouds

Always the same story, but this time with the clouds. Choose “medium” or even “without” to save resources.

Performance impact: medium

We recommend: medium

Max number of dynamic decals

This option has a nice impact on performance! You are sure to lose at least 5 FPS or more by choosing “high” or “ultra”.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: medium

Quality of reflections displayed on the screen

The higher this setting, the more precise and brighter the reflections displayed in your field of view will be. This setting has very little impact on performance.

Performance impact: low

We recommend: high

Quality of transluminescence

It is about the quality of the lighting on the skin of the characters, a parameter which thus plays on the realism.

Performance impact: medium

We recommend: medium

Ambient occlusion

Ambient occlusion creates shadows in places where the geometry of the environment blocks the light source. This setting makes the game more detailed and realistic, but requires significant resources. Depending on your case, choose “without” or “low”.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: low

Color accuracy

This setting doesn’t have much resource significance, but clearly plays on immersion. It allows you to enjoy optimum image quality with precise color rendering.

Performance impact: low

We recommend: high

Quality of mirrors

As the name suggests, this option determines the quality of reflections in mirrors. Select “medium” or “low”.

Performance impact: low

We recommend: medium

Level of details

This parameter has a fairly large impact on performance. It increases the quality and resolution of distant objects and graphics, their level of detail. Select “low” so as not to reduce your performance too much.

Performance impact: high

We recommend: low

Our results

With our recommendations above, we manage to get constant 60 FPS on our RTX setup, sometimes with a few small drops to 50 FPS in action scenes, while still taking advantage of ray tracing. Our second setup is already having a harder time keeping up with an average of 55 FPS and drops to 40 FPS.

However, by activating the Dynamic FidelityFX CAS option and adjusting some graphic details to the lower end, we manage to go a little higher than 60 FPS. If you have a similar setup, you may need to lower your requirements and adjust some settings below our recommendations.

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