12/7/2020 Update: We have now run some Cyberpunk 2077 benchmarks on a collection of GPUs, using a preview build. Based on our initial testing results, it looks like the official Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements target performance of 30-40 fps.

The official Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements have been updated with recommendations for ultra quality as well as ray tracing. As we expected, running at higher settings and resolutions will need a fair amount of hardware, at least on the graphics card front. After pushing the launch back to December 10 (from November 19), here’s the sort of PC hardware you’ll need to run the game in all its glory.

We’ve known that Cyberpunk 2077 will support ray tracing and DLSS 2.x for a while. It’s no surprise then that if you want the full fidelity experience, you’ll need one of the best graphics cards — and by that, we mean you’ll want at least a GeForce RTX GPU. Cyberpunk also requires DirectX 12, though Windows 7 is supported as DX12 has been ported to it.

If you have the money and some luck, any of the latest GPUs should suffice. For dream territory, there’s the GeForce RTX 3090, and the GeForce RTX 3080 or GeForce RTX 3070 will also suffice. The new AMD Radeon RX 6800 cards don’t show up on the list, but we’ll assume that’s because they were just launched on November 18. Unfortunately, the latest word is that supply likely won’t catch up to demand until February 2021.

We have our own thoughts on the type of hardware you’ll need as well, but let’s start with the official Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements. We’ll then move on to our own recommendations. So let’s jack into the matrix, put on a Cyberpunk 2077 Brain Dance, and get ready for the year’s most anticipated game.

(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077 Minimum PC: 1080p Low

CD Projekt Red and Nvidia provided the above slide detailing all of the recommended specs. Interestingly, all mention of AMD graphics cards has been scrubbed from the list. However, the left two columns of the list basically haven’t changed since what was stated in Night City Wire episode 3 (starting around the 20:30 mark), with Nvidia apparently adding five additional columns. Let’s start with the minimum specs first:

So, that’s your clunker standard cyberdeck that’s barely enough to get you started as a netrunner. It has a CPU from 2012, a GPU from 2013 (Nvidia) or 2016 (AMD), a modest amount of memory, and a 64-bit version of Windows. Cyberpunk 2077 requires DirectX 12 (DX12), which was backported to Windows 7 but not Windows 8/8.1.

What sort of experience will this deck get you? It says 1080p low, but it doesn’t state whether that’s for 60 fps or 30 fps. If we were to hazard a guess, it’s closer to 30 than 60.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 1080p High

The recommended hardware for 1080p high is still pretty tame. The GPUs are moderately faster — according to our GPU benchmarks hierarchy, Nvidia’s 1060 6GB is about 30 percent faster than the GTX 780; meanwhile, AMD’s R9 Fury X is about 30 percent faster than the RX 570 4GB, so the vanilla R9 Fury is perhaps 35 percent faster than the minimum RX 470. Note that the R9 Fury X is also about 25 percent faster than the GTX 1060 6GB.

For newer GPUs, both the GTX 1650 Super and RX 5500 XT provide similar performance, but the 1650 cards only have 4GB VRAM, so Nvidia also suggests the GTX 1660 Super. That’s a big spread in performance, as the 1660 Super is over 40 percent faster than the 1060 6GB.

On the CPU side, things are a bit weird. The Core i7-4790 is similar to the i7-4770K, and both should be substantially faster than the Ryzen 3 3200G. A Ryzen 5 1400 would have been a more sensible minimum CPU, so it feels a bit like CDPR is just pulling models out of a hat. Ryzen 3 3200G is limited to an x8 PCIe bus link, plus it’s a 4-core/4-thread CPU. It’s not going to beat a Core i7 Haswell or Devil’s Canyon in gaming performance, in other words.

While the recommended PC hardware targets 1080p high, we again don’t know if that’s 30 fps or 60 fps. The 1060 will probably land in the 35-45 fps range on average, while the GTX 1660 Super should be close to 60. Again, it’s a pretty low bar for a gaming PC.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 1440p Ultra

Moving up to 1440p ultra recommendations, the only real change is in the GPU department. This is still without ray tracing enabled, and CD Projekt Red (or Nvidia) recommends an RTX 2060. It’s not clear if that’s with or without DLSS, but we figure an RX 5600 XT should be relatively close to the RTX 2060 if the recommendation is for without DLSS.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 4K Ultra

4K ultra continues to push up the GPU ladder, and it also moves to recommending 16GB of system RAM and 8GB of VRAM. The RTX 2080 Super and RTX 3070 are recommended here, but is this with DLSS or not? We don’t know for sure. An RX 6800 from AMD should also do pretty well, we think, but we’ll have to test next month to see how they actually stack up.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 1080p Medium Ray Tracing

Of course, turning on ray tracing kicks the requirements up quite a bit on the GPU front. For the medium ray tracing setting, running at 1080p (and almost certainly with DLSS enabled now), we’re back at 1080p now. The CPU continues to be a bit of an oddity, the VRAM obviously drops back to 6GB (because that’s what the 2060 has), but otherwise, it’s basically the 1440p ultra non-RT specs. AMD’s RX 6800 is most likely going to be highly competitive in this range, but then it’s a $580 card going up against a $300-$350 card.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 1440p Ultra Ray Tracing

1440p ultra ray tracing continues the march up the GPU ladder, with the RTX 3070 getting the primary recommendation. Again, likely with DLSS enabled, we’re looking at hardware that AMD may not actually be able to match in terms of RT performance. 1440p DLSS quality means rendering at something like 1810×1018 and upscaling, and as we showed in the RX 6800 XT review, Nvidia generally has superior ray tracing performance plus Tensor cores that AMD can’t match. If you want ray tracing at 1440p, your best bet will be the 3070 or a 2080 Ti, and maybe the RX 6800 XT will come close.

The CPU finally gets a bump up as well, to the i7-6700 or Ryzen 5 3600. The latter certainly makes a lot of sense. Can the original Skylake 4-core/8-thread i7-6700 actually keep up, though? We doubt it, unless everything is just GPU limited at this point (which it probably is). Still, we’d suggest aiming for the i7-8700 or higher on the Intel side if you want to run at maxed-out settings.

Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC: 4K Ultra Ray Tracing

Finally, for 4K ultra with ray tracing enabled, only the RTX 3080 will suffice, or the RTX 3090 if you really have deep pockets and can find one. The CPU recommendations are the same as for 1440p RT Ultra, and VRAM is bumped to 10GB (because that’s what the 3080 has). Will this provide 60 fps using DLSS quality, DLSS balanced, or DLSS performance? That’s what we want to know.

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Tom’s Hardware Cyberpunk 2077 Recommended PC

Given the above recommendations and trends, here’s our recommendation for a complete high-end Cyberpunk 2077 PC build. We still need to run the benchmarks, but with DLSS, even 4K should be viable.

TOTAL PRICE: $1,832

Obviously, that’s a lot of money for a gaming PC, but there’s a good chance you won’t need to upgrade everything just to play Cyberpunk 2077 at max settings. Mostly, getting the GeForce RTX 3080 is your best bet at being able to handle anything Night City might throw at you. Good luck finding one this side of February 2021.

In terms of performance, while we don’t know exactly how demanding Cyberpunk 2077 will be, having the fastest current GPU (that doesn’t cost over $1,000) should suffice. If you already have a 2070 Super or similar GPU, 1080p or 1440p with ray tracing should be fine as well.

Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Cyberpunk 2077 ‘Budget’ Ray Tracing Build

If you’re more interested in the minimum requirements to get Cyberpunk 2077 running with ray tracing support, here’s a lesser build. It’s still moderately expensive, and we can’t guarantee high framerates with all the graphics settings turned up. But it matches the CDPR / Nvidia recommended RT PC and should deliver a good gaming experience.

TOTAL PRICE: $941

That’s about half the total cost, but it’s also about half the performance. It’s also half the memory and half the storage capacity — you might want to add a secondary drive or just upgrade to a 1TB SSD for $35 more. Nvidia hasn’t officially announced the RTX 3060 Ti or an RTX 3060, but both are expected to arrive in the coming month or two. Whether they’ll actually be available in sufficient quantities is another matter, but if you’re looking to buy a new GPU, we wouldn’t pay for an RTX 20-series these days.

Hopefully, this type of PC will be able to run Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p and high settings, with ray tracing and DLSS, while still getting close to 60 fps. However, that’s only a guesstimate as we don’t actually know what actual performance will be like. We do know that adding even one ray tracing effect can drop performance quite a bit in other games, and there are four RT effects planned for Cyberpunk 2077.

“Hop on in and we can visit the ripperdoc — he’ll fix your old GPU right up!”  (Image credit: Cyberpunk 2077)

Cyberpunk 2077 Graphics Card Considerations 

You don’t need to buy an entire PC either, naturally. If you already have a decent PC, the main consideration for running Cyberpunk 2077 is your graphics card. You can see how performance stacks up between the various options in our full GPU benchmarks and performance hierarchy, but Nvidia’s RTX 30-series GPUs are obviously enticing, what with their superior ray tracing performance and the added benefit of DLSS.

We selected the penultimate consumer GPU right now, the RTX 3080. The GeForce RTX 3090 might be a bit faster, but at more than double the price, we’re not going to be heavily recommending that. The RTX 3080 is a beast on its own, pummeling the last-gen RTX 2080 Ti by over 30% on average at 4K, or sometimes more with ray tracing and DLSS games.

What about AMD GPUs? Nvidia has been working with CDPR to get ray tracing effects incorporated into Cyberpunk 2077 for at least the past year, plus DLSS, so an Nvidia GPU is probably the safer bet. The RX 6800 and RX 6800 XT should also be able to do ray tracing, but probably only at 1080p, considering they’ll have to stick to native rendering.

Based on the various rendering features planned for Cyberpunk 2077, we expect DLSS to be pretty much required for a decent ray tracing experience. Here’s the rundown of what CDPR has implemented, courtesy of Nvidia’s blog post:

If that’s all a bit complicated, let’s sum up: At maximum quality settings, you can expect Cyberpunk 2077 to push ray tracing hardware to the limit. Many previous games have only used one of those techniques: RT shadows are in Shadow of the Tomb Raider and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare; RT reflections are used in Battlefield VControl, and Wolfenstein Youngblood; and RT AO and diffuse lighting are used in Metro Exodus.

Combine all of those in one game, and we expect framerates to plummet. Just look at the Control and Fortnite RT benchmarks from the RX 6800 review as an example. (This is at native resolution, without DLSS.)

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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)
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Ray Tracing (native rendering) performance.

(Image credit: Tom’s Hardware)

DLSS 2.0 will help offset that, but perhaps more important than having a GPU that can do ray tracing effects will be having a second-gen ray tracing GPU. Which brings us back to the RTX 3080 and Ampere.

The RTX 3080 is nearly double the performance of the RTX 2080, and roughly twice the ray tracing performance of Turing, thanks to improvements in the architecture. You’re basically going to need that for 4K ultra. Or for 1440p, the RTX 3070 is probably the next best option.

“Hey there, I’ve got some hot new CPU tech I’d like to sell you…”  (Image credit: Cyberpunch 2077)

Cyberpunk 2077 CPU Considerations 

Cyberpunk 2077 doesn’t seem to be going too high on CPU requirements, but it’s always good to have a fast processor for the smoothest experience. Average fps might not drop too much by running on an old Haswell i7 chip, but minimum fps will almost certainly suffer.

Our best recommendation for a CPU you can actually buy right now is the Core i7-10700K, which is basically just a new name on the old i9-9900K. Yes, AMD’s new Ryzen 7 5800X is likely a close match, maybe even superior in performance … but it’s not in stock. That’s also why we have the Ryzen 5 3600 (and not the Ryzen 5 5600X) as the baseline recommendation.

Games also tend to be more forgiving of older CPUs than of previous-gen GPUs, so even a CPU that’s several generations old should still be okay. As far as minimum CPU requirements go, Cyberpunk 2077 will probably still run okay even on a second-gen Core i5, FX-series AMD, or similar. Just don’t plan on a smooth 60 fps or more if you’re sporting an old CPU. Worst case, though: Give it a shot. If it doesn’t run well, you can always upgrade after the fact.

Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Cyberpunk 2077 System Requirements, Closing Thoughts 

The main hurdle for any PC to run Cyberpunk 2077 is undoubtedly going to be the graphics card. If you’re willing to run at minimum quality and a lower resolution, or maybe enable resolution scaling, and if you’re okay with 30 fps, it will probably run just fine on whatever hardware your current gaming PC has. That’s assuming you have a GTX 970 or R9 390 or better GPU. You might even be able to go to older / slower hardware and still run the game, but no guarantees — and none of the fancy graphics effects.

But if you want to get the most out of Cyberpunk 2077, judging by what we’ve seen and the promised graphics features, we recommend at least running a 6-core CPU to hit a consistent 60 fps or more in the crowds of Night City, and perhaps even that won’t be sufficient.

One thing to keep in mind is that while Cyberpunk 2077 will be launching on PC and the next-generation PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, it will also be available on current-gen consoles. The hardware in the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One is pretty decrepit by today’s standards, so any modest PC should be fine if you just want to run the game. It might be at 30 fps, but it should still be playable. That’s basically what CDPR seems to be aiming for.

So we’re not suggesting that you run out and buy a new PC or upgrade your existing PC in advance of the game launch. If you’re already running an Nvidia RTX graphics card, you should be okay for at least trying ray tracing. If you have an AMD, maybe the ray tracing effects won’t really be that amazing (or worth the hit to performance).  Rest assured, we’re planning to run a full suite of Cyberpunk 2077 benchmarks once the game arrives. We’ll see you then.

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