Cyberpunk 2077 is here if you can believe it, and it is by far one of the best-looking games ever made -- and the best-looking game of 2020. You have to have the right hardware, and the beefiest, most bad ass PC hardware you can buy -- but oh boy, is it worth it.
MSI worked with us on a new MEG Z490 Unify + Intel Core i9-10900K system that I recently wrote about here. I'm using the same system to power this new 8K gaming tests for Cyberpunk 2077, but using just the most powerful card I have here in the lab: the MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X graphics card.
I've pumped a good amount of hours into Cyberpunk 2077 on a few different systems, where I recently celebrated my 10th anniversary here at TweakTown with my own gift: LG's huge 77-inch CX series 4K 120Hz OLED. It's big and it's bad ass, and it is for the next few years of gaming and Cyberpunk 2077 looks f***ing fantastic on it.
CD PROJEKT RED have put in the hard yards with REDengine 4 and it well and truly shows in Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K and beyond, and even more so when you enable ray tracing. It's an entire new world, and while subtle it is truly revolutionary to experience. You need the right hardware, but CDPR have crafted the most incredible world I've ever seen inside of Cyberpunk 2077 to showcase the PC at its very best, and in all its glory.
The game is so high-end it runs like total horse shit on the PS4 and Xbox One, dropping to 15FPS at 720p... that's how high-end Cyberpunk 2077 is. If you want to see the game at its very highest level, you need to have the GeForce RTX 3090 and a decent CPU like the Core i9-10900K or AMD Ryzen 9 5900X.
But the results are well and truly worth it, it's one of the best-looking games ever made and a true spectacle on the PC -- highlighting why the PC is home to the next generation of gaming... always. I wish more developers walk in the steps of CD PROJEKT RED in the future and prioritize the PC, because if Cyberpunk 2077 is anything to go by, the future of gaming is looking so good.
Cyberpunk 2077 isn't even really as next-gen game, it's a current-gen game but the very peak of it. It's a glimpse of the worlds and detail we'll see in the coming years, where the likes of Grand Theft Auto 6 and others will have to compete with what we have here in the end of 2020 from CDPR.
But I also have the Dell UP3218K sitting here... a 32-inch 8K (7680 x 4320) 60Hz panel that has 4x the pixels of 4K and makes for some GPU crushing in the latest games. Cyberpunk 2077 is the new Crysis, and it requires some truly future tech graphics cards to even begin to run the game in native 8K at 60FPS.
CD PROJEKT RED is using its latest in-house REDengine 4 which has "new solutions which will be employed for the first time". The studio explained: "Work on the fourth generation of REDEngine involves, among others, development of new technologies co-financed under the GameINN umbrella (part of the Intelligent Growth Operational Programme). The Company secured funding for these projects in 2016 and they successfully continued throughout 2019".
- City Creation - comprehensive technology enabling creation of massive "living" cities playable in real-time and based on the principles of artificial intelligence and automation, including innovative processes and tools which assist in the development of top-quality open-world games.
- Animation Excellence - comprehensive technology facilitating rapid increases in the quality and e!ciency of creating complex body and face animations for use in open-world RPGs, including innovative process solutions and a unique dedicated toolkit.
- Cinematic Feel - comprehensive technology which delivers exceptional cinematic quality of cutscenes set in open-world RPG environments, including innovative process solutions and a unique dedicated toolkit.
- Seamless Multiplayer - comprehensive technology facilitating immersive multiplayer gameplay with support for matchmaking, session management, object replication and various gameplay models, along with a unique dedicated toolkit.
How We Benchmarked
I found a place in the game and walked back and forth, zooming in and out checking things out in a night market near one of the more R18 areas of the game. There was a lot of light, reflections, puddles, and people walking around to give you a feel for the best 'real-world' results you can have.
I will be doing the same thing with future Cyberpunk 2077 content, where I would've already had an article up if it wasn't for some damn food poisoning putting me out of action for 2 days. I will have a deeper Cyberpunk 2077 performance article looking at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K just after Christmas.
Everything was cranked to Ultra -- including ray tracing which was even cranked up past Ultra, to Psycho.
Test System Specs
I recently built a new system in a collaboration build with MSI which is detailed in length here, where I compared the flagship MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X and MSI GeForce RTX 3080 SUPRIM X graphics cards against each other at 1080p, 1440p, and 4K.
I've used the same system for 8K benchmarking, ensuring we have enough CPU grunt to handle it.
- CPU: Intel Core i9-10900K (buy from Amazon)
- Motherboard: MSI MEG Z490 Unify (buy from Amazon)
- Cooler: MSI MAG CORELIQUID 360R - AIO RGB CPU Liquid Cooler (buy from Amazon)
- RAM: G.Skill 32GB DDR4 Trident Z Royal Gold 4000MHz PC4-32000 CL19 1.35V Dual Channel Kit (2x16GB) (buy from Amazon)
- SSD: Sabrent 8TB Rocket NVMe PCIe 3.0 M.2 2280 (buy from Amazon)
- PSU: MSI MPG A850GF
- Case: MSI MPG SEKIRA 500X (buy from Amazon)
- OS: Microsoft Windows 10 Professional x64 (buy from Amazon)
Benchmarks - 8K
Starting the game off with ray tracing disabled but DLSS enabled -- at the glorious and GPU crushing 8K resolution, Cyberpunk 2077 on one of the best graphics cards you can buy -- MSI's custom GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X graphics card, to its knees.
We have 38FPS average at 8K with DLSS on its Ultra Performance preset, while performance drops to just 10.7FPS average with DLSS disabled. So native 8K in Cyberpunk 2077 with no ray tracing = 10.7FPS average.
But then I turned ray tracing on to its 'Psycho' setting and we have 31.3FPS average on the overclocked MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X graphics card with DLSS set to "Ultra Performance". This is rendering the game at around 1440p so we breach 30FPS with ray tracing enabled.
But turning DLSS to Perforamnce and the performance (if you'll pardon the pun) tanks to 18.8FPS average -- DLSS on Balanced drops to under 15FPS, DLSS on Quality to under 12FPS -- and disabling DLSS completely and running native 8K we see performance drop to just 6.6FPS -- incredible stuff.
VRAM Consumption @ 8K
VRAM consumption numbers are off the charts for Cyberpunk 2077 in 8K, where we see the game demanding 23GB of VRAM with DLSS disabled. With DLSS set to Ultra Performance the game still uses 13.7GB of VRAM at 8K, while if you want DLSS on Quality it jumps up to 17.4GB of VRAM.
Disabling ray tracing makes things a bit better by about 2GB of VRAM across the board, with 8K and DLSS disabled using 21GB of VRAM (down from 23GB) while it totally disabled VRAM usage drops to 11.7GB without ray tracing enabled.
Cyberpunk 2077 wasn't a joy at all at 8K and while it looked out-of-this-world at that resolution, the 31FPS average with one of the best custom GeForce RTX 3090 graphics cards and the flagship Core i9-10900K is pretty insane.
NVIDIA's kick ass DLSS 2.0 technology is used in great effect here, the saving grace of performance for GeForce RTX graphics card owners. Without it, you wouldn't be close to getting 60FPS at 4K and you wouldn't get anywhere near 30FPS at 8K. The MSI GeForce RTX 3090 SUPRIM X graphics card is hitting 31FPS average with DLSS enabled on its Ultra Performance mode. Without DLSS, the card crumbles and Cyberpunk 2077 is running at 6.6FPS.
But man, those graphics -- at 7680 x 4320 the game looks absolutely astonishing. It makes me want to see it running on a huge 8K TV just to take in all those glorious details. I'd love to see mGPU support and run this game on dual graphics cards as we could see much closer to 8K 60FPS with DLSS enabled in Cyberpunk 2077 if SLI/NVLink were supported.
I think we'll have to wait until NVIDIA's next-gen recently rumored Lovelace GPU architecture before we can hope for anything near 8K 60FPS in Cyberpunk.
Bonus: 8K Screenshots
I've got some 8K screenshots of Cyberpunk 2077 running throughout this article, but if you want the original high quality images that I took then I have created (never used it before) and uploaded them to my personal Flickr account. You can see all 72 screenshots in their OG quality at 7680 x 4320.
Here are some of them just for a tease: