Playing Cyberpunk 2077 in 8K is barely possible, even on an RTX 3090 with aggressive DLSS and no RTX

Playing Cyberpunk 2077 in 8K is barely possible, even on an RTX 3090 with aggressive DLSS and no RTX


Cyberpunk 2077 has proven to be quite resource-demanding. The TechRadar team decided to see how the game performs in 8K on today’s most powerful graphics card, the NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3090. A game that uses advanced graphics effects like ray tracing can work tolerably well thanks to NVIDIA DLSS smart scaling, but let’s take a closer look at the results.

The reporters installed the latest drivers, a zero-day update, and started testing with Ray Tracing Ultra. As the name suggests, this preset takes most graphics settings to their maximum level and adds intense raytracing effects. By default for this parameter, DLSS operates in “auto” mode.

Cyberpunk 2077 looks great in 8K

Cyberpunk 2077 looks great in 8K (standard DLSS)

TechRadar set the resolution to 8K (7680 × 4320) and watched the scene in a busy bar in Knight City. The bar is filled with diners, as well as bright neon lights, smoke effects, reflections and more. At the highest settings the game is really impressive and conveys the atmosphere well.

The bar scene uses a variety of effects

Bar scene uses multiple effects (8K, standard DLSS)

Unsurprisingly, however, at 8K, the game performs poorly, averaging just 18.6 fps. This is definitely not what a person who paid at least $ 1,500 for the RTX 3090 alone wants to get. However, the Ray Tracing Ultra is not the highest setting. The player can change some settings by enabling ray tracing on the Psycho level. The difference in image quality is not very noticeable, but performance drops noticeably – up to 15.4 fps on average.

But what if we apply DLSS Ultra Performance’s most aggressive smart scaling mode to Cyberpunk 2077? NVIDIA recommends using it in 8K. Reporters found that the game started to run out in Ray Tracing Ultra mode at 31.8 fps in the same scene. Unexpectedly, Cyberpunk 2077 at 8K is playable (although not everyone agrees that this is acceptable performance).

NVIDIA can indeed say that the GeForce RTX 3090 is a graphics card capable of playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 8K. But the problem is that this is not entirely true. Firstly, there are no 8K resources in the game: too few people play at this resolution, so there is no reason to make separate textures and models for it. Secondly, the game is actually executed at 2560 × 1440, and only then intellectually scaled 9 times to 8K. The result is a picture, albeit not in the native 8K resolution, but noticeably better than at 1440p. When comparing 8K DLSS normal mode and 8K DLSS Ultra Performance mode, the difference is only visible in small details (such as hair).

When games that use 8K resources become available, comparisons between native 8K and DLSS 8K are likely to make the smart scaling tradeoffs far more noticeable, but for now it’s a good option to improve performance without significantly sacrificing quality.

If you enable Ray Tracing Medium, you can get an average performance of 24.7 fps. This is closer to 30fps, which is considered the absolute minimum for gameplay. For example, at medium settings, some reflections disappear. When switching DLSS Ultra Performance in Ray Tracing Medium mode, the frequency increases to an average of 38.2 frames / s – the game starts to feel smoother and more responsive.

If you turn off both ray tracing and DLSS completely, then on the RTX 3090 the game produces an awful 12.2 fps at maximum quality settings of 8K. When using DLSS Ultra Performance, the frame rate jumps to 50.2 frames / s – it becomes possible to play in Cyberpunk 2077.

Cyberpunk 2077 in 8K at medium quality settings with DLSS Ultra Performance and no ray tracing

Cyberpunk 2077 in 8K at medium quality settings with DLSS Ultra Performance and no ray tracing

At high quality settings with active DLSS Ultra Performance mode, you can achieve an average of 54.9 fps. And only at medium quality settings, you can step over the magical psychological mark of 60 fps, achieving 68.2 fps in 8K. Yes, Cyberpunk 2077 looks pretty impressive at medium settings. But this is unlikely to please owners of the RTX 3090.

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