Performance analysis of Cyberpunk 2077 1.5 : Test |CUP | Specs |Config

Cyberpunk 2077: Benchmarks und Analysen zum großen Patch 1.5

Performance analysis of Cyberpunk 2077 1.5
: Test |CUP | Specs |Config

Patch 1.5 has improved the technology of Cyberpunk 2077 and that has an impact: The performance is different both with and without ray tracing, as the test shows. However, the game hasn’t always gotten faster. In some cases, the FPS have even decreased in exchange for better image quality.

After version 1.3 or version 1.31, Cyberpunk 2077 (technical test) has now been updated to version 1.5. It not only brings the adapted versions for the PlayStation 5 and the Xbox Series X, but also includes technical adjustments on the PC that affect both the graphics quality and the performance. This article focuses on the performance aspect.

Parallel to this 1.31 vs. 1.5 analysis by the editors, the ComputerBase community is currently testing the performance with Patch 1.5 on their own systems in the article Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 1.5: AMD, Intel and Nvidia in the community benchmark.

Cyberpunk 2077 Patch 1.5: the technical changes

First, a brief summary of what changes Cyberpunk 2077 version 1.5 roughly to the look. First of all, it is worth mentioning the introduction of “Variable Rate Shading”, which is always activated on supported graphics cards (GeForce RTX and Radeon RX 6000). There is no way to turn it off. A direct comparison is therefore not possible.

In addition, there have been two changes to ray tracing. For example, CD Projekt adjusted the roughness level of many surfaces so that ray-traced reflections are now applied to more objects than before. Vehicles, for example, now reflect significantly more. In addition, not only the shadows created by the sun are calculated using ray tracing, but also those from artificial light sources. This has a major impact in buildings and at night – on the look and hardware requirements.

Last but not least, FidelityFX Super Resolution is worth mentioning: AMD’s FSR 1.0 made it into Cyberpunk 2077. Like DLSS, FSR has a quality level called “Ultra Performance” for the first time, which lowers the resolution even further below the “Performance” level. Speaking of DLSS, Nvidia’s AI upsampling has been updated to version

Impact on performance in detail

Cyberpunk 2077 1.5 runs slightly faster than older game versions as long as ray tracing remains disabled. There are differences depending on the graphics card and resolution, but a clear trend can be seen. However, the action role-playing game is still very demanding and requires a fast graphics card.

So there is 60 FPS in the complex test scene even in 1,920 × 1,080 in connection with a Core i9-12900K and the ultra preset only from a GeForce RTX 2070 Super, GeForce RTX 3060 Ti or Radeon RX 6700 XT. In 2,560 × 1,440, a GeForce RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6800 XT is required and in 3,840 × 1,440, despite the graphics details being reduced to “Medium”, the GeForce RTX 3080 or Radeon RX 6900 XT first achieves the goal, while the Radeon RX 6800 XT comes close fails.

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Nvidia benefits more than AMD

With one exception, GeForce graphics cards gain significantly more than their Radeon counterparts as a result of the patch. For example, the frame rate of the Radeon RX 6800 XT in Full HD increases by only 2 percent with the new patch, but with the GeForce RTX 3080 it is 9 percent. In WQHD, the AMD GPU can then claim a plus of 2 percent and the GeForce a higher 6 percent. However, the other RDNA-2 offshoots react in the same way, so this is not an error.

It looks different in Ultra HD, where ComputerBase no longer tests with the Ultra preset due to the enormous hardware requirements, but only with the Medium preset. Because then both the Radeon RX 6800 XT and the GeForce RTX 3080 suddenly increase by an identical 12 percent.

Cyberpunk 2077 patch 1.5 patch AVG FPS advantage over patch 1.31

Interestingly, the older Radeon RX 5700 XT benefits more from the patch with 6 and 7 percent in Full HD or WQHD than the Radeon RX 6800 XT, which supports the assumption that the patch and RDNA 2 are not yet working together properly. At 6 and 5 percent, the GeForce RTX 2070 Super is comparable to the Ampere model and in this case is even inferior to the Radeon RX 5700 XT. Radeon RX 580 and GeForce GTX 1060 benefit in Full HD by 4 and 3 percent, respectively.

So it can’t be VRS

The measurement results of the older AMD and Nvidia graphics cards then show that the increase in performance cannot or at least not exclusively be caused by “Variable Rate Shading”. Because RDNA, GCN and Pascal do not support VRS at all and still increase in speed with the update.

Ray tracing costs even more power than before

Ray tracing has always cost a lot of power in Cyberpunk 2077, regardless of the hardware, and that hasn’t changed. Even a graphics card with very high RT performance like the GeForce RTX 3080 only gets 60 frames per second in 1,920 × 1,080 – and that with medium RT settings. With RT on “high” including the reflections, it’s only 47 FPS – in Full HD! That’s 42 or 55 percent less FPS than without the rays.

So it’s not surprising that a rendering resolution of 2,560 × 1,440 is too much even for the fast Ampere model. There is no more than 39 FPS even with medium ray tracing details, with high ray tracing details it is only 51 percent – because the GeForce RTX 3080 also runs out of 10 GB of memory. As a result, you no longer have to look at Ultra HD without DLSS, which is already completely unplayable with RT on “Medium”.

Speaking of unplayable: ray tracing on a Radeon was unplayable in Cyberpunk 2077 and remains so. The Radeon RX 6800 XT is already crawling around in 1,920 × 1,080 at RT on “Medium” with just under 38 FPS, the performance loss is a whopping 63 percent. And with RT on High, the framerate drops to just under 26 FPS – that’s 75 percent slower than without the rays. Ray tracing does not even have to be tried on the AMD flagship Radeon RX 6900 XT.

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With Patch 1.5 everything will be even slower

Although ComputerBase has no direct comparison values ​​available, ray tracing has become a good bit slower in Cyberpunk 2077 with the new update. That’s not surprising either, because the RT shadows from artificial light sources and the better reflections don’t come for nothing. And apparently CD Projekt didn’t further improve the actual RT performance.

Comparing the performance costs of ray tracing in the test scene, which plays at night and therefore uses the extended RT shadows, this becomes clear. With the old version 1.31, RT on “Medium” cost the GeForce RTX 3080 38 percent in Full HD and 39 percent in WQHD, with patch 1.5 it’s suddenly 42 and 44 percent. This directly equalizes the increased performance of the game or even pushes it down even further. Despite the increased frame rate, Cyberpunk 2077 runs even slower than before with ray tracing enabled with patch 1.5. Instead of 65 FPS in the old tests, the new ones only show 60 FPS.

DLSS or FSR is a must with ray tracing

Ray tracing without DLSS or FSR doesn’t even need to be tried in Cyberpunk 2077. Even with a low target resolution such as Full HD, appropriate techniques are often necessary. But you also have to be aware that even DLSS cannot conjure up good picture quality in Full HD. With FSR, the picture in Full HD only looks bad, even FSR on “Ultra Quality” doesn’t change anything.

In the test, the editors used the target resolution of 2,560 × 1,440, which is not playable with either a GeForce RTX 3080 or a Radeon RX 6800 XT in the test sequence and with medium ray tracing settings. With DLSS on “Quality” the GeForce RTX 3080 is then accelerated to 57 FPS. And even if the 60 FPS mark has not yet been cracked, this setting is the editor’s recommendation.

AMD FSR and Nvidia DLSS in 2560×1440 and RT medium preset

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Performance

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Balanced

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Quality

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Performance

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Balanced

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Quality

    • RTX 3080 @ Native

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Ultra Qualtiy

    • RX 6800 XT @ Nativ

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Performance

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Balanced

    • RTX 3080 @ DLSS Quality

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Performance

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Balanced

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Quality

    • RTX 3080 @ Native

    • RX 6800 XT @ FSR Ultra Qualtiy

    • RX 6800 XT @ Nativ

Because with DLSS set to “Quality”, the game still looks decent despite a lower render resolution than Full HD, while more aggressive DLSS modes have a very negative effect on the image quality. That’s not surprising, because DLSS on “Performance” in WQHD only means a rendering resolution of 720p.

On the Radeon RX 6800 XT, FSR raytracing can no longer save. With FSR on “Ultra Quality” it only gets 35 FPS which is still far from playable. With FSR on “Balanced” it still achieves almost 50 FPS and with FSR on “Performance” about 55 FPS, which is quite playable – but the image quality is then just terrible. Cyberpunk 2077 looks much better without ray tracing and native resolution – with higher performance at the same time.

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closing words

From a technical point of view, patch 1.5 is a round thing with raytracing switched off. The performance increases on all graphics cards, sometimes even in the double-digit percentage range. That’s a good development. AMD’s RDNA 2 generation still has some problems, but the current Radeons also run faster than before with the update, although Nvidia’s Ampere offshoots benefit more from it.

The better image quality when using ray tracing is also positive. Above all, the fact that artificial light sources now also produce raytracing shadows gives the optics a good boost in closed rooms and at night. There are also more RT reflections, they look exaggerated in places.

The real problem with the better image quality, however, is that it simply costs performance: In Cyberpunk 2077, FPS are rare with RT even on the fastest Ampere graphics card.

Ray tracing needs more optimization

Although the game has actually become faster with update 1.5, the frame rate with activated ray tracing is almost 10 percent lower than with game version 1.31. And so it’s just gotten even more difficult to use ray tracing in Cyberpunk 2077 at a decent frame rate.

This still doesn’t work on AMD’s Radeon RX 6000 graphics cards. Ray tracing is just a checklist feature there, even the Radeon RX 6900 XT is far too slow in Full HD. The newly implemented upscaling AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution does not change that. Or if FSR is screwed up high enough for the FPS to be sufficient, the graphics quality has hit rock bottom.

But the RT-strong Ampere graphics cards from Nvidia also have to nibble on ray tracing in the game, even with DLSS the rays are not that easy and it requires a fast graphics card of the GeForce RTX 3000 type.

Cyberpunk 2077 was already one of the most demanding ray tracing games before the patch, after that everything got a little worse. While it is commendable that CD Projekt improves picture quality, a performance optimization would have been far more important. Or at least meaningful quality controls, because although they do exist, even the lowest level is simply too demanding.

Cyberpunk 2077 im Benchmark-Test

If you want to benchmark Cyberpunk 2077 yourself and compare your PC with those of the readers and the editors, you are invited to take part in the community benchmark. Unlike the save game used here, the integrated benchmark, which is much easier to run, is used. After just a handful of minutes, several benchmark results can be created and shared with the community.

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