Up For Debate - Is Cyberpunk ray tracing worth it when top GPUs struggle with FPS at Ultra?

Written by Chad Norton on Sun, Dec 13, 2020 4:00 PM
System Requirements Optimum 1080p PC Build Low vs Ultra Screenshots GPU Performance Chart CPU List That Meet System Requirements GPU List That Meet System Requirements

So, our last one of the bunch this weekend, as we conclude our Cyberpunk 2077 launch series of Up For Debates. After chatting yesterday about general performance and whether Cyberpunk 2077 really is this generation’s Crysis, we want to talk about something else that is causing performance headaches: the big daddy. Yes, we’re talking about ray tracing.

With the launch of Cyberpunk 2077 this week we wanted to explore this big hype release with lots of Up For Debates so we can explore a bit of our gamer psychology and to see if it holds up to our expectations. You can find a list of the other Cyberpunk -related Up For Debates at the bottom under the "Cyberpunk 2077 launch" group tag.

Ray tracing is starting to become the new standard. Though I say start because we’re still a way from it becoming a complete standard in video games, especially as ray tracking-capable graphics cards are currently pretty expensive.

Cyberpunk 2077 has some of the best looking ray tracing graphics so far, but is it really worth it? Especially considering that the game struggles to get a decent FPS even without ray tracing enabled on some of the top end GPUs at the moment, like the brand new and hard-to-get RTX 30 series graphics cards.

Check out some ray tracing screenshot comparisons in Cyberpunk 2077 below:

[CLICK TO ENLARGE]

 

Of course, there is always DLSS - Nvidia’s trademark AI upscaling that essentially boosts performance significantly at the press of a button. Whilst it does have its drawbacks, this technology is clearly essential for ray tracing considering the massive hit that ray tracing effects have on performance.

So maybe it is worth it with DLSS enabled, but then does that mean we always have to resort to AI upscaling? Native resolution will always look better, even if it's not entirely noticeable at first, but even with DLSS enabled in Cyberpunk performance seems to be hit and miss.

So if you have to choose between 60fps with ray tracing off, or 30fps with ray tracing on, which one would you choose? Let’s debate!

Is ray tracing worth it in Cyberpunk 2077?

How do you feel about the ray tracing graphics in Cyberpunk 2077?

What would you prefer?

Is AI upscaling like DLSS essential for ray tracing performance?

Login or Register to join the debate

Rep
94
Offline
10:04 Dec-14-2020

RT does look a lot better, especially light sources. I checked a video on youtube where someone tests the game on the GTX960 overclocked to 1.43GHz (Mine is 1.53Ghz) and damn. I can expect 50 FPS at 720p low settings or 30 FPS at 1080p low settings. Talk about console performance haha. Jk, I want a new pc tbh.

0
Rep
55
Offline
10:03 Dec-14-2020

I am sure it is worth it and scalpers can totally confirm the same as they re probably the only ones enjoying Cyberpunk 2077 with ray-tracing on their new shiny RTX 3000 GPUs.

0
Rep
19
Offline
08:57 Dec-14-2020

For now its simple, DLSS is the saver for RT, and for me i dont see a graphical difference when having it on compared to off while having RT enabled

0
Rep
18
Offline
07:10 Dec-14-2020

how come Variable Rate Shading hasn't become a big hit yet? i was very much under the impression that it might end up becoming a big performance booster.and might even work on older cards eventually with certain optimization

0
Rep
8
Offline
07:00 Dec-14-2020

So while Cyberpunk looks stunning with Raytracing I am on the verge off playing it with RTX on or off since the perf. hit and the looks using Dlss on perf. are very present and hard hitting compared to the All ultra/psycho settings at 90-110fps with Rtx and dlss off.

0
Rep
34
Offline
08:12 Dec-14-2020

From my exp, the only psycho setting out of the existing two that had a big impact was RT Lighting. There was no visual difference, but a 7-9 fps drop. The other one was just a 1-2 frame hit, negligible.

0
Rep
8
Offline
06:57 Dec-14-2020

continue...


... but if you have to use dlss at a stage where the picuture is just a blurry mess it wont be that usefull.


On the otherhand I feel a bit sad for the amount of work and optimization that has gone into classic rasterization and now being totally overlooked due to the existence of raytracing

0
Rep
8
Offline
06:55 Dec-14-2020

continue...


On the otherhand I we need to acknowledge the level of detail the classic methods achieve - heck those screen space reflections are looking superbe today - I still remember their first usage and the performance hits they have caused.


So with that said, I think Raytraycing has its potential - part2

0
Rep
8
Offline
06:49 Dec-14-2020

Imo it feels like 30fps vs 60fps - once I ve experienced it, it was hard to go back. The effects are little compared in still pictures but during gameplay it feels just right and only I only noticed it when it was switched off. Tested with the missus randomly adjusting the setting and you can see it immediatly. part1

0
Rep
10
Offline
23:11 Dec-13-2020

Looks amazing in 4k raytracing using rtx medium not too much difference from the ultra preset

0
Rep
191
Offline
junior admin badge
21:54 Dec-13-2020

I wonder if someone will put in the effort and play the game at max settings with RTX on, and then do another playthrough with it off (so they can compare the difference).


Some will argue that you should first play with RTX off, and thenturn it on (cause you could get spoiled on the first playthrough with it on).

0
Rep
17
Offline
22:59 Dec-13-2020

Ain't nobody got time for that, cranks up rtx to max settings ( i wish, sniff )

0
Rep
191
Offline
junior admin badge
02:06 Dec-14-2020

I know that one day you will have all the RTX goodies you wish for

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
23:19 Dec-13-2020

It wouldn't be gameplay-changing, it's more of a visual candy sort of a thing.

1
Rep
191
Offline
junior admin badge
02:07 Dec-14-2020

Gameplay wise it isn't, but when I compared the 1st picture with RTX on and off, the "visual candy" comparison was staggering.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
17:59 Dec-14-2020

I suppose so. RT does offer a much more realistic representation of reality, when done well (sampling rate no too low, etc).

0
Rep
34
Offline
06:48 Dec-14-2020

Imagine when I went on the laptop and on low/medium it still looked 80% of the desktop game maxed out. It's just shadows, few extra details and the RT. The game looks beautiful on anything, it's the low framerates killing it.

1
Rep
191
Offline
junior admin badge
02:08 Dec-15-2020

From what I've heard, we'll have to wait till the end of February for CDPR to fix most of the bugs (hopefully we'll get more FPS after the patch launches).

0
Rep
38
Offline
21:44 Dec-13-2020

It's absolutely worth it, with DLSS set to Balanced I'm still getting like 70-80 FPS on average when everything's maxed out, with the occasional drop to the 40s when driving through very dense areas in the city, CPU bottleneck in my case.

0
Rep
34
Offline
06:52 Dec-14-2020

Balanced is the way to go. It's like 7-10 frames+ over Quality and the difference in resolution very low, compared to performance when it's gone to.. (I've compared using screens from V's appartment and checked how visible the letters and numbers on the far corpo buildings fare up when changing settings).

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:16 Dec-13-2020

If you got high end card and tun on DLSS, RT is kind of is worth it, since DLSS seems well implemented and it fixes performance issues. But otherwise not really, I would rather go without RT. As for comparison, it is as usually nice to have but optional. Like I would rather have better performance without RT, especially with more midrange cards.

0
Rep
76
Offline
admin approved badge
19:19 Dec-13-2020

Also one thing I like is how reflections aren't just used for mirror like stuff, but also stuff that require more distortion or muddiness in reflection. Not just super reflective stuff, so we get mirror like blood, like in Control.

0
Rep
9
Offline
18:33 Dec-13-2020

RT is really worth in this game.


I have Ultra RT settings and around 45-60 FPS with DLSS on Quality. I've decided to accept those FPS, because the graphic is stunnig.
On Performance DLSS I've had minimum of 50 FPS, but average was around 60-70, but the image was too blurry.


3440x1440p

1
Rep
15
Offline
17:14 Dec-13-2020

In my humble opinion it is not worth it. At 4k with DLSS Quality, turning on RT gets me 40 fps which is unplayable for me. At 4k with DLSS Performance it goes up to 50 fps but 1080p upscaled does not look sharp enough so you lose image quality.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
23:22 Dec-13-2020

Have you tried turning off "cinematic aberration" and grain? Aberration especially just makes things so crazy blurry that I don't know why it's even there... this setting annoys me to hell and back in games (because this is something that game devs take as "trendy" and film-like", while the reality is that it is an UNDESIRABLE feature that photographers and videographers spend big money to avoid...)

1
Rep
11
Offline
00:47 Dec-14-2020

I really thought that chromatic aberration, or whatever it's called, would be dead by now. It's even stupider than film grain, which is pretty stupid, but I at least actually like it sometimes. At least they mostly figured out how to use motion blur properly.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
10:51 Dec-14-2020

Yeah, some of the stuff game devs do is just bizarre... "dirt" on screen when there's a light flare? That's something a movie director or a DP would see and call for an immediate lens clean. Aberration? That lens would go in the bin. Film grain is debatable, because it can look really nice when used properly. Motion blur - natural thing in film and real life, but video games rarely do it well.

0
Rep
15
Offline
07:18 Dec-14-2020

I will try it! Thanks

0
Rep
34
Offline
16:29 Dec-13-2020

I rarely go as low as 61 maxed out with RT at 1080p so in this case, they've done a good job with the RT. I was expecting something like 60 avg not 75-100. I don't remember getting this FPS in other RT games, even Ghostrunner which was far less complex stuck around 75-85.

0
Rep
272
Offline
admin approved badge
23:22 Dec-13-2020

Ye, but 1080p isn't for everyone...

0
Rep
34
Offline
06:46 Dec-14-2020

It's still the most popular with 4K being far from mainstream. That thing looks good, but it's just too taxing for now in the important games.

0
Rep
105
Offline
16:14 Dec-13-2020

Im 1 hour in the game and i can say i have only seen minor bugs like flivkering shadows and clothes on npc not making contact, missing cups and crackling sound when songs are playing in the club, perfomnce wise it is pretty ok, getting 30-40 fps on high with 3 settings on medium and still looks great

1
Rep
385
Offline
admin badge
16:08 Dec-13-2020

From first hand experience, yes it is and DLSS is amazing too.

0
Rep
3
Offline
16:01 Dec-13-2020

When is the most important graphics settings post coming ?

1

Can They Run... |

| 60FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i5-4690 3.5GHz Radeon RX 580 Sapphire Nitro+ 8GB 16GB
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600 GeForce RTX 2060 Super 8GB 16GB
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
75% Yes [4 votes]
| 30FPS, Low, 720p
Core i7-7500U 2-Core 2.7GHz GeForce 940MX 2GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Core i5-4590 3.3GHz GeForce GTX 1650 12GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1440p
Core i5-10400F 6-Core 2.90GHz GeForce GTX 1080 Ti Inno3D Twin X2 11GB 16GB
33.3333% Yes [3 votes]
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Medium, 1440p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1650 Super 4GB 8GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
Ryzen 3 3100 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
Ryzen 9 4900HS 8-Core 3.0GHz GeForce RTX 2060 Max-Q 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i7-10700 8-Core 2.90GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Ryzen 5 2600X 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce RTX 2060 6GB 16GB
66.6667% Yes [3 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 720p
Pentium Dual Core E6300 2.8GHz GeForce 210 3GB
100% Yes [1 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Ryzen 5 3600 6-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1660 Ti 6GB 8GB
| 60FPS, Ultra, 1080p
Ryzen 7 2700X GeForce RTX 3060 Ti MSI Ventus 3X OC 8GB 16GB
100% Yes [3 votes]
| 30FPS, Medium, 1080p
Core i7-2600K 4-Core 3.40GHz GeForce RTX 2060 MSI Gaming Z 6GB 16GB
| Ultra, 1080p
Core i3-9100F 4-Core 3.6GHz GeForce GTX 1070 Gigabyte Windforce OC 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]
| 60FPS, High, 1080p
Core i5-6600K 3.5GHz GeForce GTX 1060 MSI Gaming X 3GB 16GB
100% Yes [2 votes]