DLSS usage and Concluding
DLSS: the little baby performance Jesus?
Before we head onwards to the conclusion, I wanted to spend a bit more time on DLSS, as something extraordinary was happening. There are use cases in the game where you enable Raytracing and DLSS, and it can be FASTER than normal rasterized performance (RTX OFF). The trick is DLSS. In-game, you can select your Raytracing Ultra mode to game in Ultra HD. With DLSS, you can, however, select several performance modes, running from Ultra Performance to performance, balanced, and quality.
Our preference is quality, but surely if that means 30 FPS gaming in ultra HD, that's not going to work; lowering the DLSS setting CAN create the scenario that you're faster than rasterized rendering. Have a peek at the above (RTX 3070).
So what is that DLSS compromise? Image quality, of course. Let's zoom in and compare the best DLSS Quality mode (27 FPS) with the worst Ultra performance (56FPS) one:
Above: Ultra DLSS performance mode
Above: Quality performance mode
As you can see, there is substantial image degradation when selecting the DLSS ultra-performance mode. The grid in the back shows moire effects, also focus on the girl's shadow to the left. Also, the lettering on that metal plate behind the girl is much fuzzier. It is an incredible dilemma. Play around with the setting if you have an NVIDIA RTX graphics card and see for yourself what you deem to be acceptable.
Before starting to work on this article, I wanted to spend a few hours playing the game. And yeah, it's captivating and impressive in Night City that I could have easily gone on for many more hours. Hey, the guys responsible for the Witcher series are behind it; we should have known. Before this review, we learned that some early tests from other media all had been conducted on a heavily configured DRM protection and a pending massive patch that helps performance.
We all bypassed these issues and can happily report that the experience was pleasant in all ways. We installed the GOG version just for the sake of their DRM free policy. Nice to see was that our processor was also utilized very well, helping boost the frame rates when not GPU bound. The overall performance with and without ray tracing is also okay, considering the chic and often astonishing graphics. There are many moments, however, where graphics quality is 'just okay.' The hardware requirements for ultra-details are steep, though. I can't say we ran into significant enough We did see some graphical errors, and in the past week's many bugs have been reported. We could nag about the main story that moves at too slow a pace, perhaps.
Nice to see as well, the game definitely likes and utilizes multi-core processors and thus threads.
Based on the Day 1 patch, the performance overall was agreeable up-to 2560x1440; Ultra details and especially ray tracing are on the demanding side, though, but that was to be expected. NVIDIA really benefits from DLSS here, as otherwise, this game would have been a mess in performance with pre hybrid raytracing solely. That said, Cyberpunk 2077, however, is one of the few games where Raytracing really makes sense, and the hard-earned cash that you dropped into that expensive GPU of yours, now starts to make some sense. Albeit them framerates at UHD, .... daumn son!
But even with somewhat weaker hardware, you will be able to enjoy the game with quite a bit of a graphics experience fired at you. Concerning absolute performance, overall, we say that AMD did not benefit from the game engine. The Radeons perform poorly overall. But up-to 2560x1440, the most modern cards offer agreeable framerates at corresponding image quality settings. Being an NVIDIA sponsored title, that shows. Yesterday's released 460.79 drivers made a huge difference in performance. So NVIDIA shines well throughout the board and has that day-1 advantage of raytracing. And Raytracing, combined with that buddy-assist called DLSS 2.0, does make this game something really unique. That Ultra quality mode, as stated, can be brutal in Ultra HD. Only the new and most expensive RTX cards can deal with it; the 6800 series from AMD is struggling to keep up, but manages 'okay.' The gameplay is cool, excellent even. You can play around with graphics quality settings to boost FPS a bit. Just don't expect 60 FPS Ultra HD performance with all eye-candy on your sub 500 USD graphics card as that is impossible. However, if you have that expensive card, you're in for a treat.
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Oh yeah, this definitely is an 18+ game ... noooice !