What a tough time for Cyberpunk 2077 to be launching. The newest graphics cards are unavailable unless you're willing to overpay a scalper, and older GPUs are also hard to buy at a reasonable price because of the shortage of new ones.
The good news is that the official Cyberpunk 2077 minimum specifications are surprisingly modest, especially if you're OK with playing at 1080p. If you want to slide everything to high at that resolution, then you're looking at a Core i7 4790 or AMD Ryzen 3 3200G, with a GeForce GTX 1060/1660 Super or Radeon RX 470, and 12GB of RAM. That's really not too demanding, especially from the processor perspective.
However, we're going to stick our necks out a bit and suggest that 4K is the best way to take in some of Cyberpunk 2077's more breathtaking vistas. Due to the graphics card shortage, we don't recommend building a new PC right now (more on that at the end of this article), but if you're planning ahead, here's what we recommend for the top-of-the-line experience:
Recommended Cyberpunk 2077 PC for 4K, ultra settings
Here's the official CD Projekt recommendation for playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with ultra settings:
- OS: Windows 10 64-bit
- CPU: Intel Core i7-4790 or AMD Ryzen 5 3600
- RAM: 16GB
- GPU: Nvidia RTX 2080 Super/RTX 3070 or AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT
- Storage: 70GB SSD
In our experience, you're going to want to aim slightly higher than those specs if you want good framerates at 4K. We'd recommend a more up-to-date processor and the best graphics card you can get your hands on—an RTX 3080 is our pick for 4K gaming, even if it's nearly impossible to get one right now.
The only other thing we'd push a bit is the SSD. 70GB really isn't a bad install size for a game as big as Cyberpunk 2077, but we want those load times as short as possible, so a PCIe NVMe is the way forward.
If you're going all in, here's the high-end machine we'd recommend building or buying for Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K:
- Processor: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($299)
- RAM: 16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3600 ($72)
- GPU: Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080 10GB ($699)
- Mobo: MSI MAG B550M Mortar WiFi ($169)
- Storage: 1TB Samsung 980 Pro ($229)
- Case: Fractal Design Meshify C ($99)
- PSU: Cooler Master MWE Gold 650W ($109)
- Total Price: $1,676
It's a lot of money even at the sticker price (the RTX 3080 will be marked up right now), but this is a gaming machine designed to give you just about the best performance you can get right now, not just in Cyberpunk 2077 but for any game releasing in the foreseeable future.
The AMD Ryzen 5 5600X is our new favorite affordable gaming chip, as it offers comparable performance to the behemoth that is the Intel Core i9 10900K, but costs half of that chip. It also comes with its own cooler, which is fine for normal stock clocks (if you want to grab an AIO cooler for this system though, we won't hold it against you). We've paired this with the MSI MAG B550M Mortar WiFi motherboard which is a quality, affordable motherboard that won't hold our Ryzen CPU back at all.
The big purchase here is the RTX 3080 graphics card, which we simply can't see replacing with anything else for 4K gaming. Yes, you're going to be hard pushed to find one right now, but maybe the game will be a bit less buggy by the time you can buy one next year. It's also worth noting that Cyberpunk 2077 won't support ray tracing with AMD's Radeon RX 6800 XT at launch, so maybe that will be patched in by the time they're available as well.
Both are good cards, but we're still erring on the side of Nvidia when it comes to Cyberpunk 2077, and it's partly down to DLSS 2.0. Nvidia's deep learning supersampling tech renders the game at a lower resolution to achieve higher framerates, and then intelligently upscales it to your chosen resolution. You'd be hard pressed to tell the difference between a normal 4K render and a DLSS version. We've already seen it used to great effect in the likes of Death Stranding, Wolfenstein: Youngblood, and Control, and Cyberpunk 2077 makes great use of it, too.
Our current recommendation: Whatever PC you have right now
It's just a bad time to be building a new PC, so if you want to play Cyberpunk 2077 now, we recommend working with what you have.
In the event that you've got a 1440p display, which offers a great balance between sharpness and achievable framerates, you can get good results without the RTX 3080 we recommend for a 4K build—especially if you don't mind flipping off ray tracing, which is going to be a big burden for RTX 20-series GPUs.
Here's the system our reviewer used for playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p on high settings with no ray tracing:
- Intel Core i9 9900k
- GeForce RTX 2080
- 16GB RAM
- SATA SSD
With DLSS set to Quality mode, James managed 60-80 fps with those specs. And here's how the game looked:
Not too shabby. If you're OK with dips below 60 fps, you could experiment with bumping the settings up even further than James did. For us, though, achieving a smooth framerate of over 60 fps is more important than reflections.
"Ray-tracing options are particularly resource intensive, so I just kept them off," wrote James. "The framerate hit wasn't worth the fancy lighting, nice as it looks on a rainy day or in a neon-lit club especially. Someday. Either way, a newer card will go a long way in Cyberpunk 2077, though players still hanging in at 1080p should do fine with older hardware."
If your specs are even lower—say, you have a GTX 10-series card—we still recommend sticking with what you have for the moment. With graphics card prices what they are right now, you could end up spending a fortune building an RTX 2070 Super, RTX 2080 Super, or RTX 2080-powered PC. You'd be making a quality trade-off versus the RTX 3070 or RTX 3080 but without any relief on the price. That's just not worth doing, so if you don't already have a Cyberpunk 2077 PC you're happy with, we recommend waiting until 2021 before building a new PC, when RTX 30-series and Radeon RX 6800 XT cards are available at their list price.
If you're in a hurry, one alternative is to buy a pre-built PC which includes an RTX 30-series card. You pay a premium versus building a PC yourself, but right now you can avoid the mark up on individual graphics cards. Companies like NZXT offer custom builds with RTX 3080s and other new cards, though depending on their supply, you may have to wait a while for your PC to arrive—many builders aren't shipping until after Christmas.