Cyberpunk 2077's fancy RT Overdrive graphics is now live and ready to bring your GPU to its knees

Cyberpunk 2077 RT Overdrive
(Image credit: CD Projekt RED)

Nvidia has been in touch to let us know that the original release notes for the RT Overdrive mode were misleading. In fact, the new path-tracing goodness will run on any GPU with hardware ray tracing, including Nvidia's original RTX 20-series and AMD's RX 6000 and 7000 graphics.

As we explain below, given that the RTX 4090 is dragged down to just 16 fps running the new eye candy natively and without DLSS goodies, don't get too excited if you have older RT-capable hardware. The frame rates almost certainly aren't going to be pretty.

Original story:
Rejoice, for Cyberpunk 2077's RT Overdrive mode is now live in all its path tracing glory. Well, rejoice if you own a recent Nvidia graphics card. Don't rejoice if you own an older Nvidia GPU or any graphics from AMD, because it won't run on your PC.

Path tracing, of course, is essentially full-fat ray tracing with more rays, more reflections, more of everything that makes lighting realistic.

According to the creators of Cyberpunk, CD Projekt RED, the patch, "pushes the boundaries of what's possible in technology. However, because it is so new and fundamentally different from what we've been using so far, we know it's not going to be perfect from the start and players might experience some issues – that’s why we’ve decided to call it a 'Technology Preview'."

CD Projekt RED also describes the patch as, "a vision of the future that we want to share, and we're committed to continue working on and improving this feature."

All of which is just as well given that, set to maximum detail, Nvidia's own demo video shows RT Overdrive mode crushing an RTX 4090 down to just 16 fps. Try running it on an RTX 2060. Yikes. Except you can't.

With DLSS including frame generation the RTX 4090 was shown returning over 100 fps. But frame generation is only available on the latest RTX 40-series family of GPUs. That may be why the release notes say the patch is currently only supported on RTX 40-series board and then just the RTX 3090 from the RTX 30-series.

Cyberpunk 2077's RT Overdrive

Behold, an RTX 4090 brought to its knees... (Image credit: CD Projekt RED)

For other GPUs with at least 8GB of VRAM that support ray tracing, there's an option to render, "path-traced screenshots in Photo Mode. This is possible because it means rendering just one frame, as opposed to rendering several frames every second (i.e. FPS), which would happen when playing the game."

It sort of makes sense given the inevitable slide show that would result from enabling the mode on lesser ray tracing-capable cards. But it's also a bit of a pity.

It would have been nice to at least have the option of seeing it run incredibly slowly on unsuitable GPUs just for kicks and also to compare the frame rates and demonstrate how much more powerful the newer GPUs are.

Anyway, for you lucky few, get downloading and try not to forget about the rest of us as you bathe in path-traced glory.


Best CPU for gaming: Top chips from Intel and AMD
Best gaming motherboard: The right boards
Best graphics card: Your perfect pixel-pusher awaits
Best SSD for gaming: Get into the game first

Jeremy Laird
Hardware writer

Jeremy has been writing about technology and PCs since the 90nm Netburst era (Google it!) and enjoys nothing more than a serious dissertation on the finer points of monitor input lag and overshoot followed by a forensic examination of advanced lithography. Or maybe he just likes machines that go “ping!” He also has a thing for tennis and cars.