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Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance insights and overview
By Neil Soutter on December 23rd, 2020 at 01:00pm - original article from game-debate

Cyberpunk 2077 is a pretty demanding game, even on the top end GPUs of today. But one aspect of gaming performance sometimes goes overlooked, and that has to do with CPU performance scaling. Now, with the game having been out for more than a week, we have managed to compile some data on how CPU demanding Cyberpunk 2077 is across a range of processors. With a view to seeing what CPU impact there is in Cyberpunk 2077 to frame per second and if the number of threads or speed of the processor being used influences these results.

To do this let’s take a look at CPU performance benchmarks in ¬¬g_id:4614[Cyberpunk 2077]¬¬ across a variety of different processors. The tests were performed using a top end GPU to try to help minimize any GPU performance bottlenecks. Also, CD Projekt Red have been patching the game to combat some performance deficiencies, consequently some of the data was gathered on the previous version of CP2077, which was v1.04. The most recent patch included some AMD processor performance fixes, so some of the AMD CPU tests will miss any benefit this provides.

As this sort of data will change from PC to PC, patch to patch and driver to driver, its always best to use this data as a guide. Best is to use the data to encourage discussion and sharing of all of our findings in the comments section below.

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Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance - Medium graphics setting preset

Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance graph 1080p

As you can see in the Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance graph above, there is a major difference in FPS performance depending on the processor you’re using. At 1080p on the Medium preset, there is no GPU bottleneck present and really lets the processor performance shine and gives us a good look at overall CPU performance in Cyberpunk 2077.

If we take the top CPU of the list, as well as the bottom performing CPU, there is a massive difference in frame rate. The lowest performing processor in Cyberpunk 2077 is the ¬¬p_id:2507[Ryzen 3 1300X]¬¬ which only achieved 36.1fps, whereas the best performing processor in CP2077 (the ¬¬p_id:2781[Ryzen 7 5800X]¬¬) delivered 113.4fps. That’s a processor performance difference of 77.3fps, which is delivering over 3 times the frame rate performance due to having a more powerful CPU.

Obviously, not everyone will have the most extreme of the CPUs, so looking at the middle-range of processors in the graph we can see performance hovers around 80-90fps.

This shows that there is a big difference in performance depending on the kind of processor you have in your system when playing Cyberpunk 2077 at 1080p resolution on the Medium graphics preset.

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Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance - RT Ultra graphics setting preset

Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance graph 4K

Of course not everyone will be gaming at 1080p on Medium settings, as some lucky enough to bag themselves a RTX 30 series GPUs they will be looking to gain a much needed performance boost in Cyberpunk 2077 up to 4K resolutions, as well as taking advantage of the ray tracing effects in-game.

So the next batch of test results cover the Cyberpunk 2077 ray tracing Ultra preset and resolution up to 4K. As we would expect at this point, the GPU itself becomes the bottleneck and the performance boost between higher end CPUs starts to decline. Although lower-end CPUs still see a big difference in FPS.

Currently it would appear that the top performing processor for Cyberpunk 2077 is the ¬¬p_id:2774[Ryzen 5 3600XT]¬¬, once the Cyberpunk 2077 AMD performance fix is applied. Though it is tied with the ¬¬p_id:2711[Ryzen 3 3300X]¬¬, the 1% Low FPS is much better on the 3600XT. Both CPUs got an average of 55.1fps.

However, going further down the list just over halfway down, is the ¬¬p_id:2622[Ryzen 9 3950X]¬¬ which got an average of 54.2fps. That’s not a huge difference at 4K resolution with ray tracing enabled in CP2077.

But looking at the lowest performing CPU - once again the Ryzen 3 1300X - this only achieved 25.2fps. So the difference in the lowest performing and highest performing CPUs at this graphical preset and resolution is over double. Not quite as substantial as the 77.3fps difference at 1080p Medium preset, but still significant nonetheless.

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Conclusion

When we take all the results listed above and we look at the core count and clock speeds we get some interesting results. For instance there does not seem to be a significant correlation between core count/clock speeds and performance in Cyberpunk 2077.

Obviously the pricier, higher-end CPUs perform a lot better than the cheaper, lower-end CPUs. But in terms of core counts, even the top-end ¬¬p_id:2782[Ryzen 9 5950X]¬¬ - which features 16 Cores and 32 Threads - is only the 5th best performing CPU at 1080p. 

Similarly the ¬¬p_id:2655[Core i9-10900K]¬¬, which features a boost clock of 5.3GHz, is beat out by the Ryzen 7 5800X, which has a 4.7GHz boost clock. And if you look at the base clock speeds, the Ryzen 9 5950X has a base clock of 3.4GHz, and is 3 spots above the ¬¬p_id:2730[Core i5-10600K]¬¬ which has a base clock speed of 4.1GHz.

So unfortunately this makes a core aspect of this investigation inconclusive and it would be great to get your thoughts in the comments section below, on what you feel this might be pointing to. 

The main insight we can offer is that if you are using a Ryzen 3000 series or Core i5 9th Gen processor or above, you’ll be getting among the best expected experience of CPU performance in Cyberpunk 2077. Anything lower, and your processor is likely to be a bottleneck in your system even if you have a top end GPU and plenty of system memory.

As always one of the best things we can do is collaborate and share our thoughts and findings in the comments below, to help each other better understand how to best get Cyberpunk 2077 to run smoothly on any PC. So please do share your thoughts and experiences in processor performance, and let us all know in the discussion area below! We’d love to hear your thoughts on Cyberpunk 2077 CPU performance scaling and if you’ve managed to spot a significant correlation.