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Cyberpunk 2077 just pulled the rug out from under low-end PCs

Cyberpunk 2077 has always ranked high in the list of the most demanding games you could play on a PC. The upcoming Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty expansion was bound to push the limits even more.

However, now we know that it’s not just the new release that’s going to require more power from your PC. The base game is also receiving an update to the minimum system requirements, and by the looks of it, many people might need to upgrade their computers in order to play comfortably.

Updated system requirements for Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

CD Projekt Red, the studio behind Cyberpunk 2077, just announced six sets of updated system requirements for the game, ranging from 30 frames per second (fps) at 1080p on low settings to 4K on Overdrive mode. Although these changes are labeled as Phantom Liberty, the forum post clarifies that they will also affect the base game.

To play the game at the absolute bare minimum, meaning 30 fps on low settings at 1080p, you’ll now need at least an Intel Core i7-6700 or an AMD Ryzen 5 1600, and an Nvidia GTX 1060 or Radeon RX 580. Even Intel’s Arc A380 wiggles its way in here. You’ll also need, at the very least, 12GB RAM, which serves as further proof of the rising RAM requirements in new games. An SSD is also necessary.

Now, if we compare these specs to the previous minimum requirement, there’s definitely been a bump. Based on old specs posted by CD Projekt Red two years ago, the CPU requirement is now equivalent to the one that used to be recommended for 4K gaming with ray tracing enabled on Ultra settings. The GPU is equivalent to the previous preset for 1080p gaming on high settings. Similarly, 12GB RAM used to be enough for playing at 1440p and on high settings, but that’s not true anymore.

The system requirements rise exponentially. Even if you’re sticking to 1080p, playing at high settings while maintaining a comfortable 60 fps will cost you as you’ll need an Intel Alder Lake processor, or an AMD Ryzen 7 7800X, which is arguably one of the best gaming CPUs out right now. It’s only a few months old at this point. GPU recommendations for this resolution include an RTX 2060 Super, Radeon RX 5700 XT, or an Intel Arc A770.

The other presets are more of the same, really — higher specs all across the board. The maximum preset introduces some of the highest system requirements we’ve seen in any game so far, including an Intel Core i9-12900, Ryzen 9 7900X, 16GB RAM, and — drumroll — one of Nvidia’s best graphics cards, the RTX 4080.

Do you need to upgrade your PC?

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The update to system requirements for the Phantom Liberty DLC is not unexpected at all. However, many gamers didn’t expect an update to the specs for the base game, and the forum post was met with a lot of negativity in the comments.

“It’s important to highlight that it doesn’t mean the game will stop working on the previous minimum requirements. However, following the next update to the base game, we will discontinue active support for them and stop testing the game on those setups,” CD Projekt Red notes.

We’ve tested the RTX 4080 ourselves, and it’s true that it does a good job of running Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K with ray tracing enabled, but only if you enable Nvidia’s DLSS 3. It maxed out at 29 fps without DLSS, but managed to average 80 fps without frame generation and 114 fps with it enabled.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

It’s important to note that the RTX 4080 isn’t the only GPU that can handle Cyberpunk 2077 pretty well. As you can see in the above chart, many GPUs are able to run it at 4K if you forgo ray tracing. The RTX 4070, which only costs $600 (compared to the $1,200 RTX 4080) averages 86 fps at 4K with DLSS 3 enabled. Of course, it’s not even a 4K GPU to begin with, so it’ll do better at 1080p and 1440p. Even the last-gen RX 6950 XT does a decent job.

Of course, these results may change if CD Projekt Red introduces major graphic updates in the patch. For now, the studio gave its players “at least 90 days” before the update drops and the frame rates drop alongside it.

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Monica J. White
Monica is a UK-based freelance writer and self-proclaimed geek. A firm believer in the "PC building is just like expensive…
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