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Cyberpunk 2077 might force you to upgrade your CPU

Promotional art for Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty.
CD Projekt Red

The highly anticipated expansion to Cyberpunk 2077 is just around the corner, and with the release of Phantom Liberty, many gamers might need to start thinking of upgrading their PCs. Now, CD Projekt Red has shed a little more light on the matter. It seems that some people might need to swap to one of the best CPUs, and even those already running modern hardware should still look into their cooling systems because Cyberpunk 2077 is just about to become a lot more CPU-intensive.

Filip Pierściński, who is a leading scene programmer at CD Projekt Red, shared an update regarding the game’s CPU utilization going forward. Cyberpunk 2077 is famous for requiring one of the top GPUs, but it historically hasn’t made the most out of the CPU. In fact, players had to rely on mods to boost CPU utilization, as the game itself wasn’t able to effectively utilize Intel’s hyper-threading (HT) and AMD’s simultaneous multi-threading (SMT). The good news is that those mods can now be put to rest, but the bad news is that if your hardware is a little outdated, it might struggle to run Cyberpunk 2077 for a whole new reason now.

With the patch, Cyberpunk 2077 will be updated to offer native support to eight-core and 16-thread CPUs. Pierściński predicts that the workload on an eight-core CPU should be at around 90%, meaning that the processor will be running almost at maximum capacity.

Before release CP2077 2.0 and PL please check conditions of your cooling systems in PC. We use all what you have, so workload on CPU 90% on 8 core is expected. To save your time please run Cinebench or similar and check stability of your systems 😉

— Filip Pierściński (@FilipPierciski) September 11, 2023

To make sure that your CPU is going to be fine with this type of consistently high workload, the developer recommends running a benchmark, such as Cinebench. This will give you some early insight into the stability of your system before you put it through the wringer with the latest Cyberpunk update. If you have a CPU with 12 or more cores, Pierściński suggests turning off HT/SMT, but you can test it out and see what works best for you.

It’s worth noting that this applies both to the patch and the expansion, so even if you’re not going to play Phantom Liberty, the base game itself will still be a lot more taxing on your PC than it was before — and for a game like Cyberpunk, that’s really saying something.

It’s no news that Cyberpunk 2077 is among the most demanding games you can play on PC, and it’s only bound to get more intense with the upcoming patch and expansion. CD Projekt Red, the studio behind the game, has already previously announced that it’ll be raising the system requirements with the patch. It’s also adding path tracing, making the GPU load even higher. It was about time that processors also took the hit, and while it’s tough on older hardware, let’s hope that the gaming experience will be elevated on systems that meet the new requirements.

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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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