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How to build a gaming PC for Cyberpunk 2077

Cyberpunk 2077 is finally — and “finally” is really the only word to use here — in the hands of gamers around the world. As Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 players unbox their copies, however, PC gamers are scrambling to find parts to make Night City look the best it can.

Even amid one of the worst stock shortages the PC gaming space has faced in quite some time, we’re going to show you how to build a gaming PC for Cyberpunk 2077. We have three builds below, each targeting a different budget. We’ll spec the builds here and talk about what they’re capable of. If you’re still learning about putting all the parts together, make sure to read our guide on how to build a PC.

Note that we didn’t include CPU coolers or the price of a Windows key in our builds. You can get Windows 10 for either very cheap or free — our guide will show you how to do it — and you can browse our lists of the best CPU coolers and best AIO coolers if you need recommendations there. Many new CPUs ship with a simple cooler in the box, though it’s worth checking that before buying.

Graphics card supply problems

At the end of 2020, graphics cards of all sorts are difficult to find at reasonable prices. We have done our best to suggest GPUs that you can actually buy at prices that aren’t ridiculous, but often these cards sell out very quickly. We will offer alternatives where we can, so that you have an option, but if you want to run Cyberpunk 2077 at high resolution and details, you may need to wait until 2021 when graphics card pricing and supply problems are expected to stabilize.

Cyberpunk 2077 system requirements

Before getting to our recommended configurations, let’s take a look at Cyberpunk 2077’s system requirements. Following Ubisoft’s lead with recent releases like Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, CD Projekt Red actually has recommended configurations for several quality levels and resolutions, which you can see below.

CD Projekt Red

Looking at the specs, it’s clear Cyberpunk 2077 is a highly scalable game, and even the Ultra system requirements aren’t too bad. You can get by with an older GPU, and even at High settings, you can skip back quite a few generations when it comes to a CPU (especially with Intel’s processors). RAM is a bit different. CD Projekt recommends 8GB at Minimum and 16GB at Ultra, with 12GB recommendations sandwiched in between. 12GB memory kits are uncommon, to say the least, typically only showing up in pre-built systems. We’ll be sticking with 16GB for our builds.

It’s real-time ray tracing that’s the killer. You can see CD Projekt Red recommends an RTX 3080 paired with a fairly recent Ryzen 5, or a slightly beefier, older Intel Core i7 and 16GB of RAM. Ray-tracing is still very hardware intensive, so we recommend turning it off or tweaking your other settings unless you’re using the latest in PC hardware.

It’s very hard to find at the end of 2020, though. RTX 30-series graphics cards, as well as Ryzen 5000 processors and AMD’s new RX 6800 XT and 6900 XT, are all sold out almost everywhere.

Best budget PC build for Cyberpunk 2077 (around $600)

Our budget configuration goes slightly beyond Cyberpunk 2077′s Minimum system requirements, pushing into the Recommended tier. This build should run Cyberpunk 2077 at around 60 frames per second at 1080p with Medium settings — maybe even High, in some cases — and ray tracing disabled.

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 3 3300X ($120)
  • Motherboard: ASRock B450M-HDV ($60)
  • RAM: Team T-Force Vulcan 7 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3000 ($55)
  • Storage: Seagate Barracuda 2TB 7,200RPM ($55)
  • Graphics card: MSI Armor OC RX 580 8GB ($210)
  • Case: Cooler Master MasterBox Q300L ($45)
  • Power supply: Corsair CV 550W 80+ Bronze ($58)
  • Total build price: $603

There are obvious concessions we made. Mainly, this build is configured with a single 2TB mechanical hard drive, which will not only make load times longer, but also make Windows feel more sluggish in general. If you can afford an extra $30 to $50, pick up a small-capacity SSD to store Windows and Cyberpunk 2077 on, such as the Samsung Evo 860 500GB.

We made that concession for a reason, however. The extra $50 gave us a little more room to splurge on a Ryzen 3 3300X CPU instead of the recommended Ryzen 3200G. The reason why is simple: The 3200G doesn’t support simultaneous multithreading. Both of them are quad-core processors, but the extra threads on the 3300X will translate to some performance gains while playing. Plus it’s unlocked, allowing you to overclock the 3300X with our ASRock B450M motherboard pick. The 3300X is struggling to stay in stock, however, so swap it for the 3200G if you need to build your PC now.

As a quick note, the ASRock B450M may need a BIOS update before it’s compatible with the 3300X. In that case, you’ll need to request an update at a retailer or request a boot kit from AMD.

The GPU powering Cyberpunk is an RX 580 8GB card from MSI, falling in line with the Recommended system requirements. The RX 580 is an older card that’s starting to show its age, but with a whopping 8GB of video memory, it should still be plenty for Cyberpunk 2077. 

Other important notes include 16GB of RAM, simply because RAM prices are so cheap right now (the difference between a 2 x 4GB kit and 2 x 8GB kit was only $10). We also chose an inexpensive MasterBox Q300L case that should fit the MicroATX board nicely, as well as a non-modular 80+ Bronze 550W power supply from Corsair.

Recommended PC build for Cyberpunk 2077 (around $1,200)

This build meets the High system requirements, targeting above 60 frames per second at 1440p with High to Ultra settings. With an extra-powerful processor and graphics card that exceeds the RT Minimum requirements, you can dip into real-time ray tracing with this build, too.

  • CPU: Intel Core i5-10600K ($260)
  • Motherboard: MSI Z490 Gaming Plus ($170)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-3200 ($70)
  • Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 1TB M.2 SSD ($130)
  • Graphics card: EVGA RTX 2060 Super 8GB ($430)
  • Case: NZXT H510 ($70)
  • Power supply: Cooler Master MWE 650W 80+ Gold ($110)
  • Total build price: $1,240

The CPU choice is interesting. Originally, we specced the 6-core, 12-thread Ryzen 5 3600X at $250, but it’s out of stock at most retailers as of late 2020. The 10600K is slightly more expensive — between $10 and $30, depending on where you pick one up — but it matches the 3600X with six cores and 12 threads.

Intel’s 10600K bloats the overall price of the build, not because the processor is more expensive, but because the motherboard is. Our recommendation is a MSI Z490 Gaming Plus motherboard, which is a full-sized ATX board that supports overclocking. Overclocking headroom is really a point in Intel’s favor, so make sure you stick with the Z490 chipset if you’re buying a “K” — or unlocked — processor. You can save around $50 by going with AMD with a B450 or B550 motherboard, if you can find a processor in stock.

The biggest change from our budget build is a RTX 2060 Super. It’s not only a much more powerful card than the RX 580, but it also comes with dedicated ray-tracing cores. Although it still falls short of Cyberpunk‘s RT Ultra requirements, the 2060 Super should be enough for medium ray-tracing settings at 1080p. You’ll likely need to disable ray tracing at 1440p. The 2060 Super is out of stock as of late 2020, so consider AMD’s 5700 XT as a replacement if you don’t care about ray tracing.

Otherwise, we included a larger NZXT H510 case to accommodate the ATX motherboard, a super-fast Samsung 970 Evo M.2 SSD, and a larger, 80+ Gold certified power supply from Cooler Master. We also upgraded to a Corsair Vengeance LPX memory kit, which is rated for slightly faster speeds than the budget kit.

4K Ultra settings with ray tracing PC build for Cyberpunk 2077 (around $1,600)

Our 4K ultra build throws price out the window, targeting above 60 frames per second at 4K with High to Ultra settings. Outside of fidelity and frame rate, this build specifically targets high ray-tracing settings with the latest components from Nvidia and AMD.

  • CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 5600X ($300)
  • Motherboard: Asus TUF Gaming X570-Plus Wi-Fi ($190)
  • RAM: Corsair Vengeance LPX 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDRy-3200 ($70)
  • Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 1TB M.2 SSD ($130)
  • Graphics card: Nvidia RTX 3080 ($700)
  • Case: Fractal Design Meshify C ($80)
  • Power supply: Cooler Master MWE 650W 80+ Gold ($110)
  • Total build price: $1,580

The 5600X is a serious step up from the aforementioned 3600X, even if the two look similar on paper. It has six cores and 12 threads, far exceeding CD Projekt Red’s CPU recommendation for RT Ultra settings. Again, however, stock is an issue. If you’re purely focused on gaming, stick with an Intel 10600K or 10700K. If you want to use your computer outside of Night City, either wait for more plentiful stock of the 5600X or spring for a Ryzen 3700X.

To complement the processor, we chose an Asus TUF Gaming X570 board with Wi-Fi. It comes with all of the bells and whistles of AMD’s flagship chipset, with support for memory speeds up to 4,400MHz, two M.2 expansion slots, and support for front-panel USB 3.2.

Most of the extra price is going toward the RTX 3080 GPU inside this build, however. The RTX 3080 launch was notoriously bad, and even months after launch, Nvidia has yet to replenish stock. There really isn’t a suitable replacement for the RTX 3080 for this kind of build — the competing RX 6800 XT is experiencing similar stock issues. If you need to build the computer now, we recommend putting the other parts together and using a different GPU until the 3080 comes back in stock.

Otherwise, the build is identical to the recommended build above. The only other difference is a Fractal Design Meshify C for a case, which isn’t any better than the H510. It’s just another option, really.

Cyber-punked

It’s a cruel joke CD Projekt Red is playing on gamers right now, with one of the biggest video game launches of the past few years amid one of the most difficult times to find PC parts. As you can see from our builds above, however, you can put together an excellent gaming PC for Cyberpunk 2077 in 2020 no matter your budget, even if you have to make a few concessions along the way.

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