Cyberpunk 2077Overdrive mode with full path tracing (rather than some ray tracing effects) dropped this morning as an in-game tech preview. As expected, it’s stunningly beautiful, and it will absolutely melt your graphics card– unless you’re using a modern GeForce RTX 40-series GPU, that is. Even then, sledding can be tough, as our references show.
Nvidia worked with CD Projekt Red to create Overdrive mode, which showcases the glorious experience that switching to fully traced visuals can provide. Cyberpunk 2077 already looked gorgeous. With Overdrive mode, it’s beautiful.
Full path tracing is extraordinarily annoying on graphics cards. There’s a reason it was reserved for the likes of Minecraft, Quake IIAnd Portal 2 until now. But the ray tracing and AI advancements that Nvidia has baked into the bones of the RTX 40 series, namely Reorganization of shader execution and AI supercharged DLSS 3 frame generation – enables the latest and greatest GeForce cards to run Cyberpunk 2077 in the traced glory.
Further reading: How DLSS 3 uses AI to boost game frame rates
You need that 40-series grunt too. In its release notes for the patch that added Overdrive mode (with Nvidia DLAA, Intel XeSS, and a revamped benchmark screen), CD Projekt Red states “it requires the highest performing hardware available to run it properly” . Only the RTX 40-series lineup is technically supported, along with the latest-gen RTX 3090 flagship, and this former titan is only rated to hit 30fps at 1080p resolution, per CDPR. Raw. Wonderfully raw!
Other users have found that Overdrive mode actually works on other graphics cards, even Radeon graphics integrated into Ryzen chips!—but the new feature brings even AMD’s flagship Radeon RX 7900 XTX to its knees.
And that’s with FSR 2, AMD’s DLSS rival, active. Phew.
I spent the morning playing with Cyberpunk 2077Overdrive mode on all of Nvidia’s current RTX 40-series cards, to give you an idea of what to expect in terms of performance when you enable path tracing. Here’s a video showing what it looks like, courtesy of a first look at Digital Foundry:
You will find Cyberpunk 2077 Overdrive mode performance results for the $1,600 GeForce RTX 4090, $1,200RTX 4080And $900 RTX 4070Ti below. They have all been tested on our usual GPU benchmarking systemwhich runs on a Ryzen 9 5900X processor paired with 32GB of memory.
We only tested with Overdrive active, at 1440p and 4K resolutions, using the new Overdrive preset. Playing the game without enabling path tracing results in much higher frame rates, as shown in our previous GPU reviews. We then tested the game with DLSS enabled and manually set to Performance mode. (You can get slightly higher frame rates using Ultra Performance mode, but this made the upscaled image look terribly jagged and glitchy in our tests. Performance seems good). Finally, we also switched to DLSS 3 Frame Generation to see how fast this pup can go.
Here are the results:
Nvidia and CDPR are not kidding when they say Cyberpunk 2077Overdrive mode can even bring those monstrous GPUs to their knees. Without active DLSS, even the RTX 4090 struggles to spit 20 frames per second at 4K, with the 4070 Ti hitting single digits. Ouch. Switching to DLSS Performance mode alone gets you to the gold standard of 60fps at 1440p resolution, but these results reveal a hard truth: you need DLSS Frame Gen to achieve smooth playable frame rates in Overdrive mode, especially at 4K resolution.
That said, if you like drool-worthy gameplay photos, CDPR has thrown you a bone. From the patch notes:
“For other ray-tracable PC graphics cards with at least 8GB of VRAM, we’ve included an option to render traced screenshots in photo mode. This is possible because it means rendering only one frame, as opposed to rendering multiple frames every second (i.e. FPS), which would happen when playing the game…
If your graphics card has more than 8 GB of VRAM and this option is still grayed out, it means you need to lower your resolution in-game. Note that the higher the resolution and the less powerful the GPU, the longer it will take to take a screenshot (from a few seconds to several minutes). You can enable Path Tracing for Photo mode in Settings > Graphics in the Ray Tracing section.
So here is. Cyberpunk 2077The story of redemption continues with Overdrive mode, one of the most impressive technical feats ever in gaming graphics. Driving around Night City for a bit made my jaw drop and my graphics card sweat. If you have an Nvidia GeForce RTX 40-series GPU, you definitely need to see it in action.
Don’t forget to turn on Generation of DLSS 3 frames!