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Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Playable path tracing on an RTX 3050 – New mod for Cyberpunk makes it possible

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Cyberpunk 2077 RT Overdrive is made playable even on the weakest RTX graphics card with a new mod. How does it work?

Cyberpunk 2077 has received a new update that brings with it a ray tracing mode called RT Overdrive. The new mode offers incredibly realistic lighting, but it is also extremely computationally intensive.

According to CD Projekt Red, this mode requires at least an Nvidia RTX 4000 series graphics card or an RTX 3090, which means that many PC gamers will be shut out and can only make do with path tracing in photo mode at best – at least so far.

Now there’s a new mod that allows even the weakest RTX graphics card to enjoy path tracing at playable frame rates.

20 to 35 percent more performance thanks to mod

With the (new mod) from developer “Erok and Scorn”, the performance in RT overdrive mode can be increased by up to 35 percent, according to Digital Foundry. But how can that be?

The solution: The number that light reflects off surfaces is reduced from twice to once.

This saves an enormous amount of processing power, making it possible to even play the game at playable frame rates with the RTX 3050, currently Nvidia’s weakest ray tracing graphics card. 

This stays above 30 FPS in most scenes with the mod enabled, DLSS performance and 1080p resolution – and that’s with path tracing enabled. The Geforce RTX 3070 even manages 1440p resolution with it, though it can fall below the 30 FPS limit at the frame rate in some places in the game. 

Owners of AMD graphics cards can also get a decent performance boost with the mod, though the gain is lower compared to Nvidia graphics cards. Digital Foundry has tested the RX 6800 XT for this: in 1080p resolution and FSR 2.0 Balanced, the AMD graphics card comes to a relatively stable 30 frames per second, with occasional fluctuations towards 20. 

PC gamers with Intel Arc graphics cards still have to be patient. Currently, RT-Overdrive resembles a slide show on Intel graphics cards. According to Digital Foundry, this is said to be due to driver problems and not a lack of performance.

What sacrifices have to be made visually? 

Although the surface reflection has been practically halved, the game still looks very impressive and still better than in “normal” ray tracing mode. Most of the differences will be seen in the reflections. With the mod installed, some details are missing in these. In addition, shadows are a lot darker because less light is reflected from walls and other surfaces.

The compromise is acceptable: All in all, the visual sacrifices are visible, but they are not so severe. And above all, they make it possible for significantly more PC gamers to play with path tracing.

By the way, reducing the number of surface reflections is nothing new: In Portal RTX, this is a setting you can easily find in the game.

Now it’s your turn: if you own Cyberpunk 2077 and a ray tracing capable graphics card, give it a try yourself. To install the mod, all you have to do is extract the contents of the ZIP file into the game’s root directory. Then tell us in the comments if you were able to achieve a playable result with it.

Age: 24 Origin: Germany Hobbies: gaming, football, table tennis Profession: Online editor, student


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