The game designers at CD Projekt Red have programmed major ray traced lighting effects in their latest blockbuster, Cyberpunk 2077. And like many other Triple-A titles that came before it, playing this game at max settings requires some big–kid components.
Luckily we just happened to have some here at the studio, where we built a system almost entirely out of parts from Gigabyte.
We used an Intel Core i9 10900K socketed into a Aorus Z490 Ultra motherboard, 16 GB of Aorus desktop RAM, and a Gigabyte 2.5-inch SATA 3 SSD. We didn’t overclock, but we had an Aorus RGB Liquid Cooler with a 280mm radiator for good measure, and we put it all into a C200 Glass ATX Gaming Case.
Of course the crown gem of this masterpiece was the Aorus GeForce RTX 3080 Master 10G graphics card. This video card has some serious girth. It takes up four PCI–e slots with an extended heat sink and a three-fan design. It features customizable RGB appointments, and an LCD screen that displays GPU temperature or custom text and images of your choosing.
What does Ray Tracing do?
We cranked the graphics settings all the way up and set out to capture ray traced goodies around Night City. At first, these lighting effects might seem trivial. But with a little mindfulness, you start to see places where difference sources of light bounce off one another just like they do in real life.
The clearest example of can be seen in the glare from the wet street at the night market. With ray tracing you get incredible detail. You can see the reflection of fluorescent lights from storefronts shining onto the ground, and the reflections of passersby in the puddles.
Subtle? Sure. But these lighting effects create an immersive feel for the game play. Of course, lighting effects are a relatively small portion of the overall gameplay. Frame rates are a huge factor, and these effects require a ton of GPU power when we have them at max settings. That’s what DLSS 2.0 is for.
What is DLSS?
Short for Deep Learning Super Sampling, DLSS is an AI-powered mechanism that NVIDIA graphics cards use for scaling up game resolution. DLSS enabled games offer users a range of settings to help balance realistic lighting effects with your desired smoothness of gameplay.
How this works is, your PC renders images at a lower resolution, and then with the help of DLSS, increases the resolution to match your screen’s native dimension. Basically, your system processes a 1080p workload while you play on 1440p image.
We tested this with ray tracing at ultra, then cycled through the DLSS settings in a few very challenging scenes with lots of lighting effects. With DLSS at Auto, our FPS sat around sixty-seven or sixty-eight. You can sacrifice a few frames for more ray tracing effects, by moving DLSS to quality. That took us to about sixty fps and looked fantastic. When extra frames come in handy you can lean on DLSS a little more. With DLSS on performance cityscapes fly by noticeably smoother. We saw frames well into the eighties, with plenty of the lighting effects retained.
Check out the links below to learn more about the Gigabyte components we used for this build, and to enter Newegg Shuffle for a chance to buy Nvidia 30-series graphics cards.
Newegg Shuffle: https://newegg.io/a9f3ede
Aorus GeForece RTX Desktop Graphics Cards: https://newegg.io/112ed08
Gigabyte Aorus Intel Motherboards: https://newegg.io/16bdd81
Gigabyte Gaming Monitors: https://newegg.io/a6f7e7e