This is a solo passion project that produces quality videos with in-depth tech analysis, performance optimizations, and all things Steam Deck and gaming tech.
If you're interested in supporting the channel, please check out our Patreon page to get early access to ad-free uploads and behind-the-scenes content, as well as entry to an exclusive area on our Discord server!
Steam Deck: Cyberpunk 2077 Settings
Game Review |
While Cyberpunk 2077 already had a dedicated Steam Deck preset before, the result wasn’t very convincing. Due to the fact the game still had to manage a render target through either a rather dull in-engine dynamic resolution scaling or AMD’s very static Fidelity Super Resolution 1.0, in short FSR, even the official Steam Deck preset turned out to be more of a set of settings with a frame rate target of 30 FPS. Which the game wasn’t even able to pull off reliably on the Steam Deck most of the time.
Thanks to the work of mod developer Potato of Doom we could at least take a experimental glimpse at what the game’s performance could be utilizing AMD’s superior FSR2 solution - but aside from the factual but small performance gains, it was anything but stable and regular glitches as well as ghosting were hardly enjoyable side effects. Sure - you could have tweaked everything to your hearts content and may even ended up with a somewhat playable but ugly result; but let’s be honest - Night City deserves to be experienced with less visual trade-offs.
With update 1.61 the game finally received the real deal in terms of performance optimizations available to the Steam Deck gang. AMD’s Fidelity Super Resolution 2.1, which we have to simply call FSR2 according AMD’s naming guidelines, is comparable to Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling, short DLSS - but without big green walls around it. Long story short: The game renders at a lower base resolution while FSR2 pushes the output through an advanced upscaling and sharpening pipeline to make the result on your screen looks like natively rendered. In the past both the game and Steam Deck itself had to resort to FSR1.0, which objectively looks and performs worse due to its static nature.
Short story even shorter: Especially on devices with an AMD GPU such as the Steam Deck - the performance can finally hit a decent power level.
Patch 1.61 to the rescue
For the sake of comparison I decided to showcase three different scenarios in Night City with unlocked frame rates: An intense shootout with Maelstrom during an early mission of the game - which shouldn’t spoil too much for you, an atmospheric stroll through the Cherry Blossom Market and last but not least a joyride through the heavy traffic in the heart of Night City. While the official in-game benchmark would also act as a good data point; to my experience it’s anything but a fitting representation of the game’s overall real world performance.
The official Steam Deck graphics preset got introduced in Patch 1.5.2 but arrived in a bad state. It was a mix of high and ultra settings and had a hard time keeping the game locked at 30 FPS. With the big Edgerunners Update 1.6 they released a more polished version of that preset, which resulted in a better overall stability. 30 FPS with some regular dips into the mid-twenties. Instead of Ultra, most settings were pushed back to High instead, with some other adjustments in terms of shadows, level of detail and the lowest crowd density option. The latter helps a good amount with more CPU headroom. FSR 1.0 at Ultra Quality did the final trick and the result is something that is anything but unpleasant to look at - especially on the Steam Decks screen.
There were still some caveats; such as the in-engine frame rate cap which results in bad frame pacing most of the time and some of the chosen settings being a bit overkill at 800p overall. Due to the lack of native FSR2, this was still the get go option for anyone just looking to enjoy the game without further tinkering - at least if you’re able to deal with 30 FPS. I extensively tried to work on a Golden 40 preset for Cyberpunk 2077 back then, but without the already mentioned FSR2 DLSS mod this was nearly impossible to pull off. Since I’m the type of person that wants to get things done for once, it felt like it’s worth to wait for FSR2. And here we are now.
Patch 1.61 is here and next to the long awaited FSR2 implementation, it seems that CDPR didn’t change anything of the Steam Deck preset accordingly. Unsurprisingly though, the addition FSR2 results in a way better overall performance and stability. As you can see, the framerate goal of 30 FPS can be kept more consistently and aside from the usual data streaming stutters during quick traversal, the official Steam Deck preset is a solid 30 FPS experience now. Thing is - aside from a more stable frame rate, the game still relies on its own fps limiter, which results in anything but a good framepacing. If you plan to play the game on a locked 30 through CD Projekt Red’s preset, I would actually recommend to resort to the Steam Deck quick menu’s Wayland frame rate limit. This will ensure a perfect frame pacing, but also introduce additional input latency. The choice is yours.
The optimized Golden 40 preset
While the Steam Deck preset now definitely works as intended and delivers an enjoyable experience - especially in light of todays FSR2 implementation - I knew that you’re all here for the good stuff. I’m proud to present to you Cyberpunk 2077 running with the Golden 40.
Aside from minor hiccups and rare small dips, Night City truly shines at 40FPS by 40Hz on the Steam Deck. If you’re new here you may ask what’s all the fuzz about the rule of Golden 40 - but fear no more; as I got you covered in an older video, where I tried to extensively explain why the Golden 40 will change your way of life on Valve’s amazing piece of tech. So make sure to check it out later!
Initially optimized towards Potato of Doom’s DLSS mod, this set of settings is meant to ensure the best compromise of visuals and performance. While 30 FPS is said to be a true cinematic experience, 40FPS also massively helps with less input lag and therefor in the game’s many combat scenarios. So it’s obvious that this preset shine’s the most during the Maelstrom fight, where a consistent frame pacing aside from rare minor dips ensures the most fluid gameplay on the Steam Deck. Exploring Night City without bigger stutters is great as well and the 800p display panel set to 40Hz does a great job here. Sadly you still have to expect some issues in heavy traffic due to the game’s data streaming - but as you can see, the frame rate dips are actually smaller than before - which for example is also a result of setting Texture Quality to medium. This also pays off on the Cherry Blossom Market.
|Important disclaimer: Aside from being a framerate goal and not able to always pull off a perfect locked 40, The Golden 40 is meant to ensure the most fluid gameplay and doesn’t really aim towards better battery life at all. Still - If you want to squeeze out the most playtime, you can easily proceed to use the same set of settings, but then set the refresh rate to 60Hz, lock the frame rate to 30 and maybe even lower the FSR2 quality to balanced. Otherwise you will have to deal with an average playtime of up to two hours.|
There you have it: Cyberpunk 2077 at 40 FPS. There’s still room for improvements but it’s a good start nonetheless. I’m pretty sure, that CD Projekt Red will in general further improve the game, which might even result in a better official preset for the Steam Deck. You may even want to go a bit further in terms of optimizations - so I would love to recommend giving CryoByte33’s content a shot: While not something that applies universally, especially his latest video guide and bespoke scripts might give you another fair performance boost for Cyberpunk 2077.