Nvidia Shows Off Gorgeous Cyberpunk 2077 Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode

Published: April 4, 2023 10:24 AM /


A woman making a heart symbol against a Night City backdrop in Cyberpunk 2077

Nvidia has released a new trailer showing off Cyberpunk 2077's Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode, which will bring full path tracing to the game. In essence, if you've got a hefty graphics card, then you'll be able to use this mode to see Night City in a whole new light.

Helpfully, Nvidia explains the difference between standard ray tracing and path tracing in the trailer itself. Path tracing "simulates light throughout the entire scene" rather than doing so separately for factors like shadows and reflections, which is how standard ray tracing works. Rather than a limited number of light sources, path tracing "models all properties of light from an unlimited number of emissive sources". 


If you're not technically-minded, then in simple terms, this basically means Ray Tracing: Overdrive Mode will make Night City look more realistically lit, with more accurate reflections, shadows, and lighting. You can take a look at Nvidia's trailer, which shows the technology in action, right here.

The trailer also shows DLSS 3 tech in action, massively improving Cyberpunk 2077's framerate even with the new full ray tracing option enabled. The jumps are pretty drastic; where the player was previously hitting around 16-17fps in a city scene, DLSS 3 enables them to reach 125fps or more. The specs for that particular jump aren't revealed, but it's clear Nvidia wants DLSS 3 to seem pretty impressive.

Of course, if you want to take full advantage of the new path tracing, then you're going to need a pretty good rig to match. Nvidia's capture specs use an RTX 4090 and an Intel i9-12900K processor, with 32GB of RAM. That's all using Cyberpunk 2077's new Overdrive graphics preset, with Nvidia Reflex and DLSS 3 both enabled. If you're still rocking an RTX 2080 Ti like me, you might want to think twice before enabling that Overdrive preset.


According to Nvidia, the "technology preview" for this new mode arrives on April 11th, and the full release is "coming soon". We'll have to wait and see when Overdrive Mode is released in full, but one thing's for sure: it'll push your setup to its absolute limit.

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December 10, 2020 (Calendar)