Nvidia RTX 3080 will beat AMD Big Navi in Cyberpunk 2077 — here’s why

Cyberpunk 2077 with ray tracing
(Image credit: CD Projekt Red)

Cyberpunk 2077 is set to be one of the biggest games of 2020, and the PC could be the platform to play it on providing you have an Nvidia GeForce graphics card rather than a new AMD Radeon RX 6000 GPU

That’s because at launch, Cyberpunk 2077 will only support ray tracing on machines running Nvidia’s GeForce RTX graphics cards, with the powerful GeForce RTX 3070 and GeForce RTX 3080 being the cards to show off the game in all its near-future glory.

Despite the power and support for ray tracing, which the AMD Radeon RX 6800 XT has, Team Red’s GPUs won’t be able to run Cyberpunk 2077 at its best graphical settings, at least initially. 

Cyberpunk 2077 developers CD Project Red are working with AMD to implement ray tracing support for the game running on the new AMD graphics cards, which include the hugely powerful Big Navi, as soon as it can. What the time frame for this is remains unclear, but we’d not be surprised if such support comes in early 2021. 

Why is ray tracing a big deal in Cyberpunk 2077? 

Well, from the trailer of it enabled in the game when running on the new Ampere-based GeForce graphics cards, it makes the dystopian future setting of Night City look very realistic, with neon hues being reflected in all manner of shiny surfaces. And in a game that will want you to be immersed in its world, such a feature helps really add to that immersion.

If you’re lucky enough to have got your hands on an Xbox Series X - if not check out our where to buy Xbox Series X article - then it looks like you could enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 running with ray tracing enabled.

A trailer released shows how it compares to the game running on the Xbox One X against running on Microsoft's new flagship games console.And it appears to show some form of ray tracing being implemented.  

However, ray tracing is highly demanding on GPUs. So to run a game like Cyberpunk 2077 with full ray tracing support it would appear that a rather expensive graphics card is needed; the RTX 3070 starts at $400 and the RTX 3080 is $699, though both are pretty much impossible to find in stock. 

In short, when it comes to Cyberpunk 2077, it looks like the new Nvidia GeForce RTX graphics cards have the advantage over their AMD Radeon rivals. Whether such advantages will extend into other upcoming games has yet to been seen. 

But it makes for an interesting time in PC gaming, where we now have more competition in the graphics cards arena. That's likely to see AMD and Nvidia work on creating more impressive and keenly priced GPUs; good news for people looking to build a PC in 2021. 

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer a Managing Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.