Over the weekend, NVIDIA hit a major milestone in the adoption of their RTX technologies – 500 games and apps now support some or all of the tools available to folks who own a capable card. Sure, big games like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare III and Cyberpunk 2077: Ultimate Edition are supported (and WOW are they supported), but there’s also day-one support for games like Avatar: Frontiers of Pandora, Throne and Liberty, the entire Like a Dragon series, Marvel’s Spider-Man Remastered and Miles Morales, Microsoft Flight Simulator, and a great many more. For me, the big turning point was Cyberpunk 2077’s slow iteration from unplayable to the best looking game on the market. If I run it on my 4090 I’ll get entirely too many frames even in rasterized mode, but testing it out on an RTX 4060 Ti is interesting. Rather than just pumping out a press release, I thought I’d tell you when the RTX and DLSS technologies “clicked” for me.
First and foremost, all of my framerate measurements are a product of their time. I measured them at various points in the game’s development, and with frequent updates and improvements in drivers and features coming at a very steady pace from NVIDIA. As such, the numbers I cite could be vastly different than it would be if you tested the same things today. The more important story is the difference between rasterized and enhanced numbers as that tells the whole story. With the table set, let’s talk about testing Cyberpunk 2077 on hardware that, frankly, shouldn’t be able to run it beyond the lower levels.
The RTX 4060 Ti isn’t a card built for 4K gaming; it’s meant for solid 1080p performance. Still, I wanted to see if I could cause the card to suffer, so I cranked everything to ultra and shoved the resolution to 4K. The results were pretty solid across the board, with noticeable exceptions like Cyberpunk 2077 being a literal 8-10fps slideshow at 4K, around 45fps at 1440p, and 80fps at 1080p, rasterized. That game is notoriously hard on any card, but what difference would DLSS make?
To my surprise, enabling DLSS made the game actually playable at roughly 55fps at 4K/Ultra. A value-focused card not designed for anything beyond 1080p is able to achieve a 5X improvement, going from a slideshow to a smooth gameplay experience, and all at 4K. That’s nothing short of magic.
While the 4000 series of cards can certainly benefit from the additional power of DLSS 3 and 3.5, as well as frame generation, there’s still a lot of power in DLSS 2 for older systems. I love my Predator Triton 500, but let’s be honest – it’s long in the tooth. Could it possibly run this game at 4K with all the bells and whistles of just DLSS 2.0? Time to measure and find out.
Rasterized at 1080p, and with RT turned off, I’m seeing framerates hovering around 30 at ultra settings, with the game turning into a slideshow again in the teens at 1440p. 4K is a waste of time, hitting 1 to 2 fps, crashing, and generally being a mess. Once again, turning on Quality DLSS we saw 1080p hitting 55fps with RT off, and a stable 45 with RT enabled. 1080p sees higher numbers, of course, with RT disabled zipping between 55 and 40 depending on the scene complexity. Enabling RT seems completely absorbed by DLSS as the framerate stays exactly the same, bouncing around between 55 and 40. Switching from Quality DLSS to Ultra Performance can buy you even more performance, even at 1440p. Again – magic.
Time and again I’ve seen it in our reviews for the lower end of cards, as NVIDIA’s AI-powered super sampling technologies allowed optimized games to vastly exceed expectations, and with minimal artifacting. The word revolutionary gets thrown around a lot, but in this case it truly is. My greatest hope is that Valve uses the technology in their next Steam Deck, allowing a lower-end power-optimized device to somehow punch far above its weight. While AMD continues to innovate, they’ve not managed to achieve the same levels of success that NVIDIA’s engineering team has. I do wish that they would, as competition breeds innovation.
Celebrating the 500 milestone, NVIDIA is giving away twenty $500 Green Man Gaming Gift Cards that can be spent on any game they have to offer (RTX enabled or not). You can also win #RTXOn keycaps from NVIDIA through December. In addition, CD PROJEKT RED are joining in the fun, giving away something very special to celebrate RTX 500 and Cyberpunk 2077: Ultimate Edition. Follow Cyberpunk 2077’s official Twitter account to learn more. For details, see the RTX 500 information on GeForce.com, and for a full list of all of the RTX-enabled games and apps, check out the big list here!
Ron Burke is the Editor in Chief for Gaming Trend. Currently living in Fort Worth, Texas, Ron is an old-school gamer who enjoys CRPGs, action/adventure, platformers, music games, and has recently gotten into tabletop gaming.
Ron is also a fourth degree black belt, with a Master's rank in Matsumura Seito Shōrin-ryū, Moo Duk Kwan Tang Soo Do, Universal Tang Soo Do Alliance, and International Tang Soo Do Federation. He also holds ranks in several other styles in his search to be a well-rounded fighter.
Ron has been married to Gaming Trend Editor, Laura Burke, for 27 years. They have three dogs - Pazuzu (Irish Terrier), Atë, and Calliope (both Australian Kelpie/Pit Bull mixes).