It's likely to go down in history as one of the greatest E3 demos, its iconic status only embellished by the fact that outside of behind-closed-doors visitors, nobody has actually seen it. But the trailer footage looks sensational and reports of Cyberpunk 2077's gameplay are stoking plenty of excitement. And now, we have confirmation of the PC hardware that was actually running it.
CD Projekt RED's junior community specialist Alicja Kozera posted on the game's Discord channel that Intel's Core i7 8700K was the CPU of choice for the demo, while Nvidia's GTX 1080 Ti provided the all-important graphics component. Digital Foundry's John Linneman witnessed the demo first-hand during E3 and noted that the game - which was fully playable and running entirely in real-time - was operating at a capped 30 frames per second on a large 4K screen, though it was unclear whether the in-development code itself was rendering at native ultra HD. John reports that performance was smooth by and large, but there were some occasional performance drops.
It's worth pointing out that CDPR brought along a development build of the game, rather than a vertical slice that would have been optimised specifically for demo purposes. In effect, what lucky attendees saw was a game clearly in a very early stage of development but still running rather well overall. Here's the full demo PC spec, as revealed by CDPR. The extent to which the current demo requires such a large amount of memory and state-of-the-art storage remains to be seen.
- Processor: Intel Core i7 8700K at 3.70GHz
- Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix Z370-I Gaming
- Memory: GSkill Ripjaws 5, 2x16GB 3000MHz CL15
- Graphics Card: Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti
- Storage: Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB M.2 PCIe
- Power Supply: Corsair SF600 600W
It's a powerful PC for sure, but to be fair, assuming that the game was rendering at native 4K resolution - in line with the trailer footage that CDPR has released - that's actually not a bad showing for the debut demonstration of REDEngine 4, on a title that's still deep in development. Certainly from a graphics perspective, a GTX 1080 Ti delivering smooth, playable frame-rates at 4K would indicate similar (if not better) performance for the title running at 1440p on a GTX 1070, or 1080p on a GTX 1060. And by extension, assuming a 2020 release for the game, the GTX 1080 Ti would have been replaced by that point with 11 or even 12-series Nvidia counterparts with improved price/performance ratios.
And bearing in mind the sheer scale and scope of the demo - which does seem to have next-gen as its primary target, based on our observations - even now we'd consider this demo a remarkable achievement based on the hardware it is running on, the resolution we think it's running at, and the fact that we're so far out from release. We'll be putting together a more focused Digital Foundry report on the Cyberpunk 2077 demo soon, but in the here and now, let's just say that John's rather excited about this game.