Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 Update Doesn't Faze The Steam Deck

Steam Deck
Steam Deck (Image credit: Valve)

Fear not, Steam Deck owners! Cyberpunk 2077 is still playable despite the steeper system requirements associated with the new 2.0 update. German publication Computerbase has put the gaming handheld through its paces on the latest version of the game.

The Cyberpunk 2077 2.0 update improves the base game with many significant enhancements. However, the embracement of Nvidia's DLSS 3.5 Ray Reconstruction technology is the belle of the ball, considerably making the game look even better than it already was. Rationally, the improvements have increased the system requirements to run the game. For example, an SSD is a must now, and CD Projekt Red advises consumers not to run Cyberpunk 2077 on a conventional hard drive or SD card in the case of the Steam Deck, as the lower bandwidth will likely hinder how the new content is streamed.

The system requirements are higher, but they're still very much reasonable. Cyberpunk 2077 only commands a quad-core processor, 6GB of memory, 70GB SSD, and a somewhat modern graphics card with 6GB of memory as the minimum. The Steam Deck ticks all the boxes except for the graphics portion. As we already know, the custom AMD Zen 2 SoC (Aerith) inside the Steam Deck only has eight RDNA 2 compute units (CUs) up to 1.6 GHz at the chip's disposal. But it should be fine since the Steam Deck outputs games at a 1280x800 resolution, which isn't as taxing as 1080p (1920x1080). Valve's gaming handheld also taps AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution 2 (FSR 2) technology to improve frame rates further.

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PresetAverage Frame FPS1% Lows
Low, FSR “Balanced”33.225.4
Steam Deck30.222.0
Medium, FSR “Balanced”30.021.9
High, FSR “Balanced”25.619.2

The Steam Deck, running on SteamOS 3.5 Preview, delivered an average frame rate around the 30 FPS mark at medium image settings and lower. The gaming handheld posted the best result at low settings with FSR on the balanced preset, achieving an average frame rate of 33.2 FPS and a 1% low of 25.4 FPS.

Cyberpunk 2077 has a particular Steam Deck preset that balances performance and image fidelity. According to Computerbase's benchmarks, the Steam Deck preset attained average frame rates of 30.2 FPS and a 1% low of 22 FPS. The results are similar to using the medium preset with FSR on balanced. Computerbase subjectively claims that the medium preset looks better than the Steam Deck preset.

Sadly, the high preset is out of reach for the Steam Deck. Even FSR can't rescue the gaming handheld from the taxing graphics. We're looking at 25.6 FPS and 19.2 FPS for average frame rates and 1% low, respectively, at high settings with FSR on balanced.

CD Projekt Red puts a lot of effort into optimizing Cyberpunk 2077 for the different platforms. Contrary to the PC or current generation consoles, such as the PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X, the Steam Deck, a gaming handheld, doesn't have the same amount of firepower. It's great that mobile gamers can still enjoy Cyberpunk 2077 at a reasonable image quality and performance. The Phantom Liberty DLC is another story, though, as the developer cautions that it'll push the processor to the max.

Zhiye Liu
News Editor and Memory Reviewer

Zhiye Liu is a news editor and memory reviewer at Tom’s Hardware. Although he loves everything that’s hardware, he has a soft spot for CPUs, GPUs, and RAM.

  • lilgawain
    With a mix of medium/low (only using low when there is no medium) and XESS Performance, which doesn't look bad at all, I'm rarely dropping below 35fps with the Deck set @ 40hz.
  • derekullo
    We've come a long way since the gameboy advance!
  • lilgawain
    derekullo said:
    We've come a long way since the gameboy advance!
    We have, but the GBA's library features a bounty of riches that will endure.
  • NaviiX
    lilgawain said:
    We have, but the GBA's library features a bounty of riches that will endure.
    You can play the entire GBA library on the steam deck for free.

    Also using XeSS over FSR you are losing fps. XeSS is built for Intel GPU's and taxes Radeon more heavily. I mean sometimes it's even worse than native performance.
  • Giroro
    The High Preset is only 9 frames less than Low FSR? That doesn't seem right... Is it CPU bound?