Cyberpunk 2077 Phantom Liberty Dev Warns Gamers To Check Their PC Cooling

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Alright, PC gamers—raise your hand if you whined about Intel supposedly holding everyone back at 4 cores for most of a decade, and then after you got more cores, you immediately proceeded to crying for years about games not properly utilizing the extra CPUs. Well, now's your chance to play a game that will actually load up your central processor. We're talking of course about Cyberpunk 2077, which was already pretty rough on CPUs to begin with, but is apparently getting even heavier with the 2.0 update.

Cyberpunk 2077 is a richly-detailed open-world game that is denser than most thanks to the highly-vertical nature of its setting, Night City. At any given time you're likely to have a half-dozen floors both above and below you, and those floors are very likely to be populated with interactables like clutter items, loot, and of course, NPCs. All of that simulation takes CPU time, and while modern CPUs have become insanely-fast on a single core, there's just no way to handle that level of simulation on one core—especially on consoles.

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The game had some performance issues on consoles in the past, and while that's largely been resolved at this point—at least, if you are fine with 30 FPS gameplay—it seems like CD Projekt Red has put some more effort into optimization with the new patch. We say that because the company's lead scene programmer Filip Pierściński just tweeted the above message, warning gamers to make sure their CPU cooling is up to par, as it will apparently load 8-core chips up to 90%.

It's absolutely a valid concern. Any workload that puts that much stress on a CPU is going to cause it to heat up, and a lot of consumers—maybe even "most PC gamers"—don't bother to ever check temperatures or cooling until a technician (or techy friend) tells them to do so. It's completely believable that someone who played Cyberpunk 2077 before will load up the new, optimized version and find that it actually runs worse because their CPU is now overheating.

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Things should look more like the right side now, or even better.

If you're a novice PC gamer and you're worried that your CPU cooling isn't up to snuff, Filip's recommendation to use Cinebench for a cooling test is a decent one, but we actually wouldn't recommend it. The reason is that Cinebench will only heat up your CPU or GPU, not both at once (The latest version brought back GPU benchmarks). A better test of your cooling would be something like 3DMark, or really even better, just check temperatures and clocks during an intense 3D game that uses multiple cores well—like, say, Cyberpunk 2077 already does.

Notably, in a reply, Filip says that 8-core AMD CPUs will be "natively supported" by the game now, meaning that they will no longer need the "SMT tweak" to be enabled by a mod. While this is great news, and we're glad to see the change, we do have to wonder why it took nearly three years for this fix to make its way into the codebase. Filip also says that systems with 12 or more cores may not benefit from having SMT enabled, but given the history with SMT tweaks and the game, we might like to test that for ourselves. Let us know in the comments if you're interested in seeing CPU performance scaling tests with Cyberpunk 2077: Phantom Liberty!