Cyberpunk 2077 Adds Intel XeSS For A Massive Performance Lift On Arc GPUs

Cyberpunk 2077 screenshot.
CD Projekt Red recently rolled out an update to Cyberpunk 2077 that adds support for Intel's XeSS upscaling technology and according to Intel, owners of its Arc series discrete GPUs can expect a fairly substantial performance bump. As in, a massive 71 percent increase in average framerates when playing on an Arc A750 graphics card.

It's worth highlighting that in our Arc A770 and A750 review, we commented that we were "particularly pleased with how well Itnel seems to have implemented XeSS this early in the game." That's back when the cards had just released to retail. Since then, Intel has done an admirable job optimizing things on the driver side. That's especially true with regards to older DirectX 9 games, though not exclusively.

In this case, Intel is crediting Cyberpunk 2077's developers for the latest performance gain on discrete Arc GPU hardware.

"Good news gamers! Cyberpunk 2077 will run even faster now on Intel Arc GPUs thanks to XeSS. Thanks to the efforts of CDPR’s developers, they implemented the tech and released a patch that boosts performance significantly. This comes in handy if you play with ray tracing features on.," Intel states in a blog post.

Intel slide showing Cyberpunk 2077 benchmarks on its Arc A750 GPU.

We haven't tested this ourselves, but Intel says it measured a 71 percent increase on a test system consisting of a Core i9-13900K processor, ASUS ROG Maximus Z790 Hero motherboard (BIOS 0904), 32GB (2x16GB) Cosair Dominator Platinum DDR5-5600 memory, 4GB Corsair MP Pro XT NVMe SSD, and a Arc A750 Limited Edition graphics card.

That's a massive increase for sure, especially when all it requires is flipping a switch. More importantly, it propels the game into 60 frames per second territory.

Intel said it made the jump from 39 to 67 FPS when playing at 1080p with Ultra settings and the RT set at medium. The company also notes that it ran the 'Performance' setting for XeSS.

This is notable because it's the more aggressive of the two settings available when enabling XeSS, the other being 'Quality'. When set in Performance mode, the Arc GPU renders the game at 960x540 and then upscales it to 1920x1080. As the name implies, the focus here is on performance. Quality mode, on the other hand, renders at 1280x720 before upscaling for better image quality (go figure).

Intel Arc A770 and A750 graphics cards.

We can't comment on the visual difference(s) in Cyberpunk 2077, because again we haven't tested this on an Arc GPU yet. It's also worth mentioning that Arc owners have the option of using AMD's FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) upscaling. So perhaps if time and interest permits, we'll run some comparison tests.

Caveats aside, it's nice to see developers take advantage of Arc's capabilities. Doing so only increase the bang-for-buck proposition, which is already attractive—you can find the Arc A750 LE for $249.99 and the Arc A770 8GB for $289.99. Meanwhile, you can find the Arc A770 16GB for $399.99 (Acer Predator BiFrost model), though we've seen it for as low as $339.99.