Overdrive Mode

Cyberpunk 2077 launched in December 2020 with three options for enhanced graphics with ray tracing: reflections, sun shadows, and lighting – but only on PCs with Nvidia RTX GPU. Patch 1.3 in March 2021 enabled ray tracing for PCs with AMD Radeon GPU. Patch 1.5 in February 2022 added a new ray tracing option local shadows which joined the existing options on PC, and became the first and only ray tracing available for this game on consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X only).

Now patch 1.62 in April 2023 adds a new ray tracing option for PC called Overdrive Mode. This replaces all previous ray tracing options with a single unified solution that applies physically-modeled lighting, shadow, and reflections to every surface in the game.

The screenshots below were taken on a laptop with Nvidia RTX 3070 Max-P 8GB. It looks great standing still at 1080p but doesn’t run smoothly due to the game requiring around 10GB VRAM with ray tracing enabled, even at the lowest possible settings. DLSS is unable to solve that problem. On my desktop PC with AMD Radeon RX 6800 16GB it runs smooth but looks terrible upscaled from 960×540 with FSR2.

Ultra graphics preset without ray tracing. The red light is reflected on the metal wall by a technique called Screen Space Reflections (SSR).
Ultra Ray Tracing preset combines SSR with physically-modeled reflections, lighting, and shadows. The reflection of the red light is now also reflected on the floor. Reflections are visible on the car, and it has a shadow underneath now. The tree and building outisde are brighter but the tree is too bright with no shadow.
Ray Tracing Overdrive Mode replaces the old ray tracing system by simulating the bounces of light throughout the entire scene from every light source. The entire alley is darker due to more accurate lighting and shadows. The white light above the red light is brighter and also casts light now, and the tree outside is correctly shadowed.

Build a game console with Ryzen 5600G

In 2012 Valve released “Big Picture Mode” for their Steam game distribution platform. This new user interface mode was intended for use on home TVs with a wireless game controller, essentially bringing a console-style living room gaming experience to PC.

In 2015 Valve collaborated with PC manufacturers to launch a range of home game consoles running their “SteamOS” Linux operating system. This “Steam Machine” initiative was a failure due to the low number of Steam games with native Linux support at the time.

In 2018 Valve added “Proton” to Steam to enable running Windows games on Linux without native support. Then in 2022 Valve launched their own “Steam Deck” handheld gaming PC with a new version of SteamOS and improved Proton, this time finding commercial success with a vastly improved library of games supported.

I tried SteamOS and Proton in 2019 with poor results. Many of the Windows games I tested either didn’t run, or had obvious graphical issues, or ran significantly slower than on Windows.

This is my experiment to answer the questions: Has Linux gaming with Steam improved in 2022? Is the integrated GPU in AMD’s Ryzen 5600G powerful enough to be a game console? Is 8GB RAM sufficient? Is it possible to set this up without typing strange commands into the Linux terminal?

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Cyberpunk 2077 on Surface Go 2: RTX Online

Cyberpunk is a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a combination of low-life and high tech. Notable examples include novels Neuromancer (1984) and Snow Crash (1992), movies Blade Runner (1982), Ghost in the Shell (1995), The Matrix (1999), and the computer game Deus Ex (2000).

The tabletop role playing game Cyberpunk was written by Mike Pondsmith and published by R. Talsorian Games in 1988, followed by the sequels Cyberpunk 2020 in 1990, Cyberpunk V3.0 in 2005, and Cyberpunk Red in 2020.

The computer game Cyberpunk 2077, based on the tabletop game, was announced in May 2012 by developer and publisher CD Projekt Red. Trailers for the game were released in January 2013, at E3 2018, and at E3 2019 where an initial release date of 16 April 2020 was announced. The game was delayed to 17 September, then 19 November, and finally 10 December.

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Testing a Titan

We recently acquired a Nvidia GTX Titan graphical processing unit (GPU) for statistical computing at work, specifically double-precision floating point operations on the CUDA API. Before I lock it away in the server room I would like to see how it compares to my primary GPU at home – a Nvidia GTX 680, and my older GPUs – a pair of AMD Radeon HD 5770. This act of comparison is called benchmarking – running a number of standard tests and trials in order to assess the relative performance of a piece of hardware or software.

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