YouTuber Maximum Fury recently tested Cyberpunk 2077's latest 2.0 update in a modified variant of Fedora Linux, called Nobara, and found the open-source OS to be a whopping 31% faster than Windows 11 with the same system hardware. It's a curious result, and it's not clear what's causing the difference — the AMD GPU, Windows, or something else.
The YouTuber utilized a Ryzen 5 5600-based system for testing, featuring a B550 motherboard, 16GB of DDR4 memory, and a Radeon RX 5700 XT graphics card. The CPU, memory, and GPU were overclocked (and undervolted in the case of the CPU and GPU), to eek out the maximum amount of performance from the system.
Using Cyberpunk 2077's built-in benchmark, the 5600 system was able to achieve 63.72 average FPS using what appears to be the ultra preset, running at 1080p on Nobara OS. With the same settings in Windows 11, the system scored 48.55 FPS, a 24% reduction in performance compared to the Linux-based OS.
The performance disparity of Windows 11 is quite shocking to see. It's not uncommon for Linux-based operating systems to be slightly faster than Microsoft's counterparts in some games and applications, but a 31% gap — in a demanding game — is very rare to see. To be frank, we're not sure what's causing such drastic changes in performance. It could be the result of less bloatware found on the Linux-based OS, or the translation process (from DX12 to Vulkan) adding extra performance to the RDNA1 GPU. The overclocking and undervolting applied to the GPU might also cause some differences.
Whatever the case, if these results hold for other hardware configurations, Linux gamers using AMD CPUs and GPUs might see a noticeable performance advantage over Windows gamers when playing Cyberpunk 2077 update 2.0, at least with mid-range hardware. The OS Maximum Fury was using was a modified version of Fedora known as the Nobara Project. This distro is designed to be a more user-friendly alternative to vanilla Fedora installs, and it comes with a variety of applications and driver support that the vanilla versions lack.
Some of these add-ons include kernel patches featuring "cheery-picked" Zen patches for optimal performance with AMD Ryzen CPUs, driver support for Nvidia GPUs, and the latest Mesa release versions of AMD and Intel desktop drivers for Linux. The modified OS also comes with Steam, Wine, Proton, and OBS, making it easy for gamers and streamers to get up and running.
That's a lot of variables, and one or more of them likely helped Nobara to come out on top. It remains to be seen whether similar improvements are available with different hardware configurations, and whether performance with ray tracing enabled shows any difference.