Automatic settings will work just fine most of the time, especially if you have a fast connection. But if your bandwidth is a bit more limited, you might want to do a little optimization.
- Nvidia GeForce Now Review
- Pricing and Requirements
- Similar Products
- Sony PlayStation Now
- Green Man Gaming
- How does it work?
- The pros and cons of Geforce Now cloud gaming
- mentioned in this article
- GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition
- More than just a new plan
- Dealing with delays
- How much does Nvidia GeForce Now cost?
- The Free plan
- The Priority plan
Nvidia GeForce Now Review
Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service allows you to play many games from its Steam library on almost any device.
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- 1080p60 video with no noticeable input lag on high-speed connection
- It supports many games on Steam, Battle.net, Epic and UPlay
- Requires a high-speed Internet connection
- Only free games available in addition to the titles you already own
- Some general UI and library integration issues
Game streaming services are gaining popularity recently. Google Stadia is perhaps the best-known service that allows you to play games that are streamed from servers over the Internet, but it’s not the only one, and it’s certainly not the first. Nvidia has been working on its GeForce Now service for several years, which eventually came out of beta to become a full, commercially available subscription service. While not ideal, it is a flexible and friendly service for playing PC games you already own on devices other than gaming PCs.
Pricing and Requirements
GeForce Now comes in two membership tiers, Free and Founders. Free is of course free, and Founders is $ 4.99 a month with a 90-day free trial. Founders Membership gives you priority access to Nvidia systems, RTX ray traced streaming, and up to six hours of gaming sessions at a time. Free Membership turns RTX off and only allows you to play for an hour before having to go to the end of the line and wait to access Nvidia’s PCs again.
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If you have a relatively up-to-date PC, Mac, Android device, or Nvidia Shield TV, you can probably run GeForce Now. PCs require a minimum of 64-bit Windows 7 with a 2 GHz or faster dual-core processor, 4 GB of system memory, and a graphics processor that supports DirectX 11 (including Intel HD Graphics 2000 or better integrated graphics). Mac support requires at least macOS 10.10 and has been successfully tested on MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks from 2008 and newer, and iMacs from 2009 and newer, according to Nvidia. Android devices require at least Android 5.0 with 2GB RAM and OpenGL ES3.2 support.
Like all game streaming services, GeForce Now requires a lot of bandwidth and internet speed. Requires a minimum connection of 15Mbps for 720p60 game streaming and 25Mbps for 1080p60 streaming. This means a wired or 5 GHz Wi-Fi connection to the router.
Sony PlayStation Now
Green Man Gaming
In addition to adjusting your settings, to make sure you are getting both a good quality and reliable stream, you should also consider the issue of your home network. Here are some things you can try that should improve your experience a bit.
How does it work?
Utilizing “Superpods” with 1,000 GPUs in each (if you choose the top tier RTX 3080), Nvidia uses cloud streaming to allow you access to game libraries (such as Steam, Epic games, etc.). You can play on different devices as well. Old Apple Macbook? Sure, it works. How about an old broken computer with a 5-year-old GPU? This is fine too. Even your browser can be a powerful computer now! It is essentially “Hardware as a Service” as opposed to software as a service like what we are used to with Netflix et al.
What are your options? Nvidia offers a free entry-level tier that limits you to one-hour sessions and basic hardware. You can upgrade to the Priority tier which will cost $ 49.99 for six months. Thanks to this, you get extended sessions lasting six hours and more powerful hardware at the RTX 2080 level. You can achieve a maximum of around 1080p, 60fps. The new RTX 3080 tier will cost $ 99 for six months, but will upgrade to 1440p 120fps on most devices. With Nvidia Shield you’ll even be able to do 4K with HDR! Eight-hour sessions are also intended for long-distance players.
The pros and cons of Geforce Now cloud gaming
Streaming GPU performance at the RTX 3000 level certainly seems a lot easier than waiting in line at your local store to pick it up, right? Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the service:
Pro: Core GPUs come with a huge price premium during this GPU shortage, so $ 49.99 in six months to shake up the hardware at 2080 is a relatively good deal. At $ 99 for six months, the RTX 3080 will allow gamers to experience ray tracing and even 4K HDR, which is a relative bargain compared to the actual RTX 3080 prices (currently nearly two or even three times the suggested retail prices).
Disadvantage: This is hardware as a service; you pay a subscription to use the virtual graphics processor. This makes the resale value of traditional equipment out of the question. You have to compare this with the cheaper start-up cost and added value.
Pro: GeForce Now runs on a wide range of existing systems. You’ll be able to run it on Apple Macbooks, old PCs, and even mobile devices or browsers. This is excellent flexibility and saves huge costs of purchasing other support hardware that traditionally accompanies high-end GPUs (such as high-performance processors, RAM, etc).
mentioned in this article
GeForce RTX 3080 Founders Edition
Disadvantage: The technology is not perfect. The biggest problem here will be internet connection and latency. For the top tier RTX 3080, Nvidia recommends a connection of at least 35Mbps to ensure smooth performance. Problems with lag, disconnects, and low-resolution buffering are all the facts in cloud streaming services if you have internet issues. While the RTX 3080 level uses a more powerful “rig” and Nvidia uses lower latency technology, you will get the best high-speed internet experience.
Pro: You will be able to stream your game library from over 1000 supported games. If you’ve been building your Steam collection over the years, GeForce Now will give you access. There are also over 70 free game titles available, so you can jump into the game right away!
Cons: Not every game you own will be supported, and some game types aren’t well suited for cloud gaming. Esports and competitive shooters that do best with the lowest possible latency may not be ideal. They’ll be playable, but remember that for the best performance you’ll need a physical GPU for these types of titles. However, single-player games and more casual open-world games should be fine.
Pro: If you have a solid internet connection, you’ll be able to play the latest AAA titles with high graphics fidelity, ray tracing, and overall good performance. You will also opt out of troubleshooting hardware problems and updating drivers that accompany high-end graphics processors. Most importantly, you’ll also stop worrying about the current GPU shortage and ridiculous prices.
Downside: If your internet connection goes down, you won’t be lucky during this period of the game. If you’re an enthusiast, you won’t be able to overclock or modify your hardware. However, this can be a relief for some who just want to go straight to gaming.
The bandwidth checker tool is not available and you only have two options under quality, balanced and custom. The custom option allows the same customization as the desktop client except for the V-Sync switch.
More than just a new plan
In addition to the new subscription plan, Nvidia’s server-side adaptive synchronization technology has been added, which aligns the frames that appear on the screen with the screen update rate to reduce the number of screen artifacts, introduces support for Microsoft Edge, and adds Amazon New World’s noisy MMO to its letters. (This way, it can mess up Nvidia GPUs instead of yours!)
|Price||Free||$ 50 for 6 months or $ 10 a month||$ 100 for 6 months|
|Availability||Now||Now||Order now, premiere mid November 2021|
|Maximum quality||1080 / 60p||1080 / 60p, RTX ray tracing acceleration||1440p / 120fps on PC and Mac (1600p on MacBooks), 4K HDR / 60fps with 7.1 surround sound on Nvidia Shield, 120fps on selected Android devices; RTX ray tracing acceleration|
Unlike current service plans, you will initially only be able to pay in six-month increments at twice the value of the next best priority option. Pre-orders are open to everyone, but availability is limited as Nvidia is increasing its server resources. Founders get a 10% discount on their subscription, and if they choose not to renew, they can go back to their old plan and price.
That adds up to $ 16.67 / month, which is significantly more expensive than the $ 6 / month Amazon Luna, $ 10 Google Stadia Pro, or even $ 15 / month Microsoft Game Pass Ultimate (including Game Pass Cloud Gaming), all of which include games. GFN takes a “bring your own game library” approach and requires your games to be explicitly supported. This means it only allows you to play free games normally for free, and even then you will still subscribe to sessions longer than an hour.
Pre-orders will be active in November for North America and December for Western Europe. Implementation in other regions will start in 2022.
The RTX 3080 plan will be rolled out gradually as the new GeForce Now SuperPods platform, equipped with the latest generation A10G Ampere GPUs (server counterpart to the RTX 3080) with 24 GB of VRAM and AMD Threadripper Pro processors, is online. They will complement the Turing-based servers that power older and less energy-intensive subscription plans. The backend difference between the RTX 3080 and Priority plans is more than just newer GPU hardware. Thanks to the SuperPod architecture, Nvidia dedicates 100% of the GPU to a given subscriber for the duration of the session, instead of virtualizing and sharing it with others.
Dealing with delays
All GFN players, regardless of plan, will benefit from Nvidia’s new adaptive sync support, available now by downloading the latest version of GeForce Now or using a compatible browser. Traditional adaptive sync technology requires frequent communication between the GPU and the monitor to dynamically match the game’s FPS to the speed at which the monitor can refresh the screen; mismatch can cause display artifacts such as image tearing, which occurs when parts of the screen show different frames.
While the Balanced setting should automatically use the better options, you can manually set the resolution and frame rate to 1440p at 120fps. You don’t have to use Adaptive Sync if you don’t want to.
Screenshot by Lori Grunin / CNET
Nvidia’s adaptive refresh solution for GFN uses a Reflex Latency Analyzer to gather information typically determined by the graphics processor and monitor interactions. In cloud gaming, everything is rendered on a remote server and the “silly” rendered version is streamed to the device, essentially as video. Your device sends back controller, mouse and keyboard responses, allowing the server to determine when the frame was rendered in relation to its GPU rendering time as well as known information gathered by the software (such as monitor specs) and compensate for it accordingly.
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Paired with the RTX 3080 back-end hardware, Nvidia says it can cut latency to 60ms or less for some subscribers with 144Hz monitors.
Latency remains an annoying but occasional problem with my setup – high bandwidth, but crowded Wi-Fi frequencies and a suboptimal router that can cause spike in packets – but now they’re short enough to keep me from going crazy, giving up frustration (at least not with reason for the service).
On the other hand, while the Guardians of the Galaxy’s slower moments were pretty good, the racing to build and avoid deadly aliens in The RiftBreaker felt a bit less fluid. I haven’t tried this with DLSS or over Ethernet yet, which can make a big difference. But I think the need to recommend Ethernet for cloud gaming on anything other than a desktop console in your living room or a device like the Shield is a hit to all of these services as it’s inconvenient or impossible for most gamers. My router is in the living room, but far from where you can play comfortably without running a cable across the room (waiting for hospital appointment). Nvidia has a recommended router program for GeForce Now, but the list looks old.
Even with such stats in many games – almost consistently 120fps or more, ping under 20ms, and no packet loss – I was still experiencing relatively minor glitches in audio and screen rendering.
But you should follow a similar process for the best experience as described above. First, run an online speed test to see what the ping and download look like, and then use this information to adjust the baud rate. Again, if your network is busy or unstable, a lower value is better for stability.
How much does Nvidia GeForce Now cost?
Such an impressive cloud-based game streaming service must be quite expensive, right? Evil.
The service was free during the closed beta, and Nvidia kept this theme in full with a free plan along with a premium, but still budget-friendly, priority plan (formerly known as the founding plan) and the ultimate RTX 3080.
The Free plan
The free plan is limited to 1-hour broadcasts, and while you can disconnect and reconnect immediately, you’ll need to queue to regain access.
You’ll still be able to play RTX games like Metro Exodus, but you won’t be able to turn on RTX if you’re on the free plan.
The Priority plan
The Priority plan, which costs £ 8.99 / $ 9.99 a month after increasing from the initial Founders plan £ 4.99 / $ 4.99, offers access to six-hour streaming sessions along with support for the RTX 20 series in compatible games such as Cyberpunk 2077 and Metro Exodus with priority access to the service during peak hours.