Nvidia GeForce Now Review. How to get nvidia geforce now

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

Nvidia GeForce Now

Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service allows you to play many games from its Steam library on almost any device.

PCMag editors independently select and review products. If you buy through affiliate links, we can earn commissions that support our testing. Learn more.

  • 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.

Since 1982, PCMag has tested and evaluated thousands of products to help you make better purchasing decisions. (Read our editorial mission.)

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.

Similar Products

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.

GeForce Now RTX 3080 prices

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

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.

GeForce Now RTX 3080 latency

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!)

Free Priority RTX 3080
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.

See also

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.

If you only subscribe to one CNET newsletter, this is it. Receive the best editor reviews for the day’s most interesting reviews, news and videos.

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.

It’s worth noting that if you signed up for the Early Bird Founders plan, you’ll still pay a discount of £ 4.99 / $ 4.99 per month through Nvidia’s Founders for Life benefit – only new subscribers pay a higher fee. However, this does not apply to an upgrade to the top-end RTX 3080.

The RTX 3080 plan

The RTX 3080 tier is the newest (and most exclusive) tier of GeForce Now, offering the best possible gaming in the cloud. The highlight, of course, is the exclusive access to servers with top-end RTX 3080 GPUs that enable ray tracing and the aforementioned increased 1440p / 4K resolution, but there are other benefits as well, including longer, 8-hour gaming sessions.

It’s now available in the US and Europe, but unlike the other tiers, it’s only available in six-month servings for £ 89.99 / $ 99.99 apiece.

Whichever plan you choose, go to the GeForce Now website to sign up and download the client for your chosen platform.

GeForce Now requirements

Nvidia GeForce Now requires the following for use on PC, Mac, Android, and iOS:

  • Minimum 10 Mb / s, 20 Mb / s ([e-mail protection]), 50 Mb / s ([e-mail protection]) over Ethernet or 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
  • Any computer running Windows 7 (64-bit) or higher, 4 GB of RAM, dual-core X86 2.0 GHz or higher, and any graphics processor that supports DirectX 11.
  • Any Mac with macOS 10.10 or later.
  • Any Nvidia Shield TV
  • Any phone running Android 5.0 or higher, 2 GB RAM or higher. The Bluetooth controller is also highly recommended.
  • iPhone or iPad with access to Safari

For other great cloud streaming services check out our pick of the best game streaming services.

Note: We can earn a commission when you buy via links on our site at no extra cost to you. This does not affect our editorial independence. Learn more.

Games are better than ever now, featuring great open worlds, realistic AI and gameplay that will keep you running for hundreds of hours, but what if you don’t have a computer that can run them?

How to optimize NVIDIA GeForce Now settings in the desktop app

Geforce now

source: Windows Center

The desktop app is the recommended way to play GeForce Now if you’re using Windows, and that’s partly because of the extra control you have over your settings. You can just control more than using the web app.

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.

The first thing you should look at is how well your connection will perform using the built-in bandwidth checker. You’ll find this next to the server location dropdown, which will be set to automatically select the best server by default.

Geforce now

source: Windows Center

Performing a bandwidth test will provide you with useful information. Not only will it recommend the maximum resolution and frame rate, but it will also show you how download, packet loss, and ping (latency) meet NVIDIA’s requirements. It will also do this on any server you choose, but if you choose the automatic setting option, you’ll get a warning that choosing a server can have harmful effects.

The best reason to run this first is that it completely ignores any enabled settings and just tells you what your connection can handle. Then you can carry this information to the next step and adjust the settings to your needs.

NVIDIA comes with a number of presets in the desktop app to allow for easy optimization, but there’s also a good chance they will compromise too much. But using the information from the bandwidth test, choose the custom option and try these steps.

Geforce now

source: Windows Center

  • Limit the maximum bitrate with the slider to the highest possible value. Also, be mindful of any other network loads from other devices such as video streaming. If GeForce Now is the only thing weighing your network down, you can go a little higher and you’ll be rewarded with a nicer stream.
  • If you can, lower the resolution. For example, if you’re playing on a 13-inch laptop, you can easily drop to 900p or even 720p and your games will still look good. Fewer pixels puts less strain on your connection, and if you don’t really need to use a higher resolution, things will be better.
  • Set your frame rate to 60fps, unless your bandwidth test told you that you really can’t get it. You don’t want 30fps if you can avoid it.
  • Turn on VSync to make sure you’re not experiencing unnecessary tearing.
  • If you have an unstable or slower network, make sure you turn the switch on to accommodate poor network conditions. This means the system will take matters into its own hands if problems start in ensuring that the game is not interrupted. You should also make sure the Network State setting is turned on so that you always get a warning if you’re going to run into any problems.

How to optimize NVIDIA GeForce Now settings in the Google Chrome browser

Geforce now

source: Windows Center

The GeForce Now version of Google Chrome is mostly identical to the desktop client. The user interface is exactly the same, but fewer settings can be changed.

The bandwidth checker tool is not available and you only have two options under the quality, balanced and custom. The custom option allows the same customization as the desktop client except for the V-Sync switch.

Geforce now

source: Windows Center

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.

Set the frame rate to 60fps, unless on a slow connection and as above, if you’re playing on a laptop, you can definitely lower the resolution. As with the desktop client, the web app will let you know what kind of hourly data usage your settings might generate to get an additional rate of load that you’ll be straining on your network.

There is no native iOS app due to Apple’s limitations on cloud gaming apps, but Nvidia has provided a workaround in the form of a web app accessible via Safari, allowing you to play AAA games on your iPhone or iPad without needing a dedicated app.

How GeForce Now fits into the stream-iverse

The catch, of course, is that GeForce Now is still the most bulky cloud gaming option on the market. Admittedly, the service is also the most flexible and independent of the store.

So before I move on to the best parts of Nvidia’s new “GeForce Now 3080” option – its higher performance, higher peak resolution, and higher maximum FPS – I should be setting the stage for the service and comparing it to its peers, so stick with me.

To add a game to your GeForce Now library, manually search for it, then “add to library”. You’ll have to buy it elsewhere. Nvidia GeForce just checks to see if you’ve paid for it – although it conveniently downloads the save file from the cloud save feature of these storefront.

Use the Steam Library Scanning feature in GeForce Now to automatically accumulate games purchased through Steam. This does not work with EGS, Ubisoft Connect, or EA Origin. (Artifact? Does it work in GeForce Now? Huh.)

Enter something like “free-to-play” and GeForce will give you the gameplay without the purchase.

Most cloud gaming services require one way or another to rely on their store ecosystems. You can only play games on Google Stadia if you buy the versions that are exclusive to those games (or get access to giveaways through the Stadia Pro subscription service). If you want to stream Xbox Game Streaming games, you’ll need to pay for an Xbox Game Pass Ultimate subscription, and you can only stream approximately 200 games as selected by the service – unlike additional Xbox games that you purchase individually. And Amazon Luna offers a variety of “channels”, each with individual costs and unique content, that you can choose from and arrange in the same way as with video streaming subscription services.

The cost of GeForce Now, on the other hand, has nothing to do with the games you can buy or borrow, everything to do with the Nvidia hardware you rent in the cloud. In some ways, GeForce Now is just a cloud computer that you can use as you see fit. When you use GeForce Now, you log into other storefronts on your server farm, load and play games you have already purchased using their profiles, and save files. Nvidia’s cloud gaming service doesn’t care where or how you buy your games. He just wants to power them.

The big catch, however, is that some game publishers do not allow Nvidia to stream their games. (Remember: when you buy a game from an online store, you only pay for access to the license. This means, among other things, that publishers can take your access this way.) After launching the service in 2019, Nvidia was forced to remove the games it originally hosted after some publishers hailed profanity – in particular, games from Activision Blizzard’s Battle.net service. We have some good news, many more games have been added to the service over time from the following storefronts, for a total of just over 1,100 games:

  • Steam
  • Epic Games Store
  • Ubisoft Connect
  • Origin of EA

Until this week, GeForce Now only had two tiers: $ 98 / year or Free. The latter involves performance degradation and the required wait in server queues, so if too many people are using the service you have to wait for paying clients. This free option is a decent way to basically confirm that your ideal streaming device – smartphone, set-top box, or weak netbook – can connect to the service and translate gamepad taps or keyboard and mouse madness into a cloud of streaming video games. But it’s not good for image quality or processing power.

RTX 3080 tier wins, even at a higher resolution

Meanwhile, the paid version includes basic “Nvidia RTX” support. Its server instances feature Nvidia’s proprietary GPU cores that are designed for ray tracing and Deep Learning Super-Sampling (DLSS), but only a few per instance, thanks to the enhanced RTX variant of the server-grade Nvidia Tesla T10 GPU. The results are generally strong enough to get average modern PC games at a constant 1080p, 60fps refresh rate, usually with a few graphical bells and whistles turned on.

As I already attested, if you are within the proper geographic range of Nvidia’s servers and you have a wired Ethernet connection with low ping, you can expect near unwavering performance when playing with your mouse and keyboard at various shooters on the site. But 1080p resolution at 60fps and medium settings is basically what the rest of the streaming fight offers. How much more juice can the same Nvidia application ecosystem gather, especially if Nvidia itself, producer of so many high-end GPUs, is applying its own hardware upgrade?

The best way to answer this question is to let a few compatible games talk. After all, these are the exact same versions of PC games you can install on your own PC, and some have benchmark sequences built in. So I did some testing of an existing $ 98 / year service, called the “founder” tier, before Nvidia invited me to pre-launch the “3080” tier for $ 198 / yr so I could compare the power of the two server options on their own.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla benchmark scores on the GeForce Now 3080 service tier. “Ultra” graphics settings, 1440p resolution.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla benchmark scores at the GeForce Now founders service level. “Ultra” graphics settings, 1080p resolution.

Watch Dogs Legion intense ray tracing test results on GeForce Now 3080 service layer. Graphics settings “Ultra”, RT at almost maximum, 1440p resolution, DLSS enabled in “quality mode.

Watch Dogs Legion, GeForce Now founders’ service tier of intense ray tracing test results. “Ultra” graphics settings, RT at almost maximum, 1080p resolution, with DLSS enabled in “quality mode.

The above benchmarks for computationally brutal Assassin’s Creed Valhalla (no ray tracing) and Watch Dogs Legion (significant ray tracing) are explained in their captions. Bottom line: all tests from the newer 3080 service tier are performed at the higher 1440p resolution, but still clearly outperform the same tests at the lower 1080p resolution at the service founding tier. Unfortunately, we couldn’t run these tests with the FPS graph attached, so we were left with vague, wavy line graphs. Even so, all of these benchmarks have the key “bottom 1 percent”, and when they are higher (which are, by a large margin, at layer 3080), you can expect fewer frame stuttering and refresh rate drops.

Games are better than ever now, featuring great open worlds, realistic AI and gameplay that will keep you running for hundreds of hours, but what if you don’t have a computer that can run them?

How Much is GeForce NOW?

Two plans are available: Free and Founders. The Founders plan currently costs $ 4.99 per month and gives you priority access to Nvidia’s servers. You can also play games for up to 6 hours at a time. The Affordable Founders Rate is only valid for 12 months.

The free version allows you to play games from your existing PC library or play a free-to-play game for one hour at a time. With the free plan, you get what Nvidia calls “standard access” to its servers. If the servers are overloaded you will have to wait for the game to play.

nvidia geforce now playing

Nvidia GeForce currently supports 400 games, including popular games such as The Witcher 3, Skyrim, Borderlands 3, and more. You’ll also get access to over 30 free games including Fortnite, League of Legends, Dota 2, and more.

How to Download Nvidia GeForce NOW

How to download Nvidia GeForce NOW

  1. Sign up for the plan on the Nvidia website. Follow the on-screen instructions to create an account. This requires you to enter your full name, date of birth and verify your email address.
  2. Then download Nvidia’s GeForce NOW.
  3. Install the app on your device and open it.
  4. Finally, log in with your Nvidia account details.

How to download Nvidia GeForce NOW

After logging in, you can start playing the offered games. To start games that you already own, search for the game using the search bar. Follow the instructions until it takes you to the store where you bought the game (such as Steam or Uplay). Follow the same steps until you’ve integrated your game library with GeForce NOW.

Nvidia GeForce NOW is currently available in North America and Europe, where their servers are located.

If you’re looking for games to play while you’re away, check out our list of the best games that don’t require Wi-Fi.

Rate article