We play modern games without powerful hardware: Geforce Now Beta online service test

От Yraa #1080, #1080p, #720p, #acc, #account, #ace, #achieved, #acts, #add, #added, #addition, #additional, #advantage, #advantages, #after, #ali, #already, #also, #always, #amazing, #any, #ape, #arm, #art, #assume, #assumes, #ath, #avail, #available, #bee, #been, #best, #bet, #beta, #big, #bit, #brief, #briefly, #call, #cannot, #cat, #center, #centr, #change, #character, #characteristic, #characteristics, #cheap, #cheaper, #check, #Cher, #clicking, #comparable, #component, #components, #computer, #concept, #connect, #connection, #core, #cores, #count, #course, #current, #currently, #dedicated, #degree, #despite, #detail, #details, #digit, #digital, #do?, #download, #draw, #drawback, #drive, #drop, #drops, #dvd, #Ear, #ease, #eco, #eight, #end, #enough, #enter, #even, #ever, #every, #everything, #experience, #face, #fact, #few, #first, #flaws, #fly, #force, #form, #found, #frame, #free, #freely, #from, #full, #full-hd, #fun, #function, #functions, #gain, #game, #games, #gaming, #geforce, #good, #got, #gram, #gtx, #had, #hang, #hard, #hardware, #has, #high, #highest, #Home computer, #how, #immediately, #include, #includes, #incredibly, #install, #installation, #Intel, #interface, #internet, #into, #involved, #is,, #itself, #just, #lab, #Laptop, #launch, #laying, #library, #like, #load, #long, #look, #looking, #lot, #mac, #mach, #machine, #manual, #manually, #max, #maximum, #may, #media, #mega, #mic, #micro, #microsoft, #miss, #missing, #mistake, #modern, #money, #month, #more, #most, #msi, #nec, #need, #network, #nor, #norm, #normal, #normally, #now, #Nvidia, #occ, #offer, #offers, #office, #on,, #online, #only, #origin, #over, #own, #p40, #par, #perform, #phase, #platform, #play:, #playing, #pop, #popular, #ports, #possible, #power, #powerful, #pre, #problem, #problems, #process, #produce, #program, #project, #quality, #ram, #raw, #ready, #recommend, #red, #release, #rent, #require, #required, #resource, #resources, #respect, #result, #results, #rising, #rod, #rog, #rom, #rough, #round, #rpr, #same, #second, #seconds, #self, #serve, #server, #service, #services, #set, #setting, #settings, #shield, #should, #significant, #sim, #simple, #sing, #smooth, #soft, #software, #sol, #som, #some, #source, #sources, #stake, #star, #start, #starts, #step, #steps, #store, #stream, #sub, #subscribe, #sum, #support, #supports, #surprising, #surprisingly, #system, #tag, #take, #takes, #team, #test, #testing, #than, #theoretically, #there, #these, #thin, #thing, #through, #title, #top-end, #transfer, #transferred, #try, #turn, #two, #typical, #unlike, #user, #using, #van, #version, #very, #video, #was, #waste, #watch, #way, #ways, #weak, #well, #what, #when, #which, #will, #without, #work, #working, #works, #yet, #your, #yst

Test results:

Geforce Now Beta
surprisingly good and amazing mistakes

Do not spend a lot of money, do not have a powerful PC at home — just turn on a weak working laptop and, despite its characteristics, play Doom, Far Cry 5 or Overwatch at maximum settings. That’s what an online gaming service like Nvidia’s Geforce Now promises. Already even in its Beta phase, the software functions well and even without a gigabit internet connection offers a smooth gaming experience. However, it also has significant drawbacks.

Advantages

most of the time the process is the same as playing on PC
cheaper than a comparable gaming PC in the long run
the most powerful iron

Flaws

artifacts and frame drops occur again and again
whimsical game installation

Online gaming services as a concept have been around for a very long time. At the same time, the gaming machine is not at the user’s home, but in a dedicated computing center. At the same time, a home computer should be powerful only enough to produce a video stream without problems. And, of course, you need a good internet connection. But how good? In our office, when testing Geforce Now, we achieved the best result using a 100-megabit connection. On a typical WLAN-n 50-Mbit connection, with some reservations, everything also functioned normally. Nvidia itself assumes at least 10 Mbps, recommends 20 Mbps for 720p and at least 50 Mbps for 1080p.

For PC and Mac, the service is not yet freely available, but this year it should be possible to subscribe — presumably for 9.99 euros per month ().

The user interface is simple.  Here we found current and popular games, as well as titles that we added to our library
The user interface is simple. Here we found current and popular games, as well as titles that we added to our library

What can GeForce Now do?

In addition to a good connection to the Frankfurt Computing Centre, a digital game library is also required. Geforce Now currently supports Steam, Uplay, Blizzard App and Epic Game Launcher. Of the big digital platforms, EA Origin, Microsoft Store and GOG are missing. Games that are on DVD, as well as titles that you store on your hard drive at home, cannot be transferred to a server farm. In addition, unlike Geforce Now for Nvidia’s Shield console, no free games are available in the Beta phase through a subscription. However, this may change with the release of the project.

In Frankfurt, a rather powerful system works for each user. This includes the Nvidia Tesla P40, which is comparable to the Geforce GTX 1080 Ti. In addition, Intel Xeon with eight cores and 16 GB of RAM are involved. Despite these top-end components, only Full-HD video quality is available in the current version. It’s a bit like a waste of resources.

«DOOM» in the highest degree of detail? No problem. Just not in 4K yet

Theoretically simple

Games launch incredibly fast. We are looking for the title we need in the user interface of Geforce Now, which we already “own”, and then click on “Play”. Then the program checks our network connection for a few seconds and briefly warns if there are any problems with it. After that, we enter our account details for the respective platform and the game starts.

At least on the second try. Prior to this, for installation, the user is forced to perform a few more additional steps. For games from Steam, after clicking on «Play», we first got into our library. From there we have to download the game manually. At the same time, after clicking on «Download», the game will be immediately available — as if it had always been ready for use. After that, the game can be launched immediately from the Geforce Now user interface.

The popular multiplayer shooter
The popular multiplayer shooter «Playerunknown’s Battlegrounds» is, of course, also supported and — with a few caveats — well playable

Problem: indie games

Things get even more Kafkaesque when Geforce Now isn’t familiar with the game you’re looking for. For example, this service does not know anything about the indie game «VA-11 HAL-A». In order to still play it despite this, we must launch a game that we “do not own” or have not yet installed, thanks to which it will appear in our library via this workaround. There we will be able to upload it to the server farm with a noteworthy speed of 50 MB / s, and then run it. But this «workaround» is associated with other problems. You can read more about this in the paragraph “Other shortcomings and criticism”.

Otherwise, we still lacked additional options for customization. In the Beta version, there are no regulators at all that can be “twisted” — everything is automated. When everything goes smoothly and you use the Internet connection alone, then this is probably even good. But in the case of «shared» Internet connections, this can lead to sad situations when three people play at the same time, watch Netflix and try to download something.

Indie games like the visual novel
Indie games like the visual novel «VA-11 HAL-A» still need to be re-installed with every system restart.

Looks good — for the most part

If the people living with you free up a line of communication for you, the quality of the display of games is surprisingly good and at first glance practically does not differ from a regular game on a PC. In particular, we were especially surprised by the delay in executing commands.

We tried both single-player action games (such as Doom, Deus Ex: Mankind Divided, and Just Cause 3) as well as the multiplayer shooter Overwatch and the lag-sensitive fighting game Dragon Ball FighterZ. In none of the games we have fixed any problems due to the long signal path.

But again and again, artifacts appeared as a result of image compression. Most often, we noticed a slight flicker in small details. This is especially striking when paying attention to the textures of trees, contrasting lines or small fonts. Every couple of minutes, some kind of rude artifact appears one day, which reminds that the game is “only broadcast” here.

The biggest downside we’ve come across is the regular framedrop. This means that from time to time the image freezes, while in the «background» the game, in fact, continues. These framedrops have haunted us over and over again in short play sessions. In single-player games, such stuttering is not as critical, but in some multiplayer games, a few dropped frames can have a small impact on whether you win or lose.

For testing, we used a laptop with an Intel Core i7-5600U processor without a dedicated graphics card and with 16 GB of RAM.

The ultimate fighting game: In combat games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, button presses and frame-accurate reactions matter.  In Geforce Now, we did not experience annoying delays.
The ultimate fighting game: In combat games like Dragon Ball FighterZ, button presses and frame-accurate reactions matter. In Geforce Now, we did not experience annoying delays.

Other shortcomings and criticism

As well as Geforce Now functions as a video game streaming platform, so is the palette of various issues that need to be fixed before the official release of the product.

A little higher in this article, we have already mentioned the intricate installation of games. This becomes difficult to understand due to the «volatile» drive for the user. Every time you turn off Geforce Now, the “system” you are using will be deleted and the resources will become available to other users. For games «unknown» to the service, this means that they will have to be downloaded again every time you log in. Uploading to a server farm at 50 MB/s is fast, but it can still take up to half an hour of your time to “install” giant games.

In addition, the changing «disk space» of the user means certain problems for games without «cloud» functionality. On Steam, many game save data is sent to the Steam servers and synced every time you log in. In the case of games without this function, the files must be stored locally — and in Geforce Now, they will be deleted every time they are turned off. Thus, you won’t really be able to finish playing with Geforce Now, first of all, old games from your library.

If your lines of communication have a
If your lines of communication have a «bad day,» small details can turn into ugly artifacts. Here is an example of the garbled font in The Elder Scrolls: Skyrim

We also find it inconvenient that Geforce Now associates a game with a profile after you’ve installed it via search. So someone who doesn’t know what they want to play should look at their libraries differently.

Most of these problems could be solved if Geforce Now would request authorized access to game libraries. Or if you could run Steam and similar services directly through the Geforce Now user interface. Why Nvidia still doesn’t offer such a simple feature is a mystery to us.

Also annoying, although understandable: for security reasons, NVIDIA restricts access to hard drives on servers. As such, you won’t be able to save any screenshots from Steam or use Overwatch’s video recording feature. But what, on the contrary, is less clear: there is no “turn off” button. From time to time you will see a black screen when the game ends and you have to get to the desktop by pressing Alt+F4.

Alternative: LiquidSky

We have not yet conducted a comprehensive test of the LiquidSky online gaming service. But since Geforce Now is not yet freely available, this service, with a price tag of 10 euros (about ) per month, is probably an acceptable alternative.

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