GEFORCE NOW RTX 3080 Review Brave new cloud gaming world?

 NVIDIA has taken the GeForce NOW cloud gaming service to the next level. Thanks to new server pods and numerous optimizations, game streaming is now promised in 1440p with up to 120 frames per second. Since December 2nd, the pre-orderers have been activated gradually, we were able to deal with the RTX-3080 membership for a few days in advance.

GeForce NOW wasn't just around yesterday. It has been possible to stream games in 1080p for quite some time and that on pretty much all devices. Regardless of whether it's a PC, MAC, Android device, iOS - gaming is possible via browser or app even without a thick graphics card or explicit gaming hardware.

So far there have been two memberships. In the free version, you were able to play sessions of a maximum of one hour in 1080p without any noteworthy extras. Priority membership cost $49.99 for six months, but still offered 1080p at 60 fps and activated RTC and DLSS effects as well as a session lasting six hours until a new login.

RTX-3080 membership is new. It costs a whopping $99.99 for six months, but promises you sessions of up to eight hours, 1440p resolution and up to 120 images per second. Owners of the set-top box NVIDIA Shield TV can even look forward to 4K with HDR and 7.1 surround sound, since H.265 is already used as a codec there, while other devices still get H.264. Basically, you pay a fee for the use of an externally provided computer - the service doesn't actually include anything else.

This is made possible by a new server infrastructure. The new server pods consist of an AMD Ryzen Threadripper Pro 3955WX with 16 cores, 64 GB RAM and two NVIDIA A10G graphics cards with 24 GB VRAM. Two subscribers each share one rig, so to speak. Each of the players thus has a virtual computer at their fingertips, which should work on the level of a desktop PC with an RTX-3080 graphics card.

What can be played Not everything, so much in advance. Basically, you have to own the game in any case. Also on board are Steam, the Epic Games Store and Ubisoft Connect. Although GeForce NOW now supports over 1,000 games, not all publishers have approved all of their games for the service. It is not uncommon for only part of the portfolio to be available. This is perhaps the biggest catch with GeForce NOW right now. So you should check in advance whether your favorite games can really be played via GeForce NOW.

But don't worry, there is no shortage of blockbusters either. Current titles such as Far Cry 6, Assassin's Creed: Valhalla, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Cyberpunk 2077 or The Witcher 3 are definitely playable and, if available, also use your existing saved games from Steam, Epic Games Store or Ubisoft Connect. In addition to the purchased titles, there are also a number of free-to-play long-running hits such as Fortnite, Warframe, Destiny 2, World of Tanks and many others.


How does it work? Basically very simple. You start GeForce NOW via desktop app, mobile app or browser. If you call up a game, you have to log into GeForce-NOW-Rig with your account on Steam, Epic Games Store or Ubisoft Connect and the game will start on the server. For gaming you can use the mouse and keyboard or a gamepad as normal. Your input signals are passed on virtually online to the server, which sends the game to your computer as a live video stream.

This naturally raises the question of latency. After all, transmitting your input signal to the NVIDIA server and returning it as a stream are additional steps that add to the general latency. Of course, GeForce NOW cannot keep up with a local PC, but we can dispel the fear of permanent delays.

In our test, the latency was worse than on a local PC (about 30-40 ms more), but mostly still better than on a game console. With that we would not necessarily plunge into the competitive competition in PC multiplayer games, especially since there is also the route to the game servers. Co-op sessions or even single-player games are not a problem, and you shouldn't have any noticeable disadvantages in cross-play with console players.

But does that also work in 1440p with 120 fps? Yes and no, a lot depends on the game. Your virtual computer actually works almost at the level of a desktop with an RTX 3080, for which 1440p in itself is no problem. We tried a few benchmarks and the frame rates were actually close or a few percent lower in most cases. It should be clear that you shouldn't expect 120 fps with a Far Cry 6 with ultra settings. With a Destiny 2, on the other hand, it actually works well or at least close to it. By the way: 21: 9 formats (3,440 x 1,440) are apparently not supported at the moment, we only ever had the usual 2,560 x 1,440 available.

NVIDIA has given the supported games relatively sensible default settings that are a bit above the medium settings and, above all, are optimized for the highest possible frame rates with the least possible visual loss. The nice thing is that you have access to the graphics settings of the games just like a local game. For example, if you accept a lower frame rate but want nicer graphics, you are welcome to set this accordingly. Very nice: in contrast to the previous memberships, your settings are now even saved and you don't have to go back to the tinkering room again and again. Since RTX and DLSS are also offered in membership, if supported by the game, it can look really chic.

The ultimate image quality that you get is remarkably good for a cloud gaming service, even if it doesn't quite come close to that of a local computer. After all, it is more or less a video stream with appropriate compression and not a native display. Contours sometimes appear a little softer, finer details are less pronounced and compression artifacts can appear with fast movements. In our test runs, however, this was never particularly noticeable or even annoying.

However, it is also important to have a correspondingly strong and stable internet connection. NVIDIA recommends 35 Mbit / s for 1440p operation, but more does not hurt, on the one hand to compensate for fluctuations, on the other hand because hardly any provider actually achieves its specified bandwidth. For 4K on NVIDIA Shield TV, around 40 Mbit / s is assumed. With a 50 Mbit line as a minimum, you should be relatively safe, provided you use LAN and don't have Netflix at the start. And be careful: the data volume is juicy and can easily exceed 20 GB / hour.

In any case, we had no problems at home on a 200 Mbit line, where we were even able to stream videos on the telly. It gets trickier when larger amounts of data are downloaded at the same time. In our office we have a hefty 1000 Mbit line, but a larger download was running parallel to the cloud gaming, for example when a dear colleague pulled out a game client, the connection to the NVIDIA server became unstable.


Cloud gaming at the highest level

In advance, I was actually a little skeptical whether the RTX 3080 membership could really fulfill its full-bodied announcements, as I still had the memory of the earlier, bumpy starts of cloud gaming services in the back of my mind. However, what NVIDIA has achieved is remarkable. 1440p with up to 120 frames per second is actually possible, provided you have an internet connection that is stable and strong enough to guarantee the necessary continuous bandwidth. Reductions in image quality are of course there due to the compression, but not to the extent that it is really noticeable.

The cloud gaming service has also made significant gains in terms of latency. We wouldn't necessarily plunge into a CS: GO match with players on local computers, but even online games are quite playable and single-player titles are anyway. And all of this largely independent of the hardware in the home computer, notebook or mobile device. The only real catch is that not all games available on Steam, Epic Games Store, or Ubisoft Connect are supported.

GeForce NOW is definitely a successful alternative to the home console or to the expensive upgrade of your gaming PC, especially in times of poor availability of consoles and graphics cards. RTX 3080 membership is also well worth the money, provided you have a monitor with the corresponding 1440p resolution or a shield TV on your 4K telly.


  • 1440p with up to 120 Hz without your own powerful hardware (apart from a suitable display)
  • stable server
  • Performance almost on a par with the RTX 3080
  • usable on many devices
  • Your own graphic settings are possible and will be saved
  • Display suffers only slightly from compression
  • simple setup and operation


  • not all games of the respective services are available
  • 21: 9 formats are not yet supported

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