Nvidia's GeForce Now service recently introduced a new 3080 tier, guaranteeing that members subscribing at that level not only get priority access to GeForce 3080 units in its data centers for game streaming, but that they will receive those streams at 120 frames-per-second at a 1440k resolution.
Having been an Nvidia GeForce Now subscriber since it was in early beta, and been largely satisfied with the service to that point, I decided to take advantage of the early adopter deal offered to founding members and upgrade my service tier.
After using GeForce Now 3080 for a month, and having tested it on Windows PCs, Macs, Chromebooks, and several Android devices, am I convinced that this higher tier is worth the $33 USD / month Nvidia is asking for it?
A Noticeable Upgrade
Even at 1080p, the boost in rendering efficiency of the 3080 GPUs are noticeable against the mostly 1060, 1070, and 1080 units the service launched on. Maintaining 60 FPS on Ultra settings in demanding titles like CyberPunk 2077 and Witcher 3 was no problem at all, even at 1440p.
When I tested the service on a 120Hz monitor at 1440p, I found it difficult to get the streamed frame rate to drop below 120 frames per second. CyberPunk, with RTX on and settings at Ultra, was buttery smooth in most places, though crowded city scapes and moments of fast driving did manage to drop performance down, momentarily.
On the downside, if you want to take advantage of HDR in 4k, you're going to need to shell out for an Nvidia Shield TV.
Weak WiFi Means Lost Game Progress
If you are planning to use the new service to achieve higher resolutions (up to 4k) and/or frame rates, you may want to make sure you have a solid connection to your router. During testing with CyberPunk 2077, I walked away from my router until the signal strength was at about 50%. Doing this, the game would kick me out stating our connection had been lost.
Dropping connections shouldn't be a big deal, however if that happens in GeForce Now, Steam and GOG services will not sync your game progress. This means, on a multi-hour gaming session, that you lose all the progress you made as you have no local backup. A problem that only exists if you're playing through a remote streaming connection.
A Growing Library, but No Bethesda
Every Thursday, Nvidia adds a selection of titles to its ever-expanding library of supported games. Distributors such as Electronic Arts have entered into deals with Nvidia to bring more of their games to the service over the next year.
Unfortunately for Bethesda fans, games under the Bethesda umbrella remain entirely absent from the service. If you hoped to play Fallout, Skyrim, Rage, or any of the other popular titles from the game company, you're out of luck. Bethesda was an early partner during GeForce Now's beta period, but it dropped out shortly after launch due to contract disagreements.
Is it Worth It?
If you want to buy a GeFroce 3080 right now on the open market, you're in for a bad time. The units are either perpetually sold out, or they're marked up so high that no one in their right mind (or without a significant amount of money) would realistically afford them.
GeForce Now gives everyone, regardless of their computing platform of choice, the opportunity to enjoy PC games on modern hardware with very little negative side effect. For the most part, the streaming service is solid. It provides a beautiful render and the stream, for those with a solid connection and reasonable proximity to Nvidia's data centers, a virtually seamless user experience.