NVIDIA GeForce NOW RTX 3080 in Review

At the end of October NVIDIA announced a new subscription for its video game streaming service, GeForce NOW RTX 3080. A subscription that allows us to play in the cloud with NVIDIA’s new “Superpod” servers, which basically deliver the performance of an RTX card. 3080.

It’s not really an RTX 3080, but an NVIDIA A10G GPU that has similar features to the company’s top-of-the-line graphics card. Due to the shortage of graphics that the market currently suffers due to the lack of components, speculation and crypto mining, getting an RTX 3080 “of flesh and blood” is extremely difficult, especially if we do not have a thousand-odd euros loose in the market. pocket.

This new GFN RTX 3080 subscription is still in the reservation phase in Europe, although during the last days we have had the opportunity to test the service and analyze its playability and performance with games such as Guardians of the Galaxy, Watch Dogs Legion, Apex Legends and Destiny 2, among others.

Performance

On paper, the GFN RTX 3080 servers offer a very interesting performance:

  • PC: Maximum resolution of 1440p and up to 120 FPS.
  • Mac: Maximum resolution of 1440p or 1600p depending on the model, and up to 120 FPS.
  • NVIDIA Shield TV: Maximum resolution of 4K HDR at 60 FPS.
  • Android: 120 FPS rates on mobile phones with a 120Hz screen, such as the Samsung S20, S21, S21 +, S21 Ultra and Samsung Note 20 Ultra 5G.

Hardware

To offer these results NVIDIA has prepared the “Superpod” servers, which is basically a rack with several servers that mount Threadripper 3955X processors and NVIDIA A10G graphics cards .

These GPUs are not the same as the RTX 3080: they come equipped with 24GB of GDDR6 memory , which is essentially the same as we would have with an RTX 3090, except for the VRAM, which in this case would be 12.5Gbps, achieving a wide 600GBps bandwidth.

Now, the NVIDIA A10G has 9,216 CUDA cores, compared to 8,704 CUDA cores in an RTX 3080. In short, we have a GPU very similar to the RTX 3080, with more memory and more power, but less bandwidth.

On the other hand, the Threadripper 3955X processor is a Zen 2 processor with two 8-core chiplets, offering a clock speed of between 3.9GHz and 4.3GHz . Along with the CPU and GPU each gamer gets 28GB of DDR4-3200 memory and 30TB of storage on a 4th Gen PCIe SSD.

With all this equipment in theory we should enjoy some cloud gaming sessions that allow us to put all the game settings in “Ultra” mode without major problems and adjust the resolution and refresh rate of the screen according to the needs of the moment (more quality or better performance).

Connectivity

GeForce NOW RTX 3080 requires a 35Mbps internet connection to play at 1440p and 120 FPS , although NVIDIA recommends a 70Mbps connection for an optimal experience. In case we use a Shield TV device we will need a 40Mbps connection to play 4K with HDR mode activated .

Another critical point is the type of connection, and that is that although we can use a Wi-Fi connection, we will always achieve the best results if we are connected by an Ethernet cable.

If you have already tried playing streaming, you know that having a good Internet connection represents 95% of the experience, and in the case of the GFN RTX 3080 this is more palpable than ever. Although Nvidia technology uses compression methods to transmit data to the user’s screen with really minimal latency times, if we are looking for high resolutions and high FPS rates, having a powerful and stable connection is essential.

Gaming experience

Although the GeForce NOW platform does not have a native method for measuring game performance, we have used internal benchmarking tools that include the games themselves to measure their performance.

We have carried out practically all of the tests with a FullHD 1080p monitor and another 4K monitor connected to a PC with Windows 11. For Internet access we have used an Ethernet cable with a 600Mbps fiber connection.

Watch Dogs Legion

The most recent Watch Dogs title is a good example of what the new NVIDIA service can give of itself, since it has RTX Ray Tracing and the game takes place in the city of London in an open world environment, with a lots of cars, buildings and items on screen with a great level of detail.

The first thing we have done has been to put all the settings in “Ultra” mode and with DLSS activated. From the outset, it has come to our attention that streaming has not been compromised at any time, without the typical pixelated or blurred images. For this reason alone we can already say that GFN RTX 3080 is a success: after a while playing you forget that you are playing streaming and you lose that “fear” that the image is going to cut or not look good.

At the performance level, the game offers a frame rate of 57 average FPS and 76 maximum FPS on a 1080p screen. When we switch to a 4K monitor with the maximum resolution of 1440p the refresh rate is very similar, with 55 FPS average and 73 FPS at the maximum peaks.

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy

The Guardians of the Galaxy game has also delivered with note. I don’t know if it’s because it’s a more recent game, but both the textures and the environment seem to look even sharper than in Watch Dogs. Fluidity also improves with an average FPS of 91 and maximum values ​​of 108 FPS. Clearly, this is a title that looks especially good on the new GeForce NOW RTYX 3080.

Immortals Fenyx Rising

At the end of last year Ubisoft pulled out of its sleeve this Immortals Fenyx Rising , a kind of Zelda: Breath of the Wild set in Greek mythology. Here you can see that the graphic load is not as heavy with the two previous titles, which allows NVIDIA to deliver frame rates of up to 138 maximum FPS and an average that is between 80 and 90 FPS.

With all the settings to the maximum, this is a most enjoyable title to play in streaming. We had already tested it with the previous GeForce NOW subscription models, and the truth is that the improvement is noticeable from the first minute of play.

Latency: Is there lag?

Lag is another of the great fears when we talk about playing streaming. The signal has to go from the gamepad or keyboard to the NVIDIA servers and then return the corresponding response on the screen in the shortest possible time.

This is something that NVIDIA already had more or less mastered, and according to their technical specifications, the latency is very similar or even better than that of an Xbox game console locally.

To test the latency we played CS: GO, Apex Legends and Destiny 2. All of them multiplayer first person shooters, where lag in controls is a deciding factor. Perhaps a hardcore gamer of this type of game will be able to tell the difference, but personally we have not detected any impediments in this regard.

Play Streaming FPS Refresh rate on monitor Latency (Click to Pixel)
Apex legends   60 FPS, Adaptive Sync
120 FPS, V-Sync Off
60 Hz
120 Hz
67.9ms
43.2ms
CS: GO 60 FPS, Adaptive Sync
120 FPS, V-Sync Off
60 Hz
120 Hz
72.3ms
48.2ms
Destiny 2 60 FPS, Adaptive Sync
120 FPS, V-Sync Off
60 Hz
120 Hz
67.9ms
43.2ms

Source: NVIDIA

conclusion

In general, the gaming experience with GeForce NOW RTX 3080 is very good, as long as we have a quality internet connection. Now, we are talking about a premium service aimed at an audience that is willing to pay 100 euros for a 6-month subscription.

It is expensive? It depends. If you are an occasional player who is only going to spend a couple of hours a week, this subscription may be a bit big for you. But if it is something that you dedicate time to and you are passionate about video games, it can be a more than interesting alternative.

We are talking about equipment that will be around 2,500 euros on the market, so “renting” it for 6 months for 99.99 euros does not seem so far-fetched. Also, considering how difficult it is to get an RTX 3080 graphics today, many people may consider it as a more than viable solution until there is stock available again.

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