NVIDIA’s GeForce NOW game streaming subscription service has been upgraded yet again. Existing RTX 3080 users will be automatically upgraded to the new GeForce Now Ultimate tier for the same price: $19.99 billed monthly, or $99.99 for six months.
According to the German website HardwareLuxx, the performance enabled by the upgrade falls short of that of a genuine RTX 4080 GPU. While GeForce NOW users are limited to actual games and cannot use software to create benchmark sessions manually, there are many games that include built-in benchmarks that allow testing.
The GeForce NOW Ultimate tier lagged far behind a real RTX 4080 in CD Projekt RED’s Cyberpunk 2077.
The cloud test registered 78.1 average FPS at 1440p, while a physical PC ran 37.1% faster at 107.1 FPS; at 4K, GFN Ultimate registered a similar difference (38.1%), with the actual RTX 4080 coming out on top with 52.1 average FPS against the cloud’s 37.7 average FPS.
HardwareLuxx also tested Eidos Montréal’s Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, which did not support 4K resolution for some reason (even though GeForce NOW has supported 4K resolution for a long time).
At 1080p, the real RTX 4080 scored 157 average FPS, 46.7% higher than GFN Ultimate’s 107 FPS; at 1440p, the difference mentioned in the website’s slide is even more pronounced at 80.5%, though we must question the RTX 4080’s result of 195 average FPS. If they had used the same graphics preset (Very High), the 1080p benchmark should have scored significantly higher than the 1440p benchmark.
The benchmark indicated an AMD Ryzen 16-core CPU with 28 GB of central RAM. The website’s best guess for the GPU is that NVIDIA is using the L40 data centre GPU, which, like the consumer-oriented RTX 4080, is based on Ada Lovelace’s architecture.
The L40 has 48 GB of GDDR6 VRAM, but because each data centre GPU serves two cloud instances, each instance has 24 GB of VRAM. According to the author, each GeForce NOW Ultimate cloud instance receives around 70-72 shader multiprocessors, which is slightly less than the 76 of the real RTX 4080. This could account for some of the poor performance.
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