Cloud gaming is far from over with Google Stadia’s nighttime shutdown. With its RTX 3080 tier, Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service had already surpassed Stadia and many other competitors. Now, it is introducing an upgrade to RTX 4080 graphics coupled with HDR and ultrawide screen compatibility.
This results in 240 frames per second and all the typical speed improvements you’d find with a recent GPU you’d buy for a PC. Even if the older RTX 3080 tier was capable of 120 frames per second, doubling the frame rate has an impact on both performance and latency. GeForce Now is now the most technologically advanced cloud gaming platform available, giving you a close-to-personal PC-like gaming experience.
On a 32-inch Samsung Odyssey G7 (1440p, 240Hz) display, I’ve been trying the new GeForce Now Ultimate competitive 240Hz mode, and my colleague Sean Hollister has been testing on a similar 240Hz monitor on a 1440p screen. While a 240Hz display is required to fully benefit from the new mode, Nvidia’s Reflex technology, which analyses and reduces system latency in games, allows for some latency improvements to be obtained even on 120Hz and 144Hz panels.
New Competitive Mode At 240Hz
I’ve been critical of Stadia’s lag for the mouse and keyboard, but GeForce Now Ultimate offers latency improvements that almost make me believe I’m using my own gaming PC to play the game.
The majority of the shooters I play, including Apex Legends, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive, and Destiny 2, are the biggest litmus tests for cloud gaming latency. Over the past week, I’ve been using Nvidia’s RTX 4080 servers to play Apex Legends, CS:GO, and Fortnite. Currently, the 240Hz mode only supports 1080p and offers up to 240fps in games that are compatible. There are only a few games that support the 240Hz mode:
- Apex Legends
- Counter-Strike: Global Offensive
- Rocket League
- Tom Clancy’s Rainbow Six Siege
According to Nvidia, it intends to add additional titles over time and even has the capacity to enable Reflex’s 240Hz mode in games where it hasn’t yet been included by the creators.
Fortnite, though, stood well among the group of 240Hz games I examined, in part because it is compatible with all of Nvidia’s ray-tracing options, DLSS, and Reflex latency enhancements. The game’s cartoonish visuals make it a good candidate for streaming as well. For gamers using a keyboard and mouse, the latency decreases are significant, and I typically had trouble detecting any lag.
But it didn’t run at 240fps consistently. It was buttery smooth in creative mode, but it was simple to see the frame rate dip when you exit the combat bus and enter battle royale mode. Once I was on the ground, I hardly ever noticed frame rate decreases, and the input latency frequently felt really amazing.
Although there are times in Apex Legends when you have to make quick judgements and the latency can be more evident, it still feels better than when I tried the RTX 3080 tier servers more than a year ago. Additionally, it seemed really fluid and was usually a lock at 240 frames per second in CS:GO.
The RTX 4080 servers from Nvidia have full ray tracing, DLSS 3, and 64 teraflops of performance (about five times that of the Xbox Series X). Compared to using an Xbox Series X at 60Hz, the competitive 240Hz mode can give end-to-end latency of less than 40ms in some games.
The only visible difference between playing Fortnite on my personal PC with an RTX 4090 and playing it in this RTX 4080 cloud environment was the quality of what I could see on the screen.