Nvidia GeForce Now Superpod

GeForce Now Ultimate RTX 4080 Tier Tested

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Nvidia’s GeForce Now (opens in new tab) subscription game streaming service just got upgraded again. Existing users of the service at the previous RTX 3080 level will automatically switch to the new GeForce Now Ultimate tier, for the same price: $19.99 billed monthly, or $99.99 for six months. We were able to test the new hardware to see how it handles the latest games, which naturally includes support for DLSS 3 courtesy of the Ada Lovelace architecture.

What’s the catch? If you’re already a GFN subscriber, there is none, though we’re still trying to sort out what these upgrades means for the other tiers. We know from past testing that there were previously at least three classes of hardware: RTX 3080, RTX 2080, and RTX 2060 (possibly GTX 1080). Those are all more like fast mobile variants of said GPUs, though the exact specs differ — actual 3080/2080/2060 GPUs running locally would generally be faster.

With the introduction of the 4080 tier, does that mean the bottom 2060/1080 equivalents will be phased out and everything shifts down? We’re not sure, but it’s one possibility. We do know that, increasing prices notwithstanding, the RTX 4080 ranks as one of the best graphics cards. But how does the cloud variant compare?

Let’s start with the streaming performance. I ran five gaming tests — Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Cyberpunk 2077, Far Cry 6, Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and Watch Dogs Legion — on both a local RTX 4080 and on the GeForce Now Ultimate RTX 4080. The actual GPUs are not the same, but we don’t have exact specs other than the 24GB VRAM, and we know the cloud 4080 does support things like DLSS 3. It’s probably an unannounced data center variant of the AD102 chip, rather than the AD103 used in the retail RTX 4080.

All of the testing was done at 4K 120 fps on GFN, running on a Samsung Odyssey Neo G8 monitor (4K 240 Hz). Game settings were basically maxed out, including ray tracing options, with DLSS Quality mode enabled where applicable. Unfortunately, none of the games with DLSS 3 Frame Generation have a built-in benchmark, so I couldn’t capture any performance metrics for those games.

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla

Assassin’s Creed Valhalla is one of the games that reports a “AMD Ryzen 16-core” CPU with an “Nvidia Graphics Device” for the GPU. That’s about as much detail as we could garner on what the new RTX 4080 hardware entails. We tested using the Ultra preset.

Performance on GFN came in at 105 fps, while on our Core i9-13900K test PC equipped with an actual RTX 4080 Founders Edition, we achieved… 98 fps. Wait, seriously? Yes, GeForce Now actually came out faster than a local RTX 4080 in this case, though that’s not always going to happen. It could be that this particular game is simply better optimized for Ryzen CPUs as opposed to the 13900K.

Cyberpunk 2077

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