Big NVIDIA GeForce NOW Update Brings RTX 3080 And 3X Xbox Series X Power To Cloud Gamers

GeForce RTX 3080 Pods
NVIDIA is quite literally taking its cloud game streaming service, GeForce NOW, to the next level by adding vastly upgraded game servers to the mix—or as NVIDIA calls them, GeForce NOW SuperPODs. These SuperPODs purportedly deliver "GeForce RTX 3080-class gaming" on the company's cloud service, and are being made available exclusively to a new, high-performance membership tier with additional perks.

For anyone unfamiliar, GeForce NOW is a cloud service that enables gaming on a wide range of devices, including ones that would otherwise be ill-equipped to play triple-A titles. Be it a low-powered Windows laptop with integrated graphics, a Chromebook, a Mac, or even a mobile device like an Android handset or iPhone, GeForce NOW opens the door to playing a robust catalog of games without a hefty investment in graphics hardware, with new titles added weekly (every Thursday).

For the most part, users can stream games at 720p at 60 frames per second (15Mbps or higher internet connection required) or 1080p at 60 frames per second (25Mbps or higher). In some cases (competitive gaming), 720p at 120 frames per second is possible too. However, the Silicon Valley GPU giant has other tricks up its sleeve too. More on that shortly...

GeForce RTX 3080

As for these new second-gen SuperPODs, each one is outfitted with over 1,000 GPUs tallying more than 39 petaflops (39,200 teraflops) of graphics muscle, by way of 11,477,760 CUDA cores and 8,960 CPU cores. Woof!

Each instance serves up 35 teraflops of performance, which as NVIDIA is keen to point out, is nearly three times more than Microsoft's Xbox Series X, a dedicated game console running on custom AMD hardware. Gamers who opt for the new tier are essentially playing on cloud hardware comprised of an 8-core/16-thread CPU, 35 teraflops of GPU horsepower, 28GB of DDR4-3200 RAM, and a PCIe Gen4 SSD.

"The GeForce NOW RTX 3080 membership tier provides gamers with access to the greatest-ever generational leap in GeForce history, delivering cloud gaming’s highest resolutions and fastest frame rates, paired with the lowest latency," NVIDIA says.

GeForce NOW Membership Tiers
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The addition of the new subscription option joins the existing Priority tier, which runs $9.99 per month or $49.99 for six months and allots six-hour gaming sessions and RTX effects (real-time ray tracing and DLSS), and the free tier with standard access and one-hour gaming sessions. Pricing comes in at $99.99 for six months on the new RTX 3080 tier.

GeForce NOW RTX 3080 Tier Perks And Performance

However, those who opt for the premium subscription get a few premium benefits, the biggest one being access to the bolstered SuperPODs. This enables playing at up to 1440p at 120 frames per second on PC and Mac, and 4K HDR on NVIDIA's Shield TV. In addition, players can game for up to eight hours at a time, and have "the most control over persistent in-game settings," NVIDIA says.

GeForce NOW Latency
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The service leverages adaptive sync as well, to help facilitate lower latency gaming and smooth gameplay by syncing frame times between the server and client, to deliver lower latency to the end user and eliminate dropped frames. 

"While most users will experience a discernible reduction in latency, RTX 3080 members streaming at 120 frames per second will observe the greatest benefits through high frame rate synchronization. In the lowest latency mode, these members can experience total latency as low as 60ms—comparable to the latest game consoles," NVIDIA says.

It all sounds promising. The timing is appreciated too, with GPU hardware being so hard to come by these days. NVIDIA is giving GeForce NOW Founders and Priority members (including new ones, once they register) early access to pre-order the RTX 3080 tier starting today, followed by open sign-ups later this month, based on availability (NVIDIA says quantities are limited). The RTX 3080 tier will then be available in North America next month, and in Europe in December.