If you want to play games on an RTX 3080 card, but can't find one for sale or afford to build a PC worthy of one of the best graphics cards, Nvidia's GeForce Now has a solution. The cloud gaming service is adding a new plan that allows you to stream games from an RTX 3080-enabled server for up to eight hours a day. Available for pre-order today with the launch soon, the GeForce Now RTX 3080 plan will cost $99 for six months (around $16.67 per month) and run at up to 1440p resolution with 120 fps on computers or 4K HDR 60 fps on Shield TV.
Nvidia's GeForce Now cloud gaming service officially launched in early 2020 after a full five years in public beta. The service allows you to play any of hundreds of supported PC games (opens in new tab) on a remote server, provided that you bought the game separately or it's a free-to-play title. In addition, you can play on a wide variety of devices, from PCs and Macs to phones and Nvidia shield TVs. It can even run in a web browser, making it possible to use on a variety of platforms, including Chrome OS.
Up until now, there have been two tiers of GeForce Now membership: a free tier that provides basic gameplay for up to one hour at a time and a Premium tier that costs $49.99 for six months and gives you priority access. The latter also provides RTX ray tracing and game play of up to 60 fps at 1080p. For double the price, the new RTX 3080 tier increases session time to up to eight hours, along with the increased resolution and frame rate.
Inside its data centers, Nvidia is adding its new GeForce Now Superpods, which are capable of 39,200 TFLOPS of processing apiece, along with their 11,477,760 CUDA cores and 8,960 CPU cores. Though these servers provide enough processing power to give each user on the new plan access to a dedicated RTX 3080, Nvidia is limiting the number of orders so that the number of users on the top tier won't exceed capacity.
If you're going to sign up for GeForce Now's RTX 3080 plan, expect to use more bandwidth than on the other plans. Nvidia requires at least 25 Mbps for 1080p 60 fps play and, using the RTX 3080 plan to move up to 1440p will require 35 Mbps. Nvidia requires that you connect over Ethernet or 5 GHz Wi-Fi.
The new plan promises sub-60ms latency, which Nvidia says is quicker than Xbox Series X and Project xCloud, both of which are over 90ms. The Premium tier's RTX 2080 card promises a solid latency of 81ms itself.
GeForce Now is also getting its own form of adaptive sync which adjusts the frame rate to match the client screen's fixed refresh rate. So your display will not need to support G-Sync or FreeSync, because it's the stream itself that changes.
We haven't had a chance to test out GeForce Now's RTX 3080 plan yet, but it sounds like a boon for users who don't have modern gaming PCs. According to Nvidia, most of its current GeForce Now users have laptops with integrated graphics and their average session is about an hour. So, if you've got a lightweight ultrabook or even a phone, you can play PC games that would normally require one of the best gaming laptops.
However, if you already have a decent, last-gen gaming PC, the choice is not as clear. Depending on your bandwidth, any data caps you might have and the games you like to play, using local hardware could be easier. We'll have more to say on this once we get to try the new service in the near future.