GeForce PC Streaming
In the test lab, we have the advantage of testing out different networking scenarios while using a variety of hardware to simulate a home network. With this in mind, we went to town trying to see how well GeForce PC Streaming (aka GameStream) worked.
First, here are Nvidia’s system requirements for GameStream to work:
- GPU: Desktop - GeForce GTX 650 or higher; Notebook - GeForce GTX 700M or higher, and select (Kepler-based) GTX 600M GPUs
- CPU: Intel Core i3-2100 3.1GHz or AMD Athlon II X4 630 2.8GHz or higher
- System Memory: 4GB or more
- OS: Windows 7 or 8
- Software: Latest GeForce Display Drivers; Latest version of GeForce Experience (Installed with Driver); Latest Steam Client
- Routers: 802.11a/g router (minimum). 802.11n dual band router (recommended) at the 5GHz band
For the game, we went with Tomb Raider (2013), a game listed on Nvidia’s approved GameStreaming list. Using a Steam account, we played the game on Gigabyte’s latest P34W v3 gaming laptop.
After setting up the necessary accounts, were ready to start streaming away.
For our networking piece of the puzzle, we first used an internet-connected D-Link DIR-815 Dual Band Router. Both the laptop and Nvidia Shield were on the same N600 wireless network and immediately we saw lag as we scrolled through the menu options. As we played the game, things only got worse, so we moved on to the next wireless router.
Next up, we grabbed a Buffalo WXR-1900DHP AC1900 router, and like the D-Link router before, we configured the router, set up the SSID and connected the Gigabyte laptop and Nvidia Shield to the new wireless network. Whereas the D-Link has a theoretical max speed of 600Mbps, the Buffalo is rated to peak out at 1.3Mbps. Still, even with this faster configuration, we continued to see lag with little improvement.
The last router we tried was D-Link’s latest release, the AC3200 tri-band DIR-890L. Even though the theoretical speed of the DIR-890L’s 5GHz band was the same as the Buffalo’s, we were wondering if the faster hardware inside the D-Link would speed things up for us. Performance did eventually improve, but we still got some lag during gameplay.
Finally, we turned to Nvidia and they suggested that we try a wired solution to see if it would eliminate the lag problem completely. We then connected a Zyxel GS-108B 8-port Gigabit switch to the original N600 D-Link router, then the Gigabyte laptop and then the Nvidia Shield. Gameplay was better, with an occasional frame skip, but at this point we just realized that hard-wiring the Shield and the computer to the network is the best way to go.
One thing we should note was that while playing Tomb Raider on the laptop and streaming to the Shield, the session running on the laptop display was flawless as far as we could tell, even when a frame was skipped on the Shield’s session, the laptop barreled through each frame without a hitch.