Nvidia's Free GeForce NOW Beta Lets You Play System Intensive PC Games on Your Mac

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Apple's Macs aren't optimized for gaming and often don't have powerful enough GPUs to run the latest gaming titles, a problem that Nvidia is aiming to solve with its GeForce NOW service designed for Macs.

GeForce NOW for Mac, currently in beta testing in North America, lets you use a virtual GeForce GTX gaming PC in the cloud to run games that otherwise may not be possible to play on a Mac. The only requirement is a good internet connection, with the virtual gaming PC handling all of the GPU and CPU requirements.


Since Macs aren't known for being gaming machines, PC makers don't typically design new titles to run on Macs. That's also an issue that can be solved with GeForce NOW, because it can stream PC-only games too. So if you've been wanting to play Player Unknown's Battlegrounds on a Mac, for example, you can do so with GeForce NOW.

GeForce NOW integrates with Steam and works with the games you already own, so it's not a gaming service that provides access to games. You need to purchase the games you play, with GeForce NOW providing the power to play them.

I've been testing GeForce NOW this week and while it's not perfect, it's promising. Setup is as simple as downloading the GeForce NOW for Mac app and then connecting a Steam account. Since you're essentially streaming the gameplay from the cloud, when you choose a free-to-play game or a game you've purchased on Steam, you don't need to install it because it's already installed and ready to go.


With Player Unknown's Battlegrounds, I bought it on Steam, logged into GeForce NOW, and had it up and running on my 2013 iMac in about 30 seconds. GeForce NOW runs a system check when you launch it so you can tell if your connection is going to be good enough for optimal streaming.

GeForce NOW is heavily reliant on a fast internet connection, requiring a 25Mb/s download speed at a minimum and a 5GHz wireless router. Nvidia recommends a 50Mb/s connection or higher to account for other potential internet traffic. Even with a Wi-Fi connection that met those demands, I ran into some problems with frame loss that made the game unplayable a couple of times.


When switching over to a hardwired ethernet connection, the game ran more smoothly, so if you don't have a Wi-Fi connection that's robust enough, a physical connection might be necessary to use the service. I was able to successfully play over WiFi for most of my testing, though, as I didn't see the frame loss issue consistently. To ensure players get a low ping, Nvidia has servers located across the United States.

Playing PUBG using GeForce NOW was just like playing it on a PC. I was able to play right alongside PC gamers, and while there was still a bit of stuttering and lag, it worked. I was using a late 2013 iMac, but GeForce NOW is supported on a long list of machines manufactured in 2008 and beyond.

Along with PUBG, GeForce NOW supports a number of other popular games, and Nvidia is adding support for more on a regular basis. Some of the supported titles include League of Legends, Fallout 4, Overwatch, Path of Exile, World of Warcraft, The Witcher 3, Rocket League, Destiny 2, and Middle-earth: Shadow of War.

Nvidia will be beta testing GeForce NOW for Mac through the end of the year, so it's free to download and use for the time being. A launch is planned for 2018, and final pricing for the service has yet to be announced. The beta is limited to the United States and Canada.

Article Link: Nvidia's Free GeForce NOW Beta Lets You Play System Intensive PC Games on Your Mac
 
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Cougarcat

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Sep 19, 2003
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I've been beta testing this. It works well over a wired connection, though the one time I tried it wirelessly (admittedly not so close to my wireless router) it chugged. The best part about it is you have access to Steam or Battle.net accounts––you don't need to rebuy your games like Onlive. But the pricing structure they announced previously is not good.

BTW, it's possible to play unsupported games by "launching" a game, exiting out of it and then selecting the one you want in your Steam browser that appears. If you do this, though, you'll have to "reinstall" every session, though it only takes a minute, and because of this your game will need to support Cloud Saves.
 

tanlis

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2004
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While this is a nice thing to be able to do, it does not fix the problem of developers ignoring the Mac market. In fact, it allows them to ignore Macs even more so.

In order for things to change, the following have to occur:
- Mac owners have to be vocal to developers about building for our platform
- Developers have to pick tools that support Macs
- Tool developers have to keep their tools up to date and use Metal/Metal 2
- Apple has to work with developers to provide the appropriate support in the hardware and software
 
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millerb7

macrumors 6502a
Jun 9, 2010
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While this is a nice thing to be able to do, it does not fix the problem of developers ignoring the Mac market. In fact, it allows them to ignore Macs even more so.

In order for things to change, the following have to occur:
- Mac owners have to be vocal to developers about building for our platform
- Developers have to pick tools that support Macs
- Tool developers have to keep their tools up to date and use Metal/Metal 2
- Apple has to work with developers to provide the appropriate support in the hardware and software
It’s really not on the developers at all. It’s all on Apple. The hardware just isn’t there. Why develop a game for a small market with low to mid mobile GPUs? You’re just not going to be playing PUBG well on a mobile GPU. Markets just too smal.
[doublepost=1507928228][/doublepost]
If it needs low-latency and at least 25mbps, then hard-wired is a necessity.
Not true at all. I can easily run WELL over 25mb/s over WiFi. Well over.
 

Pbrutto

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Apr 21, 2015
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So my gigabit Ethernet is adequate huh? I am more curious how first person shooters that require super low ping for best effect goes
 
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NazgulRR

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2010
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There was a similar service a couple of years around (2012-13) ago that was subsequently shut down and it worked brilliantly over 100mbps wired connection. Remember playing Bioshock and it felt the same as if the games was installed on the mac. Can only imagine how much better this must be in 2017.

What is cost of this?
 

bladerunner2000

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Jun 12, 2015
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It's pretty awesome for sure but be careful with this if you have data caps. IIRC when I played one game at high quality, one hour of gaming was like 11GB. So, if you pay 20 hours a week, you'd hit ~900GB a month.
Only an issue if you live in Canada where scumbag companies like Rogers and Bell exist that still have data caps.
 

ILikeAllOS

macrumors 6502
Jul 28, 2011
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This is literally the OnLive service all over again.
Let's hope this time people have the proper internet speeds to support smooth, streaming games, because OnLive was a laggy mess making it impossible to play most games, particularly FPS games... :mad:
 
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Cougarcat

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2003
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This is literally the OnLive service all over again.
Let's hope this time people have the proper internet speeds to support smooth, streaming games, because OnLive was a laggy mess making it impossible to play most games, particularly FPS games... :mad:
I played both, and this works way better than Onlive ever did. And the fact that you're playing games that you already own means that if the service dies you won't be without your games. That said, NOW's pricing is as such that if you play even more than occasionally it would make more sense just to build a cheap PC. You're literally renting hardware with this model.
 
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840quadra

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Feb 1, 2005
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Interesting to see this. You would think that it would cut into their hardware business. But, then again the trend of pc systems could be moving more to mid to low end laptops and all in one systems.

If anything, this could potentially save pc gaming in some ways.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
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There are packages on Rogers that don’t have data caps. Also plenty of other options such as teksavvy ( plenty of others that use
Rogers infrastructure), Fido ( yea Rogers ) that have no data caps and cheaper than what Rogers offer.


Only an issue if you live in Canada where scumbag companies like Rogers and Bell exist that still have data caps.
 
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tanlis

macrumors newbie
Jan 6, 2004
13
10
It’s really not on the developers at all. It’s all on Apple. The hardware just isn’t there. Why develop a game for a small market with low to mid mobile GPUs? You’re just not going to be playing PUBG well on a mobile GPU. Markets just too smal.
Then that will just allow the cycle to continue. If developers won't build for the platform and push the hardware then Apple will never put better hardware out. But if a developers do build games and push the hardware, then Apple should start making adjustments so things are better.
 
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Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
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Looks like a good cheaper
Option. Gaming on macs hasnt helped due to Apple offering machines with ****** GPUs and not updating openGPL. There were issues with metal - not offering enough functionality, fortunately metal 2 is better. Due to poor GPUs, ancient version of OpenGL and metal 1, quite a few games could not simply be ported over to Mac.

Fortunately 2017 Mac offerings are better. But is it too late for Mac gaming?

EDIT: Cheaper option until I saw the pricing!! :eek:
 
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farewelwilliams

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Jun 18, 2014
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if you've ever looked at a video taken from a DSLR and then the same video after uploading it on Youtube, that's what the quality downgrade is like on geforce now.
 
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SeminalSage

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2016
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If it needs low-latency and at least 25mbps, then hard-wired is a necessity.
What qualifies as low-latency? I'm asking, not questioning your comment because I'm not a huge PvP gamer. My wireless connection from my MBP runs at 50+ up and down with 8-12ms pings.
 

iReality85

macrumors 65816
Apr 29, 2008
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Upstate NY
Interesting to see this. You would think that it would cut into their hardware business. But, then again the trend of pc systems could be moving more to mid to low end laptops and all in one systems.

If anything, this could potentially save pc gaming in some ways.
Unless I misread, this service is free, correct?

I’m sure NVIDIA is getting a cut of something on the back end, either from Steam, the game developers, or both when gamers log in with NOW running. I find it hard to believe NVIDIA would provide this for free.

I’m interested in the latency, since the game is essentially being steamed to your PC. This definitely has the potential to completely change the graphics card industry (or the need for one).
 

SeminalSage

macrumors member
Nov 10, 2016
90
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I guess question is why would anyone pay month to month when for under $600 you can get a eGPU and an upgradable GPU to run those games? (Assuming you also have a TB3 capable Mac). I know the service runs PC only games too, but (anecdotal) roughly 75% of my Steam games are both Mac and PC.
 

Cougarcat

macrumors 604
Sep 19, 2003
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Unless I misread, this service is free, correct?

I’m sure NVIDIA is getting a cut of something on the back end, either from Steam, the game developers, or both when gamers log in with NOW running. I find it hard to believe NVIDIA would provide this for free.

I’m interested in the latency, since the game is essentially being steamed to your PC. This definitely has the potential to completely change the graphics card industry (or the need for one).
It's free for the beta, but after that, you'll have to pay. It's not cheap: "Pricing starts at $25 for 20 hours of play on a GTX 1060 PC, or 10 hours of play on a GTX 1080 PC."
 
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69Mustang

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Jan 7, 2014
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In between a rock and a hard place
What qualifies as low-latency? I'm asking, not questioning your comment because I'm not a huge PvP gamer. My wireless connection from my MBP runs at 50+ up and down with 8-12ms pings.
I think the issue is less can you hit 50+Mbps and low latency with a wireless connection and more can you maintain a consistent 50+Mbps and low latency with a wireless connection. At least that's the problem I've found playing against people who rely on a wireless connection. There are too many variables in the environment that can affect the consistency of their signal. I typically try avoid wireless opponents when gaming. Whether it be on console or gaming rig, I've found a better experience with wired opponents. Never Forza in a lobby with wireless guys unless you want to spend the race watching cars "Aladdin" the entire time.
 

Ca$hflow

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Jan 7, 2010
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Only an issue if you live in Canada where scumbag companies like Rogers and Bell exist that still have data caps.
That’s not true. I have a a plan a unlimited plan through Rogers. It’s 150megabit down and 50megabit up for $74.95 month. I bought as a promotion but costs $99 regular. Bell does similar but charges an extra $20/month for unlimited. 2 yrs ago Rogers were bastards with the cap. Some of their sub $30/month plans still have caps.
 
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