Shadow Cloud Gaming on MacOS... & GeForce Now.

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amgff84

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Original poster
Sep 22, 2019
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For those who don't know, Shadow is a cloud gaming service. What you get is an app you install, and it opens up a streamlined virtual machine on a server somewhere. That VM is Windows 10, and allows you to go full screen and stream that operating system as if it were your computer, on your screen. While cloud gaming is not new, it is new enough where I think we can start a discussion and help each other get shadow going on our Macs.

*I do not have any affiliation with Shadow or Blade apart from paying a monthly service fee for their service. Also, no affiliation with Nvidia, except receiving their service for free while in Beta.

Personally, it has impacted my life greatly. While I was a student, I used a windows 10 gaming rig with a ton of money invested into it. I wanted to get into Macs, but I just didn't want to give up gaming. I discovered Shadow through (link -->) Linus Tech Tips on Youtube.com.

Shadows website is (link -->) HERE.
GeForce Now is (link -->) HERE.

After discovering Shadow, I tried it on my gaming rig for a couple months. In that time I experienced better gameplay, better performance, and an overall faster "machine" than what I already owned and paid tons of money into. Fast forward to now, and I run Shadow on my late 2008 MacBook. Basically, I am gaming on my $50 laptop as if it were a $3000 gaming rig. I even set my desk up nice with a vertical dock and LED's to still have the gaming effect.

Shadow offers a Virtual Machine, meaning you get to log into a Windows 10 desktop, and from there you can install you game launchers (Steam, Epic...) and install the games you want to play. There is a storage limitation of 250 GB, so you can only install a few large games > See known issues below.

Known issues;

Display resolution works best at standard resolutions like 1920x1080. I had one machine that kept freezing until I changed all resolutions (Windows 10 and game) to the same 1920x1080. Now that I am using an old MacBook, 720 works best so Windows is set for 1440x900 and game is set for 1280x800. This also reduces bandwtih usage, so it's a win win to me. I could imagine others that would have an issue with this. I am guessing on a newer Mac, this problem wouldn't exist.

Storage here in the US is limited to 250GB, but they are offering plans with extended storage in Europe now, so I am guessing they will eventually offer it to us. I really only play 4 or 5 games, so I can just install and remove them as needed. On Shadow, it's a really fast process as they use top of the line hardware, so again, to me this is not an issue.

Possible server issues, and this is one reason I want to start this thread. On occasion, I can't login to Shadow and if I forget about it, the next day I can. This leads me to believe there is a down server. I'm not really sure!?

LATENCY. While this is almost a non issue, at time, I will notice some latency. The only way to reduce this is by allowing shadow a lot of bandwidth in settings as well as a good internet connection, however, they claim that this only needs 25mbps. Playing games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint both play well under this, even in their fast-paced PVP. Below is a screenshot from (link -->) speedtest.net which was taken from Windows 10 off of the Shadow server. These are some decent connection speeds, about 5 times faster than mine. This may contribute to the smooth and responsive gameplay.

Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 11.21.21 PM.png


The cost! $25 a month is a bit steep, but I think it's worth it considering thats only $300 a year, so that's still cheaper than if you were to build a PC to the spec they offer you. We still don't know what GeForce Now will cost, as it's still in Beta. From what I can tell though, it should be much cheaper.

To build a gaming computer yourself from (link -->) PCPartPicker.com, this could show you how much you will spend to get a computer of similar performance as to what Shadow can offer.

***Edited here, removed a screen shot from PC Part Picker. Someone stated that the build I came up with, that was similar to the specs offered by Shadow, was inaccurate. I left the link for the readers to try themselves, if they aren't already familiar with what's available, compatible, and valued. They can come up with their own conclusions based on what they find.***

Shadow Tech Specs as per my machine;

Xeon Processor @ 2.5 GHZ 4 cores or 8 threads.
12 GB DDR4 RAM @ 2400 MHZ
250 GB storage, Speed comparable to SSD.
Quadro P5000 GPU, Shadow claims this is equivalent to a GTX 1080.

***Edit! Per their US website;

Your subscription includes the following hardware specifications:

  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or NVIDIA Quadro P5000
  • Processor: XEON 8 dedicated threads
  • Memory: 12GB / DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB dedicated
  • Connection: 1Gb/s

As you can see, Shadow would cost much less than a gaming rig and offer pretty good performance. It offered me a chance to finally get into the Mac ecosystem after owning an iPhone, and simplified much of what I do. In the future, they will be offering 3 tiers of performance, for now we get just the one. If you use shadow, please add your comments or offer some input. If this interests you, please check it out.

My Shadow experience below;

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 8.38.01 PM.png
IMG_1671.jpg



Massive Edit****

Shadow has just been updated and this most recent update freezes in - game while connected to an external display. It's not every game, and it is fine on the laptops native display. I am guessing those with newer machines running everything at the typical resolutions will not be effected.

It works fine on my Mac Mini with an ultra wide 1080p display. However, and this is a big one, I run both Shadow and games in 1920x1080 to avoid random freezes.

I also wanted to post recent Geekbench 4 results from their trial software. The below screenshots show an incredible gain in performance from the old Macbook to the Shadow PC. If you could, post your results also so everyone can get a good idea of where thier machines stand against Shadow.

Shadow Machine
Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 11.10.05 AM.png

Old MacBook
Screen Shot 2020-01-11 at 11.16.25 AM.png

Mac mini
Screen Shot 2020-01-17 at 11.39.30 PM.png


Added 1/27
Screen Shot 2020-01-27 at 12.35.34 AM.png

As a side note on the above screen shot of my actual Shadow Userbenchmark test, the processor was only being partially utilized due to the virtualization. However, it still received a respectful score for gaming, and if we were to test the processor as a whole we would have a better result. Unfortunately this is impossible because of how Shadow works, and Userbenchmark knows what the CPU is, but it is unable to test the entire CPU, and can only test the portion that is allocated for your Shadow machine.

***Edit

So... Recently approved for the GeForce Now Beta. Looks to be some good competition for Shadow. Before I begin though, I want to get it right out there and let you know that Shadow gives you a full Windows 10 desktop, meaning you have access to a pretty decent Windows 10 PC. GeForce now offers some decent specs, more games than I expected, and an overall more reliable experience. What you lose out on though, is customization.

I discussed Shadows Specs above, lets get GeForce Now out there and see what they offer for specs;

Intel Xeon E5-2697 2.3GHZ, 4 cores or 8 threads.
15GB DDR3 RAM
Tesla P40 GPU with 24GB VRAM


It looks like they will also offer another tier capable of Ray Tracing via the GPU.

I can't find storage, but so far I have installed 2 more games than Shadow and the installs were just a tad quicker than Shadow. I was up and running in about 10 minutes from setup to clicking "quickmatch". Some sources suggest there is no cap on storage as it installs the game you want to play on demand. With Shadow, you are given a dedicated portion of a server and a small amount of storage. If you want to play something that you have not downloaded, you would have to uninstall something else first. This is a quick process, but an extra step.

Initially, reliability seemed great, but getting into it I had trouble connecting. This was probably on the game end, and not Nvidias.

Input lag with either service is not noticeable on my high speed cable internet, but Shadow does offer an option to limit how much of your bandwidth you want to use for the game, allowing some to be left for your wife or girlfriends tablet. ;)

Both services have great picture quality and sound, but I am unable to utilize my ultra wide monitor consistently with either service. I just have to pretend I bought an expensive 1920x1080 monitor, no big, as it's a good screen ratio for gaming. However, each game may be different.

Lets do a comparison of each services hardware next;

First is the processor comparison from cpu-world.com.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 7.00.24 AM.png


Right off the bat, we see GeForce now running at a higher speed with the 2697 (3.5GHz) than Shadows 2678 (2.5GHz). However, you are getting the same 8 threads of the CPU as you are on Shadow. That's a win, right? Well, no. The Processor is dating back to 2013, so it is running DDR3 RAM while Shadow is using a newer processor allowing for DDR4 at 2400MHz. I am unsure of the speed GeForce is running at, but the highest possible on that chip is 1866MHz. Still, not bad in my opinion.

Shadow offers 12GB of total system memory, while Geforce offers 15GB, from what I can tell.

As for GPU's, both services claim to offer graphics equivalent to a GTX 1080. However, they will both offer upgraded RTX series in the future for an additional cost. Both GPU's feature the Pascal architecture, and both date back to 2016, however, Geforce uses a much more expensive version of that architecture, leading me to believe that it is an overall better card. Shadow offers a 16GB card, which I find difficult to max out, while GeForce offers a 24GB card.

Here is the link to my source for the GPU comparison, technical-city.com. The below chart will show GeForce Now GPU specs on the right and Shadow on the left.

Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 7.18.30 AM.png
Screen Shot 2020-01-15 at 7.18.46 AM.png


With this comparison concluding, it's really a toss of a coin to which one is better. I personally think that Shadow offers a better overall system with a fair CPU, memory speed, and GPU. But GeForce Now does offer a Better GPU and a higher CPU speed, and in turn less memory speed. Still, the added benefit with Shadow is that you have access to a Windows 10 desktop, meaning no more Bootcamp or Parallels. Granted, Shadow currently only has 250GB's of storage, they will offer more down the road. GeForce Now has a more direct approach and gets you in the game faster. Both services seem to favor 1920x1080 display resolution but Shadow will try and force you to use your displays native resolution, which you may have to manually change, or you may freeze the stream.

*****Please see important update;

Update
 
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amgff84

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You can install your own games? Say example -- from Steam ?
Yes, Anything you can put on Windows 10, you can play on Shadow... Unlike most other cloud gaming services. You can install Steam, Epic, EA (or whatever their launcher is now). I'll go back and add this to the original post.
 
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SigEp265

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Yes, Anything you can put on Windows 10, you can play on Shadow... Unlike most other cloud gaming services. You can install Steam, Epic, EA (or whatever their launcher is now). I'll go back and add this to the original post.
Thanks for the info! PM me a referral code if you have one! :)
 

maflynn

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Seems kind of expensive - promotional pricing of 13 dollars a month (or 156 per year) and normal pricing of 25 dollars a month (or 300 year). Am I correct in that if you suspend your service you lose all of the content (saved games installed games).

It won't take long before you approach the price of a PC and with that, the data is not on someone else's storage.

Cloud gaming is definitely a thing that google, amazon and others are lusting after and it may be a good thing, but right now 25 dollars a month seems excessive.
 

amgff84

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Seems kind of expensive - promotional pricing of 13 dollars a month (or 156 per year) and normal pricing of 25 dollars a month (or 300 year). Am I correct in that if you suspend your service you lose all of the content (saved games installed games).

It won't take long before you approach the price of a PC and with that, the data is not on someone else's storage.

Cloud gaming is definitely a thing that google, amazon and others are lusting after and it may be a good thing, but right now 25 dollars a month seems excessive.
It is on the more expensive side, but consider this; Netlix is $10 and Hulu is... I forget what I pay for Hulu, But combined they are just under $25 a month. Sure, Stadia and Vortex and Nvidia is all cheaper, but this actually gives you no limitation to what game you play, as well as offering a Windows environment. I typically have my Shadow running so I can (Control+Arrow) between Windows and Mac. Just incase I need to do something else quickly and hop back into the game.

Yeah, cost is a major factor, and one of my reasons for starting this. It is still cheaper than buying components and building a rig, and way cheaper than buying a prebuilt Omen or a rig like that. Infact, my first machine was an Ibuypower rig and the GPU died in the second month (Garbage). You live and learn I guess. I quickly built my own after that and the prebuilt went upstairs to be used here and there after I replaced the GPU.

But, it is expensive, and this post is here for discussion. I still think it's a cool concept that I can pull my MacBook out of my henge dock and game, say, at me doctors office.
 
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maflynn

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they are just under $25 a month.
I will counter that, with the fact that since people are already paying subscription services, paying for one to play games makes it harder to justify, and its not even giving you access to the games, just a platform, you still need to pay for the games.

game, say, at me doctors office.
if your doctor's office's network is anything like mine, then the bandwidth will be woefully insufficient, as for me, all I have to do, is take my laptop and play. Plus many public wifi hotspots will block sites, for instance, my car dealership blocks espn for some bizarre reason

As I see it - If gaming is that important to a person where they're willing to spend 25 dollars a month, then they're beyond the point of casual gaming and they're already investing in the proper hardware to game.
 

amgff84

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I will counter that, with the fact that since people are already paying subscription services, paying for one to play games makes it harder to justify, and its not even giving you access to the games, just a platform, you still need to pay for the games.


if your doctor's office's network is anything like mine, then the bandwidth will be woefully insufficient, as for me, all I have to do, is take my laptop and play. Plus many public wifi hotspots will block sites, for instance, my car dealership blocks espn for some bizarre reason

As I see it - If gaming is that important to a person where they're willing to spend 25 dollars a month, then they're beyond the point of casual gaming and they're already investing in the proper hardware to game.
You know, this is a good point. I'll have to see if there are any restrictions at my next infusion at my Dr. You are probably right about that too. I just see this as more of way to play games, and it just so happens that it displayed the game onto my monitor better than my own rig did, and it was less resource intensive for my machine, however, it does chew up bandwidth.

Shadow allowed me to get rid of my bulky machines so I could get into the Mac ecosystem. To me, my condo is less cluttered, and I have one main machine that I can remove from its dock and take it anywhere I need to. So, for me, it has changed a lot of things. My girlfriend doesn't get mad at me for buying computer hardware all the time either! HAHAHA! It's simple, and I think it could do the same for others in my shoes... This could be a benefit for many. When I needed a windows machine for school is when I switched from a outdated Xbox 360 to a gaming computer. At the time I was running an Asus laptop with Linux Mint. If Shadow was available then, I could have just downloaded Shadow for my Linux distro and have saved a ton of money.

However, I am a casual gamer. I play maybe once or twice a week. I have work, kids, and other responsibilities and this just works for me. It's a small price to pay to be able to have what I want.

Again, there is the cost that you brought up, theres latency (which I don't really experience), and other downsides to it. So thank you for the conversation.
 
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Huntn

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Hello, I would like to start a thread on Shadow's cloud gaming app on MacOS. For those who don't know, Shadow is a cloud gaming service. What you get is an app you install, and it opens up a streamlined virtual machine on a server somewhere. That VM is Windows 10, and allows you to go full screen and stream that operating system as if it were your computer, on your screen. While cloud gaming is not new, it is new enough where I think we can start a discussion and help each other get shadow going on our Macs.

*I do not have any affiliation with Shadow or Blade apart from paying a monthly service fee for their service.

Personally, it has impacted my life greatly. While I was a student, I used a windows 10 gaming rig with a ton of money invested into it. I wanted to get into Macs, but I just didn't want to give up gaming. I discovered Shadow through (link -->) Linus Tech Tips on Youtube.com.

Shadows website is (link -->) HERE.

After discovering Shadow, I tried it on my gaming rig for a couple months. In that time I experienced better gameplay, better performance, and an overall faster "machine" than what I already owned and paid tons of money into. Fast forward to now, and I run Shadow on my late 2008 MacBook. Basically, I am gaming on my $50 laptop as if it were a $3000 gaming rig. I even set my desk up nice with a vertical dock and LED's to still have the gaming effect.

Shadow offers a Virtual Machine, meaning you get to log into a Windows 10 desktop, and from there you can install you game launchers (Steam, Epic...) and install the games you want to play. There is a storage limitation of 250 GB, so you can only install a few large games > See known issues below.

Known issues;

Some mics will not work and as you could imagine, there are technical difficulties associated with getting a mic to work, however, I have had only one issue and it was worked out quickly. My issue was just changing the toggle button for the mic, which doesn't make sense to me, but apparently that key would not work on my Mac keyboard for that one game I was playing.

Display resolution works best at standard resolutions like 1920x1080. I had one machine that kept freezing until I changed all resolutions (Windows 10 and game) to the same 1920x1080. Now that I am using an old MacBook, 720 works best so Windows is set for 1440x900 and game is set for 1280x800. This also reduces bandwtih usage, so it's a win win to me. I could imagine others that would have an issue with this. I am guessing on a newer Mac, this problem wouldn't exist.

Storage here in the US is limited to 250GB, but they are offering plans with extended storage in Europe now, so I am guessing they will eventually offer it to us. I really only play 4 or 5 games, so I can just install and remove them as needed. On Shadow, it's a really fast process as they use top of the line hardware, so again, to me this is not an issue.

Possible server issues, and this is one reason I want to start this thread. On occasion, I can't login to Shadow and if I forget about it, the next day I can. This leads me to believe there is a down server. I'm not really sure!?

LATENCY. While this is almost a non issue, at time, I will notice some latency. The only way to reduce this is by allowing shadow a lot of bandwidth in settings as well as a good internet connection, however, they claim that this only needs 25mbps. Playing games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint both play well under this, even in their fast-paced PVP.

The cost! $25 a month is a bit steep, but I think it's worth it considering thats only $300 a year, so that's still cheaper than if you were to build a PC to the spec they offer you.

To build a gaming computer yourself from (link -->) PCPartPicker.com, this could show you how much you will spend to get a computer of similar performance as to what Shadow can offer.

***Edited here, removed a screen shot from PC Part Picker. Someone stated that the build I came up with, that was similar to the specs offered by Shadow, was inaccurate. I left the link for the readers to try themselves, if they aren't already familiar with what's available, compatible, and valued. They can come up with their own conclusions based on what they find.***

Shadow Tech Specs as per my machine;

Xeon Processor @ 2.5 GHZ Unsure how many cores are allocated to this VM, I believe it's only 2.
12 GB DDR4 RAM @ 2400 MHZ
250 GB storage, Speed comparable to SSD.
Quadro P5000 GPU, Shadow claims this is equivalent to a GTX 1080.

As you can see, Shadow would cost much less than a gaming rig and offer pretty good performance. It offered me a chance to finally get into the Mac ecosystem after owning an iPhone, and simplified much of what I do. If you use shadow, please add your comments or offer some input. If this interests you, please check it out.

My Shadow experience below;

View attachment 885511View attachment 885512

Check it out!
This might be an option if you don’t have the money up front. The first gaming PC I built in 2013, I am still using, and I have upgraded the graphics on it twice, which bumped up the price. I wonder what kind of equivalent graphic card you are getting with that service?
Seems kind of expensive - promotional pricing of 13 dollars a month (or 156 per year) and normal pricing of 25 dollars a month (or 300 year). Am I correct in that if you suspend your service you lose all of the content (saved games installed games).

It won't take long before you approach the price of a PC and with that, the data is not on someone else's storage.

Cloud gaming is definitely a thing that google, amazon and others are lusting after and it may be a good thing, but right now 25 dollars a month seems excessive.
I agree that’s expensive, but I’ll ask the OP can you access the file structure so you can backup game saves locally?
 

amgff84

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Sep 22, 2019
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This might be an option if you don’t have the money up front. The first gaming PC I built in 2013, I am still using, and I have upgraded the graphics on it twice, which bumped up the price. I wonder what kind of equivalent graphic card you are getting with that service?

I agree that’s expensive, but I’ll ask the OP can you access the file structure so you can backup game saves locally?
For me it was a way to simplify and reduce clutter, while also getting into the Mac ecosystem. I also no longer have a gaming rig to spend money on. Instead I just pay for the service. There are cheaper options, but what I like about shadow is that because it gives you a Windows 10 Desktop, you can install whatever game you want. Some other cloud gaming services have a library of games you pick from, and if they don't have it and you already own it... well, bummer.

This leads me to the next topic, and yeah, you can access the file system to save game data, HOWEVER, to the best of my knowledge you can only sync it with something like google drive, or one drive, and that is yet another cloud service and an additional cost. I would think that most people have some sort of cloud storage anyways. This is not a problem for me because I only use shadow to game on, so everything stays. The part I find annoying though is the amount of storage. You only get 250gb for now. They rolled out more storage in Europe, I guess we have to wait for it to come here next. At least I know it's coming. And here it is again, the extra storage does cost a little extra over there, I don't know how much.
 

Huntn

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For me it was a way to simplify and reduce clutter, while also getting into the Mac ecosystem. I also no longer have a gaming rig to spend money on. Instead I just pay for the service. There are cheaper options, but what I like about shadow is that because it gives you a Windows 10 Desktop, you can install whatever game you want. Some other cloud gaming services have a library of games you pick from, and if they don't have it and you already own it... well, bummer.

This leads me to the next topic, and yeah, you can access the file system to save game data, HOWEVER, to the best of my knowledge you can only sync it with something like google drive, or one drive, and that is yet another cloud service and an additional cost. I would think that most people have some sort of cloud storage anyways. This is not a problem for me because I only use shadow to game on, so everything stays. The part I find annoying though is the amount of storage. You only get 250gb for now. They rolled out more storage in Europe, I guess we have to wait for it to come here next. At least I know it's coming. And here it is again, the extra storage does cost a little extra over there, I don't know how much.
Maybe they back up their data, I was just thinking of the day the server crashes and all data is wiped. I’d still like to have local game save backups. You may have said this already, but will the service support 4k graphics? I recently got a 4k monitor and the difference at that resolution between having and not having HDR is quite noticeable in the image, more than I ever thought it would be. It’s like the difference between flat 2D and 3D, that’s how much environmental effects HDR introduces, at least that is what I think is doing it. :)
 

amgff84

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Maybe they back up their data, I was just thinking of the day the server crashes and all data is wiped. I’d still like to have local game save backups. You may have said this already, but will the service support 4k graphics? I recently got a 4k monitor and the difference at that resolution between having and not having HDR is quite noticeable in the image, more than I ever thought it would be. It’s like the difference between flat 2D and 3D, that’s how much environmental effects HDR introduces, at least that is what I think is doing it. :)
I never experienced 4k. Not sure I want to jump down that rabbit hole either (Knowing how I am, it will be a long... long fall to the bottom). Shadow does have 4k, but I know the output and experience will depend on the quality of connection. Higher resolution will obviously require a higher bandwidth due to more data being shoved through the wire. I've had Shadow for 9 months, maybe longer now. I've never had a problem, but I would think they should back up their data for the price of the service.

I emailed them asking about the backups. I'll let you know!
 
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amgff84

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Not yet available outside the US.
It's in Europe also, just not other parts of the world yet. I think Blade is a French company and that is where all of their first servers were. That also probably why they were the first to get upgradable storage.
 

amgff84

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Not yet. You can "pre-order", but the service won't launch before April 2020.
Odd, The website claims that it is currently available in 7 countries. I don't see where though. They are even rolling out upgradable storage, but I don't see where. This is a major bummer for those over there.
 

amgff84

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I never experienced 4k. Not sure I want to jump down that rabbit hole either (Knowing how I am, it will be a long... long fall to the bottom). Shadow does have 4k, but I know the output and experience will depend on the quality of connection. Higher resolution will obviously require a higher bandwidth due to more data being shoved through the wire. I've had Shadow for 9 months, maybe longer now. I've never had a problem, but I would think they should back up their data for the price of the service.

I emailed them asking about the backups. I'll let you know!
Below is a copy and paste from my email;


Hello Ffgrenier,

Thank you for reaching out to the Shadow Support Team!

Apologies for the delay in our response and for the inconvenience, as you have reached out to our EU Support Team.

Please check out our article on Shadow and Security FAQ:

https://help.shadow.tech/hc/en-gb/articles/360015328933-Shadow-and-Security-FAQ

You can always request a disk recovery link from us so you can back up and recover the files on your Shadow to your local device.

I hope this provides some clarity to your question. If you have any additional comments or questions, do not hesitate to reach out to us again.

For future reference, you can reach our **US Support team** via live chat from 10 AM - 10 PM PST any day of the week, or by submitting a ticket--both of which can be found in your Shadow account page (https://sso.shadow.tech/usen).

Best,

Riku | Support Hero


So dumba$$ me emailed them from their international website because I was looking into availability outside the US too. So local backups are possible, however, they are done via a downloaded ISO (or equivalent) I am guessing. I am willing to bet that you can use your typical cloud storage (OneDrive, Google Drive, etc...) that you already own, because most of us do, as well. However, this means that they are storing backups, which I think answers your question.
 

Janichsan

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Odd, The website claims that it is currently available in 7 countries. I don't see where though.
There are in fact 8 different countries listed in the Country Selection at the bottom of the page: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. In all but the US you can only pre-order.

I mean, technically speaking you can't even say their service is available in the US, as it's not available in all states:

 

amgff84

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There are in fact 8 different countries listed in the Country Selection at the bottom of the page: France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK, and the US. In all but the US you can only pre-order.

I mean, technically speaking you can't even say their service is available in the US, as it's not available in all states:

Thanks for finding this! Their website seems a little misguided but I still think the service is worth it. I tried Vortex, but had problems getting it to run on my machine, plus they are offering lower specs. GeForce now is still in Beta and I never received an invite even though I signed up a couple times. Still, theres others, but Shadow offers the best so far. The only real competition in my opinion is GeForce now, but we'll see. I like having the Windows desktop environment, but I could also see how skipping all of the Windows crap to get into the game can be better.

This leads me to my next thought, If Shadow is using Nvidia cards, and Geforce now becomes live for everyone, is Shadow going to switch to AMD when it's time to upgrade again? As an F you to Nvidia. I've always been an AMD fan, so that's another reason I'd stay with Shadow.
 
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amgff84

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Hello, I would like to start a thread on Shadow's cloud gaming app on MacOS. For those who don't know, Shadow is a cloud gaming service. What you get is an app you install, and it opens up a streamlined virtual machine on a server somewhere. That VM is Windows 10, and allows you to go full screen and stream that operating system as if it were your computer, on your screen. While cloud gaming is not new, it is new enough where I think we can start a discussion and help each other get shadow going on our Macs.

*I do not have any affiliation with Shadow or Blade apart from paying a monthly service fee for their service.

Personally, it has impacted my life greatly. While I was a student, I used a windows 10 gaming rig with a ton of money invested into it. I wanted to get into Macs, but I just didn't want to give up gaming. I discovered Shadow through (link -->) Linus Tech Tips on Youtube.com.

Shadows website is (link -->) HERE.

After discovering Shadow, I tried it on my gaming rig for a couple months. In that time I experienced better gameplay, better performance, and an overall faster "machine" than what I already owned and paid tons of money into. Fast forward to now, and I run Shadow on my late 2008 MacBook. Basically, I am gaming on my $50 laptop as if it were a $3000 gaming rig. I even set my desk up nice with a vertical dock and LED's to still have the gaming effect.

Shadow offers a Virtual Machine, meaning you get to log into a Windows 10 desktop, and from there you can install you game launchers (Steam, Epic...) and install the games you want to play. There is a storage limitation of 250 GB, so you can only install a few large games > See known issues below.

Known issues;

Some mics will not work and as you could imagine, there are technical difficulties associated with getting a mic to work, however, I have had only one issue and it was worked out quickly. My issue was just changing the toggle button for the mic, which doesn't make sense to me, but apparently that key would not work on my Mac keyboard for that one game I was playing.

Display resolution works best at standard resolutions like 1920x1080. I had one machine that kept freezing until I changed all resolutions (Windows 10 and game) to the same 1920x1080. Now that I am using an old MacBook, 720 works best so Windows is set for 1440x900 and game is set for 1280x800. This also reduces bandwtih usage, so it's a win win to me. I could imagine others that would have an issue with this. I am guessing on a newer Mac, this problem wouldn't exist.

Storage here in the US is limited to 250GB, but they are offering plans with extended storage in Europe now, so I am guessing they will eventually offer it to us. I really only play 4 or 5 games, so I can just install and remove them as needed. On Shadow, it's a really fast process as they use top of the line hardware, so again, to me this is not an issue.

Possible server issues, and this is one reason I want to start this thread. On occasion, I can't login to Shadow and if I forget about it, the next day I can. This leads me to believe there is a down server. I'm not really sure!?

LATENCY. While this is almost a non issue, at time, I will notice some latency. The only way to reduce this is by allowing shadow a lot of bandwidth in settings as well as a good internet connection, however, they claim that this only needs 25mbps. Playing games like Ghost Recon Wildlands and Breakpoint both play well under this, even in their fast-paced PVP.

The cost! $25 a month is a bit steep, but I think it's worth it considering thats only $300 a year, so that's still cheaper than if you were to build a PC to the spec they offer you.

To build a gaming computer yourself from (link -->) PCPartPicker.com, this could show you how much you will spend to get a computer of similar performance as to what Shadow can offer.

***Edited here, removed a screen shot from PC Part Picker. Someone stated that the build I came up with, that was similar to the specs offered by Shadow, was inaccurate. I left the link for the readers to try themselves, if they aren't already familiar with what's available, compatible, and valued. They can come up with their own conclusions based on what they find.***

Shadow Tech Specs as per my machine;

Xeon Processor @ 2.5 GHZ Unsure how many cores are allocated to this VM, I believe it's only 2.
12 GB DDR4 RAM @ 2400 MHZ
250 GB storage, Speed comparable to SSD.
Quadro P5000 GPU, Shadow claims this is equivalent to a GTX 1080.

***Edit! Per their US website;

Your subscription includes the following hardware specifications:

  • Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 or NVIDIA Quadro P5000
  • Processor: XEON 8 dedicated threads
  • Memory: 12GB / DDR4
  • Storage: 256GB dedicated
  • Connection: 1Gb/s

As you can see, Shadow would cost much less than a gaming rig and offer pretty good performance. It offered me a chance to finally get into the Mac ecosystem after owning an iPhone, and simplified much of what I do. If you use shadow, please add your comments or offer some input. If this interests you, please check it out.

My Shadow experience below;

View attachment 885511View attachment 885512

Check it out!

Massive Edit****

Shadow has just been updated and this most recent update freezes in - game while connected to an external display. It's not every game, and it is fine on the laptops native display. I am guessing those with newer machines running everything at the typical resolutions will not be effected. However, I removed my external display and play on my massive 13 inch screen, with the MacBook on a laptop stand.

I have to admit, I like the simplicity here and the extra room I gained on my desk. I am keeping an eye out for a 15" MacBook if this ends up being a thing. It worked fine on my Mac Mini, as that display is the only display for that machine, it was even an ultrawide 1080p.

I also wanted to post recent Geekbench 4 results from their trial software. The below screenshots show an incredible gain in performance from the old Macbook to the Shadow PC. If you could, post your results also so everyone can get a good idea of where thier machines stand against Shadow.

View attachment 888011View attachment 888012
Please check out the latest edit. Shadow updated their launcher and with that enabled display auto detection, which I intentionally left alone due to compatibility issues with my old MacBook.
 

amgff84

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 22, 2019
161
170
Okay... So the latest update with Shadow seems to be going in a better direction, but not great for those with older hardware. It runs awesome on my late 2008 unibody MacBook, when I am just using the MacBooks own display. When connected to an external monitor, it will freeze on some games, but not all of them. So I dragged out my Ultrawide monitor and my mid '11 Mac mini, patched the system so it has 1gb of VRAM instead of 1/2gb, and shadows loads again (it will run just fine with the 1/2gb, I just like to utilize the hacked kexts when I can), but will crash in some games unless I change the resolution to what Shadow likes, which seems to be 1920x1080. I am sure it is solely related to the aspect ratio, so I am currently looking for someone local who is willing to let me borrow their 1440p monitor. My guess, which I need to test, is that Shadow is really only supposed to be ran with a 16:9 ratio... I may have read that in the FAQ's actually... Can't remember. For me, this isn't too much of a problem as I feel the ultra wide is great for multitasking, but not so great for gaming. I also know that not all games support a 21:9 ratio, so this may even be a problem directly related to the games themselves. Ugh, now to find a 1440p monitor to test this on. I do have a 16:9 1080p monitor downstairs to test this on, but no point right now, need to wait until I can find that other monitor and break up my setup only once.

Anyone else using Shadow that wants to help out?

Also, for those interested in helping to get this going, the original post is a wiki so feel free to correct issues or add information (seeing as how Shadow is one of the few cloud gaming services that is easy to set up, and not in testing still... Cough Cough Nvidia/Stadia).

I feel that owning a gaming rig, at this point, might make sense if you already own one... that is if you want a damn Windows machine. I don't. I keep an old windows laptop around because I may need it here or there, but MacOS is just... better for me. However, If you have a somewhat recent Mac and was considering purchasing a new gaming rig, this is a viable option. I have talked to some people who still prefer to have a large LED machine, which is cool, but too much for me.

My most recent setup...

IMG_1717.jpg
 
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amgff84

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 22, 2019
161
170
Finally approved for GeForce Now Beta. So far, it works good but I am stuck in 720p (on some games) on my 1080p monitor. I'm also having a hard time logging into some of my launchers as I forgot my passwords (fixed)...

On Shadow, you have access to more settings because of the ability to log into Windows, but that may be partly causing some of the issues with it also.

Will try to provide some screenshots of the two playing the same game, side by side. If I can learn more about it I will change the title to "Shadow vs GeForce Now on Mac" and add as much information as I can, and for the sake of readability, go through the original post and redo it as a comparison between the two apps.

Screenshots of gameplay are pointless, as they both played well. I instead looked at a comparison of the hardware. I honestly couldn't tell which one played better, but I think GeForce now had slightly better graphics. Keep in mind, the higher the display resolution or the higher the graphical settings, the more bandwidth you will consume, and if you have a slower connection, this could negatively impact gameplay. You could easily get by on 720p with medium settings on a slower connection (tested on my 2.4GHz WiFi connection and compared it to my 5GHz, as well as Ethernet). Ethernet is the best method of connection with 5 GHz coming in at 2nd place.
 
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amgff84

macrumors regular
Original poster
Sep 22, 2019
161
170
Anyone else use either of these 2, or any other I can add here?
 
Status
The first post in this thread is a WikiPost, and can be edited by anyone with the appropriate permissions.