Renting a powerful cloud PC

Nebell

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
1,774
I've been checking out cloud alternatives to a desktop computer. Mainly for gaming, but I'm interested in other stuff.

I came across Shadow.
www.shadow.tech

It seems to offer a pretty powerful cloud PC.
4k with Ray Tracing
Titan RTX equivalent GPU
4ghz 6 core CPU
32gb ram
1TB+ storage
All that for $40/month

Considering a PC like that would cost $3000+, I'm thinking this ain't such a bad deal, especially if they keep upgrading to the latest Titan since I will upgrade every second year to a €1500 GPU.
And it's a full-fledged PC. I can download torrents, edit photos, play games, etc.
The first downside would be lag, but I have a 1gbit up/down connection. The second downside is it's not available in Sweden yet, haha.

I looked at alternatives like GeForce now and Stadia, but GeForce Now is terrible in its free form and it doesn't offer 4k which is a must. And it's not a full PC offering.
Stadia is just a cloud console where you even have to buy your games again.

What other alternatives are out there?
Of course, I'm looking for something that won't limit me if I decide to pirate a movie...
 

SineDave

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jun 9, 2004
Messages
360
The display lag without acceleration technologies (Citrix HDX, PCoIP) will be awful. I'm curious how they are solving for this.
 

Nebell

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Jul 20, 2015
Messages
1,774
Found some alternatives,for $200-$600/month, lol that's not gonna happen.
I think if Shadow works out the way they advertise, it might be a great alternative, especially considering how much power my high end computer chugs, it probably draws $10/month (but I think it's more), so these $40/month for Shadow PC would turn into <$30/month.
Also, while I always go for the non-Titan top tier GPU, I always pay for it in 24/36 month installments. Just a 2080Ti/3080Ti would cost double per month, the whole computer would cost 4 times.
 

kju1

2[H]4U
Joined
Mar 27, 2002
Messages
3,228
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I don't see how that can be affordable for them. I would also want a decent time to demo it with some 4k gaming to truly see performance.
 

Verge

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
May 27, 2001
Messages
6,570
If it sounds too good to be true it probably is. I don't see how that can be affordable for them. I would also want a decent time to demo it with some 4k gaming to truly see performance.
lol it's gonna run like ass... just like every other cloud videogame service.
 

Col_Temp

n00b
Joined
Jun 1, 2020
Messages
44
I've been checking out cloud alternatives to a desktop computer. Mainly for gaming, but I'm interested in other stuff.

I came across Shadow.
www.shadow.tech

It seems to offer a pretty powerful cloud PC.
4k with Ray Tracing
Titan RTX equivalent GPU
4ghz 6 core CPU
32gb ram
1TB+ storage
All that for $40/month

Considering a PC like that would cost $3000+, I'm thinking this ain't such a bad deal, especially if they keep upgrading to the latest Titan since I will upgrade every second year to a €1500 GPU.
And it's a full-fledged PC. I can download torrents, edit photos, play games, etc.
The first downside would be lag, but I have a 1gbit up/down connection. The second downside is it's not available in Sweden yet, haha.

I looked at alternatives like GeForce now and Stadia, but GeForce Now is terrible in its free form and it doesn't offer 4k which is a must. And it's not a full PC offering.
Stadia is just a cloud console where you even have to buy your games again.

What other alternatives are out there?
Of course, I'm looking for something that won't limit me if I decide to pirate a movie...
It depends on what you are planning to do. For gaming yeah I would have issues as noted above. Lag etc.
Other problem is over time do they upgrade that machine or keep it the same? for $40 it does indeed sound to good to be true. Guessing it has to be a shared system for them to afford that.
Also, what are the hidden costs? Each VPN connection is $5 more per month? Bandwidth or data limitations or do you get first GB free but have to pay after that. Iwould do a lot more digging.
 

neltharius

n00b
Joined
Jun 24, 2020
Messages
1
Hey guys, newbie to the forum, but have been using Shadow for a few months so I had to reply to this thread.

I was having a hard time playing the Witcher games on my old potato PC, so I researched researched some options. The first ones were AWS Workspaces and Azure WVD. Bad idea. I encountered the exact issues that everyone above mentioned, so I knew I had to look elsewhere. That's when I came upon some /r/cloudygamer threads that mentioned Firebox, Shadow, and Paperspace as viable alternatives. I ended up choosing Shadow because it was a much better value.

I got their basic package:
  • 4-core 2.5GHz proc clocked up to 3.4GHz
  • 12 GB RAM
  • 256GB SSD (more space available if needed)
  • GTX 1080 or better
  • $15/mo, no hidden charges.
I pre-ordered back in March, and activation took FOREVER (almost 2mo), but I'm for the most part really enjoying this impressive piece of tech.

Performance:
Unless you're playing COD MW online with Ultra settings, you won't notice much lag. Generally In my 4-hour sessions, I've experience maybe 30s total of lag (max 5s when it hits, usually <2s). TBH some of the lag has more to do with my shitty WiFi than Shadow.
I didn't do any in-depth benchmarking, but on all games I was able to get consistent 50+ FPS on 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 and High settings (Witcher franchise, and COD BO2 up through MW)
You only need a 25Mbps connection to get a good experience
Bandwidth saturation does occur at times, which has bumped me off for a few seconds at a time. The good news is your session doesn't actually end, so when you get back on you can literally pick right up
Shadow doesn't use the standard remote PC streaming protocols. They developed their own, which seems like it's UDP-based. You can actually see your streaming performance, which Shadow measures in images per second
I modded the hell out of Wild Hunt, including re-texturing mods, and I was still able to play it on Ultra with no problem
Shadow does have a low bandwidth mode, which gives smooth performance on as low as 10Mbps. You definitely notice a slight gfx hit since in this mode HEVC (H.265 encoding) kicks in

UI:
Shadow has a couple - there's their main UI, which is really 2 UI's: Shadow's start screen, and Shadow's control panel (stable versions) OR quick menu (beta versions), where you can configure base settings like screen resolution, desired FPS, how much bandwidth to allocate to your machine's streaming, etc. The start screen is where you can choose either Big Picture or a Windows desktop, or start playing your games directly
You also get the full Windows 10 desktop experience. The only thing I don't like about it is that on certain platforms like Android TV, you can't use the Windows key or alt+tab (which will switch into a different Android app entirely), but you can use the Quick Menu to trigger those same hotkeys
If you're running the Shadow app from Windows, Mac, or Ubuntu, you'll be able to use all the Windows/Command key functions as well as alt+tab
If you're playing a game, bringing up the the Quick Menu won't pause the game, but instead superimposes a layer on top, kinda like shift+tab in Steam
Quick Menu also gives you the ability to restart streaming without losing your session (I've used this to remediate most performance/graphics/sound issues)
You also have the ability to do a hard reset of your machine if needed, though this can take up to 30min

Compatibility: Full disclosure: I've only tested this on Android TV running on a 2017 NVidia Shield Pro, and on Ubuntu 19.10
Gamepad works great
K+M works great (minus what I mentioned above for Android). You can actually adjust mouse sensitivity from Shadow's control panel (stable version only). Supports lefty setups too
There is a known issue regarding Android TV compatibility that can slow down performance. Never been a problem for me
Another known issue regarding Android TV make sound occasionally choppy. They have workarounds for this
iOS client is in beta
Linux client only works with Ubuntu 18.04 and 19.10
Android, Windows, and Mac clients are fully supported
Steam Big Picture fully supported
You can switch devices without losing your session
You WILL time out after 30min of inactivity, which will completely restart your session

Support:
Support is fast on the initial response, and generally give followup responses within 4 hours. Shadow is an international company, so I've had coverage even during weird hours. They definitely know their audience
Shadow has an engaged community on both Reddit and Discord, as well as a horribly designed, but well-functioning and active forum
Countries with higher numbers of active users have dedicated Community Managers, who remain engaged with the user base
Their support reps introduce themselves as video game characters 🙃 They're also highly knowledgeable and follow through on tickets

Bottom line: after a couple months of steady use, I'm saying it's well worth it

EDIT: Formatting and added some more detail
 
Last edited:

KarsusTG

2[H]4U
Joined
Aug 27, 2010
Messages
3,205
I've been checking out cloud alternatives to a desktop computer. Mainly for gaming, but I'm interested in other stuff.

I came across Shadow.
www.shadow.tech

It seems to offer a pretty powerful cloud PC.
4k with Ray Tracing
Titan RTX equivalent GPU
4ghz 6 core CPU
32gb ram
1TB+ storage
All that for $40/month

Considering a PC like that would cost $3000+, I'm thinking this ain't such a bad deal, especially if they keep upgrading to the latest Titan since I will upgrade every second year to a €1500 GPU.
And it's a full-fledged PC. I can download torrents, edit photos, play games, etc.
The first downside would be lag, but I have a 1gbit up/down connection. The second downside is it's not available in Sweden yet, haha.

I looked at alternatives like GeForce now and Stadia, but GeForce Now is terrible in its free form and it doesn't offer 4k which is a must. And it's not a full PC offering.
Stadia is just a cloud console where you even have to buy your games again.

What other alternatives are out there?
Of course, I'm looking for something that won't limit me if I decide to pirate a movie...
I posted this about a year ago. I use them, but mostly for cad/solidworks and whatever else I need windows for. It plays civ 6 pretty well.
 
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