Blade Shadow Cloud PC: Competition for GeForce Now and the local PC

by techksp
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Blade Shadow Cloud PC: Competition for GeForce Now and the local PC

Blade Shadow should provide everyone in the subscription a fast computer in the cloud. At the start, players are in focus, so the service also competes with Nvidia GeForce Now. ComputerBase spoke with the startup in Paris about the ambitious goals and tried the service. First impression: positive.

The computer as a subscription service

Founded a good two years ago with the goal of creating the ” computer of the future “, Blade wants to bring the computer from the cloud to Germany after launching in France ” until summer “. The goal set for CES 2018 of being able to start in the first quarter was therefore not fully achieved.

But what’s behind Shadow Blade? ComputerBase met Emmanuel Freund, co-founder of the company, in Paris just before Easter and explained the offer and the company behind it.

The day started with a tour of the office, which looked like an overgrown youth centre with high-tech and designer furniture. Each employee seemed to be working in all directions at the same time somehow. There were four monitors in one corner, each running the current Doom, and each employee was stopped to play and guess which monitor was on a local machine and which one was not. Two rooms down, a small studio was found to provide video on their own Youtube channel, and an employee was busy preparing a batch of proprietary latency meters to be sent to a major game developer. In a nutshell: pure startup atmosphere.

Between own computer and streaming

The idea being worked on here is quickly summarized. In the future, your own computer should no longer be under your desk, but centrally in a data centre. There he always has the latest hardware and software.

With the help of an app for iOS and Android or equivalent software for Mac or Windows, any device with a screen and supported operating system turns into a monitor for the cloud PC and the full power of a well-equipped gaming computer is available wherever the Internet is fast enough, In contrast to the competitor Nvidia GeForce Now (test) but it should not be an exclusively player-oriented offer, even if they are initially in focus. Basically, the cloud computing can be used for everything that is possible under Windows 10. There are no other operating systems.

The player in the beginning in focus

To the question, why such a service, which could clearly be settled also in the professional environment, is marketed primarily to players, the friend calls the special feature of this target group.

On the one hand, players are often tech-savvy and willing to try something new, but on the other hand, they are also highly demanding. A player who dies twice due to a problem with the stream turns around and leaves. The provider wanted to face this challenge. And when the hurdle is removed, it should also be a marketing to professional customers and home users away from games.

Technical details: Intel and Nvidia

To start in Germany, there will be Shadow only in a configuration that is technically up to par with a high-end PC. Specifically, Blade talks about the following currently used components.

hardware components

  • graphics card                             CPU                            random  access memory             hard disk                       operating system
    Nvidia GTX 1080 or            4 cores + HT                            12 GB                                      256 GB SSD         Windows 10
    Nvidia Quadro P5000        Intel Xeon @ 3.0 GHz

Important is the word current because the service should include, among other things, constantly updated components. This currently means (but without a precise timeline) that they are working to provide the customer with 16GB of RAM and higher clocked processor cores. Technically, the offer is thus at a level with Nvidia GeForce Now.

Prices and availability

All this is offered from Rs 2,382.25(29.95 Euro) per month on the conclusion of an annual subscription, 3,575.37 Indian Rupee(44.95 euros) cost the monthly puttable option. How long the user uses the service during the day has no effect on the costs.

In India, we don”t no but in Germany, The activation in Germany should take place between May and July for a small group of early testers and then further extended in stages. In France, the company was successful in recruiting well-known streamer, players and progamers from Overwatch to Streetfighter and convincing them of Shadow. It remains to be seen to what extent the first phase in Germany will follow this principle.

Only felt the own computer

Even if the company always says that the personal computer ends up in the cloud, the subscription does not entitle you to receive exactly the same hardware over and over again. The only secure constant is the hard drive partition, which is unique to every user. All other components are switched on each time they are dialled in again and do not have to be identical. Of this, the user does not notice in practice, since there is usually no difference between two different graphics cards or memory latches, as long as it is the same model.

If between two logins only a relatively short time of a maximum of a few hours, this is not true. As long as this time span is not exceeded, the current session can be resumed exactly where it was left behind. And it is completely irrelevant from which terminal the session is accessed.

The internet does not have to be fast but stable

The quality of the internet connection is more important than the end device in the first contact with Blade Shadow. While a connection speed of 15 Mbit / s already suffices for an image quality which, at first glance, can not be distinguished from the original, it can be seen that a simulated unstable connection with a lot of packet loss clearly interferes.

Up to 4k or 144 Hz

When the connection is stable and the speed is high enough, the service delivers up to 144 Hz in Full HD, 60 Hz in Ultra HD, or 90 to 100 Hz in WQHD. Depending on the device used, the stream can be set to H.264 or H.265. The former runs more efficiently on older devices and uses less power, while the newer H.265 (HEVC) compresses more and thus delivers good quality even on the slower Internet. For this, the hardware requirements of the terminal are higher and only relatively new hardware can efficiently decode this format.

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