NVIDIA GeForce NOW Beta Update 5

I’ve been playing Destiny 2 using NVIDIA GeForce NOW for MacOS (in beta) during my trip to Denver. The client was recently updated – this post focuses on the addition of Advanced Streaming Settings.

Here’s a little introduction about how I came across NVIDIA GeForce NOW, in case you missed it:

NVIDIA GeForce NOW Mac Beta

“New Ultra Streaming Mode and Direct Mouse Input can reduce lag by 30%” (NVIDIA GeForce NOW for Mac Forum)

Test Setup


Alice’s Late-2013 MacBook Pro Retina 13″ (MacBookPro11,1)
Intel Core i5-4258U 2.4GHz (Dual Core)
4GB DDR3-1600
Intel Iris 5100
Built-In Retina LCD (2560 x 1600 Retina)


CenturyLink DSL Connection (35 Mbps Download / 5 Mbps Upload)
Hardwired to LAN using USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Hub (the one I recently ordered)

I noted the video settings that NVIDIA GeForce NOW selected within Destiny 2:

Ultra Streaming Mode Off On
Video Settings
VRAM Usage 2579 MB / 24370 MB 1330 MB / 24370 MB
Resolution 1280 x 800
Vsync Off
Advanced Video
Graphics Quality Custom
Anti-Aliasing SMAA FXAA
Screen Space Ambient Occlusion 3D HDAO
Texture Anisotropy 16x 4x
Texture Quality Highest Medium
Shadow Quality Highest Medium
Depth of Field Highest High
Environment Detail Distance High
Character Detail Distance High
Foliage Detail Distance High Medium
Foliage Shadows Distance Highest High
Light Shafts High
Motion Blur On
Wind Impulse On
Additional Video
Render Resolution 100%
Chromatic Aberration On
Film Grain On

I also tested on my mid-2011 MacBook Air:

Mid-2011 MacBook Air (MacBookAir4,1)
Intel Core i7-2677M 1.8 GHz (Dual Core)
4 GB DDR3-1333
Intel HD Graphics 3000 (384 MB)
Color LCD (1366 x 768)

The only difference was the video resolution, which defaulted to 1280 x 720 instead of 1280 x 800.

Input delay was noticeably reduced with both Ultra Steaming Mode and Direct Mouse Input enabled, though it felt like the network was too slow to keep up with demands. I will have to test in greater depth at home, when we can remove the network as bottleneck. When the network cooperated, I was able to challenge with a lot more confidence than previously, making for a better experience overall.

Order Placed: JSVER Unibody Aluminum USB 3.0 Gigabit Ethernet Hub

The full product name on Amazon.com is a little longer: JSVER Unibody Aluminum 3 Ports USB 3.0 Hub and RJ45 10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet Hub Converter with Built-in 1ft Cable (Amazon.com), but I think I’ve captured the important parts.

I bought this hub so that I could hardwire my mid-2011 MacBook Air to my LAN. Its aluminum body should complement my MacBook Air well should I take it on the road. Although my mid-2011 MacBook Air only has USB 2.0 ports, this USB 3.0 hub will still work, albeit at USB 2.0 speeds.

NVIDIA GeForce NOW Mac Beta

I was on the phone with Alice last night when I decided to check out the NVIDIA GeForce NOW beta for MacOS. I’d seen it in a promoted post on Facebook when I was going through my feeds earlier in the day, and was immediately interested.

I installed the beta and fired up Diablo III. I proclaimed “The future is here!” as I made my way past the login screen, which I’d last seen as far back as 2013. My mid-2011 MacBook Air ran the game at all low settings when it first came out, but I was now looking at it in its full glory, made possible by GPUs in the cloud.

I set out to see how I might tie my Mac into my streaming setup. I grabbed the mini-DisplayPort to HDMI adapter that I had left laying around ever since I began leveraging DLNA, and used it to connect my MacBook Air to my AVerMedia Live Gamer HD. OBS displayed “HDCP,” but passthrough functionality was unaffected.

I played Fortnite, a title I knew that my workstation could run passably at low settings at 1280×720. The image was obviously being scaled up from whatever GeForce NOW decided was suitable for my MacBook Air. I noticed occasional input lag, which I am assuming is because I was running off of WiFi. It would be nice to tie my MacBook Air more neatly into my workstation setup through a Thunderbolt hub (Amazon.com), but most importantly, I need to hardwire it to my LAN. While a USB ethernet adapter (Amazon.com) would do the trick, I would be better served by a combination USB hub ethernet adapter (Amazon.com).

What really turns me on to NVIDIA GeForce NOW’s technology:

  • It allows users to prioritize investments into infrastructure over amassing local processing power. Investments into infrastructure are long-lasting, whereas Moore’s Law makes keeping up with the latest processors costly.
    • Reduces barriers to entry for modern AAA titles, allowing in users on long upgrade cycles

Next steps:
Before I make the investment into bypassing HDCP (either on the AVerMedia Live Gamer HD or before the signal hits it), I would like to learn how to force NVIDIA GeForce NOW to output to the external display at its native resolution instead of selecting the optimal resolution for my MacBook Air’s display.

Order Placed: Zhiyun Smooth 3

My awareness of these products began with DJI OSMO Mobile, which I found during a visit to the Apple Store

The DJI OSMO Mobile has been on the market for some time, so I was able to explore reviews and found a slew of products by searching for more generic keywords (gimbal for smartphones)

My awareness grew to include Zhiyun products, and an exploration of Zhiyun website led to awareness of Zhiyun’s latest products catering to smartphone users seeking to stabilize their video captures: Smooth 3 (MSRP $299, Amazon.com) & Smooth-Q (MSRP $139, Amazon.com).

The Smooth 3 is their flagship product for smartphone videography, and it can stabilize devices weighing up to 260g. I looked at comparisons pitting the Smooth 3 vs. Smooth-Q, and decided to pull the trigger on my Zhiyun Smooth 3 purchase after locating a 10% off coupon.

The Zhiyun Smooth 3 uses a 26650 battery, which means that I’ll be able to source my own batteries if I need more. That single battery allows for an impressive 14-hour continuous runtime, which should outlast my iPhone 7 Plus.

One video review that I watched highlighted an issue: optical image stabilization on devices does not play nicely with stabilization from gimbal. This came as no surprise.