When it comes to PC gaming, NVIDIA arguably rules the roost. And in recent years, the company has gone to great lengths to take its gaming presence to the next level with services like GameStream and GeForce Now. The thing is, these services can be kind of confusing for new users, especially when you’re trying to figure out which one best fits your needs.
Before we get into what makes them different, however, let’s take at where they share common ground.
- Both services stream games to the device in front of you, so it isn’t carrying the heavy resource load.
- Both services require NVIDIA SHIELD devices.
- Both services need a 5GHz Wi-Fi router.
That’s about it. Each service has its own set of requirements, too, but we’ll get into that down below.
What Is NVIDIA GameStream?
If you’re a PC gamer with a large collection of games, GameStream is probably the service you’re after. Basically, this allows you to stream your games from a PC to a SHIELD device—be it SHIELD Portable, SHIELD Tablet, or SHIELD TV. That way, your gaming PC is doing all the heavy lifting, but you can play your games on a handheld device or on your TV, even if you’re away from home.
Of course, it’s not entirely that simple, either—you’ll also need a GameStream-compatible GeForce GTX graphics card in the PC doing all the work. Those include:
- GeForce GTX 1000 series
- NVIDIA TITAN X
- GeForce GTX 900 series
- GeForce GTX 700 series
- GeForce GTX 600 series
- GeForce GTX 900M series
- GeForce GTX 800M series
- GeForce GTX 700M series
Otherwise, you’ll just need enough horsepower in your PC to push the game, but the odds are you’ve already got that covered if you have a large catalog of games to choose from. The quickest way to know if you meet all the criteria is to install NVIDIA’s GeForce Experience—it’ll let you know if your PC is ready or not. The main thing you’ll want to make sure you have outside of a good gaming PC is a good network—while a 5GHz router is required for streaming over Wi-Fi, ethernet is always going to be a better choice. That’s really only practical if you’re streaming to SHIELD Android TV, though.