So, recently I have noticed quite a few people asking what the difference between the Automatic and Manual bandwidth settings are in Shadow. I decided to write up this post to, hopefully, better explain what they do, as well as the other bandwidth related settings in Shadow.
Let us start!
This is the first, and probably most important setting when it comes to bandwidth. This setting will tell how much bandwidth the Shadow Client will use. This will affect your Shadow stream's quality. The higher you go, the better. However, your internet speed needs to be able to support it. This is where the Automatic/Manual setting comes into play.
This setting will automatically do a speed test to the Shadow Datacenter your account is connected too, and then set your bandwidth accordingly. This setting, however, has a 50mbps maximum, which should be more then enough for most resolutions up to 4k/60hz.
This is perfect if you do not want to deal with having to find out your internet speed manually, and setting the bandwidth.
This setting, you can manually assign how much bandwidth Shadow will use. From 1mbps up to 70mbps. This setting will require you to take a look at what your internet speeds are.
The best thing you can do is to go to https://speedtest.net, select a server close to the Shadow Datacenter you are connecting too, and then test it. Whatever your download speed is, set the Shadow Client to 10mbps less then that, with a maximum of 70mbps.
If your internet speed is above 90-100mbps download, I suggest just leaving it at 70mbps, as this will provide the best quality possible with the Shadow Client.
You may need to adjust this, however, if you have others using the network while you use Shadow. Just test the configurations and use what works best for you!
Low Bandwidth Mode
This setting will force the Shadow Client to use H.265 decoding instead of H.264. H.265 requires less bandwidth to pump out the same quality that H.264 does, however, it may increase your latency. Only use this setting if you have issues with the normal H.264 decoder, or you have a lower internet speed.
According to the Shadow FAQ on Reddit, this setting also limits the stream to 60hz, and thus if you are expecting to hit 1080p at 144hz, you will not be able too. I will update this once I hear otherwise, as I am unable to currently test it.
Resource on H.264 vs H.265
Your Shadow quality heavily relies on your bandwidth settings. The higher, the better. Use the Automatic setting for quickly figuring out how much bandwidth should be applied without much work on your end, or use the Manual configuration if you are planning to use higher resolutions or refresh rates.
As the standard internet speeds rise, Cloud Gaming will get better. Hopefully everyone will have a 100mbps minimum in the coming years, so you do not have to worry too much about these settings! But, until then, test and find out what works for you :).
Have anything else to add to this post? Feel free to comment below! I try to respond as quickly as possible, and the more information we have, the better!