Shadow Infinite, a real (cloud) game changer

Shadow Infinite, a real (cloud) game changer

For around four days now, I have been testing the new Shadow Infinite tier. For those who do not know what this is, it is the highest available tier offered by Shadow. The Shadow Infinite tier allows you to utilize 6-cores of an Intel Xeon W-3235 3.30GHz (Boost to 4.4GHz), a Quadro RTX 6000, and 32GB of memory.

Compared to the Shadow Boost, which is currently the only available plan to purchase in the United States, the Shadow Infinite tier is a massive step up. This is my quick overview of what my thoughts are for the Shadow Infinite tier, both for gaming and productivity work.

Initial Impressions

When I received my login information to test the new Shadow Infinite tier, I quickly logged in and started setting it up. I installed Brave as my browser and continued to install Steam, OBS Studio, GIMP, Handbreak, and a few other software's.

Because of the 1Gbps download speeds at the Shadow Datacenters, this process did not take long. Once everything was downloaded and installed, I started to download multiple games on Steam. Thanks to the 1TB of total space (255GB C: drive and 767GB D: drive), I installed quite a few games. These games include Dirt Rally 2.0, Monster Hunter World, Warframe, Destiny 2, Phantasy Star Online 2, and War Thunder.

At this point, I was already happy with the extra storage space that was included in the Shadow Infinite tier.

Now, it is time to talk about productivity work.

Productivity

Besides researching and writing for this blog, I use Shadow for my day job as well. Since my job consists of using many web-based applications, I usually have a bunch of windows open with 10+ tabs each. For those that use a Chromium-based browser, like Brave, you may know just how resource hungry the browser can get.

When working on my everyday laptop, work laptop, or Shadow Boost, I usually had to utilize a tab hibernator to save on memory. With the 32GB of memory in the Shadow Infinite, gone are the days that I needed to wait a few seconds to reload a tab that has been hibernated. This effectively allows me to work a bit faster and more efficient.

I have currently only done a minimal amount of video recording and editing. Still, so far, I can say that everything runs perfectly well. Recording with NVENC has minimal impact on the game, and the 6-core processor is relatively speedy when editing videos and exporting them.

In fact, at the time of writing this post, I have done two Handbreak encodes. The source video was 1920x1080p/60FPS at a length of 7 minutes and 50 seconds. Here are the results of the two tests:

  • H.265 12-bit/60FPS - 15 minutes 58 seconds
  • H.265 NVENC/60FPS - 4 minutes 17 seconds

As you can see, encoding with the processor is reasonably fast. But, if you have the option to encode with the Quadro RTX 6000, it handles it like a champ! And the quality between the two is almost indistinguishable.

Gaming

This is where Shadow Infinite indeed destroys the Shadow Boost. In the few games I downloaded and played, I have run all of them on Ultra/Max graphics and comfortably stay above 60FPS in all of them. War Thunder? Yeah, I am hitting 120FPS+ on Movie settings. Dirt Rally 2.0? 120FPS+ without a problem. And the best one, Monster Hunter World with High Definition Textures, steadily stays above 90FPS while playing.

The Shadow boost could barely hold 50FPS! That is just awesome, and for only $40 a month, it is truly worth it. Now I understand many of you want to know what resolution I am running the games at, and the answer to that is 1080p. I have yet to test it on a higher resolution, but I will be soon.

Final Thoughts

When the Shadow Boost was available for $24.95 a month, I thought it was a great deal. When they dropped it down to $11.99 a month, it became an even better deal, but how would the new tiers match how much they cost vs. how much it would be to build an equivalent PC?

At $40 a month for Shadow Infinite, so far, I think it is well worth the price. Even though Shadow Infinite is not running on the new Ampere architecture from NVIDIA, having an enterprise-grade Quadro RTX 6000 is well worth it for gaming and productivity. You won't be hitting the highest available frame rates compared to a custom-built rig, but you should be able to comfortably play 95% of games at 4K with 60+ FPS. Especially with NVIDIA's DLSS technology integrated into a lot of AAA games.

I look forward to Shadow Ultra and Infinite being available to all in the United States. It will indeed affect how many view Shadow in both Cloud Gaming and having a productivity beast for a single monthly cost!


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