After ambition and bankruptcy, the best PC streaming service has finally gotten its hardware upgrade

promising that it would be launching two new higher tiers of package in February 2020. The original GTX 1080 equivalent tier was getting discounted to £13/month, with the middle RTX 2080 equivalent and RTX Titan packages costing £25 and £50 respectively.

But 2020 was rough for everyone, and the new packages were repeatedly delayed until in 2021 the company filed for bankruptcy. 

A change of ownership has occurred, and new people, as well as a significant number of original employees, make up its workforce. And they're all now pushing forward to get Shadow back to the top of the streaming service tech tree.

(Image credit: Shadow)

The new Power Upgrade package offers RTX 3070-class GPU performance, though in certain, as yet undisclosed locations that will actually come from AMD RDNA 2 powered hardware, the Radeon Pro V620. It also features a shift to AMD CPU cores, too, with an EPYC 7543P doing the processing for your four-core, eight-thread equivalent. You also get some extra memory, with 16GB of RAM.

It looks like you still only get the same 256GB of storage, however, so you'd have to pay out another £2.99 per extra 256GB you might want.

So the costs mount up, because the Power Upgrade is going to cost £15 extra on top of the base £30/month figure. And yes, that £30/month subscription still only gets you access to the GTX 1080-equivalent system, which means you'll need to fork out £45/month for your RTX 3070 cloud PC. Which is still slightly hobbled by being connected to only four cores, and only has 256GB of storage, and will be last-generation hardware when it launches as Nvidia's RTX 40-series will likely have been released by then.

I will say, for me, that storage level wasn't a huge issue. With the 1Gbps connection at the Shadow end you could install a new game sucking down 1GB of game data in like 13 seconds, so Steam library management wasn't the pain it might otherwise have been.

But it still feels miserly given the promised specs of the 'Infinite' package it once promised. That RTX Titan-powered system was to have a six-core CPU equivalent, 32GB RAM, and 1TB of storage for £40/month.

GeForce Now RTX 3080 subsciption

(Image credit: Nvidia)

Shadow tells me that costs for everything have gone up significantly, and maintaining those servers certainly isn't cheap. But still, Power Upgrade aside, the GTX 1080 tier costing £30/month in 2022 certainly feels tough to swallow four years on. Especially when it was £12/month, what Shadow is now calling a ridiculous price, a couple of years back.

For less than half the price of the Power Upgrade you can have GeForce Now's top package, which has you gaming with all the power of an RTX 3080. It may be more limited in terms of access and overall usage, but as a game streaming service it's a great-value alternative that makes Shadow a tough recommendation.

Honestly, I'm almost more excited about the free Shadow Drive online storage solution it's also launching in the autumn, with an easy 20GB of space gratis.

I have no doubt that the Power Upgrade will feel great, and the actual experience of using the Shadow PC was always excellent, even on the limited bandwidth of random AirBnB Wi-Fi networks when on vacation. Like I said, I've always been a fan of the service itself. But at this price, and with less certainty on future upgrade possibilities, it's harder to call out as a valid alternative to buying your own local machine.

Pre-orders for the Power Upgrade go live in the summer with an expected release globally in the autumn, so we'll see how popular that is, and how effective the GPU upgrade actually feels when still tied to a quad-core processor, when we get our hands on an ephemeral Shadow PC to test again ourselves.

Frederick Catcher

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