Nvidia is turning our Macbooks and iMacs into top-end gaming machines, thanks to its GeForce Now service. The Public Beta is available to Mac users right now, and best of all, it’s free to test out. Here’s all you need to know and how to get started.
What is Nvidia GeForce Now?
Nvidia originally launched its online game streaming service, GeForce Now, back in 2015. The company has referred to GeForce Now as a form of ‘Netflix for gamers’, which is a pretty accurate description. For a small monthly fee, you can get stuck into some of the latest power-hungry titles on your home machine, with no worry about system requirements. That’s because the games are actually running on a remote server, and you’re simply streaming the audio and video to your device – and sending back input commands.
GeForce Now is of course primarily aimed at PC users with laptops, which typically sport simple integrated graphics that can’t handle modern games – or desktop users who haven’t upgraded in a while. There’s a strong selection of titles available covering a variety of genres, not to mention some older games too.
GeForce Now servers are based in London and Frankfurt, so your gaming session doesn’t have far to travel. Nvidia estimates a 30ms latency for UK users and not much more for other European locations, while further server locations are planned in the near future.
Check out our full GeForce Now explainer guide for all you need to know about Nvidia’s online streaming service.
What is the Nvidia GeForce Now beta for Mac?
After a successful run on PC, Nvidia is now extending support for its GeForce Now service to Mac users. In other words, owners of MacOS computers will now be able to download an app and jump onto Nvidia’s gaming servers, to blast through top-end PC titles on their Macbooks, iMacs and other Mac devices.
Right now this is a beta service, which means it’s not the final product. Rather, Nvidia has opened up the service to the public, so end users can test it out and report any issues they’re having.
What are the benefits of the GeForce Now beta for Mac?
Despite their obvious expense, Mac computers certainly aren’t geared towards gaming. Even the most powerful Macbook Pro models right now occasionally struggle with more graphically demanding games, as we witnessed when reviewing Obduction.
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Thankfully with GeForce Now, you can blast through even the latest and most demanding games with no kind of stutter. Everything runs on a remote gaming server, so the minimum requirements are very basic for Mac users; you can check these out later in the article.
A lot of PC titles also aren’t available on Mac computers, for precisely the reason that they’ll struggle. Overwatch, Fallout 4, Witcher 3, Rocket League, Counterstrike: Go and plenty more besides are not playable on Mac OS X, yet all will be available to play on maximum settings via the GeForce Now beta.
Another benefit of remotely accessed games is that you save on storage space, of course. A lot of titles these days take up around 40-50GB of space for a complete install, which isn’t necessary with GeForce Now. Rather, you’ll get by with just 344MB of free space for Nvidia’s Mac app, plus a bit of extra for cache.
Using GeForce Now should use less battery life too, compared with playing locally. Because all of the heavy processing handled by the servers, your Macbook just has to stream the session – which is a lot more energy efficient.
How do I join the GeForce Now for Mac beta?
To get involved, you simply need to install the GeForce Now app on your Mac. This is your gateway to those super-powered Nvidia gaming servers. Download the app and sign up for an Nvidia account, or login if you already happen to have one. With that done, you’re ready to game; just one click on your chosen title and you’re in.
What are the GeForce Now for Mac beta system requirements?
Because all of the heavy lifting is done by Nvidia’s servers, your local machine doesn’t need much grunt at all. You can jump on board with even an older Macbook, provided you have a solid internet connection and are running Mac OS 10.1 or beyond.
What kind of online connection do you need to achieve a solid frame rate on the GeForce Now service? Well, Nvidia recommends 25Mbps speeds as a minimum (download).
How much does the GeForce Now for Mac service cost?
The GeForce Now Mac beta can be accessed for free until at least the end of the year, when the beta comes to an end. That means it’s a great time to check out the service, to see if you like the games on offer as well as make sure that your WiFi connection is strong enough.
GeForce Now Mac beta hands-on review
We’ve gone hands-on with the GeForce Now service on Mac ahead of the official public beta launch and you can check it out in action below.
Check out Nvidia’s GeForce Now for Mac FAQ for answers to any other questions you might have.