Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Nvidia shield - Overview

Ever wish you could play your graphic-intensive games on the go? Mobile technology is achieving higher clock speeds at a rapid pace, but it is nowhere near as fast as desktop computing hardware. Not to mention that they lack the room to allow for proper cooling. Nvidia has found a potential solution. They created the Nvidia Shield.

For those not familiar with the company, Nvidia is a large graphics card manufacturer that owns about 62% (tekrevue) of the GPU market. Not to mention that Nvidia has created some of the fastest GPUs ever made. So they already have a large base of gamers to test with. They took note of how lots of people use their mobile devices for games (usually not hardcore 3D gaming, but gaming in general). So they created a device that could play top-of-the-line games with bottom-line hardware. The whole system relies on the user owning a computer that has a supported Nvidia GPU (most Nvidia GPUs made in the last two years should be fine). Then using the Shield, they can pick any game from their library. The game will launch on their computer and the computer will stream the screen to the Shield. The Shield will also send back key presses to the computer to interact with the game. Essentially, it's just a fancy way to remote-control your computer playing a video game. The Shield supports sending 60 FPS @ 1080p over either Wi-Fi or Ethernet (Ethernet is faster). Recently Nvidia has announced that it will be supporting streaming over the internet, so you are no longer tethered to your home network. The Nvidia Shield itself runs Android on a 1.9 GHz quad core ARM processor called the Tegra (which is also manufactured by Nvidia). It has 2 GB of RAM and a 1280x720 IPS Retina display. The Retina part of it means that it has more pixels per inch than the human eye can tell apart, so the images look more realistic. It was released at $299 USD but has since dropped down to $199 USD. Overall it seems like a reasonable device, but the price tag of the Shield and a compatible Nvidia GPU is overkill. But if you like to play your games almost every waking moment of your life, it may be worth considering. Recently a lot of competitors have released their own version of Nvidia's streaming service (read my article on the Steam streaming service here).

3 reasons you should get it:
1)You can stream your games to play on the go.
2) You will soon be able to stream your games from anywhere in the world.
3)It runs android, so it can function like a normal Android tablet (without calling or SMS)

3 reasons you should not get it:
1)It carries a heavy price tag
2)It requires a fast computer and internet connection to function properly
3)Most people don't have a use for this. They like their giant screen that they play games on.

So ahead and leave a comment below, what would you use the Nvidia Shield for?


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