When NVIDIA announced official support for Chromebooks for the GeForce Now cloud gaming platform, there came a set of minimum requirements which eliminated many older and more budget-focused laptops.
However, just like with PC gaming, requirements aren't always gospel, and you don't necessarily need the absolute best Chromebook. In the case of GeForce Now, it's entirely possible to use it and have a decent experience on a Chromebook that's well below the minimum spec.
I've been using it on an old Chromebook, and besides some sluggish loading times (which could also be related to my busy home network), it's been a blast.
NVIDIA GeForce Now minimum specs vs. my old Chromebook
The Chromebook I've been using is the Acer Chromebook 14, a laptop we reviewed way back in 2016. It's nice enough, but even back in 2016, when it was new, it was hardly high-end hardware. Here's what we're looking at spec-wise.
|14-inch Active Matrix TFT LCD, 1920x1080 resolution
|Intel Celeron N3160 quad-core 1.6 GHz
Burst up to 2.24 GHz
Intel HD Graphics 400
Compare that to the GeForce Now minimum spec of a 7th Gen Core m3 or higher and 4GB of RAM, and you can see we're a good way short on the CPU. But as it turns out, it's not the end of the world.
It just works™
The truth is that despite not meeting the required spec, GeForce Now runs just fine. The web portal loads up, you log in, pick your games, and away you go. I sat playing The Division 2 for a good hour with no issues beyond some obvious bandwidth related hiccups. GeForce Now warns you when the connection might be a problem, and that's the only time I ever had any noticeable drops in performance.
Of course, NVIDIA has to cover itself when releasing a new product like this, and in the press briefing, they made it clear that this is still a work in progress, and the initial aim was to make sure the base experience was as good as can be.
But that also doesn't exclude you from trying it out if your Chromebook doesn't cut the mustard. If you're a subscriber already, you lose nothing by trying it out, and if you're not, you can get started free of charge anyway. The weekly Epic Games free titles are added to GeForce Now more or less every week, so there's a chance to try some cloud-based PC gaming utterly free of charge.
Of course, I've only tested this on one Chromebook, and your mileage may vary. If you give GeForce Now a run out on a sub-minimum spec Chromebook, be sure to share your experiences in the comments below.
NVIDIA's cloud game streaming service is one of the best available today, delivering lag-free gaming at 1080p/60fps. The fact that you can access NVIDIA's servers for free makes it an easy sell, and the $4.99 plan makes it an immediately enticing option for seasoned gamers.
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