Steam will let you stream games in 8K, but most graphics cards can’t even do 4K

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Steam has released its latest client update yesterday, which mostly included minor bug fixes and a few new features, but an addition to Steam Remote Play is a bit curious. Spotted by pc world, Remote Play will now support streaming up to 8K, which is odd considering that only two modern graphics cards have the specs to handle such a high resolution, and 8K TVs can cost thousands or tens of thousands of dollars. It is far from being within the reach of the average consumer.

If you are unfamiliar with remote gameit is one of the main features of Steam which allows users to play any game in their library on another device (iOS, Apple TV, Android phones, etc.) from the Steam Link App as long as their PC is on. The quality of the stream partly depends on the hardware that is in your platform. So if you only have an RTX 3060 or something similar on your PC and want to stream to your TV in 4K, that graphics card can’t handle 4K streaming unless you lower the settings in-game graphics, which goes against the cutting edge of 4K streaming.

Nvidia’s RTX 3090 and AMD’s Radeon RX 6900 XT are the only consumer cards on the market capable of handling 8K streaming, and even those GPUs can’t hit 60fps in most games on the setting. high graph. Most GPUs can’t even do 4K, at least not at 60fps on ultra settings.

According to Steam’s latest hardware survey, only 0.30% of Nvidia GeForce owners have an RTX 3090, and none of the new AMD Radeon 6000-series GPUs even appear in the survey. The newest AMD GPU with the most users is the 1.02% RX 5700 XT. Nearly 10% of users still own a GTX 1060 graphics card.

There is also the problem of bandwidth and data consumption. Steam Remote Play works similar to cloud gaming, but instead of connecting to an Nvidia or Stadia server, you connect to your own PC. This data is transferred over your home Internet connection to your TV, phone, or other device you use to play your game, and entries you make on your device are transferred to your PC. It’s a lot of uploading and downloading going on.

Streaming games in 4K can take up to 20 GB per hour, according to Stadia. 8K streaming could take twice as much, up to 40GB per hour or 25 hours of gameplay for an entire month, assuming no one else is using the same data pool. That’s good news if you’re an ISP with data caps, but bad news if you’re someone who has to pay to exceed that data cap. You will also need a minimum download speed of 75-100 Mbps to handle this amount of data flowing through the pipeline.

8K will one day become the de facto resolution for consumers, but that day won’t come any time soon, thanks to the cost and availability of 8K televisions and graphics cards. There are simply too many barriers to entry right now.

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