Shadow.Tech: Dedicated GPU in the Cloud Service


(Robert Salita) #1

I’ve been evaluating shadow.tech, a GPU in the cloud service similar to Nvidia’s Geforce Now. Currently they’re only presence is Paris and London. California is said to be end of Feb 2018. They offer a dedicated Windows 10 Home system with a Xeon E5-2620v4 CPU, Nvidia 1080 GPU, 256GB SSD, gigabit internet, for a bargain price of $1/day. They are gamer oriented and promise a near local system frame rate experience.

After two weeks of evaluation, I find the system surprisingly performent but with a cluster of annoyances. The annoyances, collectively, are so great that they impede productivity. I don’t recommend the service at this time, unless your tolerance for pain is high, but it’s got great potential. The system is just too unstable and immature. I’m guessing it will be a year before they can overcome the issues. OTOH, reading this forum, the other GPU in the cloud services have their own issues.

Pros:

  • Dedicated Windows 10 Home system, not shared.
  • Xeon E5-2620v4 is a pretty fast 4 core, 8 hyperthread CPU.
  • Nvidia GeoForce 1080 GPU is only one step behind top of GeoForce product line.
  • Crystal DiskMark shows the SSD is very fast SATA on reads, but disappointing writes albeit much faster than a HD.
  • Frame rate and latency is surprisingly good. They’re a gaming service so this is paramount.
  • Speedtest.Net show a full 1Gbps down and 100Mbps up.
  • The value prop is there. You don’t need to pay for hardware, electricity, 1Gbps (down) service.
  • I’m sold on the idea of a personal server in the cloud. I consume 4Mbps for remote desktop app but get 1Gps system.
  • So far, very responsive tech support and very active forums.
  • You can install your own VNC instead of their own Shadow app. TeamViewer 13 and Splashtop work but you probably expose yourself to timeout issues.

Cons:

  • If privacy is a major need, move on.
  • Windows 10 Home might be ok for you. I self-upgraded to Pro (Hyper-V and Docker) but what happens if a reinstall is needed?
  • Your dedicated system does spin down when not in use. Takes as long as 2 to 3 minutes to spin up a system.
  • Performance is quite good but not as optimal as a similarly configured local system.
  • The connection times out too frequently forcing another wait to get a connection.
  • Cursor disappears from time to time. They’re latest fix hasn’t corrected. Only solution is to find the reboot button.
  • Too frequent requests to login.
  • Occasionally a “We think you’re gone and want to log you off” loop every 30 seconds. Requires reboot.
  • Occasionally loses desktop background requiring reselection.
  • Occasionally loses its display resolution. Requires reboot.
  • File backup is easy. I use iDrive. Image backup, perhaps more desirable, is problematic without extra storage, USB or peek at Windows PE at boot.
  • Latest beta (v3.7) offers USB pass-through, a really important feature. When I test my USB SSD, pass-through disconnects within a minute. USB transfer rates appear to be limited to the client software’s bandwidth setting (50Mbps max), not the much higher actual bandwidth rate (1Gbps both for client and Shadow).
  • No online way to cancel account, month-to-month service, or remove credit card.