This article is a guide to help GeForce NOW RTX 3080 members set up their macOS for the best streaming experience.
For other platforms, please view these other guides:
- Windows https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5223
- SHIELD https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5226
- Android https://nvidia.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/5227
Before you get started, make sure to check the regional availability web to ensure GeForce NOW RTX 3080 memberships are available in your country. Note that we also require your latency to be less than 80ms from an NVIDIA data center, but we recommend less than 40ms. Please make sure you have run our in-app network test to measure your latency. We do not recommend using Speedtest, or other internet speed test services, as they are not testing your speed to our data centers.
Internet Speed Requirements
GeForce NOW requires at least 40Mbps for streaming up to 3840x2160 and 35mbps for streaming up to 1440p/1600p at 120 FPS. We also recommend a hardwired Ethernet connection, or a router with a 5 GHz WiFi connection.
Any Mac system introduced in 2012 or later. Although we recommend MacOS running 10.13.2 or later. Specific models include MacBook Pro 2016 and later, MacBook 2016 and later, MacBook Air 2018 and later, iMac 2017 and later, iMac 27" Late 2015 or later, Mac Mini 2018 and later, Mac Pro 2019 and later, or iMacPro1,1.You can also use the MacBook Pro’s with ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate.
Maximum Resolution and Frames Per Second
With a GeForce NOW RTX 3080 membership, the maximum streaming resolution is 3840x2160 at 60 FPS, 2560x1440 at 120 FPS, or 2560x1600 at 120 FPS. You can only enable these settings on our native macOS app: They are not available using our Chrome web browser app. Most iMacs have a 16:9 aspect ratio and will stream at a maximum of 3840x2160. Most MacBooks have a 16:10 aspect ratio and will stream at a maximum resolution of 2560x1600.
Monitor, Port and Adapter Requirements
Users with any type of monitor or notebook will immediately see performance and latency reductions with the RTX 3080 membership. A monitor or notebook with 120Hz refresh rate or more is not required to use your new membership.
However, if you want to enable up to 120 FPS streaming with the lowest latency on GeForce NOW, we recommend that you have a monitor that has a 120Hz refresh rate, or better, such as an NVIDIA G-Sync monitor or MacBook Pro’s with ProMotion 120Hz refresh rate.
If you use a monitor with a refresh rate higher than 120Hz, the maximum frame rate GeForce NOW supports remains 120 FPS. However, you can still set your refresh rate to the highest that your monitor supports and get lower latency.
NOTE: While GeForce NOW does not currently support NVIDIA G-Sync variable refresh rates, you should leave G-Sync enabled on your monitor.
Next, check your Mac for a compatible video port to output to your 120Hz or better monitor. You must connect to the monitor using HDMI, Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 1/2/3, USB-C, or USB 4 port. This article will help you identify which types of video ports are on your Mac.
Once you have selected the video port to use, you may need to purchase an adapter to connect your Mac to your monitor via DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0, or better.
Most MacBook or iMac users will find that using a USB-C (Thunderbolt) adaptor with a Thunderbolt to DisplayPort connection will deliver the best 120 FPS experience. Some notebook users might want to use a docking station, or a hub, to connect to their notebook. Make sure you check the specifications of those devices, as not all of them are capable of outputting at 2560x1440/2560x1600 and 120Hz.
Here are some examples of other video ports and adapters you may need:
- Thunderbolt 3 / USB-C: Thunderbolt 3 to DisplayPort adapter, or a Thunderbolt 3 to HDMI 2.0 adapter.
- Mini DisplayPort, Thunderbolt 1, and Thunderbolt 2: Mini DisplayPort to DisplayPort adapter
- HDMI: Most users will not need an adapter to output HDMI from a Mac to a monitor as long as the cable supports HDMI 2.0. For instance, Mac Minis with Apple M1 have a HDMI 2.0 port that can support 120Hz monitors with standard HDMI cables.
GeForce NOW Streaming Settings
You have the option of adjusting your streaming quality settings from the GeForce NOW menu. To access these settings, launch the app and go to Settings > Streaming Quality.
The built-in network test will automatically detect the best streaming resolution, based on your device hardware and network environment for frame rates. NOTE: 3840x2160 streaming resolution requires a wired Ethernet connection and the connected display set to 2160p or higher to work in balanced mode. If the network test determines that your connection is unable to maintain streaming at your display’s resolution, it may automatically adjust to lower streaming settings.
If you wish to override the streaming resolution, or to enable 120 FPS streaming on a Wi-Fi network, you can do so by adjusting values in the Custom streaming quality settings:
- Max bit rate. We recommend Auto, but you can select whatever value you want.
- Resolution. This should match the maximum allowed by your monitor or notebook, but make sure it’s set to your desired resolution. Some resolutions will not be visible if your device does not meet the hardware requirements.
- Frame rate. You will need to set this to 120 FPS if you wish to see the full benefit from your RTX 3080 membership on 120Hz or faster refresh rate monitors or notebooks. We recommend users with 60Hz monitors set the streaming frame rate to 60 FPS and Vsync to Adaptive. Setting the streaming frame rate to 120 FPS can reduce latency, but will result in tearing on screen. NOTE: 3840x2160 streaming resolution is currently limited to 60 FPS.
- VSync. We recommend Adaptive for the best latency and smoothest streaming experience. You can try turning Vsync off to achieve the lowest latency, but you may experience some video tearing during gameplay.
Monitor Refresh Rate
If you are using a monitor or laptop that has a 60Hz refresh rate, there is no need to change your desktop refresh rate.
If you have a monitor that runs at a refresh rate higher than 60Hz, you will need to adjust your refresh rate to take advantage of the higher FPS. There is an Apple support article that covers how to change monitor refresh rate. Note: 3840x2160 streaming resolution is currently limited to 60 FPS.
In general, we recommend users set the maximum refresh rate that their monitor supports, even if it is more than 120Hz. For instance, if you have a 144Hz monitor, set the desktop refresh rate to 144Hz.
Some users may get a benefit of smoother streaming from setting their desktop refresh rate at 120Hz, to match the GeForce NOW Streaming setting of 120 FPS.
You can configure macOS refresh rate in the System Preferences > Displays. If you have the correct display with the correct connection, 120 Hertz will appear as an option.
Customized In-Game Graphics Setting
NVIDIA has optimized our most popular games for streaming at 25601440/2560x1600 and 120 FPS. For these games, we automatically set the best in-game graphics settings: You should not need to change any settings in-game to get the best experience.
However, you are free to change these settings if you feel doing so provides you with a better streaming experience. We have provided a new feature that lets you save your own in-game graphics settings for each game. If you disable it, our recommended values will be applied.
GeForce NOW RTX 3080 members can access many GeForce RTX 30 Series GPU features like NVIDIA Highlights, Record, and Instant Replay by bringing up the in-stream overlay by pressing Cmd+G.
Note: When using NVIDIA Record or Instant Replay, GeForce NOW can capture at resolutions up to 2560x1440/2560x1600 on the Windows PC & MacOS app. If your local device has an NVIDIA GPU that meets the minimum hardware requirements for higher resolution streaming (NVIDIA GeForce GTX 750 and later), you can capture at resolutions up to 3840x2160.