GeForce Now turns the Chromebook into a ray tracing-capable gaming PC

I spent a good chunk of last weekend playing Remedy’s Control at max settings on that most venerable and powerful of gaming rigs: a Chromebook. It went a lot better than expected. I even had ray tracing cranked way up, something I can’t do on my desktop PC because I’ve been putting off buying a new GPU until this year’s models come out.

The Google Pixelbook Go isn’t somehow suddenly capable of holding its own with the latest laptops from Razer. Nvidia’s GeForce Now streaming service now works on Chromebooks in beta, and as long as you have a good internet connection and a relatively recent Chromebook, you’ll get at least the kind of stability and quality we expect from GeForce Now’s PC app.

Even though the Chromebook is basically just a browser OS, this option won’t allow you to sit down at a rinky-dink library PC and start playing Metro Exodus with ray tracing enabled. Chrome support seems inevitable eventually. But still, this is a big step, especially considering that the ability to play in a browser was one of the few features that made Google’s own Stadia service an attractive alternative to GeForce Now. With this update, high-end ray traced gaming is feasible on a $500 laptop.

Control set to max settings in GeForce Now.

In my case, Nvidia supplied an $849 13.3-inch Pixelbook Go with a 1080p screen and an 8th-generation Intel Core i5 CPU. You’re not going to catch me ditching my PC for it, but I might enjoy bringing it along when I’m stuck using a laptop on business trips again someday. It sure as heck beats lugging around a heavy, noisy, and expensive gaming laptop. 

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