April 17, 2024

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Play remotely from your gaming PC via Wi-Fi in your local network

Play remotely from your gaming PC via Wi-Fi in your local network

Can you stream games from your Steam library over a LAN using Wi-Fi and play them remotely from your gaming PC? The Steam Remote Play plus Steam Deck and Steam Deck OLED are ideal for this, which is why we've now taken a closer look at this combination in PCGH's detailed hands-on test. The Witcher 3 with ray tracing and 90fps and 90Hz on OLED? No problem.

Framework conditions

But for full enjoyment Steam remote play To achieve the best possible streaming result (or streaming experience) over Wi-Fi in the local network, players must meet some requirements beforehand. The following powerful components were used for practical testing of PCGH.

Gaming computer (host)

The gaming PC we used in this hands-on test was able to rely on the following hardware components.

  • AMD Ryzen 9 5950X
    • PBO (✓), Curve Optimizer (✓)
  • 64GB DDR4-3600 CL16
    • Improved sub-timings (✓)
  • Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 OK
    • Overclocking (✓), Undervolting (✓)
  • Windows 11 for workstation
    • Steam client (✓), Geforce 551.52 WHQL (✓)

Having a powerful host system that can provide the graphics settings and frame rates required later to the client is the basic requirement. Since we have to calculate at a target resolution of 720p or (thanks to 200% scaling) 1440p (eg in Days Gone) on the Steam Deck OLED, the Geforce RTX 3090 is quite sufficient for the target 90fps here. It is better to have than to need.

Laptop (client)

Game streaming with a gaming PC and Steam Client as well as Steam Remote Play over the LAN works with any laptop logged into the internal network via Wi-Fi. In our case, this task is performed by the Steam Deck OLED, which was actually convincing across the board in PCGH technology testing.

The Steam Deck OLED supports Wi-Fi 6E, which is also the case with the Wi-Fi router we're using, but it's not strictly necessary. However, if you value the best possible local streaming experience, you should send at least one Wi-Fi 6-equipped customer into the race and consider Wi-Fi 5 the absolute minimum. Otherwise, there is a risk of compromises regarding the (image) quality of the stream to be transmitted.

router (network)

An existing Fritzbox 6690 cable with FritzOS 7.57, which supports Wi-Fi 6E, is used as a router for this hands-on test and serves as the main network in a mesh network with a total of 3 x Fritz Repeater 1200AX and 1 x Fritz Repeater 3000 AX – all Wi-Fi 6E enabled – working Together they enable very high and stable wireless transmission rates.



Routers
Source: Sven Baudouin



The gaming PC, in turn, is connected to the Fritzbox 6690 via a high-speed 2.5 Gb/s LAN port, which should eliminate even the smallest bottleneck here. As a general rule, the host (i.e. your gaming PC) should ideally be connected via LAN and the client via Wi-Fi over 5GHz.

Improvements

Once the infrastructure consisting of the host (gaming PC), client (laptop) and network (router) is created, appropriate optimizations must be made before local streaming can begin. This can be done very quickly.

Gaming computer (host)

In order to optimize your gaming PC, which as we know acts as a host and executes games from the Steam library, computes them and sends them as a stream over the local network to the laptop, which acts as a client, the following settings need to be made in the Steam client and can be customized on the PC.

To get the best possible streaming experience, you should adjust the following settings accordingly:

  • Enable advanced host options: (✓)
  • Dynamically adjust resolution: (✗)
  • Enable hardware encoding: (✓)
  • Prioritize network traffic: (✓)

Client options can also be specified, but this must be done directly on the laptop (client) anyway.



Host settings
Source: PCGH



Following the host settings, client settings must be performed on the laptop. Which also only takes a few minutes.

Laptop (client)

The settings that will be made on your laptop can also be found directly below Steam Settings ➜ Remote Play in the Steam client and should be configured as follows for an optimal streaming experience:

  • video: Nice – good
  • Bandwidth: 50 MB/s
  • Hardware decoding: (✓)
  • Low latency network: (✓)
  • HEVC Video: (✓)

In the Steam client on my laptop, it all looks like this.



Client settings
Source: PCGH



Once you have made all the settings accordingly, you can start streaming your own games from the Steam library. Thanks to a gigabit cable connection and fast home network, downloading games is also fast and the testing environment is ready to use in no time.



download
Source: PCGH



Broadcast

A total of 6 games were tested, all tuned so that the best possible quality could be achieved at the highest settings. The Geforce RTX 3090 card used should be able to stream a more stable 90fps to the Steam Deck OLED's fast 90Hz OLED display at any given time.

results

While most games can be streamed at the highest possible graphics settings and ray tracing as well as 1,280 x 720 pixels (“720p”), in Days Gone, for example, up to 2,560 x 1,440 pixels (“1440p”) can be achieved on Steam Deck OLED with a display resolution of up to 200 percent. All tested games run at 90/60 fps as follows:

Accuracy Frame rate Energy consumption Battery life note
Days passed 1440 p 90 fps 5.5 – 6.0 watts 8:15 – 8:45 hours Display accuracy: 200%
Forza Horizon 5 720p 90 fps 5.7 – 6.2 watts 7:45 – 8:30 hours Ray tracing
Horizon Zero Dawn 720p 90 fps 5.6 – 6.1 watts 7:45 – 8:30 hours
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt 720p 90 fps 6.0 – 6.8 watts 7:15 – 7:45 hours Ray tracing
Cyberpunk 2077 720p 60 fps 5.7 – 6.7 watts 7:15 – 7:45 hours DLSS quality, ray tracing plus
Diablo 4 720p 90 fps 5.2 – 5.8 watts 8:15 – 8:45 hours

The big advantage of LAN streaming is, in addition to significantly higher graphics settings and refresh rates, long battery life. The 50Wh battery always lasts for at least 7 hours+ at medium brightness, with the pack never powering more than 7.5Wh in any scenario. Even with maximum brightness level and active HDR, the Steam Deck OLED display remains a long-lasting 5-hour runner. A gaming computer provides computing power.



Steam surface
Source: PCGH



If the TDP and refresh rate limit on the Steam Deck OLED is lowered to 60fps or 60Hz, playback times of over 9.5 hours can also be achieved. Another nice side effect is that the TDP of the host system's desktop graphics card can be gradually lowered until the “sweet spot” of frame rates required for streaming is found. In practical testing, the relatively low power of 250W was enough to achieve 60-90fps in every scenario.



Steam surface
source: PCGH

Steam surface
source: PCGH





Steam surface
source: PCGH

Steam surface
source: PCGH





Steam surface
source: PCGH

Steam surface
source: PCGH



Both host and client were not optimized down to the smallest detail during this practical test, which is why better results can be achieved in practice. For those who mainly use their laptops at home, streaming via Steam Remote Play can definitely be a good alternative.

Advantages of Steam Remote Play compared to playing locally on the Steam Deck itself:

  • Significantly longer battery life
  • Significantly higher graphics settings*
  • Much more frames per second to enjoy at 90Hz*
  • Much less consumption and wasted heat
  • Completely passive and silent operation
  • The opportunity to play particularly challenging games*

*) Assuming there is a similarly powerful graphics card in your gaming PC.

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