Shadow by Blade

I’m not usually one to be an early adopter, but proudly I can say I am one of the first 500 Shadow users in the UK!

My home computer is a second hand first gen i7, with 8GB of RAM and a 120GB SSD. I’ve been meaning to build a new computer for a while but the costs wouldn’t be justified considering I mainly use it for day to day work.

When I first read about Shadow I couldn’t believe my eyes. I am a big fan of virtualization as it is, and the hardware specs on offer seemed too good to be true but  was up for giving it a go.

Within 3 days of placing my order I recieved the Shadow box, super fast!

What is Shadow?

In short, Shadow is something awesome – A company called Blade convert a modest amount of money into a virtual Windows 10 computer. Primarily it can be used for gaming, but also for general desktop use. Oh, did I forget to mention you get a dedicated Nvidia GTX 1080 to yourself, and they’ll upgrade you to the latest hardware as it becomes available? Yup!

Software is provided so you can access the system through your existing computer, as well as mobile apps… but the thing that excited me most was the shadow box.

Yup! The magical little device above has taken over where my desktop computer left off, it uses much less power, runs near enough silent and is by far more powerful!

What specs are we talking here?

  • CPU – 8 threaded Intel E5-2620 2.1GHz
  • RAM – 12GB not too sure about the extact specs, but it works!
  • Storage – 256GB SSD (Qemu emulated)
  • Network – Up to gigabit down, 100 megabit up
  • OS – Windows 10 Home

What do you use it for?

My Shadow has become my day to day computer at home, with the added extra of being able to actually play games! I mainly use it to code, listen to Google Play Music on high quality and whatever else.

It also runs SightHound video for a couple of my home CCTV cameras

How does gaming perform?

I’m no gamer, but playing Need for Speed: Most Wanted on Ultra works absolutely flawlessly. To complete the experience I use a Xbox 360 controller, and well… it just works.

The shadow box has variable quality settings – on Ultra it tops out my 200 megabit connection at 90 megabit.

Quirks

Given the fact that this is still a pretty new project I expected a few bumps in the road, so far there’s nothing I haven’t managed to fix with a little nerdy know how

  • If you Google anything it appears French because of the WAN IP, not a big deal once you login with your Google account
  • The mouse pointer and sound disappears if the computer is left idle – Fixed by a batch script that restarted the streaming service whenever a user logs on
  • The number lock turns off after a user logs on – Fixed by a VB script that runs whenever a user logs on
  • There’s no equalizer for audio (because music sounds better tweaked) – Fixed by installing Equalizer APO
  • Dual screen isn’t possible at the moment, even though two display ports are part of the shadow box – It’s something that is being worked on though

Once I’ve settled in a bit more I’ll look at rewriting the scripts in VB net, meaning I’ll have a little tray icon with everything neatly stored in one place

Would you recommend Shadow?

Providing you have a decent internet connection and a little nerdy knowledge (or at least knows someone who does) then yes, no hesitation!

You can read more on Shadow by visiting their website here – Use sponsor code KIE2AQDP you’ll get a discount and be part of something aweome