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Shadow Boost vs the cost of building a new PC.


12 min read
Shadow Boost vs the cost of building a new PC.

Last year, I wrote a post called Shadow vs Building a PC where I compared the cost of building a PC with the cost of using Shadow.

Now, since Shadow has announced their new tiers, I will be doing a cost comparison between building a new PC and using each of Shadow's new tiers on a Shadow Ghost, a Mini PC, or a typical laptop.

These calculations will include the average cost of energy in the United States, as well as the MSRP costs of consumer equivalent hardware of each Shadow. Do note that these are all estimates and that actual results may vary.

Warning: There is a wall of text below. If you would just like to know the results, you can scroll down to the "TL;DR" section.

So, let us begin with Shadow Boost.

Shadow Boost

Shadow Boost Hardware

Below, you can find what type of hardware is included in the Shadow Boost tier.

  • 3.4 GHz equivalent 4-core CPU
  • GTX 1080 equivalent GPU
  • 12GB of Memory
  • 256GB of Storage

Consumer Hardware Comparison

Below, you can find consumer equivalent hardware for the above Shadow tier.

Total cost: $820

Cost Comparison

For the cost comparisons, we will get the average cost for 1, 4 and 8 hours of daily gaming over a 3 and 5 year period. We will also be using the average cost of electricity in the United States of $0.13 per kWh for calculations on cost per hour.

The average electricity usage of this PC will be estimated to be around 300Wh, putting the cost per hour at $0.04.

One Hour of Gaming

One Hour of gaming will be $0.04 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $43.80. With a total cost (PC + Electricity) of $793.80. This comes out too $264.60 per year or $22.05 a month.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $73. With a total cost of $823. This comes out to $164.60 per year or $13.72 per month.

Four Hours of Gaming

Four Hours of gaming will be $0.16 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $175.20. With a total cost of $925.20. This comes out too $308.40 per year or $25.7 per month.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $292. With a total cost of $1042. This comes out too $208.4 per year or $17.37 per month.

Eight Hours of Gaming

Eight Hours of gaming will be $0.32 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $350.40. With a total cost of $1100.40. This comes out too $366.80 per year or $30.57 per month.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $584. With the total cost of $1334. This comes out too $266.80 per year or $22.23 per month.

Shadow Ghost + Shadow Boost vs Gaming Rig

shadow-ghost

The Shadow Ghost costs $150 and uses around 7Wh of electricity while running. This puts the electricity cost at $0.001 per hour. The cost of the Shadow Boost tier is $12 per month for the yearly plan or $15 per month for the monthly plan.

One Hour of Gaming

One Hour of gaming with Shadow Ghost will be $0.001 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $1.10. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of a Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $583.10 for the yearly agreement or $691.10 on a monthly agreement. This comes out too $194.37 per year or $16.20 per month on the yearly agreement, or $230.37 per year or $19.20 per month on the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $1.83. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $871.83 on a yearly agreement or $1051.83 on a monthly agreement. This comes out too $174.37 per year or $14.53 per month on the yearly agreement, or $210.37 per year or $17.53 per month on the monthly agreement.

Four Hours of Gaming

Four hours of gaming with the Shadow Ghost will be $0.004 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $4.40. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of the Shadow Boost Subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $586.40 on a yearly agreement or $694.40 on a monthly agreement. This comes out too $195.47 per year or $16.29 per month on the yearly agreement, or $231.47 per year or $19.29 per month on the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $7.30. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $877.30 for the yearly agreement or $1057.30 for the monthly agreement

This comes too $175.46 per year or $14.62 per month on the yearly agreement, or $211.46 per year or $17.62 per month on the monthly agreement.

Eight Hours of Gaming

Eight hours of gaming with the Shadow Ghost will be $0.008 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $8.80. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $590.80 for the yearly agreement or $698.80 for the monthly agreement.

This comes out too $196.93 per year or $16.41 per month for the yearly agreement, or $232.93 per year or $19.41 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $14.60. Including the cost of the Shadow Ghost, and the cost of the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at a total cost of $884.60 for the yearly agreement or $1064.60 for the monthly agreement.

This comes out too $176.92 per year or $14.74 per month for the yearly agreement, or $212.92 per year or $17.74 per month for the monthly agreement.

Mini PC + Shadow Boost vs Gaming Rig

ACEPC-AK1-Windows-10-Mini-PC

Mini PCs are great for entertainment/media hubs in your home. Because of this, most of them are good for using with Shadow and other Cloud Gaming platforms.

Mini PCs can range anywhere from $100 to $500+ depending on the hardware, for this comparison, we will be looking at the average cost of a lower end Mini PC that can run Shadow, and those are usually around the $200 mark.

The Shadow Boost tier costs $12 a month on the yearly agreement or $15 a month on the monthly agreement.

The average electrical usage of a Mini PC is around 15 watts per hour. This puts the hourly cost of running a Mini PC at $0.002.

One Hour of Gaming

One hour of gaming with a Mini PC will be $0.002 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $2.19. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $634.19 for the yearly agreement or $742.19 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $211.40 per year or $17.62 per month for the yearly agreement, or $247.40 per year or $20.62 per month on the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $3.65. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $923.65 for the yearly agreement or $1103.65 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $184.73 per year or $15.40 per month for the yearly agreement, or $220.73 per year or $18.40 per month on the monthly agreement.

Four Hours of Gaming

Four hours of gaming with a Mini PC will be $0.008 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $8.76. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $640.76 for the yearly agreement or $748.76 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $213.59 per year or $17.80 per month for the yearly agreement, or $249.59 per year or $20.80 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $14.60. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $934.60 for the yearly agreement or $1114.60 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $186.92 per year or $15.58 per month for the yearly agreement, or $222.92 per year or $18.58 per month for the monthly agreement.

Eight Hours of Gaming

Eight hours of gaming with a Mini PC will be $0.016 per day. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $17.52. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $649.52 for the yearly agreement or $757.52 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $216.51 per year or $18.04 per month for the yearly agreement, or $252.51 per year or $21.04 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $29.20. Including the cost of the average Mini PC and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $949.20 for the yearly agreement or $1129.20 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $189.84 per year or $15.82 per month for the yearly agreement, or $225.84 per year or $18.82 per month for the monthly agreement.

Laptop + Shadow Boost vs Gaming Rig

Dell-Inspiron-15-5000

For this cost comparison, I will be basing it off of purchasing a new budget laptop. The one I am specifically using is the i3 variant of the new Dell Inspirior 5000, which MSRPs at $400 currently.

The laptop, on average, uses about 20 watts per hour while using it with a cloud gaming platform. This puts the cost of using this laptop at $0.003 per hour.

The Shadow Boost tier is $12 a month for the yearly agreement or $15 a month for the monthly agreement.

One Hour of Gaming

One hour of gaming will cost about $0.003. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $3.29. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $835.29 for the yearly agreement or $943.29 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $278.43 per year or $23.20 per month for the yearly agreement, or $314.43 per year or $26.20 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $5.48. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $1125.48 for the yearly agreement or $1305.48 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $225.10 per year or $18.76 per month for the yearly agreement, or $261.10 per year or $21.76 per month for the monthly agreement.

Four Hours of Gaming

Four hours of gaming will cost about $0.012. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $13.14. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $845.14 for the yearly agreement or $953.14 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $281.71 per year or $23.48 per month for the yearly agreement, or $317.71 per year or $26.48 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $21.9. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $1141.90 for the yearly agreement or $1321.90 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $228.38 per year or $19.03 per month for the yearly agreement, or $264.38 per year or $22.03 per month for the monthly agreement.

Eight Hours of Gaming

Eight hours of Gaming will cost about $0.024. Over 3 years, your total electricity cost will be $26.28. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $858.28 for the yearly agreement or $966.28 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $286.09 per year or $23.84 per month for the yearly agreement, or $322.09 per year or $26.84 per month for the monthly agreement.

Over 5 years, your total electricity cost will be $43.80. Including the cost of the laptop and the Shadow Boost subscription, you are looking at $1163.80 for the yearly agreement or $1343.80 for the monthly agreement.

This comes too $232.76 per year or $19.40 per month on the yearly agreement, or $268.76 per year or $22.40 per month on the monthly agreement.

TL;DR

Shadow Ghost + Shadow Boost

Calculations below are based on the total cost of the consumer built PC of similar hardware to the Shadow Boost tier and electricity usage compared to the cost of a Shadow Ghost, the Shadow Boost subscription, and the electricity cost of using the Ghost over a 3 and 5 year periods.

One hour of gaming
- 3 year - 
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $5.85 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $2.85 a month
- 5 year - 
    - Yearly agreement: You will pay $0.81 more a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $3.81 more a month
Four hours of gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $9.41 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $6.41 a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $2.75 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $0.25 more a month
Eight hours of gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $14.16 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save 11.16 a month
- 5 years - 
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $7.49 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $4.49 a month

Mini PC + Shadow Boost

Calculations below are based on the total cost of the consumer built PC of similar hardware to the Shadow Boost tier and electricity usage compared to the cost of a Mini PC, the Shadow Boost subscription, and the electricity cost of using the Mini PC over a 3 and 5 year periods.

One hour of gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $4.43 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $1.43 a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will pay $1.68 more a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $4.68 more a month
Four hours of gaming
- 3 years - 
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $7.90 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $4.90 a month
- 5 years - 
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $1.79 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $1.21 more a month
Eight hours of gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $12.53 a month 
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $9.53 a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $6.41 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $3.41 a month

Laptop + Shadow Boost

Calculations below are based on the total cost of the consumer built PC of similar hardware to the Shadow Boost tier and electricity usage compared to the cost of a Laptop, the Shadow Boost subscription, and the electricity cost of using the Laptop over a 3 and 5 year periods.

One Hour of Gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will pay $1.15 more a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $4.15 more a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will pay $5.04 more a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $8.04 more a month
Four Hours of Gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $2.22 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $0.78 more a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will pay $1.66 more a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $4.66 more a month
Eight Hours of Gaming
- 3 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $6.73 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will save $3.73 a month
- 5 years -
    - Yearly agreement: You will save $2.83 a month
    - Monthly agreement: You will pay $0.17 more a month

Formulas Used

Energy Consumption

E = P x T / 1000

E is kWh per day.
P is the power usage in wattage
T is the time in hours per day.

Energy Cost

Energy Cost = E x Cost / 100

E is kWh per day
Cost is the cost of electricity per kWh.

Total Cost

TC = Tier$ x 12 x Y + CoD + EC

TC is the Total Cost
Tier$ is the cost of the Shadow Tier per month
Y is the number of years
CoD is the cost of device used for running Shadow
EC is the energy cost of running the device

Conclusion

As you can see by the estimations above, sometimes building your own gaming rig will be cheaper. Although, this is only based off of using the same hardware over a 3 or 5 year period without upgrading or needing to replace anything.

A major advantage of using Shadow over building your own PC is that you do not have to pay for replacement hardware. If your GPU dies in your PC, you will need to purchase a new one, which will cut into any bit a savings you may get from building your own rig.

However, your own PC will be a lot more stable, and you would not be at the mercy of Shadow keeping their hardware up and running. So ultimately, it is your choice for what you think is better.

Personally, Shadow has worked wonderfully for me, and I do not see myself going back to my own gaming rig any time soon. But, for you, it may be the complete opposite.


I know this is a long post, so if you notice any errors in my calculations, feel free to commend below!

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