10.7 teraflop GPU, custom x86 CPU and more.
Technical specifications for the Google Stadia streaming platform have been revealed, and if it all holds true, it will be much more powerful than systems currently available on the market.
Revealed during Google’s GDC 2019 conference, Google Stadia features a custom 2.7 GHz hyperthreaded x86 CPU with AVX 2 SIMD and 9.5MB of L2+L3 cache. It also boasts a custom AMD GPU that’s capable of 10.7 teraflops of power using HBM2 memory and 56 compute units. For memory, it has 16GB of RAM with up to a 484GB/s transfer speed. On top of all of this, it includes SSD cloud storage.
So, what exactly does this all mean? Well, its 10.7 GPU teraflops surpass the GPU performance of PlayStation 4 Pro and Xbox One X combined – they perform at 4.2 GPU teraflops and 6.0 GPU teraflops, respectively. Its CPU performance is similarly head and shoulders above this home console competition. Ultimately, these initial specs could rival next-gen consoles.
However, per Eurogamer/Digital Foundry, comparing these stats to those found in home consoles is relatively unfair, as things like individual build cost, room temperature limitations, form factor and more are essentially non-existant as far as each player is concerned for Stadia. Using a server-class CPU and a separate AMD GPU differentiates how it operates from PS4 and Xbox One, as they both use hybrid APU chips – it’s likely the next generation PlayStation and Xbox consoles will use APUs as well.
Google claims this hardware can be “stacked,” and that the CPU and GPU compute is elastic, so more hardware can be combined for more powerful games. Since these data centers will evolve over time, there won’t be any user upgrades required, as is typical with evolving PC gaming setups. Google also aims to have Stadia boot games in as little as five seconds, and in-game loading will likely take less time as well.
Any physical storage limitations included in console hard drives and readable discs will also cease to be an issue, though there will naturally still be storage considerations on Google’s side. With cloud storage, game data can be stored at much greater quantities, though it’s unclear exactly how individual gamers will manage their data at this time.
With all of these massive high points comes a simple, major constraint for the service: internet speeds. Regardless of if a game is being ran in a server farm miles away, the amount of raw upload/download speed required to effectively run modern games is major – these are speeds that most consumers are years away from obtaining. Ultimately, things like cost and a specific release date remain unknown factors as well.
Things get even more complicated when multiplayer and its upload/download requirements are added into the mix. With Stream Connect, Google exemplified the ability to play co-op experiences with a tech demo featuring asymmetric multiplayer. Google famously tested its streaming tech with Assassin’s Creed Odyssey last year, and the game generally ran well, though it is very much a single-player experience.
For more on Stadia, check out the Google Stadia announcement, how the Konami Code appears on the bottom of its controller, and how the rise of streamed gaming is the industry’s scariest new trend.
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Colin Stevens is a news writer for IGN. Follow him on Twitter.