Google Stadia specifications and latency details

We finally have an idea of Google Stadia's specifications, latency and performance.

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During today’s Google Keynote at GDC 2019, Google revealed Google Stadia, a new streaming service that will make it much easier for gamers to enjoy new, high quality games without a powerhouse of a computer. While the original presentation left us with a lot of questions, more about the game streaming technology is finally coming out. Here’s what we know so far.


Google Stadia specifications and latency details

What makes Google Stadia so intriguing is so much of what Google is promising will be available with the tech. Not only will it allow game streaming on devices like Chromebooks, cellphones, or any other Chrome-enabled device, but Stadia will also support cross-platform multiplayer and several other really nice features like seamless play between devices.

On top of all the features listed above, Google is also aiming to deliver gaming at 4K quality at 60 frames per second. That’s a bold claim to make when it comes to streaming video games, and it isn’t an especially easy one to pull off. Thankfully, Google has some heavy hardware under the hood here. Google Stadia will be powered by the following specifications:

  • Custom x86 processor clocked at 2.7GHz w/ AVX2 SIMD and 9.5MB of L2+L3 cache
  • Custom AMD GPU w/ HBM2 memory, 56 compute units, and 10.7TFLOPs
  • 16GB of RAM (shared between CPU and GPU), up to 484GB/s of bandwidth
  • SSD cloud storage

While the specs above are definitely something worth boasting about, what’s even more appealing is the fact that developers will be able to stack more than one together, allowing them to virtually make a super computer to run their creations. Digital Foundry recently had a chance to sit down with Google Stadia, where they were able to get some reads on the system’s overall performance.

According to Digital Foundry, they were able to measure Google Stadia at roughly 166.67ms while using a Pixelbook connected to wifi. Of course, this was all taken with the latest version of Stadia available right now, so things might change a little over the coming months as we move closer to Stadia’s full release to consumer.

It should be noted, though, that this was not a test controlled by Digital Foundry. Which means the results might be a bit skewed. Still, though, it’s something worth investigating if you’re interested in seeing how Stadia stands up to current-gen consoles, especially given the boasts and claims that Google has made.


We’ll update this article as more solidified information becomes available for Google Stadia's specifcations. For now, be sure to check out the rest of our GDC 2019 coverage for more of the latest news from the conference.

Guides Editor

Joshua holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing and has been exploring the world of video games for as long as he can remember. He enjoys everything from large-scale RPGs to small, bite-size indie gems and everything in between.

From The Chatty
  • reply
    March 19, 2019 3:30 PM

    Josh Hawkins posted a new article, Google Stadia specifications and latency details

    • reply
      March 19, 2019 3:49 PM

      I've got a lot of qualms about Stadia, but at least making the controller connect via WiFi makes sense for their platform. It helps get rid of one bit of upstream latency on inputs.

    • reply
      March 19, 2019 4:17 PM

      they were able to measure Google Stadia at roughly 170ms hmmmmmmmm

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 5:13 PM

        Am I not understanding this correctly? This essentially means you'll be 10 frames behind?

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 5:52 PM

        Those numbers make baby Jesus (and John Carmack) cry. Here's a great article from Carmack waaaaaaaaaay back about the crusade to minimize input lag:
        https://danluu.com/latency-mitigation/

        Carmack totally saw this coming, too... Damn he's smart.

        • reply
          March 19, 2019 8:09 PM

          Many people play games on TVs with so much processing lag that the pixels might as well have been coming from a datacenter. Not everyone knows or bothers to enable game mode (sadly).

          https://twitter.com/ID_AA_Carmack/status/1108145247224324096

          • reply
            March 20, 2019 8:28 AM

            That's not a counterpoint. He's just saying people can learn to live with certain thresholds and not know any better.

            In this case, those people are going to be dealing with the ADDITIONAL latency of streaming on top of whatever their TV adds (whether it's a slow panel or misconfigured).

          • reply
            March 20, 2019 9:28 AM

            And streaming games will just exacerbate that problem. There's a breaking point somewhere. I wonder if this will find it for more people.

    • Zek legacy 10 years
      reply
      March 19, 2019 4:45 PM

      No matter the implementation it's always going to vary from person to person, both with your internet/WiFi and your proximity to the nearest data center. I assume there will be at least a few test games you can play for free just to see how it works, or else a free trial.

    • reply
      March 19, 2019 5:24 PM

      So for those with Gaming PC's, or even the higher-end consoles, it seems like the benefits will be these:

      1. Being able to try/play games instantly.

      2. All the stuff about sharing save states over YouTube is neat, and easily accessible multiplayer through YouTube as well. This goes well with point one.

      3. The potential gaming experiences that could be made when the rendering is done by a machine more powerful than the average consumer. They said "imagine a 1000-person Battle Royale". You could do thousands, or even tens or hundreds of thousands of well-optimized AI routines within an open-world. Or as they also demonstrated, make a 100% fully destructible city. The kind of stuff that is genuinely hard to do on consumer hardware.

      For everything else, video bitrate will always be a huge roadblock. Things just aren't going to look as good on a big screen, or if you're sitting close to a monitor. I tried Project Stream and while it was neat, I'd never want to play a game like that when I could just locally render it. Of course this is a problem that will eventually get more and more mitigated by better data networking.

      That'll be the point, especially combined with the three above points, when this kind of closed-loop platform could be genuinely competitive to even gaming PCs. We aren't there yet but now it's pretty clearly on the horizon. Hug your GPU's, everyone!

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 6:32 PM

        And Comcast will be right there to stongarm your wallet from you to pay for overages because of their data cap.

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 6:34 PM

        #3 is a long way off given that it's going to require Stadia to have significant adoption to justify an exclusive that does this. Crackdown 3 also looks like a cautionary tale there although I suspect it was probably just before its time and the execution of the rest of the game suggests maybe the problem wasn't intrinsic to the strategy of cloud powered gameplay.

        • reply
          March 19, 2019 7:46 PM

          "going to require Stadia to have significant adoption to justify an exclusive that does this"

          For any other company, yes. But Google has the sheer BANK to fund multiple hugely expensive exclusives just under the guise of "increasing user engagement". Hell, they could be super aggressive about it and make these first massively expensive premium products free.

          • reply
            March 19, 2019 8:08 PM

            sure, that's the standard concept for first party exclusives. But until/unless Stadia ends up being massively successful you're just not going to see 3rd parties take advantage of this functionality in a game changing way.

            • reply
              March 20, 2019 8:59 AM

              Agreed, Google would be the one bankrolling any of those potential big projects.

        • Zek legacy 10 years
          reply
          March 20, 2019 6:51 AM

          Crackdown 3 was weird because the whole game runs locally, how do you outsource just the physics? It's different if everyone is using this service. But I don't see many big exclusives happening any time soon, it just excludes so many people. I would be curious to see an MMO built on this service though.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 9:17 AM

          I think more significant will be the cost implications. This whole model provides that the cost of rendering will be borne by the cloud, but that doesn't come for free. I haven't seen anything about how Google will bill the publishers for this, but I assume that they will. This feels like a more complex problem in the vein of what we saw with dedicated servers for online games too.. Will the publisher be responsible for that cost and maintenance?

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 7:56 PM

        [deleted]

        • reply
          March 19, 2019 8:04 PM

          I really don't feel that's the case. We are all in a bubble here so I can see why a lot of people who are heavily into PC gaming don't have much interest in the project, but think about all the people out there who want to play the latest games but don't want to drop $500 on a console or well over a thousand on a gaming PC. That's a huge untapped Market.

        • reply
          March 19, 2019 8:09 PM

          "needing a $500+ box to even try the hobby" is a pretty big problem that plenty of people could use a solution for

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 9:01 AM

        Don't forget that its going to massively change cheating in competitive games. With no local client I would imagine its going to be much harder if not impossible to cheat in any meaningful way. Now the rub is what type of competitive games work well over streaming.

    • reply
      March 19, 2019 8:10 PM

      170ms is the best case scenario for latency. That's game breaking right out of the gate. Even slow acting strategy games will feel so sluggish and delayed. Gross.

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 8:12 PM

        People have used this service recently and posted there comments and found it far from game breaking in the best case.

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 8:37 PM

        That's for Assassin's Creed Odyssey specifically, which according to the video has 100 ms of latency when played locally. So the streaming is adding an additional ~60 ms. That's going to be a non-issue for most games and most people.

      • reply
        March 19, 2019 8:40 PM

        Didn't for pubg on the Nvidia service, was Rock solid 99% of the time, and looked better then the 760 I had at the time.

      • Zek legacy 10 years
        reply
        March 20, 2019 6:51 AM

        Most people would not consider that game breaking. Apparently AC:O had 160ms~ input lag on XB1X? I don't recall anyone ever mentioning that.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 7:13 AM

          Yeah, that should be playable for most people, especially for games like AC. I'm interested to see if PS5 and the next xbox afford a noticeable (possibly insurmountable) advantage if they're able to pull off actual 60fps, feels like they could.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 8:30 AM

          For some games I'm sure it's 'fine', but just imagine this: if you were using your computer, and the mouse movement lagged by about a tenth of a second for every movement, how acceptable would you find that?

          I'm pretty sure the shack is the kind of place where people couldn't stand the feel of older generation bluetooth mice.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 8:53 AM

          Its very genre dependent and the reason they compare it to the console port is that it runs at 30 fps.

          That’s also why a game like devil may cry 5 doesn’t runs at 30 fps. And people like me have been vocal about games like gta4 having horrific latency, and it goes back to streetfighter on the dreamcast (the fighting community has been shittalking sf5 in particular, some games in the genre even mocking it with a sf5-mode adding latency).

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 8:56 AM

          Here an old digital foundry article excerpt: * The lowest latencies a video game can have is 50ms (three frames) - the PS3 XMB runs at this rate, but few games reach it.
          * Most 60FPS games have a 66.67ms latency - Ridge Racer 7, for example.
          * 30FPS games have a minimum potential lag of 100ms, but many exceed this.
          * Game developers should test their own games using the camera technique in order to weed out bugs - West says that Heavenly Sword's response slows down to 300ms just by turning the character, and reckons it's a technical issue that should have been resolved before going gold with the game.
          * Citing GTAIV as an example, West suggests that a 166ms response is where gamers notice controller lag, which could also explain the Killzone 2 furore too.
          * Game reviewers should accurately measure latency for their reviews where controller lag is an issue, in the hope that sloppy game response times come under far more scrutiny.

          Game Latency Measurement
          Burnout Paradise 67ms
          BioShock (frame-locked) 133ms
          BioShock (unlocked) as low as 67ms
          Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 67ms-84ms
          Call of Duty: World at War 67ms-100ms
          Call of Juarez: Bound in Blood 100ms
          Forza Motorsport 2 67ms
          Geometry Wars 2 67ms
          Guitar Hero: Aerosmith 67ms
          Grand Theft Auto IV 133ms-200ms
          Halo 3 100ms-150ms
          Left 4 Dead 100ms-133ms
          LEGO Batman 133ms
          Mirror's Edge 133ms
          Street Fighter IV 67ms
          Soul Calibur IV 67ms-84ms
          Unreal Tournament 3 100ms-133ms
          X-Men Origins: Wolverine 133ms

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 9:03 AM

          And for good measure more current examples, see if you notice a pattern:

          Current-Gen Tests Input Lag Target Frame-Rate


          Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare 39.3ms 60fps
          Call of Duty: Modern Warfare Remastered 40.3ms 60fps
          Battlefield 1 56.1ms 60fps
          Halo 5 63.0ms 60fps
          Battlefield 4 63.7ms 60fps
          Titanfall 2 71.8ms 60fps
          Overwatch 76.8ms 60fps
          Doom 2016 86.8ms 60fps
          Killzone Shadowfall Multiplayer 89.8ms 60fps
          Killzone Shadowfall Single-Player 110.0ms 30fps

        • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
          reply
          March 20, 2019 9:09 AM

          I played AC Odd last night on XB1X and didn't notice any latency, I think digitalfoundry done messed up on this one

          • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
            reply
            March 20, 2019 9:10 AM

            Comparatively RDR2 feels like 1-2 seconds

          • reply
            March 20, 2019 9:33 AM

            Yeah, something seems off about that. I don't use my XB1 much anymore, but when I did, there was no discernable latency and I could play things like Rayman with split second timing without issue. Whereas using my Steam Link or Nvidia Shield which has a supposed ~120ms latency, those sorts of games are unplayable due to their requirement on instant reaction.

            This whole thing has me confused, but I can say with some degree of certainty that the input lag will be the dealbreaker on even the highest of high end connections with Stadia.

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 8:57 AM

        We can hate on the number, but let's actually *use* the implementation.

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 9:05 AM

        I played Odyssey on Project Stream. The lag was there but it was perfectly playable. And I genuinely mean perfectly playable, I intentionally put myself on the hardest difficulty to test it. I had a quick reaction dodge that I was astounded the game registered in time. I don't know what kind of black magic prediction they are doing in addition to their optimized piping but it works.

        I wouldn't want to play it because of the video bitrate, but the latency was really just not much of an issue.

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 9:06 AM

        If PlayStation Now and OnLive are anything to go by, the real way you'll know that this technology is a failure is not that a bunch of hardcore gamers hate on however many nanoseconds of lag there are, it'll be because the tech and the implementation are basically ignored by everyone.

        I mean think about it - a version of this exact idea that Google and next Microsoft is rolling out has been in Sony hardware for years now and no one fucking cares about it. There could be other reasons but basically this seemingly holy grail of streaming gaming has been in the hands of the general public for years and people aren't saying "well the tech isn't there yet" or "maybe when the pricing gets better" because if they did then they'd be talking about it at all, which they aren't.

        And you can say OnLive was some outlier because they were a startup with a tyrannical leader that doomed the company but it's not like Sony is a slouch. They had this built into their TVs and they removed it because no one used it. They added it to the PlayStation 3 and removed it later and no one cared - and people sued when they took away the ability to run Linux from the PS3.

        Maybe it really does need Microsoft money. Or Google money. Or maybe it's impossible no matter how much money you throw at it.

        But maybe these things will fail because no one cares.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 9:15 AM

          Sony never brought the pricepoint down on Now, they never really talked about Now during their conferences, they never really added that many titles to the selection.

          It was an expensive, uncompelling product that wasn't marketed well. That's why nobody cared about it.

          The tech worked well enough.

        • reply
          March 20, 2019 9:24 AM

          I agree with a lot of your points, but at the same time I do see streaming as a viable product. It's just that I think these companies are going about it the wrong way, I'm deeply skeptical that this technology becomes sustainably profitable primarily off the backs of the hardcore gaming crowd. Yet PSNow, Stadia (going off their initial presentation), and most likely whatever MS is coming up with seem to target that segment before all others.

          This tech needs to be aimed at the casual crowd, and it needs to be free at the most basic level (they need to find a different way to generate revenue other than just a subscription). Of course everybody wants to create the "Netflix of gaming", but the gaming market is fundamentally different from Netflix. You cannot ignore the sheer amount of free to play content that is available.

          So while I think a subscription model makes sense for the hardcore crowd, it is either disingenuous or patently stupid on Google's part to mention the 2 billion gamers worldwide and assume that a one-size fits all approach to monetizing all 2BN gamers will work. Hopefully they are aware of that, and will address how they plan to court the casual market (which IMO should be the primary focus) in future updates.

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 9:09 AM

        I mean, no - not really. I've been playing games on Stadia for almost year now and it's not sluggish or delayed. Or gross. Once in a great while you get a little hiccup but it doesn't feel any different than an odd frame jump or hitch in a normal game anyway.

        • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
          reply
          March 20, 2019 9:17 AM

          In the past year did you contact marketing and tell them the name is terrible?

          • reply
            March 20, 2019 9:39 AM

            All product names are terrible always.

      • gmd legacy 10 years mercury mega
        reply
        March 20, 2019 9:11 AM

        more concerned with motion artifacts

    • reply
      March 20, 2019 9:19 AM

      [deleted]

      • reply
        March 20, 2019 9:22 AM

        There could be mods to a device (jailbroken Android device), but it's definitely going to be difficult to build cheats for streamed games.

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