Custom AMD GPU to Power Google's Stadia Gaming Service

Today at GDC, Google announced its Stadia game streaming service, which promises to deliver high performance gaming to PCs that would otherwise not be able to game. In a great piece of news for Team Red, Google decided to go with a custom Vega-based AMD GPU.

Currently, GeForce Now, the other major game streaming service, uses Nvidia GPUs, so Stadia marks the first time AMD GPUs are being used for a competing service.

According to Google, the Vega GPU will have 56 compute units that provide 10.7 TFLOPs of performance, which is similar to a Vega 56 desktop GPU. Google also revealed the GPU provides almost 500 GB/s of memory bandwidth, which is equal to the bandwidth of the Vega 64, and notably faster than the Vega 56.

Google also says its Stadia isntances come with 16 GB of memory, though it's not entirely known if that's just system memory, just VRAM, or both. It's likely both. Vega 56 only comes with 8 GB of HBM2, and 16 GB of system memory would be overkill for gaming. Google also says the memory provides "up to" 500 GB/s, so HBM2 makes sense because DDR4 doesn't even come close to that level of throughput.

Google also revealed that the Stadia instances feature a custom CPU with 9.5MB of combined L2 and L3 cache, hyperthreading, and support for AVX instructions. The "hyperthreading" moniker implies this is a custom Intel CPU, but there is also a possibility that the custom AMD silicon is a souped-up APU. In either case, today's Zen-based processors don't support AVX2, so if the processor consists of a future revision of AMD silicon, it would have to come with the new Zen 2 microarchitecture.

The Vega 56-like GPU should be able to meet Google's promises of 4K gaming at 60 FPS, as long as you're fine with lowered settings.

Image credits: Google