HomeTechnologyGoogle Stadia is preparing support for servers with Nvidia GPUs

Google Stadia is preparing support for servers with Nvidia GPUs

It looks like Google Stadia and/or Immersive Stream for Games are gearing up to shake up its graphics hardware with new support for servers built with Nvidia GPUs.

Since its launch in 2019, Google Stadia – and the Immersive Stream for Games service that underpins it – has been powered by custom GPUs from AMD. Researchers have generally agreed that Stadia’s servers run on AMD’s Radeon Pro V340 hardware or something close to it.

Based on information shared with us by a tipster, it appears that Google is planning Stadia and Immersive Stream to support additional graphics hardware. The information comes from the modified version of Stadia’s Linux kernel, which must be open source.

In a code change last month, we discovered that Google had added a way for their automated builder (“Kokoro”) to include the necessary drivers for Nvidia GPUs.

Add support to the kokoro job script to generate a disk containing the NVIDIA UMD/KMD modules and corresponding support files required for instances that use an NVIDIA GPU.

As of now, there are no clues as to which specific Nvidia graphics card(s) might be coming to Stadia and Immersive Stream. While AMD has long offered open-source GPU drivers for use with Linux devices, Nvidia only recently started offering the same.

As such, the newly included Nvidia drivers for Stadia are not (yet) available for inspection. Despite the lack of detail, the implications here are quite intriguing.

Since Stadia’s existing roster of games are generally optimized to run on AMD graphics cards, Google is unlikely to change its servers to run on Nvidia GPUs. This could potentially cause issues in these games, confusing current players/customers.

Instead, it seems more likely that this Nvidia hardware will be available to developers as an alternative platform for their games. One possibility is that this change is simply Google offering more options for game developers or potentially making up for the current shortage of chips. In those cases, Nvidia hardware would likely be equal to what Stadia games run today.

However, the most exciting possibility is that Google could be prepare a hardware upgrade for Stadia and Immersive Stream with next-gen GPUs to play more graphics-intensive games. With stiff competition coming from other cloud streaming services — including GeForce Now’s RTX 3080 tier and Game Pass streaming upgrade to Xbox Series X hardware — Stadia definitely needs to upgrade.

For now, however, we’ll have to be patient to see what this Nvidia hardware change really entails.

Thanks Sam!

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