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70W NVIDIA Tesla T4 graphics could make Amazon Luna a poor fit for ninth-generation game streaming

The NVIDIA Tesla T4 features a paltry 585 MHz base clock (Image source: NVIDIA)
The NVIDIA Tesla T4 features a paltry 585 MHz base clock (Image source: NVIDIA)
Amazon recently announced specs for its Luna game streaming service, which pairs an Intel Cascade Lake CPU with NVIDIA Tesla T4 graphics. While the T4 is based on the same TU104 GPU that powers the GeForce RTX 2080 Super, a measure 70W TDP could mean a poor 4K experience relative to the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.

Amazon recently announced Luna, its game streaming alternative to Google Stadia, Project xCloud, and PlayStation Now. Revelations about Luna’s hardware specifications, however, cast doubt on just how well the system will handle 4K gaming in the ninth-gen era. 

Amazon announced that Luna will feature an Intel Cascade Lake CPU paired with an 8.1 TFLOP NVIDIA Tesla T4 graphics card. It’s unclear at the moment how much RAM will be allocated to each user. While Cascade Lake is a solid pick for CPU capabilities, we have serious doubts about the Tesla T4. Nominally, the T4 delivers 8.1 TFLOPs of compute power. With 2560 CUDA cores — as many as the GeForce RTX 2070 Super — theoretical performance shouldn’t be far off. In practice, though, a number of factors look to be potential dealbreakers. 

For starters, the Tesla T4 features substantially slower 10 Gbps VRAM, delivering roughly 320 GB/s of bandwidth, a good chunk less than the 448 GB/s on the GeForce RTX 2070 and actually slightly less than the GeForce RTX 2060. Secondly, while the T4 has a 1590 MHz boost clock, the base clock is a measly 585 MHz. The GPU’s 70W TDP and passive cooling make it likely that actually in-game clockspeeds will be closer to the latter. 

Turing cards like the GeForce RTX 2070 Super already struggle to deliver playable 4K experiences in eighth-generation games. With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X raising the graphics bar substantially, we have trouble seeing how Luna can deliver great 4K experiences in the ninth-generation without a substantial hardware overhaul. 

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 09 > 70W NVIDIA Tesla T4 graphics could make Amazon Luna a poor fit for ninth-generation game streaming
Arjun Krishna Lal, 2020-09-26 (Update: 2020-09-26)
Arjun Krishna Lal
Arjun Krishna Lal - News Editor
I've had a passion for PC gaming since 1996, when I watched my dad score frags in Quake as a 1 year-old. I've gone on to become a Penguin-published author and tech journalist. When I'm not traveling the world, gathering stories for my next book, you can find me tinkering with my PC.