Frame Rate Test — Steam-In-Home-Streaming Versus Parsec On A Local Network

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By Benjy Boxer

We previously analyzed the performance of our game streaming product, Parsec, versus Steam-in-home-streaming + a VPN (Steam + VPN) over the internet. This set up is your only option for accessing your gaming PC using Steam’s streaming product while you’re outside of your home. It was also the default method for hacking cloud gaming on Amazon Web Services with Steam. In that test, we demonstrated how Parsec is much more consistently hitting 16.67 milliseconds per frame for a consistent 60 FPS gaming experience over the internet. Consistently hitting 16.67 milliseconds is extremely important for the perception of latency and smoothness of gaming with a low latency streaming protocol, like Parsec. To make low latency gaming possible over the internet, we’ve built a ton of technology, including our own networking protocol. Parsec supports LAN and WAN streaming out of the box, so naturally, we wanted to test how our software would perform versus Steam on the LAN. This eliminates the hacks required with the VPN and focuses attention purely on the performance of the two products streaming capabilities. Honestly, we were surprised by the results. Again, Parsec is far more consistent than Steam in the LAN at hitting 16.67 milliseconds between each frame. We are big fans of Steam and were expecting to just match their performance rather than way outperform them on this measure. It’s important to note, we were only testing frame delivery latency and consistency. We did not test video quality or other measures of performance.

FRAPS test — Parsec versus Steam-in-home-streaming playing GRID

The Results — Parsec Is Much More Consistent Than Steam Streaming On Your Local Network

You can also see in the graph below that Parsec is much more likely to hit 16.67 milliseconds between each frame. The spikey nature of this density curve means that there’s a much higher likelihood you’ll get frames at 16.67 milliseconds using Parsec. The total area under both curves is 1.

The graph above combines the tests with GRID with the frame rate testing feature in Tomb Raider 2013. The results of the Tomb Raider 2013 test are below.

FRAPS test — Parsec versus Steam-in-home-streaming playing Tomb Raider 2013

The Testing Environment

The games were run on a Win 10 device with an Intel G4560 + Quadro m2000. All tests were conducted in 1080p, with a maximum bandwidth setting of 30mbps. The client device (measuring the frames and rendering the stream) is a Win 10 computer with an i7 6700k + GTX 1070. The local network has a 1gbps of fiber. We enabled Nvidia encoding in the Steam settings as well. We used FRAPS to capture the data. GRID data was captured running the same section of a track over a 1 minute interval for each protocol. The Tomb Raider 2013 data was produced using the frame rate test feature in the game.

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