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Nintendo Games

Hackers Discover Wii U's Processor Design and Clock Speed 173

Posted by Soulskill
from the fodder-for-fanboy-flame-fest dept.
MojoKid writes "Early, off-the-record comments from game developers indicated that the Nintendo's Wii U console horsepower was on par with, or a bit behind the Xbox 360 and PS3, which raised questions about just how 'next-generation' the Wii U would be. Now, Wii and PS3 hacker Hector Martin (aka Marcan) has answered some of these questions and raised a few others. According to his findings, the Wii U's CPU is a triple-core design clocked at 1.24GHz. Marcan identifies the base design as a PowerPC 750, which makes sense. Nintendo used PowerPC 750-derived processors in both the GameCube and the Wii. Retaining that architecture for the Wii U would simplify backwards compatibility and game development. Now factor in the GPU, which is reportedly clocked at 550MHz. Some have favored the Radeon HD 4000 series as a basis for the part; I still think a low-end Radeon 5000, like Redwood Pro, makes more sense. That GPU was built on 40nm, measured 104mm sq, clocked in at 649MHz, and had a 39W TDP. The die size discrepancy between the Wii U and Redwood Pro would account for the 32MB of EDRAM cache we know the Wii U offers. Nintendo may have propped up a relatively weak CPU with considerably more GPU horsepower."
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Hackers Discover Wii U's Processor Design and Clock Speed

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  • Early, off-the-record comments from game developers indicated that the Nintendo's Wii U console horsepower was on par with, or a bit behind the Xbox 360 and PS3, which raised questions about just how 'next-generation' the Wii U would be.

    The other possibility is that the consoles experience diminishing returns past the horsepower the modern systems are at for most of the game developer's needs. After enjoying the Wii, the XBox 360 and the Playstation 3, I'm more concerned about the media type they select for the discs as swapping three DVDs to play one game on the XBox 360 is unacceptable when it fits on one PS3 disc. For the love of Zelda, I suspect that popping an SSD into an XBox 360 and running everything from that and forgetting the optical drive would make everything faster (and, yes, I know you then would only be able to do that with downloaded games linked to your profile and not the installed discs that require a disc in the drive to run).

    Nintendo may have propped up a relatively weak CPU with considerably more GPU horsepower.

    Like the reader comment on that Ars Technica article notes, raw CPU speed hasn't always equaled winning in the console department.

    And, frankly, I'm a little disappointed that Sony, Nintendo or Microsoft haven't done a little innovating and created their own technology like SLI/Crossfire to connect several cheap GPUs for their heavy graphics lifting on their machines. I mean their CPU/GPU pairs make it look like we should really start addressing these things with a different name [arstechnica.net] just like RAM started being called cache when it was fast and nestled up against or integrated with the CPU. I guess I'm not really a hardware guy but I feel like we've actually moved toward less inventive ideas for consoles. While that's been good for some aspects (I was able to flash the security sector of a HDD and install it myself on my XBox 360 to add storage) it seems like the architecture has gotten lazy and inbred to just do whatever desktops are doing.

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:28PM (#42144803)
    Nintendo's target market is young, and casual gamers. Not hardcore, bleeding edge, gamers of the Playstation and Xbox generations.
  • by iggymanz (596061) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:40PM (#42144985)

    the hardcore bleeding edge gamers I know build their own PC for > $3K

  • Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:42PM (#42145013)

    I always thought, playing was about fun and not horsepower. Maybe the incapability to distinguish between those two explains a lot about what happens on the streets ;-).

  • by gr3yh47 (2023310) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:45PM (#42145077)
    Nintendo's target market WAS Young, and casual gamers, and you are taking for granted that being a hardcore gamer means that you must want the best graphics, and it's just wrong. Games used to be HARD. HARD HARD HARD, like not meant to be finished by most people. and FUN. because back then they didnt have excellent graphics to prop themselves up on (thus having to focus on FUN) and couldnt fit 40 hours of pretty easy content on their media (thus being HARD to extend the life of the game) IMO true hardcore gamers care about gameplay more than anything. With the Wii U specifically, Nintendo is actually opening up their target audience to include mature (Zombi U, Arkham City, COD:BO2) while games like Mighty Switch Force! Hyper-Drive Edition and Nano-Force NEO will appear to hardcore gamers looking for a challenge. Don't take for granted that the tablet is a gimmick. Zombi U was unfortunately misunderstood and is an awesome game that makes great use of the tablet, and even ports like Batman and BO2 make excellent use of the tablet controller to provide functionality in a way that can't happen on other systems. On top of that and despite all the fears leading up to launch, Nintendo actually knocked the online aspect out of the park as Miiverse is incredible and much better than I've seen on any other console. And yes, Devs don't figure out how to properly utilize console hardware right away. 1080p@60fps is plenty for me, now bring on the FUN because that's all I care about
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:49PM (#42145141)

    You mean that they should have made exactly the same console that their competitors will make, and therefore have absolutely no distinguishing characteristic of their own? (And, in fact, just compound the fact that they are behind in their online setup?) Nintendo learned that that strategy didn't work very well with GameCube.

    And do you understand that you cannot just send console-generated video to a regular tablet without incurring lots of latency? Might be okay for some games, but definitely not for anything fast action. If you want the tablet to generate the video, then the cheapest ones will not generate much that looks so good. And who wants to try and develop an app that works across all the varieties of tablets out there? Do you have any idea how big that compatibility matrix is?

  • by spire3661 (1038968) on Friday November 30, 2012 @01:51PM (#42145179) Journal
    Consoles arent about being inventive, its about locking your users in and abusing them. They dont WANT to sell upgrades in hardware, they want to sell you software on old hardware that they completely control.
  • by PPalmgren (1009823) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:04PM (#42145449)

    Sorry, but no one serious about playing any kind of FPS will move from a PC to a console. The mouse is an exponentially better precision device than a controller.

  • by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:16PM (#42145635)

    nintendo should have put more hardware into the actual console and not used that tablet thingy they ship with it. just write an android/IOS app to run on the cheapest tablets and connect to the console like MS is doing with Smartglass.

    The problem is latency. It's incredibly difficult, but the Wii U's screen latency on the tablet is practically real time (I think I heard 1 frame latency). So much so that yes, you CAN game on it.

    The latency using your smartphone is much higher - it's why smartglass and such don't display in-game information that changes immediately but can tolerate a delay. You certainly can't "remote play" using your smartphone without incurring a half-second of display lag.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:21PM (#42145755) Homepage Journal
    A dedicated BD/DVD player is under $70 now at Walmart, and only the godawfully expensive launch PS3s play SACD. Besides, did SACD ever become popular?
  • by Khashishi (775369) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:34PM (#42145981) Journal

    Nintendo has never incorporated bleeding edge processors into their design, rather focusing on games and weird peripherals. It seems to have worked for them so far, so why change?

  • by Cinder6 (894572) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:49PM (#42146235)

    This is why I bought a Wii U. I can already play 90% of 360 and PS3 games on my gaming PC (and they will look nicer to boot, have modding abilities, etc.), but I can't play Nintendo's exclusives anywhere else. When I considered it that way, it was a no-brainer.

  • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:25PM (#42146827) Homepage Journal

    I have to say that I haven't seen any significant increases in 3D graphics quality since Unreal Tournament 2003(/4) which used to run fine on a single core 800MHz G3 and a cheap Radeon 7500 graphics card. I'm not going to suggest that there have been no improvements since, and I'm aware that engines such as those in GTA 4 and SRTT push things forward in other ways, such as world size, that are necessarily intensive, but I'm having a hard time believing that this CPU is underpowered even for "hardcore shooters".

    It seems to be that GPU and the amount of memory available to the GPU is what matters right now. If Nintendo has a decent enough GPU (and I'm not seeing broad criticism of it) then is there really a problem?

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