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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 medv4380 (1604309)
      More like clock frequencies no longer equate to horsepower. At least this article mentioned the eDRAM which changes how many OPS you can get from the processor. The latest CPUs have been so radically different that saying one is better than the other is difficult. The eDRAM is a big deal for the WiiU chip, but does 32 MB address the cache thrashing? I think it should, and clearly Nintendo did since they opted for cheaper slower memory, but put in a quantity I didn't think Nintendo would consider. I thought
    • by Applekid (993327)

      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).

      I don't see the console gaming industry going back to cartridges. They've had many generations enjoying absurdly cheap production costs on optical media.

      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.

      While true, the reality is that they're already behind the curve. How many games will be able to be ported from the other competing next generation systems without major refactoring and potentially reduced in features? Did Nintendo even tell their premiere 3rd party developers what to expect, or did they make them buy dev kits to find out how underpowered i

      • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:42PM (#42146123)

        I guess one could argue that you don't want a bunch of ports on your system, but most people can't afford to buy all the consoles and will choose whichever they can expect to get most of the games they want to play. This will, once again, turn into "and then there's the Nintendo port" that's a radically different game, since at that point it's cheaper to start fresh than adapt. And a lot of studios won't even bother, I suspect, leaving yet another Nintendo generation filled with shovelware and crap kid games that are dirt cheap to make because they're so bad.

        Nintendo's games are actually much more popular than the FPS/MMORPG crap on other consoles and the PC. Not being able to port this garbage is probably a net plus – Nintendo is going for a completely different (and larger) demographic. There is more to life than young men in the 14-25 age bracket.

        If the allegedly underpowered hardware of the Wii U offends you, congratulations – you're not the target audience.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          If the allegedly underpowered hardware of the Wii U offends you, congratulations – you're not the target audience.

          Offend is a pretty strong word, they can put out whatever kind of system they want, and good for them. It's their business, after all.

          But, when a seven year old console sells better during your brand new console's launch week, business isn't necessarily booming [videogamer.com]. Financially, Nintendo isn't doing nearly as well as it did during the days when the Wii and the NDS hit the shelves, so I really do hope their decisions pay off for them. I just have to question the wisdom of it. Yeah yeah, aimchair entertainment em

          • But, when a seven year old console sells better during your brand new console's launch week

            I haven't bothered to do the research, so I could be mistaken here, but is it possible that that is due to the normal launch-week unit shortages? Typically new consoles almost immediately sell out the entirety of their first shipment.

        • Where does Wii excel that the others fail?

          I don't care about FPS or MMORPG either. I like strategy games, one-on-one fighters (Tekken, Street Fighter, etc..), and my kids like platformers and dance games. In any of those, does the Wii give me something the others don't besides cartoon graphics?
        • by wisty (1335733)

          People have to understand the cycle of game genres.

          1) When a new platform comes out, the early games take advantage of the new platform. They are cheap to make, and there are a few runaway hits.

          2) After there's a few runaway hits, the big players copy those hits, and flesh them out a bit (with better stories, graphics, and artwork).

          3) Eventually, the genre matures. You need AAA graphics. However, the hardcore players won't touch the game if it's too easy, and casual gamers won't play a game that's too hard,

    • What everybody seems to be ignoring is the target demographic for the wii U which is NOT the hardcore shooter crowd.

      Is this a weak CPU? Yep, but for the casual games Nintendo is making their money on you aren't gonna see ragdolls and physics up the butt so a powerful CPU makes zero sense, its not ragdolls and fireball effects and physics that sell to the casual crowd, its easy to pick up games that everybody can play without having twitch reflexes.

      So I truly see this as much ado about nothing, with only misguided fanbois that expected the big N to make "one console to rule them all" getting butthurt when they find the Wii U can't play games that the X360 can...well duh! The X360 shooter crowd isn't their target demographic! To use a /. car analogy it would be like getting pissy that the Ford fiesta can't take a new Porsche on in the quarter, its just not built for that market, isn't for that market, and just as Ford isn't building the Fiesta for the drag strip so too is the big N not building their consoles for the Gears Of Killzone, Modern Halo crowd.

      • by petsounds (593538)

        The Wii U is not necessarily for the CoD people, but Nintendo execs have made many oblique statements (of course those are about the only kind of statements they make) that they need to capture the attention of the "core gamer" again, and that the Wii U is the answer to that problem.

        As more and more casual gamers move to mobile apps for their fix, it is rather important to Nintendo's bottom line to do this. If the Wii U is seen as another outdated-on-arrival piece of hardware, I think it will not receive a

        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          The problem is at $350 they are ALREADY losing money, PPC chips are NOT cheap, so they didn't want to end up with a $500 turkey like Sony did with the PS3. there is a reason why the rumors say that both Sony and MSFT are gonna end up with AMD APUs, because the powerful PPC chips are fricking crazy high because IBM just doesn't get the economies of scale that X86 and ARM do, and for the casual demographic? they will NOT pay $500+ just for a console, so the big N did what they had to do.
      • While you're right, I still think Nintendo is missing something here by falling for the same false dichotomy that you've mentioned. IF they did make it powerful enough to run those types of games, that doesn't mean they couldn't also have their good old nintendo frontliners as well. That would almost immediately sway anyone who grew up on the SNES/N64 but enjoys console FPSes into their audience, as well as deprive sales to their competitors. I think they are mistakenly fearing direct competition with So

        • by hairyfeet (841228)

          The ONLY way they could have done this is abandon PPC, as Sony has done and rumors say MSFT will do, because they are all finding out that cutting edge PPC chips are fucking insanely high thanks to the fact these are basically "one offs" and IBM just doesn't have anywhere near the economies of scale of ARM and X86. And since ARM just doesn't have the IPC to do cutting edge games? you either go X86 or you take a weaker PPC unless you want to have a $500+ system like Sony had with the PS3.

          Now considering that

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday November 30, 2012 @04:25PM (#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?

        • by hairyfeet (841228)
          What you are missing is what goes on behind the scenes, specifically physics and ragdolls and fire and water effects. All of these take a pretty beefy CPU, Fire up something like Just Cause II for the PC and you'll see what I mean, as it looks REAL when it comes to the way buildings crash, water flows, bombs go off, and bodies fly. All that takes serious power that the Wii U don't have but since that isn't their target demographic I really don't see what the point is.
          • (Serious question) I was under the impression that most modern physics engines use the GPU, rather than CPU, is that not the case?
      • It's funny that you used the Fiesta as your counterpoint; Ken Block [autoblog.com] doesn't seem to mind pitting his Fiesta against Porches in rallycross events. I think this strengthens your analogy - not every car is built for drag racing, you've got to use it for what it was intended.

      • by grumbel (592662)

        What everybody seems to be ignoring is the target demographic for the wii U which is NOT the hardcore shooter crowd.

        What exactly is their target audience? It's certainly not the casual crowd that they attracted with the Wii either, as Nintendo has shown basically nothing new in terms of motion controls, they don't even include a Wiimote in the Wii U package. So if it's neither the hardcore or the casual, who is it? All the hardcore Nintendo fans that haven't jumped ship yet?

      • Is this a weak CPU? Yep...

        ROFLMAO. My first "real" computer had a CPU clocked at ~7mhz. The Wii U CPU only seems weak in comparison to what is currently available.

    • And, frankly, I'm a little disappointed that Sony ... 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

      The Cell processor (what that powers the Sony PS3) is a processor tech designed by Sony and if I remember right is meant to hook a whole bunch of fairly small GPU-like units (vector processors) together, usable for general programming rather than mostly graphics.

      It's one of the reasons the PS3 cost so much, along with blu-ray. And the reason the cell processor cost so much is because Sony the R&D themselves instead buying off-the-shelf parts. If any of the console companies "does a little innovating"

      • by timeOday (582209)
        You neglected the sad part of the story, which is that Sony's huge investment in innovation for the PS3 was basically a failure. The Cell was not fast enough at graphics operations to displace the GPU, so they ended up tacking on a GPU and wound up with a weird programming model on hardware that was expensive to produce and STILL not a big breakthrough in performance. Ouch.

        .

        Thus the expectation that next gen consoles will be mostly off-the-shelf parts. That's fine with me, so long as they equal the pe

        • by mattack2 (1165421)

          Thus the expectation that next gen consoles will be mostly off-the-shelf parts. That's fine with me, so long as they equal the performance of a current $500 gaming PC.

          Current "when"? In other words, can't some no name off brand PC maker always be ahead of a console, which needs standardized hardware (part of the point of having a console), and a long lead time to get games written for it?

    • The weaker console often wins. The PS2 was weaker than the xbox (not sure about the gamecube though RE4 looked better on the GC), the PSX was weaker than the N64 and the Wii was significantly under powered compared to the competition. Nintendo's portables have always been the least powerful and have dominated portable gaming.

      The reality is most people do care about the games more than the processing power.
    • 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.

      Ugh, my mind reels at the memory of the N64 Memory Pak.

    • by na1led (1030470)
      Faster and more power is great, but I think I'd rather have a gaming system that is quiet instead sounding like my hoover vacuum, and not putting out more heat than my rotisserie. I hate using my XBOX for any extended period of time, afraid it's going to peal the paint off my furniture.
    • by Waccoon (1186667)

      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.

      A more realistic way of putting it, is that Nintendo designed a system that fit their own needs, and 3rd party developers will just have to work with it. Take a look at the games Nintendo has typically made for the Gamecube and Wii, and it's pretty obvious that lots of CPU power for game logic isn't a requirement.

      I guess I'm not really a hardware guy but I feel like we've actually moved toward less inventive ideas for consoles

      What about the PS3 Cell? Oh, well, it's so different from traditional CPUs that all developers do is whine and bitch about how different it is, and how their x86 PC code runs like crap without *g

  • by who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:28PM (#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 @02:40PM (#42144985)

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

      • by Lumpy (12016)

        All the ones I know abandoned PC gaming and are 100% console gaming. there is far more victims on the Multiplayer console games to teabag and torment.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by PPalmgren (1009823)

          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.

          • True fps masters shun keyboard-mouse and use mouse-mouse. With keyboard-mouse you only have unlimited turning speed. But with mouse-mouse you have unlimited turning speed and unlimited *movement* speed! Any good player can then twitch instantly through any level. Meanwhile the knuckle-dragging keyboard users have to press a button to move. Those noobs don't have a chance. Let alone the console mouth-breathers who have to press a stick to move and press a stick to turn. Lol. Noobs.
            • by Hillgiant (916436)

              Pansies. I use three mice. Unlimited turning speed, unlimited movement, and unlimited firing rate!!!1!

          • There's no good reason why the PS3 and XBox360 don't support playing these games with a mouse. They both are entirely capable of it from a technical standpoint.

            • It is a competitive advantage issue, and is intentionally prevented by console makers. One of the console makers did a study on it a while back, and allowing mice would have such an impact that people would either have to be segregated by input device or FPS players would have to buy a mouse to compete on an equal level. There are hardhacked mice for consoles that appear to the console as a controller, and its actually considered cheating.

              • by Khyber (864651)

                "It is a competitive advantage issue, and is intentionally prevented by Microsoft."

                FTFY, as I can use keyboard and mouse with my PS3. It's the game devs that have to support it.

          • by Khyber (864651)

            "The mouse is an exponentially better precision device than a controller."

            And it works just fine on the PS3 with UT3.

            Oh, I'm sorry, did I just blow your point away?

            Ditto Unreal Championship on the DREAMCAST.

    • by gr3yh47 (2023310) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:45PM (#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 Jartan (219704)

      Even still it seems like they are pushing it here. They aren't going to sucker so many non-gamers this time.

    • Is that why they are so much pushing casual and kid games like Batman and COD ? The WiiU has been released today in Europe and seeing what is available as launch titles, I would hardly call it targeted at the "casual" and "young" crowd... . Give me a break, really that old "Wii" explanation doesn't fly with the WiiU.

      What really struck me as odd is that you pay 100 euro's more for a system that produces the same kind of visuals (maybe with less performance) then a xbox 360 or PS3. The WiiU totally doesn'
    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Nintendo's target market is young, and casual gamers.

      The Wii was also very popular with older gamers as well – some of whom were people who grew up with Nintendo franchises like Mario and Zelda, and some of whom had no video game experience at all but enjoyed simple activities like Wii Fit.

      Take a look at this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on video game sales figures: the best-selling Wii games are far outselling the top Xbox 360 and PS3 titles.

      The truth is that FPSes and MMORPGs are actually a relatively niche

  • new things for game play that were not possible in the last gen consoles and I'm not talking about "Real Life Graphics"

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Weak CPU alongside a decent GPU does work relatively well, so long as whatever program you're using utilizes the GPU.

  • by Ginger_Chris (1068390) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:34PM (#42144901)

    Nintendo will get my money purely because of their software; mario (inc paper mario series), zelda, metroid, pikmin, pokemon and a dozen other's that were purely first or second party exclusives. The vast majority of x-box and ps3 games I can play with much better graphics on my pc. The x-box and ps3 don't really offer anything beyond what a pc is capable of, where as Nintendo consoles do.

    • by UBfusion (1303959)

      Maybe OT, but please don't forget that the PS3 can also be used as an excellent BluRay, DVD, SACD and SACD-R player. Although I'm not a gamer, I would buy it if I could afford it.

    • by Cinder6 (894572) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:49PM (#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 alen (225700) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:39PM (#42144979)

    really?

    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.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:49PM (#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?

      • And who wants to try and develop an app [for game graphics display] that works across all the varieties of tablets out there?

        Someone like OnLive perhaps?

        Do you have any idea how big that compatibility matrix is?

        Let's see: there's iOS and Android, and what else really? The advantage of the Wii U GamePad is that it also incorporates traditional physical buttons, unlike everything that isn't the Xperia Play (or the forthcoming Archos GamePad).

        • by CityZen (464761)

          > Let's see: there's iOS and Android, and what else really?

          You're not a developer, I see. You need to multiply all the commonly-used versions of iOS and Android by all the different base hardware platforms, then figure out other factors such as screen size & density and platform-specific quirks. Compound that by the fact that new OS versions and new hardware platforms come out every month, and you've got quite an impressive matrix, assuming you care about supporting them well.

          • You could try covering representative devices of low and high density, small and large size, etc., and starting with the most popular devices such as the last two iPad versions, last two Kindle Fire versions, and the Nexus 7 tablet.
      • by Waccoon (1186667)

        It's worth pointing out that Nintendo didn't have a "real" Mario game on the Gamecube. They came out with Mario Sunshine which was... not really Mario.

        Much like what happened to Sega with the Saturn, it's kind of hard to sell a console without your star characters front and center.

    • 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.

    • The Wii U seems intresting but consoles have to last half a decade. In 5 years, this thing will be so obsolete it just won't be funny anymore. Lets not forget that Nintendo started losing money because their GAME sales per console are low. They do sell a LOT of consoles but fewer games per console then their competitors. And consoles are like printers, the real money is the ink/games.

      The problem is that the rest of the industry is moving on, I have seen multiple reviews by xbox friendly gaming sites that

    • by vux984 (928602)

      intendo should have put more hardware into the actual console and not used that tablet thingy they ship with it.

      That tablet thingy has actual physical controls. Thumbsticks, d-pads, actual buttons...

      Trading that for an android app that will run on the 'cheapest tablets' would deliver a pretty lousy user experience and then what? It wouldn't be included with the system either, so most people would have to buy a tablet...?

      So developers, including nintendo wouldn't be able to assume you had one, so games could

  • Strange (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mseeger (40923) on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:42PM (#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 ;-).

    • Re:Strange (Score:5, Funny)

      by EnsilZah (575600) <EnsilZah AT Gmail DOT com> on Friday November 30, 2012 @02:57PM (#42145305)

      Yeah, just the other day I was out on da streets minding my own business and suddenly a harras (had to look that one up) of horses sporting butterfly knives come out of nowhere and takes all my valuables with threats to my person.
      When will this horsepower on the streets ever stop?

    • by Sydin (2598829)
      I agree, it's about fun and not horsepower. The Wii U could have all the horsepower in the world, and I still wouldn't buy it because I don't think Nintendo's stupid new gimmicks are fun.
    • by kamapuaa (555446)

      I suppose we should all go back to Atari 2600s again?

    • by grumbel (592662)

      I always thought, playing was about fun and not horsepower.

      Have you upgraded your pong machine yet? 'cause horsepower can make quite a bit of difference in the kind of fun games you can produce.

      • by mseeger (40923)

        I was making a fun about the concentration on pure horsepower. Of course horesepower matters (a 0 hp car is surely now fun), but it isn't the most critical thing. Usually you get the best experience by balancing things out. To my experience, Nintendo is good at balancing.

        I am a PC gamer by heart, but surely my WII is a hell lot of fun with just a fraction of the horsepower of my PC.

  • In my opinion, limitations on the CPU side will be compensated by using Open CL in the GPU. But it is just too soon for adapting SDKs, so I bet it will get much better FPS, as the GPU gets proper usage.
  • by Khashishi (775369) on Friday November 30, 2012 @03:34PM (#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?

  • If this proves anything, the ghz number doesn't mean much. So it's apparently half the speed of the xbox and PS3 and yet it's already producing graphics on par with those systems. if the ghz was the be all and end all them it shouldn't be able to do that.
  • by cfalcon (779563) on Friday November 30, 2012 @06:00PM (#42148191)

    As a new Wii-U owner, I'm pretty sure this console is super lots about the gamepad. To the point where I'm a bit worried that they've put so much effort into the porting of games that don't have a shiny interface pad. Nintendo has defined THEIR OWN SPACE again, and as before, they will have a hard time filling it.

    The pad is pretty magnificent to look upon, and I'm pretty sure a decent amount of the launch price attempts to offset such a pricey addition.

    The problem is: if you make a top shelf game for Xbox and Sony, porting it to the Wii-U will leave you with this big piece of underutilized or unused hardware. The less creative will just put their pause screen options there (possibly taking them from the main screen), but even the most creative will have to spend dev dollars to make use of the screen, or look like they don't care much about it. If you instead choose to make a game for the Wii-U, one that makes good use of the screen, you probably won't be able to put it anywhere else.

    Nintendo like, ALWAYS does this. They basically assume that some of the best names in gaming (of which they are one) will gather together and support whatever their new hardware idea is, and work that into their design. But in practice, many of the big players aren't willing to gamble on that.

    Summary: The pad is a huge part of this experience. Ninja Gaiden whatever isn't improved by the pad. If F-Zero WhateverX doesn't come out with an engine tweaking function on the pad, or the ability to rebalance shields or something, then the bad will be called a "gimmick" and then everyone will just talk about the Wii-U's CPU/GPU and other stuff it can't really compete on anyway.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      NES had a regular controller. SNES had a regular controller. N64 only added an analog joystick, which everybody does now. The Wii changed to a remote control when everybody else was copying the n64 controller, and made obscene amounts of money with it, as everyone loved the novelty and had to have one. Sony and Microsoft eventually made something to compete, but Nintendo started it, and made lots of money from it.

Save energy: Drive a smaller shell.

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