Print 73 comment(s) - last by Shadowmaster62.. on Jun 16 at 8:36 AM

Specs for the Wii U, set to launch in 2012, have partially leaked.

A POWER7 CPU from IBM -- the same core design used inside the Watson supercomputer, which recently smoked Ken Jennings at Jeopardy on national TV.  (Source: IBM via Engadget)

The Wii U reportedly packs a GPU superior to the PS3 or Xbox 360's. It reportedly uses an AMD chip similar to that found in the Radeon 4000 Series.  (Source: Anandtech)
The system's full specs have leaked -- supposedly

Various sources have been busy spilling a semi-complete set of specs for the Wii U, Nintendo Comp., Ltd.'s (TYO:7974) quirky touch-screen successor to the best-selling Wii.

TIMEs "TechLand" blog claims that the console, set to launch in 2012, will pack a R700 series variant from Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (AMD), built on a 32 nm process with 1 GB of video memory. R700 GPUs are found in AMD's two-generations-old Radeon 4000 Series -- the R700 architecture launched in 2008.

While the GPU may seem a bit underpowered by modern PC gaming standards, consider that the PlayStation 3 from Sony Corp. (
TYO:6758) uses a modified version of the NVIDIA Corp. (NVDA) chip found inside the GeForce 7800 (2006-era) and the Xbox 360 from Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) uses a "Xenos" AMD GPU -- which falls somewhere between a R520 (2005 era) and a R600 GPU (2006 era GPU).  In other words, by console standards, the Wii U's reported GPU is quite advanced, with its architecture surpassing those found in the PS3 or Xbox 360.

Likewise, the CPU sounds like a pretty tough character as well.  Engadget reports that Nintendo is using a POWER7 architecture CPU from International Business Machines Corp. (IBM) similar to that found in the Watson supercomputer.  By comparison, the PS3 uses a somewhat older Cell processor design, that is POWER4 compatible.  Noticeably missing are the core count and clock speed of the Wii U -- without this info it's unclear where the CPU will lie versus the PS3 in performance.

DRAM will reportedly be embedded directly on the CPU chip.  The amount of DRAM memory is still unknown -- Nintendo simply says it will be "a lot".

In an interview with Kotaku, Nintendo designer Katsuya Eguchi confirms that the Wii U will use a proprietary high-density optical disc format that isn't Blu-Ray.  That can't make Sony too happy.  Reportedly the discs will pack up to 25 GB -- the same as the maximum for a single-layer Blu-Ray disc.  Mr. Eguchi declined to reveal whether standard DVD playback would be supported, whether double-layer (50 GB) discs would be supported, and whether we might see movies shipping in this new format.

According to TIME the console will also likely have 8 GB of internal flash memory storage.  Additionally the system reportedly will have 4 USB ports and at least one SD card reader.  Using USB sticks or SD cards, the memory capacity can be expanded substantially.

A final item of interest is that the 6.2-inch touchscreen controller will be capable of output 1080p graphics via an HDMI connection.

From here on out the most pressing questions seem to be what the specifics of the CPU are (core count, clock speed); what kind of hardware rivals Microsoft and Sony are cooking up; and when that rival hardware will arrive.

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By 91TTZ on 6/14/2011 4:35:21 PM , Rating: 2
Why would it be? It would be more expensive since manufacturers stopped producing them years ago. Blu-Ray took over.

By dark matter on 6/14/2011 4:58:12 PM , Rating: 2
But no licensing costs on every disc.

Over hundreds of millions of discs!

By CharonPDX on 6/14/2011 7:42:35 PM , Rating: 2
Um, just because the format was declared dead doesn't mean the rights-holders behind the technology don't have any interest in earning money from uses of their rights.....

By phatboye on 6/14/2011 7:34:39 PM , Rating: 2
Yes HD-DVD's drives have not been produced in a while but they are not that different from BD drives. In fact from what I remember Toshiba HD-DVD drives were physically capable of reading BD disk with a few minor changes. That is why Toshiba was able to switch to BD drives fairly easily once they dropped HD-DVD.

Also remember CBHD (see drives are still in production so some of them may in fact still be able to read the old HD-DVD format since it is based off the HD-DVD format.

With that in mind it wouldn't be too far fetched to imagine Nintendo using something more closely related to HD-DVD than BD if they could in fact get that technology at a fairly decent price.

By Samus on 6/14/2011 11:48:46 PM , Rating: 2
The other main advantage of using CBHD/HD-DVD is that existing DVD production lines/techniques can be used, making it super cheap.

It's actually the old fashioned disc production methods that limited capacity to 15/30GB opposed to Bluray's 25/50GB. Updating the disc production using Bluray pressing equipment would theoretically allow for 25/50GB HD-DVD storage capacity with a firmware update...

or as Nintendo stated, a 'proprietary drive'

By mallums on 6/16/2011 7:44:26 AM , Rating: 2
It's the other way around: Modified Blu-Ray drives can read HD-DVD dics. LG produced some dual-format drives for a while. They can write to BD-R/RE, but can only read HD-DVD.

HD-DVD might be a good format because Nintendo can probably get its hands on some manufacturing equipment cheap. I expect the stamping machines (which are basically slightly fancier DVD machines, unlike BD machines) can be found in storage here and there. CBHD is an interesting idea, but I doubt it would fly. Blu-Ray or HD-DVD is the way to bet.

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