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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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RE: PCs FTW
By gamerk2 on 6/14/2011 4:45:34 PM , Rating: 2
Consoles don't need state of the art hardware, sicne your accessing the hardware at a MUCH lower level then you would when going through an OS and using device drivers. Plus, using an older arch keeps costs down.

It should be noted: It hasn't been stated WHICH 4000 series GPU the WiiU is based on, so don't automatically assume tehy are using a 4800...


RE: PCs FTW
By FITCamaro on 6/14/2011 5:10:56 PM , Rating: 1
Even a 4870 is a pretty potent GPU today. And as mentioned, faster than the 360's or PS3's GPUs.


RE: PCs FTW
By Manch on 6/14/2011 6:22:39 PM , Rating: 2
The 360's GPU was a proprietary design that was equivalent in performance to the current crop of video cards that were out when it launched. The PS3 which released a year later was on par with the 360 and those cards as well. While I think the poster was a little wild with his comparison, I see his concern.

This system will release in 2012 with an architecture that will be 4 years old. If that's the case then it will be better than the 360/PS3 but will be way inferior to the next gen consoles released by MS/Sony.

It'll become the new dreamcast. Great at first, but abandoned within 2 years. Nintendo may have some 3rd party suptfor it's new console, but that will evaporate with MS/Sony's next gen consoles.

I love Mario games, Legend of Zelda and all of that, but Nintendo needs to compete on graphics also. Otherwise their consoles will have no staying power. MS/SOny already proved that they can copy Nintendo's offerings and compete.

Of course all of this just guessing based on "leaked" info. Maybe we'll be suprised when it launches. After all, it's a console and it doesnt have to compete with the rediculously high resolutions that us PC gamers love, so yeah not neccessarily state of the art, but it does need to be able to compete on everything else.


RE: PCs FTW
By omnicronx on 6/14/2011 6:59:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
The 360's GPU was a proprietary design that was equivalent in performance to the current crop of video cards that were out when it launched. The PS3 which released a year later was on par with the 360 and those cards as well.
Comparing the graphics unit of the PS3 and 360 is like comparing Apples to oranges. Simply put the ATI Xenos based GPU found in the 360 works alone, while the RSX found in the PS3 works side by side with its 7SPE cell processor.

From a pure theoretical standpoint the GPU in the 360 is actually better, but because the PS3's RSX essentially works in union with its Cell processor, they are pretty much equals in terms of graphical performance.

The point is until we know more about the Cell architecture that the new Wii U will employ, its pretty much pointless talking about how good its graphical performance is going to be..


RE: PCs FTW
By Manch on 6/14/2011 10:32:31 PM , Rating: 2
No it's not. They may work differently but they are both integrated to work with their CPU's for the sole purpose of playing games. To say that the 360's GPU is completely independent and that the CPU has no bearing on performance is absurd. The cell proc in the PS3 doesnt help the graphics that much. Yeah it will have an effect but the meat and potatoes are in the GPU.

I already said in my previous post that were talking about "leaked" info. It's accuracy is tenuous at best. I'm pretty sure final silicon hasnt even been produced yet. I'd bet money that the 4000 series GPU was probably a starting point for the Wii U as they didnt just start planning it out yesterday.

When people hear they are releasing a console with 4 year old tech, we're going to question whether or not it will be good enough to compete with MS/Sony's new consoles. Since those consoles are releasing two years after Nintendos then the GPU tech will be 6yrs old by then.

Speculation and conjecture isnt pointless, it's my escape from cubicle hell. I'm pretty sure the Big N realizes they cannot rely on blue ocean BS or more crap to wave around. They need genuine innovation and graphics.


"Game reviewers fought each other to write the most glowing coverage possible for the powerhouse Sony, MS systems. Reviewers flipped coins to see who would review the Nintendo Wii. The losers got stuck with the job." -- Andy Marken














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