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 Samus on 6/14/2011 11:32:39 PM , Rating: 3
I'd be willing to bet anything the disc format is simply HD-DVD.

The flexibility of using a red laser, Nintendo's long-standing ties to Toshiba (who manufactures Nintendo's drives) and the lack of licensing fees are all very attractive options to keeping costs down, profitability up, and piracy low (HD-DVD burners have gone the way of the dodo.)

By CZroe on 6/15/2011 12:58:45 AM , Rating: 2
Long-standing ties to Toshiba? Panasonic has always made their optical drives. Panasonic made the SD card adapter and official SD card on GameCube too, IIRC. I can't think of anything they've done with Toshiba and the capacity is more in-line with a single-layer BD than a DL HD-DVD.

By Samus on 6/15/2011 2:51:44 PM , Rating: 3
Toshiba has provided low-power LCD technology used in Nintendo portable's for nearly a decade, from the reflective LCD in the Gameboy Advance the 3D LCD technology used in the 3DS...

As far as Panasonic is concerned, you are right, they have historically provided memory formats for Nintendo, such as the defunct 3DO (originally an addon drive for the SNES) and the drives used in the Gamecube-forward.

However, don't forget Panasonic backed HD-DVD, not Bluray. And it is entirely possible for HD-DVD to have the same storage capacity as Bluray (25/50GB) with different error correction (HD-DVD has more error correction as to be more durable...remember original BD-ROM prototypes were so sensitive they were required to wear caddies until the production lines were modified!) and using the Bluray stamping process (HD-DVD uses traditional DVD stamping...)

Fujitsu has provided audio processors and memory chips to Nintendo dating back to the NES. Fujitsu semiconductor is a subsidiary of Toshiba, and Toshiba bought their storage division in 2009.

By CZroe on 6/15/2011 7:30:57 PM , Rating: 1
Playstation was originally an add-on for the SNES. 3DO was marketed to multiple manufacturers including Panasonic as a standardized platform from the 3DO company. Panasonic bought the follow-up console lock, stock, and barrel to sell as the "M2" (Matsushita 2). I would expect someone to mix up the Sony Playstation and Philips CD-i before thinking that the 3DO was ever meant as an SNES expansion!

Also, Sharp and Hitachi provided the LCD technology for the GBA, NDS, and 3DS, NOT Toshiba. They were played against each other instead of getting exclusive component contracts in an attempt to lower costs but Sharp and Hitachi were caught price-fixing instead. Anyway, the 3D parallax barrier tech that made the 3DS possible was Sharp's and neither Hitachi's nor Toshiba's.

HD-DVD required more error correction in order to be possible to make the discs on equipment designed for DVD tolerances. They were by their very nature more fragile from the start due to the equipment not being designed for such densities. The early DVD recorders all had caddies too (remember the early Panasonic DVD-RAM drives?). BD has a protective coating that is also necessary to make it acceptably durable with the error correction used at those densities, but they are both engineered to an acceptable tolerance of durability and capacity and neither is notably more or less fragile than the other. Panasonic/Matsushita was an exclusive Blu-Ray supporter and out-right manufactured the first slim notebook BD recorders for Sony notebooks in 2006. I own one. Hell, I used to work there when they first got the "Starcube" contract (leaked name before settling on Gamecube).

Fujitsu is about as relevant as Sony. Sony made many critical components of the NES and SNES, including the SPC700 audio processor that blew the competing 16-bit consoles out of the water.

My point is, a reasonable analysis shows anything BUT Toshiba and HD-DVD.

By CZroe on 6/15/2011 11:37:04 PM , Rating: 1
Wow. I was voted down for knowing the industry better than some guy who's willing to "bet anything" on his faulty industry knowledge? I hope that was a slip.

By Ichinisan on 6/16/2011 1:07:13 AM , Rating: 2
Well, I hope that canceled it out.

Samus: What's with all that nonsense? You clearly have no idea what you're talking about.

By Shadowmaster625 on 6/16/2011 8:36:54 AM , Rating: 2
Since when was a 3DO an addon to a SNES?

By TranceHead on 6/16/2011 5:38:47 AM , Rating: 2
HD-DVD used a BLUE LASER!!!, not a red one.
they couldnt get the capacity with a red laser due to wavelength and physics (you can only get a lasers focal point so small)

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