Nintendo's 'Next-Gen' Challenge
An interesting article by Digital Foundry and Eurogamer tell us 'in Theory', what we should expect from Nintendo and the Wii U at their next month E3 presentation.
E3 is just a month ahead.
We all know Nintendo will re-introduce their nex-gen console, and we could finally have a better insight about all the Wii U offerings, like graphical power, games and technologies used on it.
Of course, Nintendo never fully unveils its devices tech specs, but Digital Foundry and Eurogamer shared an interesting article on what we should expect from next month's E3 console re-introduction.
Does the Wii U's graphics tech disappoint compared to the Xbox 360?
Or, as developers like Gearbox have suggested, does the new hardware allow for improved versions of multi-platform titles?
This is what they have to say regarding the "CPU" part:The existing body of evidence suggests it won't be (though this particular claim is somewhat lacking in context - 2x what, exactly?) but there's a strong possibility that individual components could see an impressive boost over what is found in current-gen consoles. Similarly, other elements may fall a little short. There's no reason why both the anonymous briefings on the machine's deficiencies and the on-the-record statements can't be equally true. So what exactly should we expect from this year's next-gen entrant?
According to them, Wii U's GPU processing will be very much in the ballpark of the Xbox 360 and PS3.The current-gen consoles launched at 90nm (a state-of-the-art fabrication process at the time) and have gradually transitioned to 45nm, being refitted into smaller cases in the process. Nintendo has already revealed that its IBM Power7-derived CPU runs at the same fabrication process as the current PS3 and Xbox 360, and the worldwide shortages in "next-gen" 28nm production suggest that the Wii U's AMD Radeon graphics chip will also be produced at 40nm/45nm - it's the only way to create millions of viable chips in time for a 2012 release, and also opens the opportunity for a die-shrunk cheaper unit to be put into production sooner rather than later.
Combine the realities of chip production with the miniscule dimensions of the Wii U casing (172mm x 45mm x 267mm according to Nintendo's E3 PR - a bit bigger than a current Wii) and we're looking very much at current gen ballpark power - a true "next-gen" upgrade over the current Xbox would be extremely challenging to cool in a box that's so tiny compared even to the slim versions of the PS3 and 360.
Looks like "commodities like flash storage and RAM have plummeted in price since the launch of PS3 and Xbox 360 and in Wii U, Nintendo is set to capitalise on these cheap components", so we should expect at least 1GB to 1.5GB of onboard memory.Unless Nintendo went to the enormous expense of producing two different GPU designs in parallel, the notion of tangibly boosting its existing graphics capabilities seems unlikely. In console design, the core architectures are locked a long, long time in advance - variables that may adjust in terms of the GPU include the amount of ROPs, ALUs and texture units active (some may be disabled so that more defective chips become viable). Clock speeds may be revised, but other than that, there's very little that can be done: consoles are designed as a fixed architecture, after all. The PS3's RSX is a good example here. The core architecture has 28 ALU pipelines, but four are inactive in the final chip. The 16 ROPs had half their number disabled, while memory speed also dropped from 700MHz to 650MHz. Variations in Wii U spec may well come down to Nintendo finalising exactly how many features can be activated while keeping chip yields high, but any changes aren't likely to radically change the capabilities of the unit.
In the face of comments from developers suggesting that the GPU may actually be weaker than the 360's (something we've heard too from a prominent multi-platform developer, back in the Project Café days), Nintendo's recent statement on the power of the machine is telling. The company has never been interested in competing in the technological arms race. In fact, it's probably made more money than Microsoft and Sony combined by staying out of it. It will never win a spec-powered battle of attrition, so it leaves those experiences for others to pursue instead.
Also, onboard flash RAM storage (previously rumoured at the 8GB level) could see a boost.This may well turn out to be the most useful element for the new machine going forward. Developers typically rank available RAM as one of the most important elements in a console design. This could translate into richer textures and faster loading, for example.
Of course, games, price and how they show off the Tablet Controller capabilities will be crucial...
(However, as previously announced, we won't hear about Wii U price at the event).
Check out the full article below, which is quite interesting!!So with the upcoming E3 "re-introduction", what do we want to see from Nintendo? Games will always trump specs and tech demos, so we can't wait to see what the internal studios have come up with, especially bearing in mind how wonderful current Wii titles look when rendered in HD via the Dolphin emulator. Great design can always overcome technological barriers and Nintendo's skills in this regard are second to none.
Additionally, bearing in mind how much Nintendo has bet the farm on the tablet controller, it'll be fascinating to see how this new interface is utilised by some of the most creative minds in the games business. From a third party perspective, of course we can't wait to see how Wii U cross-platform releases look, and to what extent newly-revealed E3 titles will accommodate the core gamer.
And yes, crucially, we want to know how much Wii U is going to cost. In a world where Amazon UK sells a brand new 4GB Xbox 360 for just £115, we'd really like to see Wii U released at £180/$250 - exactly what its predecessor launched at back in 2006, and a fundamental element in ensuring that the system enjoys a storming debut at retail.
NEWS SOURCE: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/di...-gen-challenge
Our thanks to 'Gauss' for this article summary!