The Nintendo Switch Will Feature Nvidia Tegra Chips Instead of Faster Pascal

NintendoSwitchMany of us have been really excited Nintendo releasing something brand new. It’s been a long waiting, and now the highly anticipated portable gaming console, the Nintendo Switch, is almost here, and it uses Nvidia Tegra for graphics. Due for release in March of 2017, the Tegra X1, which also powers the Nvidia Shield Android TV, isn't exactly the most up-to-date architecture. What we are seeing in many devices is actually the computer chip company’s new Pascal 16nm-based architecture. The Switch isn’t expected to beat anything we are seeing in today’s consoles, actually, it’s not even on par with the Sony’s three-year old Playstation 4.

NintendoSwitch2Oh no! Come on Nintendo, why do you make us wait so long for something new, something amazing, and then disappoint. Just like the release of the Nintendo Wii, something all of us hoped would meet the high expectations associated with it, the Switch may not be satisfactory enough for hardcore gamers that are used to some serious pixel-pushing horsepower. When considering Nintendo's history and style, which tends to rely on high-quality art over horsepower, the console’s hardware should be enough to satisfy Nintendo's traditional gaming experience, but not anything close to what you play on other consoles today (or 4 years ago, for that matter). It looks like most of the innovation here sits in the Switch’s functionality, as it enables any gamer to play the same title together despite a difference in location. It also has added mobility by utilizing the handheld piece, serving as both a portable and home gaming system, as well as enabling the use of many new game-play styles.

NintendoSwitch1Don’t stress too much, this thing won’t be putting out poor visuals or anything, but it does mean that while in portable mode, games will likely run at a lower resolution. In fact, the Nintendo Switch, with its rumored 6.2-inch 720p IPS LCD display, will run at just 307.2 MHz when separate from its dock. That’s just 40 percent of the clock speed when docked, where the Switch’s GPU runs at 768MHz. That is lower than the Shield TV’s 1GHz, and a problem. Ars Technica says Nintendo even lets you opt out of that higher speed, allowing you to “ignore the higher GPU clock speed entirely, and let run it at the lower speed even when docked”. This brings up the question of whether developers will even program their games with that extra horsepower if they don’t have to. The rest of the specs include four ARM A57 CPU cores, aimed at 1020MHz in either mode, and a memory controller that runs at either 1600MHz docked or 1331MHz undocked.

Nintendo is expected to talk Switch specifications in January, so not all the information is here yet, but there’s enough evidence to show that the company might have gotten our hopes up once again. Surely there’s a lot of excitement driven by the new device, and families and more casual gamers will go for it since it’s time to upgrade. Nintendo does bring the ante when it comes to unique game titles and content. However, I don't think we’ll ever know why such a rich and creative gaming company won’t just go the distance inside and out. Some say it could’ve been a rush to get the device out, which meant before the release of Pascal. Too bad, because I’d say waiting for a potentially better product would have been worth it.

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