‘Now you’re playing with power’ – Wii U RAM, GPU and disc speeds don’t disappoint

It’s rare to see Nintendo talk so openly about their new hardware creation’s tech specs, but Mr. Iwata dished out a lot of this during their Wii U Launch Presentation in Japan, to our delight.

But why are we delighted? Well our first shot of joy was courtesy of Nintendo massively exceeding any expectations we had for onboard system memory, or RAM, where they unveiled a figure of 2GB. For comparison’s sake, current Other Formats have less than a GB between them.

As predicted previously, 1GB will be dedicated to the game you’re playing, but a whopping 1GB – the same amount most smartphones rely on to run their plethora of apps – will also be dedicated to the operating system and Other Things (again, for comparison, 3DS allocates 96MB of RAM to games and 32MB to Other Things).

We really couldn’t be happier. Dedicating this much to Wii U’s OS can only mean good things. We’ve known for a while now that Miiverse will always be on call during games, complete with video chat. As will its web browser – hopefully Nintendo’s ditched Netfront for this and developed their own in house (hiring Webkit staff recently is a good sign, nonetheless).

So, plenty of pixie power for browsing the net, eShop’s wares and conversing/setting up games/gloating/drawing certain objects on Miiverse, hopefully without the console even really having to think.

But it also has the power to make our other wishes come true. A fast loading, always on eShop? It’s now very much possible. Entertainment applications available instantly without the need to quit your game? Again, possible. We can’t wait to see what Nintendo plans to do with all this memory.

The other pleasing bit of news was the read speed of Nintendo’s optical Blu Ray discs – confirmed to store 25GB of data – ensuring games spanning several discs are no more.

It’s not the capacity of the discs we’re interested in, though. It’s the read speed – quoted at 22.5MB/s. This is fast enough to ensure we’re not hobbled with slow, mandatory installs that ruin Nintendo’s ethos of ‘immediate gaming. To compare, PS3′s Blu Ray drive reads at 9MB/s. Fast loading times and no installs on Wii U, then.

To wrap up, Wii U is packing what Iwata told us is a GPGPU – in other words, the GPU can perform computing tasks, a bit like OpenCL on traditional operating systems. So a fairly modern chip  (we’re going to take a guess and say it’s based on one of AMD’s first embedded GPGPUs, released in 2011) without going too much into speculation.

This was in addition to the reveal that Wii U only guzzles an average of 40 watts of power when in operation, showing Nintendo have opted for more energy efficient chips built to smaller processes.

So, a happy day for us despite it being just 9am, and the party’s yet to truly get started. Catch us later today for a liveblog of the upcoming Wii U presentations, where games, apps, eShop and Miiverse hopefully await us.

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  • http://www.nintendo-nation.net/members/james-b/ James B

    I’m not great with tech numbers but the words on this page please me for some reason.

  • http://www.nintendo-nation.net/members/shaolinjaster/ James S

    Yeah same here, its good that numbers don’t lie. :)

  • http://www.nintendo-nation.net/members/darthdiggler/ DarthDiggler

    Are you trying to cheer lead or actually write a compelling article about the Nintendo hardware? I see some things wrong with what you are saying.

    You would be hard pressed to find a brand new device (smart phone, computer, tablet, etc), that sports less than 1GB, I will grant you that you may find some 750MB-ish devices.

    Honestly I can’t really speculate on what they want 1GB dedicated just for gaming to be for. I would prefer they had given the devs he ability to use more memory (like 1.5GB) and just lock out features of the dashboard with the larger memory use. 1GB of dedicated gaming memory isn’t all that impressive.

    Oh the Nintendo will have an online store? :) Very timely addition. :)

    Blu-Ray disc that holds half of what the current PS3 Blu-Ray disc does. And 6 years later doubles the speed of the PS3 Blu-Ray at a level of 22.5MB/s, this won’t guarantee no game installs at all. So please remove that idea from your head.

    It’s painfully obvious to me that you don’t really understand GPGPU computing at all. As a matter of fact most if not all Graphics Cards can do GPGPU computing. The PS3′s video card was exactly 1 generation behind the NVIDIA GPUs that could all do GPGPU computing. It would be shocking if the Nintendo Wii U DID NOT do GPGPU computing. Every computer and console to be sold from here on out will be able to support that as long as it has a video card that you can game on.

    They didn’t exactly advertise that the PS3 would be a power hog so I would wait until you get the system, but 40W is actually quite efficient, but considering they mostly using yesteryear technology, this isn’t a huge surprise.

    • http://www.nintendo-nation.net/members/superfakerbros/ Imaduddin Siddiqui

      So many things wrong with what you said

      Developers will later have access to the RAM dedicated to the OS for gaming

      The Wii-U disc doesn’t hold half of what the PS3 disc can. The PS3 disc can hold 25 GB single-layer, just like the Wii-U disc can. When they’re double-layered, both discs can hold 50 GB. 9 x 2 = 22.5? XD You must really hate math. That’s well over two times the speed and, FYI, the 360 doesn’t have mandatory game installations like the PS3 and it’s disc drive it’s slightly slower so, yes, the Wii-U will not have mandatory game installations

      While most GPU’s can do GPGPU computing, the PS3/360′s cards aren’t dedicated to do it and neither are they actually good at that. The Wii-U’s is and therefore Iwata telling us that confirms how much more modern the Wii-U’s GPU is by comparison

      How do you know they’re using yesteryear technology? Using that kind of tech would be impossible due to them no longer being manufactured so they would actually end up costing more then more modern parts. It’s almost as if people forgot that Nintendo made consoles before the Wii. Also, the Wii-U consumes 75 watts of power, where the hell did people get 40 from? Not to mention, seeing as Nintendo’s consoles, such as the GameCube, had rather low power consumption compared to their competitors and still decently speced, the power consumption doesn’t tell us much of anything, in terms of how powerful and modern the console is.

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