IBM will be providing the console's processor (SOI) while AMD will be throwing in a custom Radeon HD GPU.
Right after Nintendo finally revealed its not-so-secret Project Cafe – now formally known as Wii U – Tuesday during E3 2011, IBM stepped out of the shadows and said that the console will be using an all-new IBM Power-based multi-core CPU with embedded DRAM.
Like Nintendo, IBM was rather slim on the hardware specifics, but said that it plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45-nm. The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300-mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.
"IBM's embedded dynamic random access memory will help deliver a thrilling new game experience to Nintendo fans," the company said. "The new memory technology, a key element of the new Power microprocessor that IBM is building for the Nintendo Wii U console, can triple the amount of memory contained on a single chip, making for extreme game play."
AMD also stepped up and announced that it's supplying the graphics portion of the main Wii U console. Falling under Nintendo standard veil of secrecy, AMD didn't provide specific details and numbers, only revealing that it will be providing a custom AMD Radeon HD GPU that "reflects the best characteristics of AMD’s graphics technology solutions." AMD also previously provided the GPU for both the Nintendo Wii and Nintendo GameCube consoles.
"AMD shares Nintendo’s excitement for the new HD entertainment experience planned for the Wii U console," said David Wang, corporate vice president of Silicon Engineering, AMD. "We’re proud to provide our leading-edge HD multimedia graphics engine to power the new entertainment features of the console. Nintendo is a highly-valued customer and we look forward to the launch in 2012."
Other reports claim that the base console will sport a slot-loading optical drive for 12-cm optical discs, four USB 2.0 ports, an SD card slot, an unspecified internal storage capacity, and support for external hard drives connected via USB. Video output includes HDMI (finally) for 1080p HD video, component and S-video. And as with the original Wii, the Wii U will be backwards-compatible.