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IBM, AMD Providing CPU, GPU for Nintendo Wii U

By - Source: IBM | B 32 comments

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.

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  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 12:53 AM
    Does it have Blu_Ray?
  • -6 Hide
    leper84 , June 10, 2011 1:01 AM
    Can it play Crysis (2 doesn't count)?
  • -4 Hide
    Filiprino , June 10, 2011 1:13 AM
    skyviper80Does it have Blu_Ray?

    We hope so.
    - Integrated.
    - Software.
    - External drive.
    - Software + whatever USB reader you want to buy, no lock-in. USB readers are a standard USB class.
  • 0 Hide
    dalethepcman , June 10, 2011 1:14 AM
    With the controllers being what they are, unless Nintendo plans on selling the new console sans a controller, I would image the price of the console + 1 controller would be in the $500 range. Putting Nintendo squarely into the "for that money I'll buy a PC/ps4/xbox720" category, like the original PS3.
  • 0 Hide
    blader15sk8 , June 10, 2011 1:31 AM
    What will be powering the controllers?
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , June 10, 2011 1:33 AM
    skyviper80Does it have Blu_Ray?


    if what im hearing is correct, they got something that has the same capacity as a single layer blu-ray disk (25GB) so it could be blu-ray or something close to it.

    Although it probably wont be able to play blu-ray movies if the trend continues. (wii not playing dvd's for example.)
  • 1 Hide
    warmon6 , June 10, 2011 1:34 AM
    blader15sk8What will be powering the controllers?


    Batteries of course. What else? :p 
  • 1 Hide
    iam2thecrowe , June 10, 2011 2:09 AM
    warmon6Batteries of course. What else?

    not just batteries, IBM batteries that have 3x the power in 1 battery ;)  . but on a serious note, why dont they make it play dvd's/blueray. thats one of the reasons i have a PS3. I actually rarely use my ps3 for games, just a cheap HD media centre. It also better have more than 512mb ram, im expecting 4gb, its so cheap, why not? Although IBM's supermemory will probably cost lots.
  • 0 Hide
    ikyung , June 10, 2011 2:11 AM
    @Dale. I highly doubt the Wii U will sell for 500 retail when it hits. Nintendo's business model is "get the hardware is as many people's homes as we can, then make money off software." Especially when in 2012 PS3 320GB + move bundle will cost around 300-350.

    Why do you think Nintendo stuck with cartridges for the 64 and their personal made CDs for the gamecube? They are making their own 25GB disks for the Wii U because their money printing model comes from software sales. They don't want to share revenues by using a DVD or Blu-Ray.

    IMO, 200-250 for the box, 100-120 for the controller + freebie game. So around 350-399 for Box+Controller+1 Game.
  • -2 Hide
    11796pcs , June 10, 2011 2:25 AM
    ikyung@Dale. I highly doubt the Wii U will sell for 500 retail when it hits. Nintendo's business model is "get the hardware is as many people's homes as we can, then make money off software." Especially when in 2012 PS3 320GB + move bundle will cost around 300-350.Why do you think Nintendo stuck with cartridges for the 64 and their personal made CDs for the gamecube? They are making their own 25GB disks for the Wii U because their money printing model comes from software sales. They don't want to share revenues by using a DVD or Blu-Ray.IMO, 200-250 for the box, 100-120 for the controller + freebie game. So around 350-399 for Box+Controller+1 Game.

    Your comment reminds me of what they used to do before digital cameras with film or what they do with printer cartridges today.
    leper84Can it play Crysis (2 doesn't count)?

    Actually- it **** well should be able to. The game was released in November 2007 (I'll give it 2008 for the benefit of the doubt for Nintendo's sake). They've had 2008, 09, 10, 11, and this thing will probably be released in mid-2012. That's four years- infinity in computer science and people are still whining about the stupid game. It's completely rediculous frankly. I realize the game is pretty poorly coded but you don't have to have the consoles sporting 8x anti-aliasing or anything rediculous like that for the game to still look nice.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 3:46 AM
    http://www.cmoset.com/uploads/Toshiaki_Kirihata_2010.pdf
    According to THAT the Power7 in the Wii U will sport 32mb of lvl3 cache, 1.2 billion transistors, no less than 8 cores, etc. AMD has said that they are offering their "leading-edge HD multimedia graphics engine," which should be nothing less than what the 5970 can pull off in a decent test bed. http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/radeon-hd-5970,2474-8.html Also--the screen controller may very well be limited to one per system, as they have yet to announce a separate SKU for the controller. Given what I've seen--you wouldn't need more than one per console. Otherwise is uses the old Wii controllers. Even if the big N has to take a hit on each system sold, you can very well bet your ass they will be price competitive. They system won't be a dime over 399.99 {US} at launch.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 10, 2011 4:07 AM
    Does no one else realize that Nintendo isn't like MS or Sony, who have other divisions to make money from? Nintendo has not sold consoles at a loss because their only business is consoles (+games). They have yet to go ps3 style: sell the console cheap and bet on the games. If that plan fails, the lost a ton on the console and have no where to make up for that money. It won't fail, but you still don't play with fire when it can put you through bankruptcy. And for that same reason, I highly doubt it will sport a 5xxx GPU because those are expensive. They usually go a couple tech gens behind so they can build the console for much cheaper.
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , June 10, 2011 4:36 AM
    dalethepcmanWith the controllers being what they are, unless Nintendo plans on selling the new console sans a controller, I would image the price of the console + 1 controller would be in the $500 range. Putting Nintendo squarely into the "for that money I'll buy a PC/ps4/xbox720" category, like the original PS3.


    controller costs about 60-90$ im guessing 70 personaly
    the cpu and gpu will cost 100 each
    misc other things may add up to 100$ but im guessing about 50ish (they get whole sale prices not retail like us) so bringing it out for 350-400 is a VERY reasonable assumption and still pull profit.
  • 2 Hide
    alidan , June 10, 2011 4:39 AM
    SpiffymDoes no one else realize that Nintendo isn't like MS or Sony, who have other divisions to make money from? Nintendo has not sold consoles at a loss because their only business is consoles (+games). They have yet to go ps3 style: sell the console cheap and bet on the games. If that plan fails, the lost a ton on the console and have no where to make up for that money. It won't fail, but you still don't play with fire when it can put you through bankruptcy. And for that same reason, I highly doubt it will sport a 5xxx GPU because those are expensive. They usually go a couple tech gens behind so they can build the console for much cheaper.


    well a top end 4XXX single preforms about the same as a 5770 and they also cost within 10$ of each other, and thats retail price not whole sale.

    its possible they go with that, considering i havent played a game yet i couldnt max at great frame rates on a 5770.
  • 0 Hide
    slabbo , June 10, 2011 5:07 AM
    all we know so far on the price, is that with the console and controller it will most likely cost more than 20,000 yen ($250). In Japan the Wii launched at 25,000 yen, $250 in the US.
    http://www.gamersmint.com/nintendo-wii-u-likely-to-cost-more-than-250

    I'll be surprised if it costs less than $300 by 2012 seeing as how the US dollar is losing it's value the way it is. If it is $300 by launch it would be a steal at that price.
  • 0 Hide
    slabbo , June 10, 2011 5:10 AM
    i just found this, but they seem to be conflicting with what Nintendo's global president said. but interesting never the less.
    http://www.gamesthirst.com/2011/06/08/wii-u-priced-revealed/
  • 0 Hide
    GaMEChld , June 10, 2011 8:15 AM
    blader15sk8What will be powering the controllers?


    The same thing that powers Gundams.
  • 0 Hide
    Thunderfox , June 10, 2011 8:32 AM
    Built at 45nm in 2012? I know they have to make some prior to launch, but still, what else does IBM make Power chips for any more besides consoles?
  • 0 Hide
    Thunderfox , June 10, 2011 8:38 AM
    GaMEChldThe same thing that powers Gundams.

    Protracted monologues?
  • 0 Hide
    notuptome2004 , June 10, 2011 8:53 AM
    ThunderfoxBuilt at 45nm in 2012? I know they have to make some prior to launch, but still, what else does IBM make Power chips for any more besides consoles?



    Umm Servers and stuff
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