Nintendo Switch Pro just tipped by Nvidia chip leak — what you should know

Nintendo Switch OLED Splatoon 3 edition
(Image credit: Nintendo)

We’ve heard lots of rumors about a Nintendo Switch Pro over the years, but so far nothing has ever come to fruition. But that doesn’t stop rumors from surfacing from time to time, as has just happened thanks to a Nvidia employee supposedly confirming the kind of chip that will allegedly power the device.

This leak comes from the Gaming Leaks and Rumors subreddit (opens in new tab), with a leaked email from a Nvidia employee (opens in new tab) seemingly confirming the existence of the Tegra239 SoC (system on chip) — complete with an 8-core CPU. 

The Tegra239 has been rumored since last June, with Twitter leaker kopite7kimi (opens in new tab) claiming that the next Switch would feature a “customized” Tegra234 SoC. However, that leak claimed there would be 12 cores in the CPU, which the latest one seemingly refutes. And that's the problem with leaks and rumors; you never can be sure what’s accurate or trustworthy.

TechRadar (opens in new tab) notes that a separate leak from March made reference to the Tegra239 chip, along with references to “NVN2” — suspected to be a follow-up to the Switch’s NVN graphics API. The Reddit thread also mentions (opens in new tab) that the API contains references to Nvidia’s upscaling tech, DLSS 2.2, and raytracing support.

While there’s still no confirmation that a more powerful Switch is on the way, the various Tegra239 leaks would suggest something is coming. When it might arrive isn’t clear, and there’s no telling what sort of performance we should expect. Reddit has concluded that the Tegra239 is about as powerful as a PS4

That may seem disappointing, but we should all remain skeptical and open-minded until Nintendo makes the Switch Pro’s specs official. 

It’s been five and a half years since the launch of the original Switch, and it already seemed underpowered for its time. We’re now getting to the stage where some games, like the upcoming The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom, would greatly benefit from a more powerful console

Unfortunately, Nintendo has already announced there won’t be any new Switch hardware this fiscal year, which ends in April 2023 — roughly a month after the Switch’s sixth birthday. Last November Nintendo President Shuntaro Furukawa even went so far as to say that the Switch is currently in the middle of its lifecycle. Which I hope means there’s still another five-or-so years of life in the console, and not that there won’t be any upgraded hardware until then.

It’s easy to see hardware leaks and get excited, and I do hope there’s a new Switch Pro the way in the near future. But the past few years have involved countless rumors and leaks about an upgraded Switch that never panned out. Instead we ended up with the Nintendo Switch OLED, which barely qualified as an upgrade.

So watch this space, because something could happen. Just don’t get your hopes up that it will be happening anytime soon.

Tom Pritchard
Automotive Editor

Tom is the Tom's Guide's Automotive Editor, which means he can usually be found knee deep in stats the latest and best electric cars, or checking out some sort of driving gadget. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining that Ikea won’t let him buy the stuff he really needs online.