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Nintendo Switch Pro leaks tease huge upgrades — but can you trust them?

Nintendo Switch Pro could turbocharge the Switch
(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

The Nintendo Switch Pro is the rumor that just keeps giving, seemingly with wildly varying degrees of legitimacy. The latest tip comes in the guise of information that the Switch Pro will have the power of a PS4

According to posts in a Resterera forum from people claiming to have Nintendo insider information, this new Switch could support a 1440p resolution as well as a 4K output supported by Nvidia’s DLSS technology. This would be an exciting boost to the current Switch. But we suggest you take this with a Dead Sea level of salt.   

Now before we go any further we have to caveat the absolute heck out of this story.  

A curious tale of Nintendo Switch Pro leaks  

For starters the information comes from Restera users Z0m3le and NateDrake. Supposedly they are verified Nintendo insiders or at least people with insider information. But we weren't able to find any evidence of such verification and the veracity of these insider claims also hinges upon a Reddit post by the interestingly-named user longcock_johnson, a user we can’t claim to have any knowledge of. 

Furthermore, a user called ItsSinisterX requested that any mention of the Switch Pro was changed to “Super Nintendo Switch” given it’ll be more than just a simple revision of the current Nintendo Switch. ItsSinisterX doesn't appear to be a leaker or insider, so we have no clue as to why they have that authority; perhaps they're just shooting their shot and appear to have hit a mark. 

And longcock_johnson also noted that the whole thread they posted on Reddit needs to be taken with a serious degree of skepticism. They noted that even if Z0m3le and NateDrake are simply passing on information they received from Nintendo sources, and the information might be faulty or the tipsters “simply connected dots where there are none.”

“The people I'm talking to, I've talked to for years, they have given me correct information for a long time,” Z0m3le claimed, however. “I don't want to be an insider, I just like investigating and digging for info, I share everything I find unless I'm told not to, luckily I've been able to share almost everything.” 

Digging through a deluge of comments spread across hundreds of posts in two separate forums is tricky. But we were able to find a few posts that, while flush with unverifiable information, at least contain some interesting nuggets that could point towards the capabilities of a Switch Pro. 

Nintendo Switch Pro with PS4 power 

Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Interestingly, Z0m3le referenced information gleaned from data mining — not insider information — carried out on a Nintendo Switch game as evidence that the Switch Pro will have the graphics power of a PS4. 

“As for the Switch model incoming, we should just treat it like a PS4 with DLSS and a more capable CPU. That’s plenty to get an idea of what it should be capable of IMO. A decade of GPU advancements and a raw performance on par with PS4 is just something we can all be happy and excited about,” said Z0m3le, in reference to a profile for the unnamed game that sees it running at a 1440p resolution. 

“The game has the current model's profile render resolution set to 720p and a new Switch profile (it specifically says Switch for platform) with a render (render not just output, so not DLSS) resolution of 1440p.” 

Sounds like the Switch Pro will have a big power boost? 

Well yes and no. An upgraded Switch console will almost certainly come with more graphics power, rather than, say, just a display and battery upgrade. 

But here’s the rub. This unnamed game could be a cross-platform title and the information gleaned from the game data could be in reference to Xbox One and PS4 versions of the game, as both the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro can render games at 1440p.

And 1440p would seem like a strange resolution for the Switch Pro to target; we’d expect it to chase 1080p or a 4K resolution with some form of up-mixing or native rendering through a fully upgraded chipset. 

Nintendo Switch

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

Nintendo Switch Pro 4K with DLSS 

Despite all this, there have been a lot of rumors flying around based on this data mining and general leaks, which hint the Switch Pro will make use of a new Nvidia chipset and the graphics giant’s deep learning supersampling tech (DLSS). 

In basic terms, DLSS allows an image to be presented at a high resolution without needing the graphic grunt to render it natively. It’s very clever tech and can make running demanding games like Cyberpunk 2077 at 4K possible on the likes of the Nvidia GeForce RTX 3080

If the Switch Pro can hit a 1440p render resolution then in theory it could use DLSS to up-mix that to 4K, say when it's docked. In other rumors, it’s been suggested that the Switch Pro’s dock could contain some dedicated hardware to allow it to scale up video output to 4K. 

Thing is, DLSS needs dedicated machine learning hardware on a graphics card. With Nvidia’s GeForce RTX 30 and 20-series graphics cards, that hardware came in the form of Tensor cores.

Now unless Nintendo is working closely with Nvidia to create a custom chipset for a new Switch - the original Switch used an off-the-shelf Tegra X1 chip - then we’d very much doubt a Switch Pro will come with DLSS support. 

Our skepticism is given more fuel when another Reddit discussion on Switch config file data mining basically claims the information was fake. A Reddit moderator even removed the original post referencing the data mining, noting: “Rumor posts should provide some form of evidence.” 

However, according to an updated Reddit post, all the parties commenting on the Switch Pro’s potential specs stand by their comments. Best take a pinch of salt with that. 

Nintendo Switch Pro developer kit  

Nintendo Switch 2 concept design

(Image credit: Katarzyna Penar at Lightframes)

All this looks like bad news for the Switch Pro being more than a 1080p gaming machine if it does indeed exist. 

But when it comes to potential internal specs that these Switch Pro “leaks” start to really pique our curiosity. Z0m3le claims they have seen developer kits for the console that have gone out to third-party Nintendo developers; the tipster posted no evidence to back this up though. 

“Devkits have only recently gone out to 3rd parties is my understanding, and I've actually just seen something that is supposedly from one of those devkits that has a Switch game running at 1440p, which is higher than the [current] Switch outputs,” Z0m3le. 

“It isn't a screenshot of the game, but a settings profile that shows the Switch platform and 1440p as the resolution, it is a 3rd profile outside of portable and docked, so think of it as docked pro. It doesn't detail other profiles, but likely a portable pro profile exists as well.” 

Again, with no solid evidence or leaked images to lend this claim any credence, we’re getting that old’ familiar feeling of skepticism. And as far as we know, developers could simply be messing around with existing hardware to see how far they can push the Switch.

Nintendo Switch Pro: Truth, lie, or something else?  

All the above “information” might be a load of nonsense or out-of-context data, but it does give us a hint at what a Switch Pro could be like and what people want to see from it

Given 4K TVs are more common now than they were in March 2017, we can understand there is some demand for a Switch that outputs at 4K when docked. And a boost in overall Switch performance wouldn’t go amiss. 

But Nintendo is still seeing a lot of success with the Switch and the Nintendo Switch Lite, so it doesn't look like it’s prepared to replace or offer an upgrade on the console just yet. And Nintendo hasn’t said anything about new Switch hardware coming this year or anytime soon. 

However, Switch Pro rumors have been bubbling away for some time, with reports that Nintendo is either considering or working on a 4K Switch console

So with that in mind, while we’ve got our guard up around the legitimacy of such forum-based leaks, we’re keeping an open mind to the idea that an upgraded Switch could arrive before 2021 draws to a close.  

Roland Moore-Colyer

Roland Moore-Colyer is U.K. Editor at Tom’s Guide with a focus on news, features and opinion articles. He often writes about gaming, phones, laptops and other bits of hardware; he’s also got an interest in cars. When not at his desk Roland can be found wandering around London, often with a look of curiosity on his face.