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Nintendo Wii U Console Guide

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Wii U Tech Specs

What is Nintendo's newest console packing underneath the hood? The console seems more of an expanded upgrade to the current generation of consoles, but that doesn't mean that the Wii U doesn't pack it's share of surprises! Here a list of the console's technical specs, from processor, ram and GPU capabilities, as well as the features of new controller, the GamePad.


Processors:

  • IBM Power Architecture-based multi-core processor

The Wii U CPU is designed by IBM, who have described it as an “all-new Power-based microprocessor”. The processor is a multi-core design manufactured at 45 nm with an eDRAM cache. The same processor technology could be found in the Watson artificial intelligence computer system. Both the CPU and the GPU will be on one multi-chip.


RAM:

  • 2 GB total RAM with half dedicated to system software. With a minimum of 1 GB available to all games.


GPU:

  • AMD Radeon High Definition with an eDRAM cache built onto the die.

The Wii U’s graphics processins unit is a custom AMD 7 series GPU. Clock speed and pipelines have not been officially disclosed, but it has been confirmed that the console supports DirectX 10 and shade 4 type features. The eDRAM is embedded into the GPU in a similar way to the original Wii.


Storage:

  • 8GB (Basic) or 32 GB (Premium) Internal flash memory, expandable via SD memory cards up to 32GB and USB hard disk drives up to 2TB.
  • Slot-loading optical disc drive compatible with 12 cm "proprietary high-density optical discs" (25 GB per layer) and 12 cm Wii optical discs.


WiiUGamePad

The Wii U Gamepad:

  • Built-in 3-axis accelerometer
  • 3-axis gyroscope and a geomagnetic sensor
  • Stereo Speakers and Microphone
  • Volume Control
  • Front-facing camera
  • IR Sensor strip
  • Infrared Transceiver (part of "TV Control" feature)
  • Headphone jack 6.2 inch (15.7 cm)
  • 6:9 resistive touchscreen
  • Two clickable analog sticks and one D-pad
  • Rumble Controller sync button
  • Wireless communication with console based on IEEE 802.11n operating at 5 GHz
  • Near field communication
  • External Extension Connnector (for additional accessories)
  • Ports and peripheral capabilities
  • SD memory card slot (supports SDHC cards)
  • USB 2.0 ports (2 at front of console, 2 at rear)
  • Sensor Bar power port
  • "AV Multi Out" port
  • HDMI 1.4 out port


Video:

  • 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 576i (PAL Only), 480p, 480i, standard 4:3 and 16:9 anamorphic widescreen
  • "AV Multi Out" port supporting composite video, YPBPR component video, S-Video (NTSC consoles only), RGB SCART (European consoles only) and D-Terminal (Japan only)
  • HDMI 1.4 out port supporting stereoscopic 3D images.

Audio:

  • "AV Multi Out" port. Six-channel PCM linear output through HDMI


NintendoNetwork

Network capabilities:

The Wii U supports online multiplayer through the Nintendo Network, which is Nintendo’s official network infrastructure similar to Sony’s Playstation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox Live The network is available of the 3DS and Wii U. The network provides online multiplayer, video chatting, and digital downloads. Users can create their own network accounts and the console supports up to 12 user accounts per console. These user accounts will replace friend codes for the primary method of user identification, but friend codes will still be used in other ways. The network is equipped with the WIi U eShop which is Nintendo’s distribution store, as well as an integrated social network systemed called Miiverse. The console includes a web browser that allows uers to browse the web on the Wii U Gamepad or television screen.

Good and Bad

The Positives:

The Wii U outdoes the current generation in both RAM and GPU. The Wii U has effectively twice the Ram available to games that the Xbox 360 and Playstation 3. The RAM combination along with a rather power GPU gives the Wii U the potential to outshine 360 and PS3. Third party games that have a multi-console release could heavily favor the Wii U, with game’s becoming the smoothest version on the console. The Wii U’s GPU has more power than the rivals, and more modern in archetexture and support.


The Negatives:

The clock speed of the CPU remains private still, and most developers have agred that the clock speed is inferior to those offered on the PS3 and Xbox 360’s CPUs. This comparison will be even more daunting once the next generation of consoles of the Xbox and Playstation hit the market.


Console and Titles:

BatmanArkhamCity
Third party launch titles, such as Batman Arkham City and Ninja Gaiden III don’t quite look better than the original releases on past consoles, but this is mainly an optimization issue that will slowly disappear as developers unlock the potential of the console and the best method for porting these titles. Early ports of games will not show off the true potential of the console, and is merely a warm up period.

The console was originally planning to have up to four GamePad’s able to be synched to the same console. But badnwidth issues associated with having four concurrent screen streams lead to the number being reduced to two. But this opportunity could prevent itself for the future console, and will most likely be considered by Nintendo in the future.

The Next Gen

Assuming that Microsoft and Sony launch their next-generation consoles sometime late 2013, the Wii U will have about a year to create its foundation. Big things are expected from the next Xbox and Playstation consoles, with power leaps that will surely leave the Wii U behind in some aspects. The Wii U will almost surely lag behind in the graphics department. The Next Xbox allows developers to use DXII graphics as a standard, which allows as even shift from PC to console. The Wii U will support DX10.

It’s no surprise that the Wii U will be working with a different set of tools than the other two next-gen consoles. The unique controller in the GamePad allows developers to create their own experiences within the specs and limitations of the console. Having worse specs isn’t an indicator on the quality of console, more rather it’s the canvas that developers paint their games on to.

Nintendo's first party games will surely utilize the GamePad well, and other third party games will eventually learn to fully grasp the console's capabilities. How well the console fares should be evident by the time the next generation of home consoles fully arrives. Until then, let's enjoy the new and unique experience that the Wii U has to offer.

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