Nintendo Switch Powered by Maxwell?

/ 4 years ago

Nintendo Switch Powered by Maxwell?

While hardware information is scant on the Nintendo Switch, we do know that the home/portable hybrid console will be powered by a custom NVIDIA Tegra processor. Now, industry sources are reporting (via VentureBeat) that the console’s Tegra chip will be based on the Maxwell architecture, rather than NVIDIA’s new Pascal architecture.

“Two sources (who asked to keep their names out of this story) confirmed to GamesBeat that the Switch uses Nvidia’s last generation Maxwell graphics processing architecture,” Dean Takahashi reports. “Nvidia introduced its new Pascal architecture earlier this year, but that technology is not ready for the Tegra chip going into the Switch. The custom Maxwell Tegra (which uses a 20nm process as opposed to the more efficient 16nm process of the Pascal) in the machine is still powerful enough to play Nintendo-style games that rely on quality art over horsepower, but don’t expect Switch software to match the graphical fidelity of the highest-end PS4 games.”

So, why is Nintendo opting for Maxwell over Pascal a good thing? Price. Nintendo can’t pack anything as powerful as the PlayStation 4 or even the Xbox One – the pair currently involved in a 4K arms race – into a device designed to be handheld (and still remain affordable) so it is wise not to try. Nintendo’s strength is its games – Xbox and PS4 have nothing that can compete with the experience of playing Mario, Zelda, or Splatoon, all of which feel so uniquely Nintendo – so all it needs is a system to adequately support them, coupled, of course, with the console’s unique interface and design. By opting for a last generation processor, the Switch will still be able to deliver that familiar Nintendo experience for a reasonable price, rumoured to be around the $200 mark.

Market analyst Jon Peddie tends to agree, telling VentureBeat, “If Nintendo gets traction with this, we forecast they will ship 5 million Switches by the end of 2017.”

“I don’t see Nintendo’s strategy as a risk,” Peddie adds. “Too many pundits and fanboys and investors make a serious mistake when they try to compare and contrast Nintendo with Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo has a niche in the affordable, accessible product, and performance is never a leading criteria for them. It is gameplay and immersion. They are never a technology pioneer. Trying to compare Nintendo to Sony is like comparing a Volkswagen to a Corvette. It’s a facetious and fallacious analogy and a discredit to fans who love Nintendo.”

Nintendo will be holding a special press event for the Switch on 12th January 2017.

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