AnandTech Wii U Teardown

When Nintendo announced the Wii U there was a lot of interest in its hardware specs. The new console could very well end up the fastest kid on the block thanks to the sheer age of the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. I wasn't all that interested in the Wii U, but I did want to get a look at the silicon inside so I grabbed a unit and went into teardown mode.

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bicfitness2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

So the Beyond3D and Neogaf forums are pegging it as a 4770 with an unspecified (for now) buffer. The CPU is just a juiced up, triple-core, over-clocked (1.5 GHz or thereabouts) version of the Wii processor. The memory bandwidth is a bottleneck across the board. One bright spot is the transfer rate of the storage medium, which is around 22 GB/s. Again, you can find further analysis and breakdowns leading to this conclusion on the web. The specs are pretty sad, all in all, but Nintendo is banking on their audience not to care about those things, which they may be correct on.

Still, this won't convince the 360/ PS3 fans who are used to their visual uumph that the Wii U is a worthwhile purchase or even replacement for those consoles as its scarcely better. It is still next-gen, but its looking more and more like a Wii>PS360 scenario all over again.

decrypt2217d ago

This is good news overall, It means we will get a Dolphin for Wii U quite fast ;-)

I am happy with these specs lol.

nix2217d ago

did they tear it down after downloading the 5GB update??? q:

Venox20082216d ago

yea right - quite fast :D :D :D

for the dolphin or ps2 to decent run on pc you need 2-4gb of ram, 2 or 4 cores CPU with decent video card.. so for Wii U dolphin you would need 10x faster new PC minimum i not more

bicfitness2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

Those in denial can read the threads themselves:

The power consumption - due to the lowish specs - on the device is rather brilliant though.

reynod2217d ago

Cell phones have the best efficiency of any device then, so will u instead plug a cell phone to the TV and play?

No u wont.

Its quite obvious the lower the specs the lower the power requirement, doesnt take a rocket scientist to figure that one out. Question is are you willing to play at those downgraded levels?

ProjectVulcan2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

Yeah the GPU itself is only slightly larger than a 4770. However that 32mb of edram has to go somewhere inside the chip and thus take up a bit of room which would almost certainly confine the design to a MAXIMUM of a 4770. Chances are if this is the actual basis of the design it wouldn't share clocks as high as the desktop 4770 either. This is because Wii U's maximum power draw is actually quite a bit LESS than a 4770. This suggests some refinement, but almost certainly heavy downclocking or a slower GPU/shaders disabled.

What is also known now is that the memory bandwidth is only 12.8GB/s to be SHARED with the CPU. A Radeon 4770 had 51GB/s dedicated.

The CPU won't use a lot of bandwidth because it'll be very slow but even so the design must be heavily relying on the GPU's edram to avoid severe bottlenecking on such a skinny memory bus.

In short for the non techies out there, Wii U does indeed have a better GPU than PS3/360, a worse CPU, and a bunch of rather slow system memory.

When i first heard of the leaks about the hardware 6+ months ago I already said that chances are, it'll be like a 360 on steroids. Just a bit more of everything.

Turns out I was quite close, because Wii U is slightly stronger in some areas, and weaker in others. Overall I don't think you should be expecting many games to much exceed what 360 and PS3 are doing already.

Thepcz2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

wish people would make a clear summary of these specs instead of spouting loads of jargon which means absolutely nothing to anyone other than silicon geeks who never go outside.

bicfitness2217d ago

It doesn't get any clearer than what I posted. I gave clock speeds and GPU equivalents.

sandman2242217d ago

So is it more powerful than the 360/ps3?

Chard2217d ago

I would also like a clear answer on this question.

Picture_Dancer2217d ago

One thing is comfirmed by developers, processor in WiiU is not as much powerful as the one used in X360 and PS3. That's why Denasty Warriors on WiiU will have less enemies and slower gameplay.

We will have to wait more to find out is the rumour that WiiU memory is slower than PS3/360 true.

VverdugovV2217d ago

It's more or less on par with with PS360 from what I've heard.

emartini2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

There are mixed reports. Some devs went as far as saying its twice as powerful as the ps3 and 360. Others said its not on par. One thing for sure. Im confused. Im not a huge tech savy guy so I come on here to your all your replies

bicfitness2217d ago

In some respects - disc read speed, moderately more powerful GPU, AMOUNT of memory available - yes. In others - CPU, RAM SPEED and bandwidth available for games - no.

Its a toss up. In essence its about the same, though with a fancy new controller.

Picture_Dancer2217d ago

Why all the disagree with my post?

sway_z2217d ago

"Why all the disagree with my post?"

Well maybe Nintendo enthusiasts are reading this, and maybe they're not enthusiastic about your post??

...what you think?

Argil2217d ago

IF the Wii U GPU is similar to an 4770, the answer is YES.

The 4770 has 826 million transistors.
The Xenos GPU in X360 has 105 million transistors.

I know it's more complicated than just counting transistors, but if anything, the 4770 is more modern than the Xenos.

ProjectVulcan2217d ago (Edited 2217d ago )

Xenos is a 330m transistor GPU because the GPU is the combination of the main core + extra logic and edram on the daughter die. In other words Xenos was two separate chips until they shrank them and dumped them all on one die with the CPU recently. PS3's GPU is 300m transistors on one core.

Wii U's GPU is certainly faster then even 360's, but the amount it is faster is not a huge margin because it is almost certainly running at less clocks than a 4770 or sections disabled for yield purposes. It is also going to be restricted somewhat by such a slow unified memory bus even with the edram it has. Chances are it isn't more than twice as fast as Xenos in practical terms.

I have said many times GPU is incredibly important but in light of the fact the system has basically an archaic CPU and such slow memory albeit plenty of it, Wii U is going to be on par with PS3/360 probably on average, potentially worse if a game has a heavy CPU load for example RTS games or whatever. It'll be better if a developer gets hold of it and uses the superior GPU heavily.

But not much better.

There is no way for example it'll particularly challenge a low end gaming pc like the ones you see guides for on here to build.

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maniac762217d ago

My samsung galaxy note 2 with the quads and 2 gb of ram could take on the wii u rofl. Who cares,.least we get nin characters in game in hd witha proper browsa,plus indie devs with that unity engine. Tide us ova till the real next gen hits

sway_z2217d ago

So Nintendo releases an underpowered console....STOP THA FRICKEN PRESS!!!

...just what the hell were you all expecting???

I'll bet my last dime Nintendo are the only one's who actually make Wii U stand for 3rd parties...humbug!

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