Report: Wii U Cracked Open, System Memory and Speed Revealed

Nintendo, like many hardware manufacturers, was cagey about the final specs for the Wii U, choosing not to reveal the system's overall memory prior to release.

Now that the Wii U is out, though, it hasn't taken long for someone to tear one apart and do the detective work themselves

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FinalomegaS2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

i knew this was going to happen really fast lol

360: 22.4 GB/s + eDRAM for framebuffer
PS3: 25.6 GB/s main memory BW + 22.4 GB/s graphics memory BW, no eDRAM

GTX 680: 192.2 GB/s


I can see we are going to get bits and pieces of data about the internal specs, it still won't be 100% accurate...

Sarcasm2159d ago

Memory speed is only one aspect of a system though. It also depends how developers will code around it. But at LEAST it has 2GB which is decent.

AsimLeonheart2159d ago

LOL! The graphics of this supposedly "next-gen" console are worse than current gen consoles. Slowly the reality about Wii U is being revealed. We now know that WiiU RAM is slower than 6/7 year old PS360. The 5GB firmware update is bricking consoles. Soon the underpowered CPU and GPU will be revealed as well. Nintendo was hiding the specs and details for this very reason. They were tricking the Nintendo fans into buying this crappy, underpowered and last-gen console.

RumbleFish2158d ago

Anybody who considers this next gen has been playing wii for the last years.

dazbobaby2158d ago

Nintendo aren't in an arms race with Microsoft and Sony, so it doesn't really matter how it looks on screen, just as long as the family fun factor is there.

dirthurts2158d ago

Ram speed, especially no video ram speed, has almost no discernible impact on graphics quality. I've tested everything from 800mhz-1800mhz and I see a few frames here and there difference.
Not a performance issue here.
More ram also has little to do with graphics quality past around 1-2gb. Unless you're talking video ram.

Yodagamer2158d ago

@asimleonheart most modern CPUs have a slower CPU speed but they can do more than 6 year old CPUs with a higher clock rate its just how tech works

Beastforlifenoob2158d ago

Decent my A**, my 2 year old PC has 16GB of ram... And a 7 YEAR old system has nearly the same as the WII U- This is not nextgen tech, its not next gen console tech and its nothing amazing in the hardware world.

T9002158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )


Whats funny is my 3 year laptop featuring a 5870M has better specs than the Wii U lol.

5870M comes with 70GB/s bandwidth.

Hell a 5 year old PC GPU like 8800GTX came with 90GB/s bandwidth. Technically Nintendo is still behind a 8800GTX lol.

I find it funny people are actually willing to pay 300usd for such old tech. Spend 200usd more and for 500usd you could build a PC with much great specs.

A 500usd PC could easily be fitted with a GPU that could pump 150gb/s memory bandwidth. Its almost embarrassing what console makers are charging people. Consoles are supposed to be cheap and cost effective, yet it looks the other way around now. With consoles coming with gimped specs, charging more per game and offering no BC to the previous models.

PC gaming looks amazing.


Heres what a 500usd PC would have gotten u in August:

The GPU on this one pushes 130GB/s dont think even the next Playstation or Xbox will be featuring those numbers.

Beastforlifenoob2158d ago

@t900i agree, console makers should reduce their price, the only thing that should increase thebprice is the operating system, otherwise I dont see why the price has to be so OP...

Optical_Matrix2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

Oh please. RAM thats 43% slower than current generation consoles is not acceptable in 2012. This is going to act as a huge bottleneck against the gpu. A terrible memory bandwidth is only going to choke a GPU no matter how good/efficient it is. It's going to end up being a case of developers needing to dedicate even more time to learning a new architecture to port to with their games and, if the Wii U doesn't establish a market big enough to justify that it just won't get the big AAA games aside from maybe Activision and EA's stuff.

It's pretty telling that the biggest games of next year such as MGS: Ground Zeroes, Tomb Raider and GTAV won't see the light of day on the Wii U for the foreseeable future. I don't feel as though many publishers are that bothered about the system

Shame on Nintendo for being so lazy with how they put the hardware together. I hoped this thing would succeed, and I'll sure as hell be buying mine next week when it launches in Europe but damn, between these hardware revelations and the 2004 level online service, Nintendo has shown their ineptitude to embrace what the industry has grown into technology wise since 2005 is aggravating.

AsimLeonheart2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

Neogaf updated the post after ACTUAL test results. The 17GB/s BUS speed was a guess based on the nature and manufacturer of the RAM.

Nintendo fans will be glad to hear that it is not 17GB/s. It is actually...

ONLY 12GB/s!!!! LOL!!!!

bozebo2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

It does seem a little underpowered on paper, but I think it will be extremely easy to develop for due to the RAM quantity (compared to ps3 and 360, also Sony and MS take a very hard line towards developers) so if enough sell, a lot of small-medium developers will be attracted meaning there could be some incredible games.

One of the chips on the substrate (the tiny one) is probably a specialized eDRAM or similar memory chip which will be able to perform ~instant calculations on sets of data (the 360 can do this too) which when used correctly can take a lot of vector processing work away from the graphics chip, it is probably also incredibly fast too for use storing the framebuffer during deferred rendering (again, like the 360). Using that chip correctly probably takes a lot of smart engine design, so don't expect much in the early days. In fact the architecture seems like a refined version of the 360's, it can probably do AA far faster among other things as the graphical feature set is newer (and more efficient).

Also, memory bandwidth doesn't correlate directly to better performance - don't get hung up on it being slower than the 360 and PS3's. Is it shared or is that just main memory? Only graphical memory needs to be extremely fast (lots of PCs capable of maxing games out have RAM which is far slower than the consoles).
edit: might have my sources for the memory mixed up, what does it have 16BG of 1066MHz main memory and 2GB of vMEM? I'm confused!

Give it some time and there will be some games that show off a lot more than anything that'll run on the PS3 or 360 (not just graphically, a lot of things are impossible with only 512MB of RAM). It should survive well into the next gen but it won't compete with Sony and MS's offerings (of course, and this was never Nintendo's intention)

The bottleneck as far as on-screen graphics quality goes will be down to fragment shader performance, just like PS3, 360 and PC. Simply due to the fact it is 2012, the shaders should be a lot more capable than the PS3 and 360.

SolidStoner2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

2 Gb nowdays is nothing, putting that small amount is a big mistake.. and shortens life cycle!

EDIT: I just hope real next generation will provide us bigger leap forward than this!

+ Show (9) more repliesLast reply 2158d ago
aquamala2158d ago

good to know GTX 680 is 8 times faster than current gen consoles lol

hellvaguy2158d ago

"good to know GTX 680 is 8 times faster than current gen consoles lol "

680 cards are about $500 alone with zero other components. Horrible comparison, even for a hardcore pc fanboy to use. Must be an act of desperation to grasp at such straws.

T9002158d ago


High end GPUs have diminishing returns on increasing performance. However if you took a 150usd GPU of today even that will be doing about 130-150GB/s

Which is still 5-7 times ahead of current consoles. Id say it still makes consoles look pretty bad.

bozebo2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

Actually it's a lot more than 8 times as powerful, the memory is 8 times as fast but the shader performance scales way beyond that.

lfclee2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

xb360 and ps3
360: 22.4 GB/s + eDRAM for framebuffer
360: 22.4 GB/s + eDRAM for framebuffer

Your tripping @ FinalomegaS

BitbyDeath2158d ago

You realise you copied the 360 line twice?

xflo3602158d ago

@asimleonheart - graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics graphics.... why is it that all u people care about is graphics? dispite the current gen being graphicly superior to past gens, litterally not a single game from this gen would be in my top games of all time list. graphics dont mean [email protected]#*!!

AsimLeonheart2158d ago

I absolutely agree with you that graphics do not matter. I myself play several PSone games and have a large PSN classics on my PS3. Hell, I even play Captain Tsubasa on a NES emulator sometimes. I am an old gamer and I haev seen graphics evolving from 2d pixels to sprawling 3D worlds.
It is the Nintendo fans who started the specs war even though WiiU was clearly underpowered. But they were hoping against hope. I just did not like their attitude and wanted them to see and accept reality.

beerkeg2158d ago

'It is the Nintendo fans who started the specs war'

The Specs War is the war to end all wars. It's the big one, it's gonna be apocalyptic.

Not many people are going to walk away from this one, this is bigger than World War 2. This is the real deal.

I can only hope and pray that I can get me and my family through this alive.

God help us all.

meetajhu2153d ago

PC gaming is the best and will always remain the best!

+ Show (2) more repliesLast reply 2153d ago
wishingW3L2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

Wii U Ram is slower than current gen consoles. And so it begins... We already know its CPU is weaker than PS3 and Xbox's too, now the question is, how good is its GPU? Because it'll need to be pretty powerful to make up for all these downfalls. =/

decrypt2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

Lol learn how hardware works. If memory bandwidth is bad it will cripple even the best gpu out there. There is no point matching a powerful GPU with a weak ass memory system. It would only be a waste of resources.

shutUpAndTakeMyMoney2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

so your saying that since wiiU has even less bandwidth than ps3/360 the gpu is bound to be unimpressive?

That's what I got from what you said.

I hope ninty doesn't drag down ps4 & xbox 720.

I don't know If wiiU could have this type of graphics.

Da One2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )


True, very true. Hopefully nintendo can pull of something that makes my jaw drop....hopefully

ProjectVulcan2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

It is possible that Wii U lacks a great deal of main memory bandwidth because the edram actually on the same die as the GPU will offer pretty huge ass bandwidth to operate inside (probably 250+GB/s), and there is 32mb of it, plenty for an entire anti aliased framebuffer.

Nintendo would know that they could get away with cheapo DDR3 memory. It wouldn't be mind blowing but then it is quickly becoming apparent Wii U is not at all significantly faster than 360 and PS3.

I am sure it will still turn out somewhat faster than them, but not so much that it has enough raw performance to easily beat them without very good programming.

Gamer19822159d ago

Slower memory is more import factor then more ram purely because extra ram is helpful for the OS etc but for game because of how consoles are built memory speed is a more important benefactor. However thanks to the controller they could take some of the games features from the actual game and transfer them to the controller to help with the load I guess.

This does mean however the 360 and PS3 is more powerful than WiiU in real terms. Let me put it like this whats the point of being able to fill that extra space if you do it slower than your rivals? The speed bottlenecks the RAM for gaming in a sense and thus is the reason why we are seeing inferior versions of WiiU launch titles when it comes to multi-platform games. Of course you could offset this with longer loading times etc.. But we all know that wouldn't go down well and is seen as papering over the cracks.

bozebo2158d ago (Edited 2158d ago )

Nope. The eDRAM chip will be insanely fast, they can stick textures for rendering a range of models in there, render the models, then slowly pull a new texture in from the slow RAM and use it in the super fast eDRAM chip again (probably has enough space for a few high res textures as well as a few frame-buffers for deferred rendering).

The graphical bottlenecks on current consoles are mostly in the shaders, but also in RAM quantity. I have no doubts that the shaders in the wii-u are vastly faster than the 360's simply because of tech improving (PS3's shaders are not so good, so programmers have to do a lot of things on the SPUs).

People are right to recognize that the slow memory could be an issue, but it really isn't - instancing and deferred rendering make great use of the eDRAM so textures are not loaded from the slow memory too often. On PC, if you have slow vide memory then it will certainly be a bottleneck - because there are no quirks such as eDRAM.

cannon88002159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

massive bottleneck anyone?

3-4-52159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

current Gen has 512 MB of RAM

Wii U = 2 GB

How is that less ?

GraveLord2159d ago

It doesn't have less RAM, it has slower RAM. There is a difference kid. Read all the comments above yours, it pretty much explains why a next-gen consoles which has slower RAM speeds, is a huge negative.

caseh2158d ago

I'm no expert on current gen consoles but slow memory, even in abundance isn't a good thing.

The NES got around the shortage of memory using bank switching which is what im guessing the xbox/ps3 used a variant of. Just swapping things that the game needed in/out of memory as and when it was required.

I wouldn't write the Wii U off just yet though, no dev has drawn the capabilities from a console in its first month, even its first year would be a push.

DeadlyFire2158d ago

It is early speculation that this is not Dual channel memory. If its dual channel then its a plus and actually faster than X360/PS3 memory, but not by leaps and bounds. So many come to downsize the WiiU as soon as it hits the gates.

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Schawk2159d ago (Edited 2159d ago )

Would be nice if we started to see some physical evidence from these articles

ronin4life2159d ago

At the end, they recommend caution in taking these findings too seriously instead of flipping out or something...

Is this really kotaku?