Wii U eDRAM Explained by Shin'en

Iran White writes:

Lately, and really all along, there has been some confusion as to just how the large amount of eDRAM (32mb) fits into the Wii U memory hierarchy, and just what advantages the huge amount gives the Wii U.

Shin’en, whom we feel know as well as anyone in the business, have been so gracious as to offer the gaming world what they describe as the General Impression they have of Wii U eDRAM.

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Need4Game2895d ago

All Xbox 360 games on Wii U, why not?

Qrphe2895d ago

Regardless of what they say, they obviously didn't have enough resources to do what they wanted with the game since NAN ended up 720p.

ibroman2895d ago

They only used one core for that game i bet if theybused more it would be 1080p.

disciple92895d ago

They actually had the game running in 1080p, but it was a waste of fill rate as the game looked no different, so they used those resources for extra effects instead

Qrphe2895d ago


Exactly my point, they didn't have the extra sauce for 1080p. Same reason Toki Tori 2 went 720, Pikmin 3, W101, MK8, etc.

PopRocks3592895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

Mario Kart 8 is confirmed to be 1080p.

So is Zelda Wind Waker HD.

So is Smash Bros.

disciple92895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

And you took a vague approach and assumed the system wasn't strong enough to do 1080p even though mario kart 8 the most visually impressive Wii U game atm and one of the most visually impressive games period is running at 1080p 60fps. By that approach ps4 and xbox one don't have enough juice to do the same as their games all ran at 1080p 30fps. They used one core basically, and only 20% of the consoles resources and with that they ran the game on two screens, done effects that they couldn't do on PS3 and Xbox 360, had very impressive visuals for a launch title and none of it was really optimised and despite only running in 720p(by choice) they still had a solid 60fps. That to me is very promising. The console may not be as powerful as xbox one or ps4 but it's definitely no slouch

Qrphe2895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

MK8 hasn't been confirmed 1080p at all. The screenshots Nintendo released in fact show a build running in something much lower than 1080p.


I fail to see how that's a source of anything as far as MK8's resolution. The other two are 1080p however.

RFornillos42895d ago

@Qrphe, i believe you're not getting disciple9's point. it's not that they didn't have the extra sauce for 1080p, in fact the console is capable of that as pointed out by PopRocks (confirmed games to be 1080p) -- since they noticed that rendering in 1080p for their game didn't look any different when rendered in 720p, they decided to use the extra resources for other effects.

and to quote Shin'en's statement: "So all in all ‘Nano Assault Neo’ only used a fraction of the currently available resources on Wii U and looks and plays quite nice. And for the future, don’t forget that in many consoles, early in their life cycle, not all resources were already useable or accessible via the SDK." -- the fact is, they didn't even use all the available resources of the console.

looking at Wii U's games now, it's comparable and at times better than newer PS3/360 titles (recent releases). and this is still early into Wii U's cycle. going back to the games released on PS3/360 during their early cycles, games didn't look as beautiful, yet late into the cycle we get games like Halo 4 and The Last of Us, which are superb.

so as Shin'en said: "So we are sure the best is yet to come for Wii U."

starfox792894d ago (Edited 2894d ago )

Devs are aloud to choose weather a certain game needs it ?? they basically say with half the edram in wiiu that we know of 16MB u can get 1080p native,so wiiu has 32MB and in that 30% unknown there is said to be another 32MB/64MB ?? also Miyamoto said they might make pikimin3 4k compatible could answer that rumour of lots more edram,if 16MB gets you 1080p i'm thinking 64MB gets you 4k support it's easy maths.

SilentNegotiator2894d ago (Edited 2894d ago )


Your first source offers neither quote from Nintendo, nor evidence. That's why you're using lesser known sites; because they're getting their "facts" from sites like WiiUDaily and NintendoEverything.

Of course Zelda Wind Waker HD runs in 1080p; it's a 2 generation old game that uses cel shading. It would be beyond pathetic if it wasn't.

Smash Brothers is the only 8th gen game on that list that is confirmed 1080p.

Don't let sites like GamingBolt fool you with redirected lies from sites like WiiUDaily. Remember when ZombiU was supposed to be 1080p?

lilbroRx2894d ago (Edited 2894d ago )

That is false. They had NAN running at 1080 60FPS. There are still videos of it.

They stated clearly that the reason they made it 720p is because it actually look better than it does at 1080p. They were able to ad post processing effects that they couldn't do at 1080p 60 FPS.

Get your facts straight.

TruthbeTold2894d ago

Another thing to take into account about Nano Assault Neo beside the fact that they purposely went for 720p, is that they were not trying to push the hardware at all. They stated in the earlier interview that Nano Assault Neo was a test run of sorts, so that they could get a great little game out on the system, and learn what it's capable of. They did, and plan to go further with their future games.

Are people really trying to make the argument that because NAN is 720p, that these guys couldn't do it, and are lying? That's offensive.

herbs2894d ago

Starfox79 don't be silly :{ Miyamoto said a game like Pikmen could benefit from 4K resolution enabling the player to see more of the environment etc. I absolutely can't stand it when fanboys like yourself twist words or facts to your own fanboy logic agenda. Stop spreading your fanboy delusions Foolfox your making an ass of yourself clogging the message boards and giving false hope to other delusional fanboys like yourself.

Stroke6662894d ago

@herbs...jumping to 4k? I believe the debate was a bout 1080p vs the 720p they chose to use. Yes miyamoto said a game like pikimin would benefit from 4k as far as sesing more of the environments however in 1080p its still going to be a sight to behold

Qrphe2894d ago

This is confirmation that the E3 MK8 demo was running at a much lower resolution than Smash. Both screenshots are provided by Nintendo.

herbs2894d ago

Stroke666 read the comments before posting or are you illiterate? Can you not comprehend that I was pointing out someone else's stupidity? Notice how the first sentence is replying to someone else. READ and COMPREHEND before posting.

+ Show (12) more repliesLast reply 2894d ago
mrbojingles2895d ago

WOW They only used ONE CPU Core on Nano Assault Neo. That game is super pretty.

falcon972890d ago (Edited 2890d ago )

herbs: he said compatible ?? read this punk...

please stop talking rubbish youve been scarred by all the fake twisted articles on here,now your officially delusional because Miyamoto said compatible,the author says it might benefit ????

mrbojingles2889d ago

Calm down you're taking this stuff way too seriously. God forbid people on the web have differing opinions than you.

I don't know if you think I was being sarcastic or what, I wasn't. What's wrong with being impressed by Shin'en's developing skills on a platform, much less a good game like Nano Assault?

MNGamer-N2895d ago

Can we quit whining about ram now and enjoy next gen games please? Thanks.

ChickeyCantor2895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

If people stopped talking about power then maybe. Maybe then developers wouldn't have the need to explain their platform.

andrewer2895d ago

wow, 5 disagrees tell everything. gamers, what is more important to you?

PopRocks3592895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

SSpecs are great for arguing facts, such as PS4 being the strongest and therefor most graphically capable platform of generation eight. However in the end, the PC will gain parts in a year or so that flatten that console; it's just how the market has worked for decades.

And yet despite that people are very excited for the new consoles despite not necessarily being on par with PC tech. Why? Games. Games, games and more games. That's all it boils down to in the end. Subjectivity is the word I would use.

Love Killzone and Ratchet? PS4 > PC.

Love Mario and Zelda? Wii U > PS4.

Love Halo and Killer Instinct? XB1 > Wii U.

And I'm sure you could make an argument for PC, but I don't really follow PC games so I don't have one for that lol.

tl;dr Games will typically decide your favorite console, not its specs. The ones who SHOULD be concerned about specs are PC gamers since specs are very important for running games on the platform. With consoles, most games that are developed are tailored for it so you need not worry about such things.

zebramocha2895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

@mngamer the ps4 and bone 7BG to 5GB for games code,the wiiu only has 1GB for games.

@sidar have you seen digital foundry shadow of the colossus ps2 vs ps3 ? The ps3 has better frame rate,if the ps2 had the ps3 power then that game would've looked and play better.

ChickeyCantor2895d ago

What is your point? What does that have to do with anything I said?

zebramocha2895d ago

I was going by the first part of your comment about power,you make sound like it's irrelevant,my point being if the game is pushing something to the extreme then it does matter.

@pop PC's are fragmented in power so there is not point trying max out 780 when most don't have that or a balance configuration.

starfox792894d ago (Edited 2894d ago )

WiiU has Havok nextgen built into devkits with compression x10,in other words 1GB is now 10GB,yes ps4 and xbox could also use it but what games would ever need 70GB or 50GB ? i'll tell u none a game bigger than say 10GB isnt even possible with the time and resourses you get even on a AAA game so RAM isn't a bottleneck sorry try again...

Plus if WiiU uses 1.5GB in the future that would be 15GB with compression...

Also Sony themselves said ps4 isn't much more powerful than ps3,Sony's words.....?

Also X is open world everything you see is realtime and Killzone was just a fps not in an open word and X still looked technically better,also X is doing lots more open world,mech vehicles,land,air,water,city&# 39;s,weather cycles even rainbows,ect Killzone does none of these things sorry....

ziratul2895d ago

Wii U is more powerfull than XBOX 360 and PS3 when used properly, but problem is that Modern engines like Unreal 4 are focused on even stronger hardware PS4 and XBOX one have. I am Wii U/PC user and I hope those two will satisfy my gaming needs just fine.

Catnip2895d ago

I'm Wii U/PC as well, and other than missing a few Sony exclusives, I think I'll be all set this generation!

andrewer2895d ago

PC/Nintendo always worked for me, it's the perfect combination IMO. When PC has the power and tons of games, Wii U has the exclusives that I really want to play.

disciple92895d ago

I have to agree, even the best looking game on Xbox One, Titanfall is coming to PC and that was the only thing swaying me to buy that console. When you don't bother with Sony or Microsoft and have a PC you only miss out on a few good games and most times they are not really system sellers in my opinion. But with Nintendo you could miss out on loads of great games that you can only get on a Nintendo system. Hence why the industry is pushing for them to go third party so much, cos they want Nintendo games but don't want a Nintendo console. Foolish if you ask me cos like with all things in life, you can't have it all

zeroskie2895d ago

Even if that's true, you're comparing a next gen console with 2 last gen consoles.

jcnba282895d ago

If they have no problem optimizing UE4 for mobile, I'm sure they can do it for Wii U.

ABizzel12895d ago

It's not the same engine.

UE4 mobile is not UE4 used on PC and consoles, the same with Frostbite Go.

Dgander2895d ago

ABizzel1 The PS4 UE4 demo didnt look as good as the PC demo so my guess is no console version is the same as the PC version.

EliteGameKnight2895d ago

So the Wii U is powerful then? Nano Assault Neo is a very attractive game, and to say that it uses only a fraction of the Wii U's resources is excellent news. I hope this puts to rest that foolish rumor that the system is only as capable as current gen systems.

Angeljuice2895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )


I somehow doubt that.

But it may prompt the questions:

If it is so easy to program for, why do the games take so long to surface?

If they are barely touching the power of the system, why are they not pushing the hardware harder?

Edit: Sorry, just the way my cynical mind works.

EliteGameKnight2895d ago

I fear that the slow announcments of games may stem from the low point in Wii U sales that have plagued the system for the past few months. It may also be caused by the release of poorly made ports from a number of developers hoping to make some fast money off of the system's initial release.

Quality game creation is a slow process and if there is rumor and conjecture surrounding the system, saddly some may opt out of creating games for it.

On the bright side however, more support may come due to the apparent success of Pikmin 3 in Japan. Since its release two days ago, The Wii U is above PS3 and X360 in sales. If those sales translate over to the North American and European markets, then sales will hopefully be back on track, and support will also return.

ChickeyCantor2895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

"If it is so easy to program for, why do the games take so long to surface?

When people say it's easy to develop for console X they mean it's easy to interface with the hardware to perform certain features. Thus programing for said console is easy.

This however has NOTHING to do with the complexity of crafting your games and the direction you're heading into. Gamelogic and Art assets need time.

New games usually build on modules from other other projects. Such as A.I. components. This saves tremendous time. But specific game mechanics most of the time need to be written from either ground up or in combination with existing code. Standard game assets are mostly reused, specific art assets is build from the ground up.
Starting from scratch takes way more time. Either Way you need to write code and create assets.

The complexity of the project is determined by the ambitions of the developers/designers. WiiUs api takes away most of the low level programming and gives developers a high level interface. This way developers can focus more on creating games and its content. Games simply take time to make, Nintendo only gave them some leverage so that they get their project off the ground faster. After that developers need to do all the complex stuff that makes the game.

bobacdigital2895d ago

Look at how many ported games ran on the Wii U without much of an issue without an immense amount of optimization... Some of them actually had PC Textures also like Need for Speed and Trine...

The games that ported over to the Wii U from the 360 and PS3 were late gen releases.. It took those consoles almost to the end of their lifespan to be able to produce that kind visual fidelity.. The Wii U is running all those ports on roughly 1.2ghz and at less than half the wattage (33w peak output so far).. It is also doing it without much optimization to its tools to build software.. PS3 and XBOX had the benefit of the tools being refined over 5 to 6 years.. You couldnt even IMAGINE The Last of Us on a PS3 until what 6 years later? It took multiple uncharted games to get there.

Also lets not forget it is also mirroring it to the tablet as well in a separate resolution. COD Blackops 2 can run split screen on the tablet and television with each player doing their own thing...

The Wii U has power .. it has shown it by running most prior gen games with little optimization... Once we see a game actually built FROM the ground up on the Wii U a year or so from now we will all start to see what it can do ...

Nano Assault and Pikmin are a good indication of what it can do now .. but after Smash Bros and Mario Kart we will see what it truly can do.

Ju2895d ago

^^ You are probably right. But (!) the problem with that is, we have played those games already. The tablet doesn't really help because it prevents the WiiU to go beyond PS360. Need for Speed was optimized to reach the frame rate of current gens. And while there might be more in the box, it was/is the wrong time for Nintendo. By the time they will probably utilize the potential, we are already in the next gen which again will leave the WiiU behind. A little bit cheaper and it will have a market for the typical Nintendo games, but I doubt it will take over the mainstream or even be able to compete. I'd hope it would drop in price eventually (<$200) just to consider it a second machine. I have no need for "just" another console - that slot is already filled.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 2895d ago
ABizzel12895d ago

Ok I ignored the first person, but Nano Assault Neo has a great art style, but it's not a technically demanding game as evident by the amount of Wii U resources used.

That being said the Wii U is the more powerful overall compared to the PS360, however, the PS360 has several advantages over the Wii U (CPU, naturally good RAM speeds by comparison, Blu Ray / DVD?). The problem I personally have with the Wii U is that the Wii U is 6 years older than the PS3 and 7 years older than the Xbox 360, and it doesn't flat out out perform them.

A Quad-Core CPU, 4GB of RAM, and any GPU 6550d < would have been all Nintendo needed to flat out beat the PS360 hardware wise and instantly show the difference in performance, as well as provide the console with enough power that developers could still port PS4 and X1 games down to the Wii U. But instead Nintendo tried to pull another Wii and make an anemic console compared to the hardware available to them (even low end parts were good at the time).

I've enjoyed my time with the Wii U, and it's more than likely my second next-gen console purchase, but Nintendo failed when it came to giving the Wii U the horsepower it should have had for evolution's and competition's sake. A lesson learned hopefully.

TruthbeTold2895d ago

If you take into account the separate ARM processor that runs the operating system, and leaves the 3 CPU cores for pure gaming, the Wii U, for all intents and purposes is a quad core.

Also, considering the small amount of RAM the last gen systems had, AND had a large portion of dedicated to the OS, the fact that many of the tougher memory intensive tasks are handled by the eDRAM, then the 1 gig dedicated to gaming, and 2 gigs overall of the Wii U is quite a jump.

Plain and simple, specs wise, PS4 and XBox One have more RAM, and more powerful GPU's. CPU-wise though, all things considered (cores dedicated to this and that, much longer pipelines, and lower core per core performance), the Wii U can hang, and overall, the Wii U is behind, but is a plenty capable machine.

ABizzel12895d ago (Edited 2895d ago )

"If you take into account the separate ARM processor that runs the operating system, and leaves the 3 CPU cores for pure gaming, the Wii U, for all intents and purposes is a quad core."

From what the developer said the Wii U is a Tri-Core CPU, that functions more like a single core CPU that acts with tri-threading but weaker threads.

The ARM processor running the OS is great for CPU usage, but that doesn't help with the fact that the CPU isn't good to begin with.

"Also, considering the small amount of RAM the last gen systems had, AND had a large portion of dedicated to the OS, the fact that many of the tougher memory intensive tasks are handled by the eDRAM, then the 1 gig dedicated to gaming, and 2 gigs overall of the Wii U is quite a jump."

The 360 only had 10% of RAM dedicated to the OS while playing games, the PS3; however, has the same problems the Wii U has with split RAM . The eDRAM is beneficial, but it doesn't help with the fact that the RAM isn't large enough for the evolving demand of games (see the trend).

When bringing a game from PC down to PS360 there are HUGE compromises to where generally 2 teams have to build 2 versions of the same game. Those same compromises are going to have to be made for the Wii U, the problem for Nintendo right now is that the Wii U hasn't sold enough units to warrant the work it takes to port it down to the Wii U, while PS360 have about 80 million users each, and PS4 and X1 can receive a direct port since they're powerful enough. That's why developers are saying the Wii U will end up being a Nintendo 1st party only platform if they don't get sales up, and they don't drop publishing fees (which they've just done).

"Plain and simple, specs wise, PS4 and XBox One have more RAM, and more powerful GPU's. CPU-wise though, all things considered (cores dedicated to this and that, much longer pipelines, and lower core per core performance), the Wii U can hang, and overall, the Wii U is behind, but is a plenty capable machine."

I agree, the CPU realm of all 3 consoles are lackluster IMO. The 8 cores for the PS4 and X1 are their saving grace, but the jump in CPU performance from the last gen isn't comparable to the RAM and GPU outside of OOE.

Overall the Wii U is more powerful than the PS360, but none of the 3 are powerful enough to continue into the next-gen. Lifetime sales are the only thing that will keep the support coming.

ibroman2895d ago

Have you seen the X trailer? It looks better than any ps360 game i've played by a longshot.