AMD Radeon GPU Powers Nintendo's New Wii U

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News Posted: Wed, Jun 8 2011 11:26 PM
E3's going on this week in California, and gaming's on the menu. But it's not just Nintendo making news, AMD's taking their opportunity as well. The chip maker has this week revealed that every single Wii U sold will also be a sale for AMD. The new Nintendo home console will rely on AMD for HD graphics, with a custom-made Radeon GPU to power the 1080p output. David Wang, corporate vice president of Silicon Engineering, AMD, had this to say: "“AMD shares Nintendo’s excitement for the new HD entertainment experience planned for the Wii U console. We’re proud to provide our leading-edge HD multimedia graphics engine to power the new entertainment features of the console. Nintendo is a highly-valued customer and we look forward to the launch in 2012."

It's hard to say what the GPU will based on in terms of chipsets, but there's no doubt that it'll be powerful -- a big change from the existing Wii. So, AMD's in...maybe Intel's at the helm in some way, too?

AMD and Nintendo Join Forces To Create A New Way To Enjoy Console Gaming Entertainment

AMD’s custom HD graphics processor enables immersive HD multimedia gaming entertainment for Nintendo’s new Wii U™ console

LOS ANGELES —6/7/2011

Today at E3, AMD (NYSE: AMD) announced its support for Nintendo’s newly-announced Wii U™ system, as a new way to enjoy HD console gaming entertainment. The custom AMD Radeon™ HD GPU reflects the best characteristics of AMD’s graphics technology solutions: high-definition graphics support; rich multimedia acceleration and playback; and multiple display support. As an industry leader, AMD has supplied the game console market with graphics expertise and ongoing support for more than 10 years.

“We greatly value our synergistic relationship with the AMD design team.  The AMD custom graphics processor delivers the best of AMD’s world-class graphics expertise.  AMD will support our vision of innovating play through unique entertainment experiences," said Genyo Takeda, senior managing director, Integrated Research & Development of Nintendo Co. Ltd.

“AMD shares Nintendo’s excitement for the new HD entertainment experience planned for the Wii U console,” said David Wang, corporate vice president of Silicon Engineering, AMD. “We’re proud to provide our leading-edge HD multimedia graphics engine to power the new entertainment features of the console. Nintendo is a highly-valued customer and we look forward to the launch in 2012.”

AMD custom graphics enable the new Nintendo system to provide exciting, immersive game play and interaction for consumers around the world. The AMD custom graphics processor features a modern and rich graphics processing core, allowing the new console to shine with new graphics capabilities.
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It would be nice to know the specs on this system though I know Nintendo is being closed mouth on them. I hope they upgraded the optical drive to blu-ray since those prices are so much lower then they were when the original Wii came out. So we have Nintendo with AMD graphics and Xbox 360 with Nvidia chips. Do you think Sony will enlist one of the 2 big graphics chip makers for their next full console?

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CDeeter replied on Thu, Jun 9 2011 8:50 AM

It is really shaping up to be very interesting times for AMD. They really seem to be on a roll, and this could really be the shot in the arm (not to mention the bottom line) that they need.

Congratulations on a major design win AMD!

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Schmich replied on Thu, Jun 9 2011 9:27 AM

I remember reading that the CPU comes from IBM. It's based on the same architecture that Watson has.

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It could get confused with a SFF HTPC near a TV as it looks so much like a SFF PC.

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Joel H replied on Thu, Jun 9 2011 3:25 PM

So here's how the CPU on the current Wii breaks down. (Note: Some of this is unconfirmed).

The Gamecube used a modified PowerPC 750CXe, codenamed Gekko. It ran at 485MHz and included specialized SIMD instructions the standard 750 processors lacked. It was built on a 180nm process.

Broadway (the Wii's CPU) is almost certainly an evolved Gekko. It was originally built on a 90nm process, used SOI, and ran at 729MHz (50 percent faster than its predecessor). It kept the Gekko's 64K L1/256K L2 and used a 243MHz 64-bit FSB (50 percent faster than the GC).

Current data indicates that the Wii U's CPU will use 45nm tech. That implies that IBM or GlobalFoundries is handling the fabrication, with IBM being more likely given Nintendo's long history of working with the company. If Nintendo follows past trends, the Wii U's CPU will be ~50 percent faster than its current chip. Such a move should significantly close the performance gap between the XBox 360 / PS3 and the Wii--though Nintendo may well opt to dedicate the additional processor to the handheld tablet as opposed to using it to simply deliver more eye candy.

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Thanks Joel for the update it would be very interesting to see if the processor maybe even surpasses the Xbox 360 and PS3's power though I don't think that will happen. The graphics processor that AMD is providing for them is certain to turn some heads.

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AKwyn replied on Thu, Jun 9 2011 10:14 PM

omegadraco:
it would be very interesting to see if the processor maybe even surpasses the Xbox 360 and PS3's power though I don't think that will happen.

The Xbox 360 and PS3's power has already been surpassed by today's PC components. I'm guessing with today's technology, the Wii U should be the most powerful and best looking console by default.

 

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coolice replied on Fri, Jun 10 2011 12:22 AM

Meh.... with consoles, the specs dont really matter... I mean, sure it will be all fine and dandy... but just think about it... its a console, not upgradeable. It should be judged by how innovative it is and what games are offered and how fun it is.

Specs.... meh.

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AKwyn replied on Fri, Jun 10 2011 2:45 AM

coolice:
Specs.... meh.

Specs are the reason why our graphics for PC's have been dumbed down; though I suspect this is due to the fact that the PS3 and Xbox 360 hasn't been replaced with a new console despite better hardware being available. (DX11 is all the hype.)

I just made that comment because of rumors I've heard about it being as powerful (or even more) then the Xbox 360; and Nintendo's is going to be innovative for the new controller and the fact you can still use your Wiimote with it, and revolutionary for ushering in a new era of graphics while leaving Sony and Microsoft in the preverial dust. (2005 and 2006 was a long time ago.)

I would think the same way "Specs... Meh." but then again, we are in the midst of a new era in computing, powered by Bulldozer of course.

 

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imAcpufan replied on Fri, Jun 10 2011 3:57 PM

Here's some disc format info right from Nintendo's website....

"A single self-loading media bay will play 12-centimeter proprietary high-density optical discs for the new console, as well as 12-centimeter Wii optical discs"

I was wondering if they'd include blu-ray, but I guess not.

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