Hacker Says He Cracked Open The Wii U, CPU Is Nothing Special

Hector Martin, he who put together the first open-source driver for Microsoft's Kinect two years ago, now says he's cracked open the Wii U.

He won't say what he did to get the details out of Nintendo's latest console, but he did tweet some juicy (and very, very technical) tidbits about the system:

So what can we make of all this? For starters, it sounds like Kotaku's reporting over the summer -- that the Wii U will be a "power orphan" compared to its next-gen competitors -- was spot on. As Stephen wrote then:

But one insider who has had access to the machine says that the console's impressive AMD Radeon-based graphics chip is off-set by a CPU that runs at low speeds, can do out-of-order processing but has fewer threads than the 360.

Also worth noting: just last week, one of the developers behind Metro: Last Light said the Wii U has a "horrible, slow CPU". Martin's discoveries seem to match that theory, as well as Digital Foundry's thoughts on how Mass Effect 3 runs on the three different consoles.

We'll be following this story and continuing to talk to developers about the Wii U's power as time goes on.


    Wow... thats... erm... Not good.

    It just means that devs will have to adapt a little bit, like programming for the PS3.... oh crap!

    The more they have to work at it the less inclined they will be - just look at what Sony is doing with the PS4 CPU.

    I think I'll be skipping the WiiU unless something absolutely mind bogglingly wonderful comes out exclusively on the console. But there's nothing on the horizon yet.

    I still can't believe people are buying Nintendo products. Other than the staple games that will be released on it, I'm sure the schedule of games will lull considerably like every other console leaving only really a handful of Nintendo exclusives to keep the thing afloat.

    World why u no learn from their previous bumbles?

      Because some of the staple games are fantastic must-plays and I like the idea of being able to switch between the TV and handheld at will?

        Valid point made. I MUST be getting old and cranky.

        Oh, and get off my lawn!!

      Why wouldn't I? They make some of the best games hands down! Nintendo themselves have already said they have a few games ready they haven't announced to ensure we don't have another 3DS wait-a-thon. And to have a lull is not exclusive to Nintendo products either - every other console/handheld suffers that too after release. 360's for me was very barren and boring.

      At the end of the day, I have my Wii U for the Nintendo exclusive (and its looking like anything that's multiplatform now - sorry 360!) and my PC for my high end.

      Whats it to you? Are you so full of yourself that you think that your opinion is the only one that matters. Heres a lesson. People in the world like different things and not always the same things you do. The sooner you learn this the better off you will be. People need to wake the fk up to themselves and realise they arent the centre of the universe.

      You see i could ask you why you like the console of choice too, but that seriously is a stupid question. You like it because you like it. No one should have to explain their choices to anyone.

      BTW i hope that all those bleeding hearts and hype only buyers dont buy the Wii U. Although its funny listening to them whining about their decision to buy a product thats not right for them, it gets boring after a while. You know those fools that bought into the hype of the Wii without doing any research whether or not its the right product for them or expecting it to be like a ps3 or 360 when it was always going to be a different console. Please use your head people. Dont blame Nintendo that your a sucker for hype.

      Last edited 30/11/12 2:05 pm

      Because nintendo have stuck with a system that has otherwise been missing since the arcades - they focus on fun rather then visuals.

      -personally i can't stand xbox, I tried playing in xbox live but listening to 13 year olds scream f$$$ you you f$$$$n n00b f$##t over a microphone is not fun for me... I am also old and cranky

      kidcynic - There are others like you and me. But most Nintendo loyalists don't over think their games. They just enjoy it and have fun. Mario WiiU would probably give them just as much enjoyment as a PC 'RPG gamer' would get out of a new Elders Scrolls game. if Nintendo = fun, to them, that's all that matters. Nothing wrong with that.

      For me, I gave up on Nintendo after the disappointing Gamecube. i gave the Wii a chance - Bought into the hype and wasted $400 on that dust collector at launch. Not this time around. i'll be skipping this dated piece of shit and waiting for the next Playstation and Xbox.

        Sorry if I stepped on toes but biggus pretty much sums it up in one for me.

    Woot, go Marcan.
    Just preordered a premium pack yesterday from Big W for $358. Couldn't let that slip.
    Now we wait for SSB, Zelda and Pikmin

      Pikmin 3 can not get here soon enough.. Don't forget Monster Hunter 3 Ultimate either!

    Seriously? We already knew all of this - its not like its a big shock now. The point he is making that I don't think you have grasped on in this article is that while it cant be compared clock for clock there is definitely more going for it. Not going to be a game changer, no, but hell im enjoying the heck out of my Wii U so far.

    Hey! As gamers who really cares. It's Nintendo! They always make great innovative Mario and Zelda games...
    oh wait...

    It's a console it's supposed to be sub par technology, did he expect to find a i7 under the hood of the $350 console.


    So yes, the Wii U CPU is nothing to write home about...

    Apparently it is, however, something to write a whole bunch of tweets about.

    With more games/franchises expanding to a Nintendo appearance (GTA rumored aswell), Microsoft and Sony will have their work cut out for them trying to sell their next consoles, they will have to deliver superior hardware and make full use of it, in order to convince people not to go for an existing console with a large software base (which the Wii U will have by then). Delivering a PS4 and x720 with similar specs to the Wii U will backfire.

    Isn't he saying here that the Processor is better? I can't be misreading that last tweet. "...but don't compare it clock per clock with a 360 and claim it's much worse. It isn't." Pretty sure he's saying it's better than a 360, cyclically.

      Yes, he's saying that the Wii U is definitely better than the 360 in terms of these specs provided, but it's nothing mindblowing that the 720 or PS4 could potentially be

      I think the key term is "MUCH worse", so it could still be worse, just not by much. Going by what developers are saying about it, a little worse is probably what we can expect.

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