Wii U To Sport 3GHz Quad-Core And 768MB RAM?

Wii U To Sport 3GHz Quad-Core And 768MB RAM?

UPDATE: A poster has correctly pointed out that IBM previously announced the Wii U will use a POWER7 chip, not a PowerPC one. While this casts doubt on these specs, the low-end variant of the POWER7 is four-core and clocked at 3GHz.

Since the Wii U was announced, we’ve had vague morsels of information deposited into our brains regarding its actual specifications. We now have an unconfirmed report of the console’s potential hardware configuration in terms of megabytes and gigahertz.

WiiUDaily has apparently been in contact with a Japanese developer who was happy to spill specifics. On the CPU side, we should expect a quad-core, PowerPC chip clocked at 3GHz, “very similar” in design to the Xbox 360’s processor. Memory-wise, 768MB will be shared between the CPU and GPU.

Both claims are gently supported by earlier statements from Ubisoft that the Wii U will have a “multi-core” processor and a “large memory capacity”. Sadly, the developer WiiUDaily spoke with had nothing of import to deliver regarding the GPU, other than the fact it’s 45nm and designed by ATI.

For comparison purposes, the Wii has a 729MHz, single-core CPU and 88MB of shared memory. So, yeah, with these specs it kind of destroys Nintendo’s current little white box. Not that speed and storage matter to a solid gaming experience — the Wii has shown that you don’t need grunt to shift ridiculous amounts of units, as long as you don’t care about third-party titles.

Other than WiiUDaily’s source, there’s not a great deal to back up this information. When you consider the hardware is probably yet to be finalised, and developer consoles tend to have different specifications to retail models — additional RAM is quite common to give programmers and artists some extra space to play with — it’s best to keep this in the rumour folder for the time being.

Wii U has quad core 3GHz CPU, 768 MB of RAM [WiiUDaily]


  • Next from Sony/Micro soft. At least a 4Ghz Cpu possibly hex core/hyperthreaded and at least 2Gb of ram? All runing on new chip architecture?

      • xbox is the easiest console to code for, if it does turn out to be similar i hope that will lead to way more third party games, cause srsly, im so sick of mario. like, done, over, SICK of mario.

        • I think that’s what they were going for – no-one wants another PS3 situation where devs are complaining about it.

        • Yes, but the hardware is only half the story. DirectX9 and the various other software interfaces are so much more well documented and refined compared to the PS3/Wii equivalents.
          That being said, Jason Gregory (the lead programmer of Naughty Dog), in his book “Game Engine Architecture”, basically said that coding and optimising engines for the PS3 requires a completely different approach to other hardware (mostly thanks to the unique SPU-dependent hardware arrangement).

    • nope, i saw a vid interview about porting Darksiders 2 to Wii u, took them about 5 weeks and roughly two lines of code to make it appear on the controller.

  • 768MB of ram is now a “large memory capacity”? In WHAT universe is that a “large memory capacity”?!

    Hell, my mobile phone has more than that!!

    • That’s quite a bit for a gaming machine or any other specialized computing device. In comparison, ps3 has 256MB of general ram and another 256 of video ram.

      • And it’s half a decade old. 6gb is a small amount of ram now for PC’s, 16gb isn’t even ‘large’ anymore. 256 is just a bottlenecking joke.

        • If you want a console to only cost a few hundred, its not going to have 16gb, nor should you even need that much in a specialised device.

          • I’m not sure about 6GB being a small amount for the average PC. According to Steam’s latest hardware survey, 4GB is the average, with machines on 5GB+ making up 26%. Not an insignificant amount, but surely not enough to say 6GB is paltry. 🙂


        • But remebre that consoles are dedicated for gaming, so they don´t need those 6gb of ram. Windows, Mac OS and Linux take space in the ram and, thus, need extra memory for the game. Consoles have the game built as the OS of the machine and can take almost all the ram for itself.

    • Yep, definitely bucket loads for a console. I know some programmers that would be, uh, very excited about having this much memory to play with.

    • 768 – 1gb embedded DRAM. No computer CPUs have this much embedded Dram. It has to be a mistake.
      I think the Xbox360 has 10mb EDRAM.

      • Looking further. In the early information from IBM about the WiiU the never said what sort of processor they were using, just that it was using similar technology to Watson. what they did say was – . IBM tells us that within the Wii U there’s a 45nm custom chip with “a lot” of embedded DRAM.
        Is it possible to have a gig of EDRAM?

  • As long as it does full HD 1080p and some decent anti aliasing and keep solid frame rates then that should be enough for todays standard TVs. Anything more though welcome would not be necessary for the vast majority of its potential userbase.

    Think about it why would you put more then 1080p? There are no TVs doing more then that these days, and 3D might be possible on it, though even if it is its hardly a mainstream medium yet (yes i have a 3D pc monitor) and for the forseeable future. So if sony or microsoft were to drop a new console i dont see how making it ridiculously more powerful then the Wii U would be a huge advantage anyway. Wii U already slated to do 1080p so that wow factor is gone, there will be higher resolution screens in the next 5 years but they wont be the standard so that wont be an advantage either. Past console history shows the most powerful console never equated to market dominance and finally doing so put both sony and microsoft in heavy debt for most of the consoles life (although they should be making a profit now). If you look at the facts this coupled with the new controller and a decent launch price should be very smart moves and timing for Nintendo.

    • A lot of people seem to think that the most important evolution in consoles is their graphical capabilities, but, as you’ve pointed out, the rest of the technology has to be at the same level.

      Another thing to note, is that the Wii U will be released much earlier than the other two consoles. It doesn’t need to have the same level of power, because it will be running on simpler TVs and will have at least a year of profit to make up for potential losses later in it’s life.

    • A decent processor doesn’t just allow better graphics. A lot of programmers are complaining about the lack of grunt to produce superior AI and levels on the scale as Crysis.

  • The DS wasn’t particularly beefy, shifted tons of units, and had lots of developer support. The problem Nintendo have always had is that they’ve never been particularly accommodating towards third parties; developers put up with it back in the day where it was either Nintendo or Atari, who saw third parties as a threat. These days they don’t have to. Keep an eye on news of middleware like Scaleform and Unreal Engine being available for the WiiU – that’s a much more telling sign of the WiiU’s success than system specs.

  • As several posters pointed out on destructoid, IBM has already announced the processor and this isn’t it. Probable fake.

    • Hey Thom, I’ve followed up on this and you’re right, it’s a POWER7 chip, not a PowerPC one. However, the low-end variant of this processor is quad-core and clocked at 3GHz, so those specs could still be accurate.

      • What was announced was announced by IBM is that they’ll use a Power Architecture (note, Power, not POWER) – that’s IBMs catch-all descriptor for the whole product line including PPC.

        PowerPC is a derived instruction set from the main POWER set – it’s effectively the same architecture. IBM markets both along with the Cell and some other POWER derivations under a single catch-all. Essentially, PowerPC is a sub-set of POWER, so a higher-end current PowerPC would also be a POWER7 at the same time. Basically Apple, Motorola and IBM jointly developed the PowerPC based off IBM’s original POWER in order to use it for the Power Mac product lines when they realised the old Motorola 68k wasn’t cutting it any more.

        Nintendo used a PowerPC in the Gamecube, and another newer one in the Wii. Given that Nintendo announced that it’s going to be 100% compatible with Wii games, the Wii U would have to use PowerPC as well.

      • Looking further. In the early information from IBM about the WiiU the never said what sort of processor they were using, just that it was using similar technology to Watson. what they did say was – . IBM tells us that within the Wii U there’s a 45nm custom chip with “a lot” of embedded DRAM.
        Is it possible to have a gig of EDRAM?

  • How is 768MB a big amount of memory? My computer has 16GB, it strikes me as odd they they don’t even have 4GB or so. It seems kind of lame to me, but maybe consoles utilise ram differently to PC.

    • See the above comments.

      PC memory is not comparable to console memory. This is a fair amount for a console. The 360, for example, has 512 MB.

    • Please remember that these are just rumours. But you should note that 768 MB of ram is not that bad for a console that runs games. Your computer requires more ram to run the operating system, all the applications you have open, and than some for games. You have 16 GB of ram, I will bet that unless you have 3 games open you will not be using much of that ram at all. The Wii U will only be running one game at a time plus some other minor functions (like downloading in the background]. The Wii had 88 MB of ram, the Gamecube had 24 MB, and the 3DS has 128 MB of ram, with the Vita carrying 512 MB, this is plenty of memory for a dedicated console where the games can use all the ram.

  • It’s as bout as good as you could expect from a company who always sell hardware at a profit from day one.Unlike the other maor players Nintendo never sell hardware at a loss, games are all they do and they don’t have a huge multi-national corparation to underwrite losses untill they break even.
    These spec’s along with a good to decent graphics chip say an ati 5770 or so will blow the current gen consoles out of the water and it still might get a 2 year head start on the other new consoles, long enough to establish a following.

  • Based on these comments, I don’t think some people realise how much of PC ram is used/wasted by programs and not used in games at all… I mean, looking at mine right now, firefox is using half a gig, windows media player is somehow using 250mb (IT’S NOT EVEN OPEN?) and skype is 150mb… ignoring whatever windows itself is using… all overheads that a console doesn’t have to deal with.

  • Im no student of hardware architecture but to me it sounds like this is a comparable upgrade in power to the current HD consoles as the Wii was to the Gamecube. Would I be correct in saying this?

    • Probably. It will be more powerful than the PS3 and 360, but not by a huge amount. You have to remember, though, that this is coming out next year. Sony and Microsoft won’t be releasing their consoles for at least two years. Like the Wii, this console will be aiming to make large profits early, before the other two are released.

  • To those who are utterly stunned at how the amount of ram in a gaming device could be so low in comparison to a computer. A computer has far more tasks to do at the same time than a gaming device does. The computer also has to accomodate for your operating systems, which do quite a bit, your antivirus and other software that runs in the background. I’m not sure what a gaming device needs to worry about in this case, I imagine it mainly focuses on running its OS, security, network connections and overall system health. Then there’s the game, which I suspect has been modified in a way so as to not use up as many resources. More streamlined for the consoles.

    The PC has a lot more it will store into the RAM than a console would I believe. However, I could be entirely wrong on th matter, maybe consoles just use some kind of super ram?! So 128mb console ram = 16gb dd5 ram (that’s a joke… in case no one gets that and takes it seriously…)
    This is all really just a guess, I can’t say for sure as I haven’t really looked at this.

  • I was hoping for more RAM, at least 1 GB. More RAM is the number one request of games developers and is more limiting when designing game engines than the number of cores or power of the GPU. 768MB sounds like Nintendo’s “almost not-quite” philosophy when developing new hardware. At least they got the unified memory right. Here’s hoping that, if this news is legit, Nintendo decide to increase the RAM. 768MB doesn’t seem like it will have the capacity to last 5-6 years. Not if Nintendo wants to appeal to 3rd party developers.

  • Dont care whats under the hood, im buying it. Then again ill be playing it, not analysing things no one gives a stuff about!

  • Pretty gutless for something that will be superseded by the next Xbox a year after it launches.

    Wii U – Doomed to a poor software attach rate.

    • Worst possible success metric. Attach rate are only followed by fanboys. The REAL success metric is TOTAL number Units of Software sold REGARDLESS of consoles sold. Why does it matter the average number of units sold per console? Its simply a way to hide the fact that Wii sold the most software units and hardware units. So for fools that adhere to Attach rates, let me ask, if i sold one console and 50 games (attach rate of 50 to 1), that is better then some one selling 200 consoles and 200 games (attach rate of 1 to 1)? Well its plain obvious who did better in the example i gave. I dont need to spell it out for you.

      Secondly where is your evidence the next xbox will launch a year after it launches? None. Try again when we know the facts.

      the only thing that seems to be doomed is your arguement

      • It’s entirely reasonable to expect to see some form of hardware announcement at E3 2012 with a holiday launch in 2013. That would put the new hardware out the door a full 8 years after the launch of the current machine which is a pretty normal amount of time (if not a little extra) for a platform to live as a manufacturer’s primary platform.

        Secondly attach rate is in fact everything (well, that and revenue though online service payments). While it’s impossible to ignore Nintendo’s market penetration success during the first 3 or so years of the life of the Wii (fueled by mainstream buzz around the Wiimote, and perceived rarity) along with the money made by successfully selling the hardware at a profit, it’s also impossible to ignore the fact that Nintendo’s stock and revenue income dropped significantly after the Hardware sales jumped off a cliff once the other platform holders started to reach price parity, it was at this point consumers were putting all their money behind the other offerings because essentially thats where the big game development money was going. It’s impossible to sustain interest in a platform that does not receive any level of meaningful third party support, this being a direct result of the hardware being so far behind what Microsoft, Sony and the PC hardware manufacturers were offering.

        How often do you hear the term “dusted off my Wii”? If the Wii was up with the Xbox of the Playstation from a hardware level you can almost be certain that the phrase would have never existed.

        Platform holders these days make the bulk of their cash through licensing, certification and services. It’s more than common for them to sell at a loss to grow the user base with the goal of making that money back and then some through software sales. Only Apple and Nintendo have really managed to be the exception to this rule, however with the huge marketplace awareness that Microsoft has established over the past 6 years it’s going to be harder for Nintendo to rely on hardware unit sales to pad the bottom line. If they end up in a race to the bottom for console prices odds are they will end up in a loosing battle if all the major development and publishing houses focus on the next Playstation and Xbox.

        To be blunt, who wants to play another Mini game collection for the Wii U when they can have the next big block buster on a more powerful platform?

        • All of the reasons you listed for nintendo to be cautious for the wii u’s launch they are addressing. I imagine being the first of this generation will help their cause in terms of attachment rate. Not to mention a better online infrastructure which they have been reported to be working with EA on.

          Also to address the mini game comment about the wii u. Look at their E3 presentation and look at Microsoft ‘s and tell me who is focusing more on the “mini game collections” as of late.

          • I agree that Nintendo is more cautious about the market it is entering, as they have learned that the market has been significantly reshaped. But it is important to mention that the Wii continues to sell very closely with its HD counter parts (it is continuing to outsell the 360 by large margins in Japan), which does not mean that the console is by any means dead. Also, in terms of software, the Wii has managed to make a lot money because there are many titles on it that have gone far beyond the 10 million mark, most of Nintendo’s own franchises are at that mark.

          • Reasonable is not fact. Dont rely on rumour and speculation for an argument. Sure its been 8 years but that again is not evidence. Looking at microsofts history they launched the 360 around 4 years after the the original xbox so there is no set time frame Microsoft set for the launch of their consoles, secondly kinect is a major release which should also have an effect on the 360s and the successors time frames. Therefore you dont have historical trends to go by nor solid facts so until you have either you cant use that as a viable argument. Sure its a guess but it has nothing to back it up.

            Sorry Attach rate is NOTHING. It fails as a metric when examples like i give show the console with clearly the least overall sales (the 50 to 1 attach rate example) being considered as more successful then the one which clearly had the most sales (attachrate of 1 to 1 example). If the rule fails in this example it fails completely. You cant have a metric that works with one example and not all. However total sales of hardware and software is absolute. It doesnt matter if it took 100million consoles to sell 50 million software units, if the nearest competitor took 10 million consoles to sell 30. At the end of the day the one that sold the 50million sold the most, only manipulating the information can you make out that the one that sold the least consoles and software can be considered more successful (this is an example btw). Doesnt matter how hard you try to spin Attach rates. Its a FAILED metric. the fact is the Wii sold More software PERIOD. The Attach rate is simply marketings way of making bad numbers look good.

            Its laughable when you talk about stock values falling as this has NOTHING to do with attach rates your previous argument had made. These are two totally seperate things. Nintendo still has the highest software and hardware sales. Even if the Wii is slowing there is no way either competitor will catch up in either department, and even if they did Nintendo are concentrating on a new console so trying to catch the Wii is pointless, Nintendo have a new flagship model. You also completely ignore the fact that both sony and microsoft lost billions for the first few years of their respective consoles life. So why bring up Nintendos falling stock values when they are obviously investing in a new console? Rather pointless dont you think

            Consumers are putting all their money in other offerings? Show me evidence, not speculation.

            I never argue that the Wii wasnt underpowered (it is), but as i have said many times before making the Wii like it was, was for Nintendo a double edged sword. It was a sales blockbuster for Nintendo and reached the masses, but its lack of graphics and standard controls harmed Nintendos standing with third party developers wary of a company that up till then seemed to be fading away. Thats the past. Nintendo is now the number one selling console in both handheld and home console markets. If They play their cards right and make a console that not only caters for standard console controls, keeps Wii mote controls but adds Full HD (the current TV standard for now and the next 5 years) and a new way to interact with games (the touch screen) i dont see why Nintendo cant make inroads into the markets successfully held by sony and microsoft.

            Dusted of my Wii argument? Really its come down to this? Some people make this comment and it becomes evidence for your? Dont worry about the actual hard evidence of total world wide software sales, some random comment from a random poster is grounds for your argument? lol

            What more powerful platform are you talking about? The PC? sure but thats why the Wii U has a new tablet controller. PCs cant do that. So it has something the PC CANT do. The other consoles? No evidence when they will arrive, but what will they have over the Wii U? If the Wii U does 1080p then thats one wow factor gone for the others. Anything more wont make much difference (do you see larger resolution TVs becoming the standard in the next 5 years? i dont think so). Better versions of their new motion controls will be great but the market has already had a taste of it so it wont be a shock and awe surprise like the Wii was all those years back. So what then will they have that will smash the Wii U? I havent heard anyone even speculate anything that will give it a considerable edge over Nintendos next console.

            If you tried to argue for the viablilty of attach rates im sorry but you didnt do a good job.

          • The problem with people writing on forums about video games is that they read too much that is written by people on forums about video games.

          • Umm thats why its called a FORUM, its where people discuss the article. It would be pointless if everybody wrote nothing now would it it would cease to be a forum and simple be an article. When someone writes something that i disagree with then i will write a counter to that persons arguement no more no less. So did i miss something where this is no longer what forums are about?

  • “768MB will be shared between the CPU and GPU.”

    Ouch, not only will devs have a headache trying to figure out how to use the new control scheme, they will run into PS3-like processor budget issues.

    • I have some doubt about these specs because Nintendo stated that they will be using a Radeon R770 which does not share memory with the main system memory instead it has its own discrete memory.

      • It doesn’t matter if discrete graphics chips have dedicated RAM. As long as the core is hooked up to some memory it’ll work fine. A unified memory pool is better than separate memory pools because it allows for flexibility in programming and lower memory latencies because everything goes through the same bus. Although PC architecture isn’t quite there yet, both Intel and AMD have a shared memory pool (for graphics and system) as a long term goal for this reason.

    • I think it will work the otherway – developers will get the hint that they have to employ serious programmers so they can get cutting edge AI with as little RAM as possible.

      And maybe then the focus will finally shift off the graphics and more on the game play. At the end of the day, hardware and graphcis is just icing on the cake and what matter the most is the design and effective use of the avaliable resources.

  • I think some people here are being way too optimistic about the ability of programmers to overcome memory limitations on consoles. The biggest issue is texture sizes – current gen consoles simply cannot handle anything like the texture size of a very modest PC. A high end PCgraphics card now has three times more RAM than this entire system (allegedly) will. Frankly, as a PC gamer I want the next gen to have at least 4 gigs of RAM because at the moment consoles are basically ruining PC gaming due to cross-platform development.

  • It’s as simple as this – forget RAM, Poly count, Processor speed all of it – they are just a means to an end – to Nintendo the end is simple – can they (with this machine) get GTA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, Valve etc to release on their machine – nothing else matters, no amount of Mario or Zelda exclusives will help if they can’t get the big multiplatform titles through the door – GTA in fact is a BIG ONE and was one of their biggest problems in the Gamecube era. It looks like THQ, EA, Activision and Ubisoft will all be on board for WiiU – a bigger question is the premier western devs like Valve, Bethesda, Gearbox, Irrational and Epic whether they jump on board will be a big factor in Nintendo’s success or failure.

  • I love that nobody who talks about how great it is that Nintendo is getting things like “GTA, Call of Duty, Battlefield, Assassin’s Creed, Valve” (???) on their console actually has any solid interest in these titles. As if the entire point of the console is to back up current Wii fans’ arguments rather than improve the experience.

    The Wii U will offer absolutely nothing to hardcore gamers. It will be a small step up in hardware capability, in the same way the Wii was a step up from the Gamecube, ie barely noticeable. Nobody who owns a 360 or PS3 will buy it, because they already have all their saves, games, downloaded content, peripherals, etc on that console. What insignificant hardware boost it features will be beaten by MS and Sony within a MAXIMUM of two years (you can speculate less, but it won’t be more).

    And let’s face it, Nintendo are hopeless when it comes to actual progress. Their solution to the Wii not having a proper, responsive, reliable control scheme? The classic controller. Something I have never seen in person even ONCE, because that six-button unergonomic slab of plastic approach died with the friggen’ Super Nintendo (and even then was being outperformed by SEGA).

    Nintendo are like the poster child on how to outsell your opposition by doing as little as possible as late as possible. I don’t know how they keep managing to outsell their all-around better rivals, from the Genesis however long ago to the 360 and PS3 today. People love pointless hype I suppose. Hopefully the stigma around this console and the poor performance of the 3DS are signs of things to come.

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