The Nintendo Switch Is Powered By A NVIDIA Tegra

Image: NVIDIA/Nintendo

In a blog post shortly after the official reveal, graphics manufacturer NVIDIA revealed their custom Tegra processor was a core part of the new Nintendo Switch.

The post says that the Switch, due out in March next year, runs off "fully custom software" as well as new libraries, new advanced programming interfaces and a "revamped physics engine". "NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance," the GPU manufacturer announced.

"Gameplay is further enhanced by hardware-accelerated video playback and custom software for audio effects and rendering."

The development time reportedly took around 500 man hours, and the NVN API was supposedly created for "lightweight, fast gaming". It's not known whether that API will be usable for other mobile platforms, or what use it will have outside of development for the Switch.

NVIDIA didn't specify the model or specifications of the Tegra chip powering the Switch at this time, although given the 2017 launch date it would not be surprising to see it using the Pascal architecture that was made available to consumers in the GTX 10 series line earlier this year.


    I feel Nintendo may have just ostracised itself in the development community; with no one else developing AAA for ARM+Nvidia, porting work will be expensive.

    Shrug, will see.

      Porting isn't done to bare metal anymore. If the engine supports it, much easier.

        And who's going to port the engine?

          The engine devs. That's the whole point of engines. People use them to get their games on multiple devices. Unity and unreal are already on it.

            Also, since Epic is a partner, Unreal Engine 4 already makes developing for multiple platforms incredibly easy (In some cases almost just a tick of a box). Hopefully for most game devs the change will only require little tweaks to cater performance wise. Guess we'll see next year though.

        This is only somewhat true, considering the amount of platform specific codepaths generated thru vulkan. The switch is very alone, being an arm cup in an x86 land and a NVidia gpu in a land of amd. But maybe it doesn't need to be something to go against traditional consoles but I daresay most games that will launch foe it will be specific for the switch, or otherwise crippled ports.

      Can't be too ostracised, it's running Skyrim, and lists quite a lot of big developers as supporting it already. Plus, the best Nintendo games are always their's anyway.

        3rd party is yet to be seen, but Nintendo releases about three games worth playing a year. Hardly a reason to preference it as a system.

      Looks like some solid dev support there.

        Looks more like strategic partnerships to launch a console rather than solid 3rd party support.

        They had a similar picture at the launch of the Wii U and after the first year all of it had evaporated.

        Here is a quote from EA about the huge amount of support they had planned for the Wii U that I think will turn out to be quite relevant for the new machine.

        "I think the [tablet] controller [is huge]. This is not about specs anymore."

        Here is an article about the support from Ubisoft and Activision that was trumpeted at the launch of the Wii U

        Last edited 21/10/16 2:50 pm

    I was reading the blog in the wee hours this morning and could have sworn they said 500 man "years". Which if accurate, how big was that team?!

      500 man years makes more sense. Could be 250 over two years, or 100 people over five years.

      Yeah I don't know a lot about anything but 500 man hours doesn't sound like much. Get a team of 10 people work a bit of overtime and it's done in a week.

    500 man hours is like 10 people over a long week. or one schlub over 10 long weeks. One dev doing one hour a day for a year and a halfish. either way, not that long.

    I heard the that DK units were running a X1 Tegra chip which was surprising because it came around in 2013 with the X2 coming out last year and putting it on par with the PS4/XBone particularly if it didn't need to be power restricted when docked like in the trailer. I assume that if it truly is a custom NVidia chip then it would have been based off the X2 or was their unannounced X3 chip which would definitely make it easily on par or supersede PS4/XBone consoles excluding their upgraded enhanced counter parts.

    Had some interesting points brought up in a chat last night. To sum up/paraphrase:

    -Nvidia built this Tegra/Pascal thing for the Shield 2
    -they seemed to have abandoned the Shield 2, but still kept producing them anyway
    -Nvidia's press release confirms they wrote the Switch APIs, and a high level partnership is the only way something like Skyrim makes any sense if they're not using x86
    -Tegra 2 was some kinda bullshit car computer
    -isn't it weird they built a new next gen Tegra and didn't announce its usage in anything other than cars, despite having their own line of portable devices up to that point?
    -Tegra 2 uses 16nm finfet with a 20w TDP target
    -Power efficiency like that is nice but the idea that's for cars is stupid. Also why would a chip for a car decode 8k video?
    -The Shield was a good device but made by a company that made hardware, not software. Who would they be best to team up with?

    Looking forward to seeing how close to the mark he got :P

      The camera aspect is for smart cars with self parking and lane guidance etc.

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