Nintendo Switch Specs: GPU And CPU Details Revealed

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At long last, some specification details for Nintendo‘s mobile/console hybrid have been unofficially revealed, and it looks as though Digital Foundry could have hit the nail on the head when it reported on what it had heard about the Nintendo Switch specs. The report also included details about the inclusion of an NVIDIA Tegra X1 chip. If you’re a Nintendo gaming fan, this could come as a shock because it means the Switch won’t be a PS4 or Xbox One competitor.

Nintendo Switch specs: what you need to know

As the world has waited with bated breath for a trickle of information about the Nintendo Switch specs to leak, those who have been unable to wait have turned to social media, bloggers, and supposed industry insiders for information. However, it now looks almost certain that the Switch’s GPU will not be based on Pascal architecture, and its CPU will also be lacking.

However, while it’s almost certain that the GPU will run on second-generation Maxwell technology, uncertainty surrounds the CPU. According to the Digital Foundry report and a later confirmation by Venture Beat that it is the Tegra X1, no one knows if Nintendo has customized the chip, but Eurogamer has managed to shed some light on this.

Portable and docked modes

From a purely CPU point of view, the Tegra X1 operates at 1020MHz, and this will not change in either docked or portable configurations. According to both Digital Foundry and Eurogamer, this is because lowering it in mobile mode would result in compromised game logic, which would be disastrous for any gaming machine and something Nintendo doesn’t want to happen.

However, when it comes to the memory and the GPU, this is where the differences between modes begin to show. According to those who have rifled through patents and supposedly have insider knowledge of the Nintendo Switch specs, its embedded memory controller runs at 1600Mhz while in the docked configuration. But when switching to portable mode, it drops to 1331Mhz. It has to do with power usage and heat, which can be clearly seen in overall GPU performance.

Underclocked means lower performance?

It looks as though the GPU will not run at the Tegra X1’s 1Ghz full potential. Instead, it will run at 768Mhz, which is much lower than stock. Even more surprising is the speed at which it will run when portable. According to Eurogamer, it drops to as low as 307Mhz, which would equate to around 40% of the clock speed of the docked configuration. If developers choose to, it is possible to dial back the docked performance to match that of the portable.

Nintendo Switch specs sheet
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Nintendo reportedly supplied the Nintendo Switch spec sheet above to its developers, which confirms those details. It also shows that the docked Switch has a GPU power of 2.5x that of the device running on battery power.

With the above information also came the following message: “The information in this table is the final specification for the combinations of performance configurations and performance modes that applications will be able to use at launch.”

What do the Nintendo Switch specs mean for the competition?

Quite simply, the fact that the Switch runs an under-clocked Tegra X1, GPU, and memory means that combined, they will not make the console/hybrid a contender for the market’s most powerful console. Neither will it make it anywhere near as powerful as the first-gen Xbox One and PS4 consoles.

For games, this means that even though Nintendo has pushed the fact that it will get a version of the multi-platform Skyrim, it is unlikely in the future to get major big-budget blockbuster titles. Instead, it could yet again be a majority Nintendo-only platform. If you’re a Nintendo fan, here’s the lowdown

The Nintendo Switch specs have revealed that it uses an under-clocked 1Ghz Tegra X1, which apparently means it will have one teraflop of performance power. Here’s how that compares to the current consoles and those already being talked about.

  • Xbox Project Scorpio: 6 teraflops
  • PlayStation 4 Pro: 4.2 teraflops
  • PlayStation 4: 1.8 teraflops
  • Xbox One: 1.3 teraflops

Nintendo is expected to officially announce the Nintendo Switch specs on January 12, followed by a second event by Nintendo U.S.A in New York where the console’s price and launch line-up are expected to be revealed. As for when a release date will be announced, we’re assuming that’s still some time in March. However, these dates do have a habit of changing, so watch this space, or even better, watch the whole launch event live.

In the meantime, if you have any questions about the details here or just want to share an opinion, please use the comments section below, and we will get back to you ASAP.

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