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Nintendo did not officially reveal any detailed information about specifications of its latest console, but it was only a matter of time before specs of Nintendo Wii U gets published. A technology enthusiast has managed to hack the video game system and reveal what exactly is inside the system originally code-named Café.

According to Hector Martin (@marcan42), an expert involved into multiple video game console-related projects, such as OpenKinect, Wii U (Café) is based around custom triple-core PowerPC 750 processor code-named Espresso; graphics processing unit based on unknown AMD Radeon HD architecture code-named Latte; and a secure processor based on ARM architecture code-named Starbucks.

The IBM Espresso microprocessor is an out-of-order microprocessor design with short pipeline and three PowerPC 750-derived cores without new SIMD accelerators, but with large caches. The chip runs at 1.24GHz clock-speed, but the exact micro-architecture should be efficient enough (thanks to short pipeline and relatively high instructions per clock count) to compete against multi-GHz chips inside Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3. At least one game developer calls the CPU “horribly slow” in terms of performance.


Nintendo Wii U mainboard with multi-chip module containing IBM processor and AMD GPU. Image by IFixIt web-site

Not a lot is known about the Wii U graphics processor code-named Latte. We do understand though that this is a custom AMD Radeon HD micro-architecture with unified stream processors with GPGPU capability. Clock-speed of the Latte processor is 549MHz, so a relatively high amount of stream processors is expected. The chip also features eDRAM cache. Previously it was reported that the custom graphics chip is largely based on ATI Evergreen/R700 architecture that originally powered the Radeon HD 5000-series graphics cards.


Nintendo Wii U multi-chip module containing IBM processor (orange), AMD GPU (red) and an eDRAM chip. Image by IFixIt web-site

Nintendo did not comment on the news-story.

Tags: Nintendo, Wii U, Cafe, Latte, Espresso, IBM, PowerPC, Evergreen, AMD, ATI, Radeon

Discussion

Comments currently: 12
Discussion started: 11/29/12 10:24:33 AM
Latest comment: 12/02/12 01:25:41 PM
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1. 
Another article restating the very same information we had before... clock speed means nothing in itself.
2 0 [Posted by: Martian  | Date: 11/29/12 10:24:33 AM]
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2. 
to compete against multi-GHz chips inside Microsoft Xbox 360 and Sony PlayStation 3.


So they brought out a new console that is 7 years newer then the xbox 360 cpu just to compete against it? Well looks like there is the answer to why it is “horribly slow" for todays standards. I don't get why Nintendo would come out with a new console just to compete against the 360 and ps3 when it should be beating it in every category hands down.
3 2 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 11/29/12 10:27:16 AM]
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It all comes down to the price. If they inserted more expensive hardware of course the price would of been higher for the Wii U. As we all remember Wii had very successful sales despite the fact that the hardware were not as good as the rest of the consoles.
4 0 [Posted by: BulletProof  | Date: 11/29/12 01:58:04 PM]
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Because it had a unique controller. They just tried to do the same thing again, unfortunately this time the creative team was out of town.
2 0 [Posted by: Martian  | Date: 11/29/12 08:07:37 PM]
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but the thing is there isn't nothing exciting to the Wii-U that will give it the same appeal as the Wii did with the wand. The wand made the Wii highly sucessful, because it was something new and refreshing and hadn't been done before, the Wii-U has nothing exicting like that. it has a portable handled as a controller that's it. They could have exchanged that portable handled controller and put it towards a more powerful cpu instead and have ot cost the same.
0 2 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 11/29/12 11:50:37 PM]
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3. 
show the post
0 6 [Posted by: qubit  | Date: 11/29/12 01:11:23 PM]
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AMD owns ATI so who do you think gets the money ?
3 1 [Posted by: p3ngwin  | Date: 11/29/12 04:26:08 PM]
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show the post
1 5 [Posted by: Avon4Balls  | Date: 11/29/12 06:04:14 PM]
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You do realize that AMD has owned ATI since 2006 but were just using the ATI name as a division of AMD until AMD decided to change the ATI name to AMD in 2010.
1 2 [Posted by: SteelCity1981  | Date: 11/29/12 11:56:45 PM]
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Yes I know. I thought it would be interesting if they signed a contract earlier like, with the 1st Wii and decided to use ATI for the next generation console too. Though technologies can change a lot within a few years so it would be unwise to have a multi-year contract like Pixar does- hardware prices are a lot more volatile I guess.
0 0 [Posted by: qubit  | Date: 11/30/12 09:34:18 AM]
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Even then, I guess it depends on the term of the contact- a lump sum at the time of the signing to the ATI sellers in exchange for all profits hitherto being redirected to AMD. Surely there are other contracts where royalties prior to a date or product (if sold) go to the original owner. Just food for thought.
0 0 [Posted by: qubit  | Date: 11/30/12 09:38:42 AM]
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4. 
Xbox 360 and Playstation 3 are horribly slow by today's standards already. I am not in the gaming console business so I do not claim I unerstand the dynamics there very well but for me it does not sound like a smart move to build a console in 2012 that hardly competes with those old consoles.
1 0 [Posted by: juergenonly  | Date: 12/02/12 01:25:41 PM]
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