Detailed Specifications of Nintendo Wii U Revealed by Technology Enthusiasts

Nintendo Wii U: Triple-Core PowerPC 750 CPU, 550MHz AMD Evergreen GPU

by Anton Shilov
11/29/2012 | 09:06 AM



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.