Oh boy. After what seems like an eternity of waiting, speculation, and fake leaks, we may finally have the answers we’ve all been seeking in regards to the Nintendo Switch’s processing and graphical power.
According to this Eurogamer Digital Foundry article (who also partially sourced Venturebeat themselves), the Nintendo Switch will have the four CPU cores running at 1020MHz. While not overly surprising or impressive, perhaps the most interesting part of this reveal is that apparently there will be no difference in speed between the docked and portable forms of the console. The extra power given to the Switch from being plugged in vs. running from the battery was heavily speculated to change performance (which it does in some ways, but we’ll get to that later). The CPU specifically runs at the same clock speed solely to “ensure that running game logic won’t be compromised while gaming on the go: the game simulation itself will remain entirely consistent”, to quote Digital Foundry, which makes a good deal of sense.
The docked vs. undocked changes come into play with the memory controller and the GPU, both of which are impacted by the change of state. The machine’s memory controller normally runs at 1600MHz but is underclocked to 1331MHz when in portable mode, although the website also reports that developers will have the option to force full usage on the go regardless, likely at the cost of battery life.
Perhaps the iffiest part of the Switch’s specs, and the one that may anger a good deal of people is the GPU speed, which is reportedly only a paltry 768 MHz, lower than even the standard Nvidia Shield TV Box (which clocks in at 1 GHz.) Even more worrying is the fact that when in portable mode, the GPU cuts itself down to only 307.2MHz, exactly 40% of the normal clock speed. This is apparently to hit power consumption and heat targets, but it paints a worrying picture for those expecting the same visual quality games on the go as when docked.
Either way, the Switch is still vastly more powerful than the current 3DS Nintendo portable and looks to expand significantly on the Wii U’s concept, making for a unique and versatile, if perhaps not the most powerful, console.
The Nintendo Switch is set to release March 2017.