Nintendo Switch CPU and GPU Clock Speeds May Have Been Revealed

Nintendo Switch CPU and GPU Clock Speeds May Have Been Revealed

nintendo-switch-320

If reports are accurate, the Nintendo Switch may have needed some compromises to extend its battery life.

It's not unusual for specs on a new console to leak out prior to being officially announced, but it can sometimes be difficult to determine just what's real and what isn't. The folks over at Digital Foundry tend to be pretty good at nailing down these sorts of things, and they're reporting that the CPU, GPU, and memory clock speeds for the Switch are now known. What's really interesting about this is how those latter two numbers change when the Switch isn't docked.

The Switch is apparently running a version of Nvidia's Tegra processor, which is something that we already knew. However, there was speculation that the machine would use the newer Tegra X2, based on Nvidia's Pascal architecture. Digital Foundry reports that they've been told by sources that the spec Nintendo briefed developers with is "in crucial areas...a match for a stock Tegra X1"

But there are some discrepancies, starting with the Switch's HDMI 1.4 specs, while the X1 is HDMI 2.0 compliant. The Switch's pixel fill-rate is only 90 percent of the X1's full capacity as well. Those differences are interesting and worth noting, but where the Digital Foundry report is really interesting is CPU, GPU, and memory clock rates, and how they change when you remove the Switch from its dock.

According to Digital Foundry, the Switch's CPU will run at 1020MHz whether the machine is docked or not. That makes sense, as lowering that number could affect how game logic processes, and that's not something that you want to have change. That's not true for the unit's memory controller, which will run at 1600MHz while docked, but drop to 1331MHz while undocked. Developers will have the option to maintain full bandwidth if they desire.

While the docked speed of the memory controller matches the top-end potential of the Tegra X1, the CPU clock is basically halved. But as it's constant, it will be less scrutinized than the Switch's GPU clocks. When docked, the GPU will run at 768MHz, about 23 percent lower than the X1's full potential. But when you lift the Switch from its dock, be prepared for that number to drop dramatically - all the way to 307.2 MHz. That's roughly 40 percent of the docked speed.

What's even more interesting is that it looks like developers will have the options of forcing the Switch to use those lower clocks even when it is docked. Digital Foundry says that an unnamed developer source compared it to having to create two versions of the same game, much like for the PS4 and PS4 Pro.

It's not surprising that clock rates will be lowered when the Switch is undocked. After all, battery life is a legitimate concern, and there will have to be compromises. It's also worth noting what Digital Foundry also points out - even at the mobile clock speed of 307.2 MHz, the Switch should be able to outperform the Wii U. But if your one hope for the Switch was that Nintendo was going to finally roll out a system that would be technologically on par with Microsoft and Sony, this isn't what you want to hear.

These specs certainly aren't a condemnation of the Switch, but it is a reminder to temper expectations, as the console we're probably getting isn't going to reshape the world overnight. We'll certainly know more once Nintendo holds its planned January 12 event. If you want to dig even deeper into the numbers, you can find the full Digital Foundry analysis here.

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It's times like these when I remember the saying "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

so
.........

Jokes aside, at the end of the day if the games are good it doesn't matter that much, but the more I here about how technologically stunted the Switch is the more negative I feel about it. I don't get the tiny nugget sized controllers. I don't buy that people are going to crowd around a 7" screen. I don't understand why anyone would release a console with a 720 resolution or such poor technical specs. I don't get Nintendo.

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

ffronw:

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

It's probably due to the home console market largely dying off in Japan in favour of the handhelds, so Nintendo doesn't want to bother with an actual home console anymore and just wants a beefed up handheld to replace the 3DS that you can hook up to a TV if you want to. As long as it has Pokemon and Monster Hunter on it, it will sell over there.

ffronw:

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

Apparently smartly dressed, baby-handed Japanese hipsters with perfect 20/20 vision is a group large enough to attract their own console.

These aren't official, but they are not exactly confidence filling. Hopefully it's a bit better than those, but I doubt it. That's a shame, all that 3rd party "support" they were one about a month or so back isn't going to mean much for the system I would wager.

Those specs are just sad. See, this is why you never get your hopes up.

Supernova1138:

ffronw:

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

It's probably due to the home console market largely dying off in Japan in favour of the handhelds, so Nintendo doesn't want to bother with an actual home console anymore and just wants a beefed up handheld to replace the 3DS that you can hook up to a TV if you want to. As long as it has Pokemon and Monster Hunter on it, it will sell over there.

Well that explains a lot actually. The Switch makes a lot more sense if you look at it as a successor to the 3ds as opposed to a Wii U follow-up.COnsider that the marketing pretty much focuses on the use cases that have the device replacing the 3Ds

ffronw:

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

To be perfectly honest I might be part of what I see as their "unintended" target audience. If I want to do gaming I can simply do it on my glorious PC. There may be times when I just want to sit in bed (or in a comfortable position away from a TV) and do a bit of gaming. I think it caters to those who have another device for heavy duty gaming but want something middle-range for mobile gaming, though I do not think that is actually their target audience.

ffronw:

JUMBO PALACE:

I suppose I'm just not in the market Nintendo is targeting with this console. That's fine and all, I was just hoping the NX was going to be something that was going to bring me back into the Nintendo fold.

I'm not sure that there's even a demographic they're targeting at this point. If there is, I can't figure it out. It may be a demographic that only exists in Japan or something.

The demographic Nintendo?s been trying for the past few console generations is the non-gamers. To keep a steady number of gamers, if not increase the gaming population as a whole. It?s called the ?Blue Ocean Strategy?, where a business works to create new markets, as well as push the market to those outside its core consumer base. Sony and Microsoft sells to gamers, Nintendo sells to the non-gaming public.

And it seems only Nintendo is working to bring in new gamers, because having looked at the numbers, gaming (at least in regards to consoles) is shrinking. Less people are buying consoles, which means less people are remaining as gamers. Nintendo?s strategy has been to attempt to at least get the new generation of gamers to come in. This generation, for each console, can be considered a failure, due to the fact that no console has sold near what the previous generation has sold. Now if we go by the sketchy VGChartz numbers, we have roughly 73 million consoles sold between Microsoft and Sony (25:48 respectively). What were previous generation?s numbers? 173 million (86:87 respectively). Less than half of the sales. And while yes, previous generation was 7 years compared to nearly 4 currently, we already have new consoles coming out for the Playstation and Xbox. Excuse me, not ?new?, they?re ?upgrades?. And yet who are Sony and Microsoft selling the consoles to? Gamers, particularly their fans, not the general populace.

Nintendo is trying to reach the general populace, and it was a success twice (NES and the Wii). The issue is that with the NES, a large number of those who bought remained for successive generations, while the Wii didn?t retain the numbers (Wii selling 101 million, Wii U only 14 million). Which is also why Nintendo?s working to break into the mobile market, grab the people playing those games to come into console gaming. Hence the Switch?s design, home/portable console combination.

Hardcore gamers? Nintendo?s never been trying to grab the hardcore gamer, no matter what people say. They rebranded video games as toys, which broke the console market out of the 84 crash along with their more draconian quality control enforcement. To the hardcore gamer, video games are not toys.

Edit: And then we gotta look at this "reveal" as what it is. Rumor and speculation. I've seen the original article and it had nothing to confirm what these "anonymous sources" said. Yes yes, anonymous sources are anonymous for a reason, but the lack of verifying information besides the two doesn't tell me anything other than it being rumormill discussion.

Switch not as powerful as PS4. In other news, water is wet.

Seriously.. I thought it was a pretty obvious assumption back when it was still called the NX. How are people still getting surprised by this?!

It doesn't change the fact that moving an NX seems like far less of a logistical nightmare than moving an Xbox + TV, or a PC tower + monitor. Sacrificing power for diversity and portability is entirely fair, and now that OPTION is available.

I get that there are people who despise leaving their nests. But surely the same people can still comprehend the CONCEPT of moving from point A to point B. And wanting entertainment while doing so.

008Zulu:
Those specs are just sad. See, this is why you never get your hopes up.

Yeah those seem like "low res" specs for them "low res" games.

Kibeth41:
Switch not as powerful as PS4. In other news, water is wet.

Seriously.. I thought it was a pretty obvious assumption back when it was still called the NX. How are people still getting surprised by this?!

It doesn't change the fact that moving an NX seems like far less of a logistical nightmare than moving an Xbox + TV, or a PC tower + monitor. Sacrificing power for diversity and portability is entirely fair, and now that OPTION is available.

I get that there are people who despise leaving their nests. But surely the same people can still comprehend the CONCEPT of moving from point A to point B. And wanting entertainment while doing so.

Also the fact that most people live with another person. Oh hey, a console that allows me to play in my bedroom when my dad takes the TV for his sports, or my mom for her reality competition shows? Or when my grandpa's over and he's in the living room talking with my parents? Or those work parties my parents schedule and I don't have to be around? Well look at that, I can play my Switch in my room without having to deal with them.

InsanityRequiem:

The demographic Nintendo?s been trying for the past few console generations is the non-gamers. To keep a steady number of gamers, if not increase the gaming population as a whole. It?s called the ?Blue Ocean Strategy?, where a business works to create new markets, as well as push the market to those outside its core consumer base. Sony and Microsoft sells to gamers, Nintendo sells to the non-gaming public.

And it seems only Nintendo is working to bring in new gamers, because having looked at the numbers, gaming (at least in regards to consoles) is shrinking. Less people are buying consoles, which means less people are remaining as gamers. Nintendo?s strategy has been to attempt to at least get the new generation of gamers to come in. This generation, for each console, can be considered a failure, due to the fact that no console has sold near what the previous generation has sold. Now if we go by the sketchy VGChartz numbers, we have roughly 73 million consoles sold between Microsoft and Sony (25:48 respectively). What were previous generation?s numbers? 173 million (86:87 respectively). Less than half of the sales. And while yes, previous generation was 7 years compared to nearly 4 currently, we already have new consoles coming out for the Playstation and Xbox. Excuse me, not ?new?, they?re ?upgrades?. And yet who are Sony and Microsoft selling the consoles to? Gamers, particularly their fans, not the general populace.

Nintendo is trying to reach the general populace, and it was a success twice (NES and the Wii). The issue is that with the NES, a large number of those who bought remained for successive generations, while the Wii didn?t retain the numbers (Wii selling 101 million, Wii U only 14 million). Which is also why Nintendo?s working to break into the mobile market, grab the people playing those games to come into console gaming. Hence the Switch?s design, home/portable console combination.

Hardcore gamers? Nintendo?s never been trying to grab the hardcore gamer, no matter what people say. They rebranded video games as toys, which broke the console market out of the 84 crash along with their more draconian quality control enforcement. To the hardcore gamer, video games are not toys.

Edit: And then we gotta look at this ?reveal? as what it is. Rumor and speculation. I?ve seen the original article and it had nothing to confirm what these ?anonymous sources? said. Yes yes, anonymous sources are anonymous for a reason, but the lack of verifying information besides the two doesn?t tell me anything other than it being rumormill discussion.

But that doesn't let the "hardcore" puff out their chests and act like manly men while jerking off to an industry that's simultaneously going through its awkward puberty phase while many of its creators, developers, and consumers are finally hitting their mid-life crises. That's why the discussion of power in gaming is ultimately futile and is in fact a gigantic gaffe by most gamers and pundits revealing themselves for what they truly are: shallow.

Aiddon:
Snip.

Definitely, that's part of why I enjoy Nintendo products. It's not the power, but the mechanics, the gameplay, the aesthetic of their games that draws me in. And the problem with focusing on power, and just getting "the best" technology, is that it's going to plateau and there won't be any "bumps" in fidelity and graphics capabilities. And when that happens, what is going to happen to video games? It's going to be a heavy amount of stagnation, because most AAA devs focus on that elusive "Graphics" point, and their gameplay is repetitive shallowness that contains massive amounts of bugs, glitches, and broken mechanics.

At the end of the day I feel bad for Nintendo North America and Europe. It seems the decision makers in Japan have resigned themselves to fully entrenching themselves in the Japanese market while completely forgoing their Western fanbase. The Switch is a console for Japan; God help those poor dudes in charge of Western marketing. It's an extremely difficult sell.

Aaaaaand there goes the 3rd party support.

There will be some half assed ports of older games.. because those are the only things that will run on the damn thing... that everyone has played allready on other consoles..

And then nothing. Ofcourse nintendo is going to throw some money at crapcom to make a new monster hunter for their semi portable, bring out the usual suspects themselves (smash, mario, zelda, metroid maybe if the stars align) and that will be it... maybe even make it the new main console for pokemon...

But it will go the same route as the Wii U... its like history repeats itselfe.

ffronw:
However, there was speculation that the machine would use the newer Tegra X2

Of course, the problem with such speculation is that there's no evidence that anything called "Tegra X2" exists at all. In fact, the only evidence for it is the same speculation claiming that the Nintendo NX will use it. And yes, the fact that it was still referred to as the NX should tell you just how reliable and up-to-date that speculation was.

Kibeth41:
Switch not as powerful as PS4. In other news, water is wet.

Seriously.. I thought it was a pretty obvious assumption back when it was still called the NX. How are people still getting surprised by this?!

I doubt anyone is surprised that it's less powerful than a PS4, and I don't really know where you got that idea from. What people might be a bit more surprised by is that it's less powerful than tablets that were released over a year ago. The whole point of a gaming device is that it's better at gaming than the general purpose thing you already have in your pocket. If it just uses the same old chip, with extra limits to make it even less powerful, then what on Earth is the point? The only thing left to sell it is the game library, and even if holding a system ransom with exclusives wasn't terrible for consumers to start with, Nintendo aren't even doing that any more and are moving to regular mobile gaming anyway. They're competing against themselves on hardware that's already worse than their competitors, and is only going to get more so. If I can already play Pokemon and Mario on a better device than the one Nintendo haven't even finished yet, why would anyone want to bother buying their hardware at all?

I have a question regarding third parties, since that is a point frequently brought up regarding the upcoming Switch(in this thread by Karadalis):

Who are the third parties that are necessary? I mean ALL indie developers are third parties by definition, and last time I checked there is no shortage of indie developers, most of whom cannot even make a game that requires the tech present in current gen consoles. So having low technical specifications are not preventing that segment of the third parties from getting on board.

I say this because in the 90's Nintendo partnered with third party SquareSoft to create a game where SquareSoft's expertise was required which became Super Mario RPG. In this gen Nintendo partnered with third party GungHo to create a game called Puzzle & Dragons Z + Super Mario Bros. Edition. It should say something about what third parties Nintendo is looking at.

Kibeth41:

It doesn't change the fact that moving an NX seems like far less of a logistical nightmare than moving an Xbox + TV, or a PC tower + monitor. Sacrificing power for diversity and portability is entirely fair, and now that OPTION is available.

You have a point with this. It's becoming clear that the Switch is not to be considered a "console" in the traditional sense. It's either an accessory to a more powerful gaming device or a more mobile/casual option that gives you portability.

I will also offer up to you though that PC has a number of options in place already for taking your games with you (at least around the house like in the poster below you speaking about having to share a television.) An Nvidia Shield tablet will stream your PC games pretty reliably and it's $200. You can either use the tablet as the main screen like the Switch in conjunction with a controller or hook it up to a TV. If you have a spare TV a Steam Link is $50 and it acts as a chromecast/Roku for your games. Hell, I got one for $20 on black Friday.

Really it's the same decision as the Wii U. Are Nintendo exclusives worth the technological gimmicks and complete lack of third party support? If you think so, the Switch will suit you just fine. IF the price point is low enough I'd still consider it if they're more generous with the games than they were with the Wii U. The fact that there was no proper Zelda on the console and the only Starfox was a remake with forced in motion controls is just a travesty.

JUMBO PALACE:
IF the price point is low enough I'd still consider it if they're more generous with the games than they were with the Wii U. The fact that there was no proper Zelda on the console and the only Starfox was a remake with forced in motion controls is just a travesty.

I think this is the big thing. Nintendo has to hit the right price point. $199 would be ideal, but it absolutely cannot cost more than $249. If it does, it's likely to make the Wii U look like a successful console.

I think this is one reason that Nintendo chose the X1 chip to begin with. They have to have a price point in mind they want to hit, and keeping costs down will be a paramount consideration, I am sure.

Kahani:

Of course, the problem with such speculation is that there's no evidence that anything called "Tegra X2" exists at all. In fact, the only evidence for it is the same speculation claiming that the Nintendo NX will use it. And yes, the fact that it was still referred to as the NX should tell you just how reliable and up-to-date that speculation was.

All evidence at this point seems to lean toward the chip that was thought to be called X2 is one of two things. Either a heavily modified X1 that is only used in the Switch, or a cancelled update to the X1. The newest Tegra in the works now is the P1, based on the Pascal architecture.

JUMBO PALACE:

I will also offer up to you though that PC has a number of options in place already for taking your games with you (at least around the house like in the poster below you speaking about having to share a television.) An Nvidia Shield tablet will stream your PC games pretty reliably and it's $200. You can either use the tablet as the main screen like the Switch in conjunction with a controller or hook it up to a TV. If you have a spare TV a Steam Link is $50 and it acts as a chromecast/Roku for your games. Hell, I got one for $20 on black Friday.

My issue with Steam has been the awkwardness of controls. The Steam controller isn't exactly the be-all end-all solution to games. Also, I'd rather play quality games designed around a particular control scheme, rather than play quality games hindered by an inferior control scheme which they weren't tailored for.

And while this is a point more specific to me, and many others might disagree with. I'd rather own an inferior console that doesn't require me to modify the controls and specifics for every new game that I play.

the only Starfox was a remake with forced in motion controls is just a travesty.

I always resent that. Fans are always super adamant that they wanted the game to stay true to the originals. And the motion controls weren't "forced in". The game was built with them as a heavy consideration. With that in mind, I'll always agree with Jirard, in that they're odd to get used to, but ultimately made the game better. I sincerely believe that gyro controls could really improve conventional FPS games. Since it moves the scheme closer to mouse and keyboard accuracy.

But that's a conversation for somewhere else.

Kibeth41:

JUMBO PALACE:

snip

My issue with Steam has been the awkwardness of controls. The Steam controller isn't exactly the be-all end-all solution to games. Also, I'd rather play quality games designed around a particular control scheme, rather than play quality games hindered by an inferior control scheme which they weren't tailored for.

And while this is a point more specific to me, and many others might disagree with. I'd rather own an inferior console that doesn't require me to modify the controls and specifics for every new game that I play.

I can't speak to the Steam controller as I've never used it. The Steam Link is compatibile with any usb/wireless controller of your choice though. I'm not quite sure what you mean by modifying the controls and specifics for every new game you play. If you're at your desk you've got a keyboard and if you're on the couch you've got a controller. You can even use those new lapboards if you really don't want to leave your keyboard behind when playing on the couch. Of course the cost comparison starts to get a lot more equal once you start going down that route.

JUMBO PALACE:
the only Starfox was a remake with forced in motion controls is just a travesty.

Kibeth41:

I always resent that. Fans are always super adamant that they wanted the game to stay true to the originals. And the motion controls weren't "forced in". The game was built with them as a heavy consideration. With that in mind, I'll always agree with Jirard, in that they're odd to get used to, but ultimately made the game better. I sincerely believe that gyro controls could really improve conventional FPS games. Since it moves the scheme closer to mouse and keyboard accuracy.

But that's a conversation for somewhere else.

Fair enough. Opinions and whatnot. Motion controls aren't for me but I'm glad you enjoyed StarFox

Kibeth41:

My issue with Steam has been the awkwardness of controls. The Steam controller isn't exactly the be-all end-all solution to games. Also, I'd rather play quality games designed around a particular control scheme, rather than play quality games hindered by an inferior control scheme which they weren't tailored for.

And while this is a point more specific to me, and many others might disagree with. I'd rather own an inferior console that doesn't require me to modify the controls and specifics for every new game that I play.

That and PC gaming isn't very big for a lot of very good reasons, such as needing a larger investment in order to play the latest titles even decently and the sheer bulk of hardware components leading to a variety of x-factor problems. For all of PC gaming's bragging the bulk of software sales are still done on consoles. And let's face it, the PC gaming argument is also centered around one thing: the "power" argument, the safe space for the insecure. It all goes back to that when you get down to it

Aiddon:

Kibeth41:

snip

And let's face it, the PC gaming argument is also centered around one thing: the "power" argument, the safe space for the insecure. It all goes back to that when you get down to it

Sheesh did someone who plays games on PC kill your dog or something? There are plenty of reasons to play games on PC other than being "insecure". Play games on whatever device you want and have a good time. I don't see a reason to start throwing insults around.

But does it videogames good??

All this spec measuring hasn't got in the way of me enjoying Zelda titles before. I...think. it's the price and body count that keeps me up at night digging expensive graves.

Karadalis:
Aaaaaand there goes the 3rd party support.

Probably not. The biggest obstacle to Wii U ports was not that it was underpowered, but that Nintendo stubbornly stuck to PowerPC architecture, which nobody else was using. The ARM-based Tegra processor, along with proper official support from major engines such as Unreal 4, means that porting games to Switch will be a lot cheaper and lower risk than Wii U ports ever were. They don't have to sell nearly as well to make a profit, which in turn makes them more likely to be made if they're on another system anyway.

In particular, I'd bet we see a fair few ports from Android. While mobile games are obviously not ideal on a console, it's at least an improvement over the desert of a library that Wii U offered us if you were interested in anything but first-party games.

P.S. Thanks

Someone recently pointed out to me how similar this is to the SEGA Nomad ...

Like the Switch it is a portable that can be "docked" (OK you just plug it into the TV with RSA cables), it has "home console level" graphics (nowhere near the top of the line of course) and you can even plug a Genesis controller into it so you and your friends can play together.

The only difference it doesn't have a giant library of games like the Nomad which ran Genesis games - just drop in the Genesis cartridge.

Now all that is to be seen is the price (the Nomad got hit pretty hard @ $180), battery life is of concern and lastly whether developers are willing to rework their games for significantly lower specs of the system.

Eh, nevermind the specs. Let's hope Nintendo manages to turn this thing into another RPG and JRPG powerhouse like the 3DS. Bravely Default 3! Dragon Quest! Shin Megami Tensei! Fantasy Life! Fire Emblem! I want it all, goddamnit!

 

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