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IBM Confirms that Nintendo's Wii U Has a Power-based CPU

By - Source: IBM | B 93 comments

IBM has clarified the architecture of the Espresso processor in the upcoming Wii U console.

According to a tweet, the CPU is not based on IBM's Power 7 chip, as previously believed, but rather a Power-based CPU.

Nintendo has been taking some heat for an apparently sluggish processor in its Wii U console. There has been some speculation before that Espresso may be just an updated version of the Power-based Broadway processor in the Wii, which is a 729 MHz chip manufactured by IBM in a 90 nm process. Some developers have complained that the new processor does not have the necessary performance to run games at a similar level as the Xbox 360 or PS3.

Nintendo previously announced that the WiiU will launch on November 18 for $300 (8 GB, white) and $350 (black, 32 GB).

 

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  • 23 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 26, 2012 7:35 PM
    "According to a tweet, the CPU is not based on IBM's Power 7 chip, as previously believed, but rather a Power-based CPU. "

    Stupid and it's a contradiction

    We know just as much as we did yesterday. Not only that it could still be a Power 7 chip since a Power 7 chip IS a Power-based CPU, but it could be ANY Power based chip.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 26, 2012 7:37 PM
    @southernshark next time, before making such a stupidly retarded comment, check your facts:

    The Pro model, which is currently sold out for pre-orders, includes a $60 game, a couple of accessories (about $60 if bought separately) AND 32 GB of memory instead of 8 GB. That's a lot of extra value for just $50.
  • 10 Hide
    hotroderx , September 26, 2012 7:40 PM
    I know I catch heat for this but so what. I personally think Nintendo's time in the sun as a console manufacture has come and gone. The Wii was a awesome concept they seriously dropped the ball on with games. I had a Wii the Christmas the year it released and I was like DAMN this thing is awesome.

    Then I waited for games
    Zelda
    Metroid
    Mario
    Dragon Ball Z
    RE4

    to me where the only decent games ever released for the console. Nintendo really dropped the ball on pushing manufactures to come out with new decent games. As far as graphics go they where not on par with the Xbox or PS3 but that was ok they made up for it with the controls.

    This new console looks like Nintendo is doing the same dropping the ball by using a old out dated processor. Why not go ahead and use a new processor to get some more performance out of the product.
Other Comments
  • 23 Hide
    ddpruitt , September 26, 2012 7:35 PM
    "According to a tweet, the CPU is not based on IBM's Power 7 chip, as previously believed, but rather a Power-based CPU. "

    Stupid and it's a contradiction

    We know just as much as we did yesterday. Not only that it could still be a Power 7 chip since a Power 7 chip IS a Power-based CPU, but it could be ANY Power based chip.
  • 12 Hide
    Anonymous , September 26, 2012 7:37 PM
    @southernshark next time, before making such a stupidly retarded comment, check your facts:

    The Pro model, which is currently sold out for pre-orders, includes a $60 game, a couple of accessories (about $60 if bought separately) AND 32 GB of memory instead of 8 GB. That's a lot of extra value for just $50.
  • 2 Hide
    deathengine , September 26, 2012 7:38 PM
    Sluggish, like a wet sponge
  • 10 Hide
    hotroderx , September 26, 2012 7:40 PM
    I know I catch heat for this but so what. I personally think Nintendo's time in the sun as a console manufacture has come and gone. The Wii was a awesome concept they seriously dropped the ball on with games. I had a Wii the Christmas the year it released and I was like DAMN this thing is awesome.

    Then I waited for games
    Zelda
    Metroid
    Mario
    Dragon Ball Z
    RE4

    to me where the only decent games ever released for the console. Nintendo really dropped the ball on pushing manufactures to come out with new decent games. As far as graphics go they where not on par with the Xbox or PS3 but that was ok they made up for it with the controls.

    This new console looks like Nintendo is doing the same dropping the ball by using a old out dated processor. Why not go ahead and use a new processor to get some more performance out of the product.
  • 6 Hide
    agentsi1511 , September 26, 2012 7:46 PM
    southernsharkWhat a piece of crap.They should be ashamed of themselves for selling something like this.I am not sure who would even buy it. $300 dollars for 5 year old hardware... or $350 if you get the 32 gig version (the extra 16 gig costing the manufacturer about $3 dollars, but somehow translating into an extra 50 dollars retail).This is a POS and no one should buy it.


    32-8=24.

    Basic math, I'm not sure who would even know this. ;) 

    And since when is price and demand based around logic? You want something, pay this price or don't buy it. Just because it cost me $10 off eBay, doesn't mean I can't sell it to you for $2000.
  • 3 Hide
    anxiousinfusion , September 26, 2012 7:50 PM
    southernsharkWhat a piece of crap.They should be ashamed of themselves for selling something like this.I am not sure who would even buy it. $300 dollars for 5 year old hardware... or $350 if you get the 32 gig version (the extra 16 gig costing the manufacturer about $3 dollars, but somehow translating into an extra 50 dollars retail).This is a POS and no one should buy it.


    But how else are you going to waggle through your favorite rehashes? With modern graphics!? Blasphemy!
  • 4 Hide
    tipoo , September 26, 2012 7:52 PM
    Combined with a few well known developers saying the CPU is causing difficulty with ports, this doesn't look good. Broadway is an ancient architecture, that's based on Gamecube/PowerPC G3 era stuff. Even with the eDRAM cache, multicore support and a higher clock rate, the instructions per clock can't be up to par with something modern like Power7. And plus, with a 75W MAX power draw, the CPU probably only has 25w or so to work with. At least the GPU and RAM are better than the current consoles.
  • 6 Hide
    tipoo , September 26, 2012 7:55 PM
    ddpruitt"According to a tweet, the CPU is not based on IBM's Power 7 chip, as previously believed, but rather a Power-based CPU. "Stupid and it's a contradictionWe know just as much as we did yesterday. Not only that it could still be a Power 7 chip since a Power 7 chip IS a Power-based CPU, but it could be ANY Power based chip.


    Following the tweet thread the context is clear, they backtracked on saying it's Power7 based and apologized for saying so, then said it's simply Power based. That could mean Broadway, that could mean Power6, etc. And developers are complaining about the CPU but praising the GPU, so it looks like lipstick on a Broadway is likely.
  • 1 Hide
    luciferano , September 26, 2012 8:05 PM
    tipooFollowing the tweet thread the context is clear, they backtracked on saying it's Power7 based and apologized for saying so, then said it's simply Power based. That could mean Broadway, that could mean Power6, etc. And developers are complaining about the CPU but praising the GPU, so it looks like lipstick on a Broadway is likely.


    If it's simply Power based, then even if it's Broadway-based, it could be a well-modified version of it that is simply difficult for these devs to code for. Heck, look at the Cell CPU in the PS3. We probably still don't get the full performance out of it, but it's a very fast CPU for the time if it can be fully utilized. Maybe there are again many cores or there's something else going on. I think that it's best to not make assumptions about it until we have more concrete evidence.
  • 6 Hide
    TheViper , September 26, 2012 8:07 PM
    We still know for a fact that it is out of order execution. Broadway was in order execution. So it can't be Broadway. And only Power 7 and Power 5 are out of order execution.
  • 2 Hide
    tipoo , September 26, 2012 8:13 PM
    luciferanoIf it's simply Power based, then even if it's Broadway-based, it could be a well-modified version of it that is simply difficult for these devs to code for. Heck, look at the Cell CPU in the PS3. We probably still don't get the full performance out of it, but it's a very fast CPU for the time if it can be fully utilized. Maybe there are again many cores or there's something else going on. I think that it's best to not make assumptions about it until we have more concrete evidence.


    Fair enough about not making assumptions, but it's almost certain it's either three or four cores, maybe four with one reserved for the OS, nothing crazy complex like the Cell.

    TheViperWe still know for a fact that it is out of order execution. Broadway was in order execution. So it can't be Broadway. And only Power 7 and Power 5 are out of order execution.


    Actually Broadway WAS out of order, it was one of the few things it had going for it at the time.
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , September 26, 2012 8:14 PM
    I also wonder how broad their GPGPU implementation that they mentioned is, if it's just used for texture decompression like Civ 5, or if it can be used to offload physics and AI to the GPU.
  • 2 Hide
    whooleo , September 26, 2012 8:15 PM
    If it is indeed Power based it could still be a Power 7. However Broadway is a PowerPC (not Power) CPU based off the PowerPC 750CXe.
  • 1 Hide
    tipoo , September 26, 2012 8:18 PM
    (actually I may be wrong that broadway was OoO, I was sure it was but I can't find a source now)
  • 0 Hide
    luciferano , September 26, 2012 8:21 PM
    tipoo(actually I may be wrong that broadway was OoO, I was sure it was but I can't find a source now)


    I could be wrong, but I don't think that it was OoO.
  • 1 Hide
    derpderpderp , September 26, 2012 8:29 PM
    It mystifies me why they don't use AMD products. Powerful, cheap, reliable, low power. Stupid move they made.
  • 0 Hide
    matt_b , September 26, 2012 8:41 PM
    Quote:
    Nintendo has been taking some heat for an apparently sluggish processor in its Wii U console.

    The same sentiments were felt by many by the "improved" Gamecube edition with motion capture control called the Wii. If as stated in the article that this thing turns out to be a refreshed Wii chip, then I'm left absolutely baffled at Nintendo using a core design (but at least tweaked and updated) dating back OVER a decade ago - for the third time now! No wonder why complaints about processing inferiority are coming in from multiple sources. It's very apparent these days that Nintendo has lost its core-roots focus on what it used to mean to be Nintendo. All they look to be wanting to sell you is overpriced, way outdated, gimmicky hardware with clearly an uncertain path for quality software releases. Quality not quantity, remember that Nintendo? Let's at least hope the software side isn't so lackluster this go around.
  • -4 Hide
    Bloob , September 26, 2012 8:45 PM
    HotRoderxI know I catch heat for this but so what. I personally think Nintendo's time in the sun as a console manufacture has come and gone. The Wii was a awesome concept they seriously dropped the ball on with games. I had a Wii the Christmas the year it released and I was like DAMN this thing is awesome. Then I waited for games ZeldaMetroidMarioDragon Ball Z RE4 to me where the only decent games ever released for the console. Nintendo really dropped the ball on pushing manufactures to come out with new decent games. As far as graphics go they where not on par with the Xbox or PS3 but that was ok they made up for it with the controls. This new console looks like Nintendo is doing the same dropping the ball by using a old out dated processor. Why not go ahead and use a new processor to get some more performance out of the product.


    IMO gameplay > graphics, so I'll take an interesting input-device over cpu / gpu improvements anytime.

    Should also take into consideration that the next XBox will likely integrate kinect, increasing the cost of the device, meaning likely otherwise lowered specs ( likely approximately the same or little higher as / than WiiU ), and I seriously doubt Sony will release a high-cost device this time ( they suffered quite a bit because of it last time ).
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