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Wii U CPU Clock Frequencies Below the Xbox 360 and PS3

By - Source: VentureBeat | B 58 comments

Nintendo promised significantly greater processing capability in the recently released Wii U than in the preceding Wii console.

However, as far as chip architecture and clock speeds are concerned, the specs seem to be a bit underwhelming.

Hacker Marcan claims to have identified the clock speed and some characteristics of the CPU. Apparently, Nintendo uses a variant of the IBM PowerPC 750 processor with three cores and a clock speed of 1.243125 GHz per core. The Wii had a PowerPC 750CL processor running at 729 MHz. The Wii U's graphics clock is 549.999755 MHz. The Wii's Hollywood GPU was clocked at 243 MHz.

We know that clock speed isn't everything in performance, and the specs somewhat correspond to developer claims -- though some of which are apparently already hitting their limits. Still, the clock speeds are substantially below the rival processors, as the PS3′s Cell CPU and the Xbox 360′s Xenon chip are clocked at over 3 GHz per core. The graphics chip in the Xbox 360 runs at 500 MHz, while the PS3's GPU is clocked at 550 MHz.

However, the Wii U's CPU and GPU appear to have written compromise all over them and support the speculation that Nintendo simply needed to counter Microsoft's Kinect quickly and did not have enough time to engineer an entirely new hardware foundation. According to VentureBeat, one of the major compromises in the Wii U is that the console does not support two tablets running at the same time and when it does, it will have to scale back the frame rate of the game that is played.

 

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Top Comments
  • 33 Hide
    wanderer11 , November 30, 2012 1:06 PM
    People that buy nintendo products generally don't care about hardware specs.
  • 19 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 30, 2012 1:18 PM
    Nintendos strenght was always to make fun games, not the best looking.
  • 18 Hide
    fudoka711 , November 30, 2012 1:18 PM
    wanderer11People that buy nintendo products generally don't care about hardware specs.


    Exactly. One big reason the Wii did so well was because of the games and general "fun-factor". The Wii-motes were, and are, a long ways ahead of the kinect and PS3's wand.

    I don't think the Wii U will be anywhere near as popular as the Wii was though.
Other Comments
  • 33 Hide
    wanderer11 , November 30, 2012 1:06 PM
    People that buy nintendo products generally don't care about hardware specs.
  • 11 Hide
    yialanliu , November 30, 2012 1:16 PM
    Yes, and a 1.4ghz ARM Smartphone processor is superior to a 1.2ghz intel processor.

    Clock speed isn't important and can't be compared apples to apples...worthless article. How about showing a benchmark or something rather than write a meaningless article?
  • 18 Hide
    fudoka711 , November 30, 2012 1:18 PM
    wanderer11People that buy nintendo products generally don't care about hardware specs.


    Exactly. One big reason the Wii did so well was because of the games and general "fun-factor". The Wii-motes were, and are, a long ways ahead of the kinect and PS3's wand.

    I don't think the Wii U will be anywhere near as popular as the Wii was though.
  • 19 Hide
    cats_Paw , November 30, 2012 1:18 PM
    Nintendos strenght was always to make fun games, not the best looking.
  • 2 Hide
    metathias , November 30, 2012 1:36 PM
    Unfortunately as with the Wii Nintendo will have to depend on internal development to create games that work well with the WII U. All 3rd party companys have already stretched the existing 360, and PS3 to their limits technicly and are now hard at work making games that will finally push the PC market again and prepare for the next round of Consoles. Luckily it only takes about 10 minutes to write a game for the wii U that will take advantage of all its bells and whistles.
  • 16 Hide
    JamesSneed , November 30, 2012 1:36 PM
    Oh here we go again about clock speed. Why the my engine revs to higher RPM's then your engine is still relative these days is beyond me. The Power 750( 3x Broadway) chip is a very nice out of order chip that has damn good IPC. It should have more than enough CPU power. The true power these days is in the GPU and the Wii does have a fairly nice AMD/ATI r700 chip for graphics.
  • -8 Hide
    Anonymous , November 30, 2012 1:38 PM
    Its almost 2013 and these specs are beyond pathetic.
  • 4 Hide
    atminside , November 30, 2012 1:48 PM
    I am curious as how the WiiU graphics compares to Intel's HD 4000. Anyone know?
  • 7 Hide
    bustapr , November 30, 2012 1:57 PM
    yialanliuYes, and a 1.4ghz ARM Smartphone processor is superior to a 1.2ghz intel processor.Clock speed isn't important and can't be compared apples to apples...worthless article. How about showing a benchmark or something rather than write a meaningless article?

    to say clockspeed isnt important is a dumb claim. and to say that mention of the clock speed of a new console isnt important or news worthy in a tech news site is also dumb. if clock speed isnt important, than all the people here on Toms that OC their CPUs are just wasting their time. its true that you really cant compare WiiU cpu to others because theyre totally different, but devs already have claimed the CPU isnt fast enough. 1.2ghz isnt really all that great tbh.

    and what exactly do you think they can "benchmark"? this is a closed system with no publicly known benchmark tools and app comparisons.

    I have some hope that devs will find a workaround to the CPU limits and optimize the console as much as they can to lat a few years and not look as pathetic as wii looked shortly after release. current console games dont look half bad, I think the graphics power of the wiiu wont limit the playability of games like the wii did.
  • -2 Hide
    bustapr , November 30, 2012 2:01 PM
    atminsideI am curious as how the WiiU graphics compares to Intel's HD 4000. Anyone know?


    I dont think even trinity looks better than the wiiu graphics. the hd4000 wont have nearly as much juice to look half as good as a game would on a WiiU, much less a very optimized WiiU game in the next few years.
  • 16 Hide
    JamesSneed , November 30, 2012 2:06 PM
    Quote:
    My 4 year old desktop cpu Q9550 is faster than the wii-U as well as my 4 year old videocard GTX260.



    The 5 year old 32 way Mainframe at my work is faster than 20 of your 4 year old PCs. Hello apples meet oranges. You realize its not a PC, its 1/2 the price of a PC, and its a small cheap gaming console? Got any grapes?
  • 0 Hide
    CaedenV , November 30, 2012 2:15 PM
    atminsideI am curious as how the WiiU graphics compares to Intel's HD 4000. Anyone know?

    apples and oranges.
    The WiiU's GPU is part of an ecosystem built to optomize performance for any titles that will play on it. HD4000 is meant as an iGPU to provide adequate performance for most applications and needs the flexibility to run Windows XP->8, OSX, as well as Android.

    HD4000 is mostly geared for 2D workloads, and only entry level 3D workloads. WiiU is aimed at minimal 2D workloads and moderate 3D workloads.

    HD4000 shares system memory and resources with the rest of the computer, while the WiiU GPU is a dedicated GPU with its own memory, bus bandwidth, and resources.

    Simply put: The WiiU would smoke the HD4000, as well as most other iGPUs like AMD's APU designs, because it is in a different league entirely, and built for a different use case than iGPUs are. that does not mean it is 'good' or 'bad' compared to other systems, it is simply adequate for what the designers at Nintendo need to have games look and act the way they are supposed to. Compare it to a $50 dedicated GPU and then you are talking about something closer to an apples-apples comparison.
  • -3 Hide
    dark_lord69 , November 30, 2012 2:27 PM
    oblivionlordMy 4 year old desktop cpu Q9550 is faster than the wii-U as well as my 4 year old videocard GTX260.

    I agree with JamesSneed... It's not a computer. It's a $300 console.
    1st - Clock speed isn't as important as it once was. Today many other factors play a role that determine how fast a CPU is.
    2nd - The chip in the Wii U is roughly equal to a 4870 or a 4890 video card

    BTW
    Passmark scores:
    HD 4870 - 1,411
    GTX 260 - 1,108

    Now lets do like JamesSneed said and stop trying to compare apples to oranges and grapes cause they are just not the same thing at all.
  • 2 Hide
    jackbling , November 30, 2012 2:43 PM
    the less consoles rely on cpu cycles, the better the game ports to pc will become.
  • 5 Hide
    bigdog44 , November 30, 2012 3:01 PM
    I hear the cpu is SIMD-weak, but other than that, probably sufficient for the type of games that are expected on it. The Wii's lackluster performance in some gamers minds was gpu related, and even an HD4850 @ only 550 MHz is MUCH better.
  • 2 Hide
    blazorthon , November 30, 2012 3:04 PM
    oblivionlordMy 4 year old desktop cpu Q9550 is faster than the wii-U as well as my 4 year old videocard GTX260.


    How could you possibly be sure of that and even if you were, how could that possibly matter at all?
  • 1 Hide
    blazorthon , November 30, 2012 3:08 PM
    CaedenVapples and oranges.The WiiU's GPU is part of an ecosystem built to optomize performance for any titles that will play on it. HD4000 is meant as an iGPU to provide adequate performance for most applications and needs the flexibility to run Windows XP->8, OSX, as well as Android.HD4000 is mostly geared for 2D workloads, and only entry level 3D workloads. WiiU is aimed at minimal 2D workloads and moderate 3D workloads.HD4000 shares system memory and resources with the rest of the computer, while the WiiU GPU is a dedicated GPU with its own memory, bus bandwidth, and resources.Simply put: The WiiU would smoke the HD4000, as well as most other iGPUs like AMD's APU designs, because it is in a different league entirely, and built for a different use case than iGPUs are. that does not mean it is 'good' or 'bad' compared to other systems, it is simply adequate for what the designers at Nintendo need to have games look and act the way they are supposed to. Compare it to a $50 dedicated GPU and then you are talking about something closer to an apples-apples comparison.


    Unless it is better than a 4870 or 4890, the WiiU isn't likely to be able to beat AMD's upcoming Kaveri APU (supposed to have a rough equivalent of a Radeon 7750 for its IGP). Furthermore, it wouldn't smoke AMD's APUs for the same reasons for why it may smoke Intel's CPUs in IGP performance. AMD's APUs have gaming GPUs. Low end, yes, but gaming nonetheless.
  • 3 Hide
    blazorthon , November 30, 2012 3:12 PM
    bustaprto say clockspeed isnt important is a dumb claim. and to say that mention of the clock speed of a new console isnt important or news worthy in a tech news site is also dumb. if clock speed isnt important, than all the people here on Toms that OC their CPUs are just wasting their time. its true that you really cant compare WiiU cpu to others because theyre totally different, but devs already have claimed the CPU isnt fast enough. 1.2ghz isnt really all that great tbh.and what exactly do you think they can "benchmark"? this is a closed system with no publicly known benchmark tools and app comparisons. I have some hope that devs will find a workaround to the CPU limits and optimize the console as much as they can to lat a few years and not look as pathetic as wii looked shortly after release. current console games dont look half bad, I think the graphics power of the wiiu wont limit the playability of games like the wii did.


    Clock speed in no way is an indicator of performance and that is what he/she was trying to say. 1.2GHz isn't necessarily low whatsoever. For example, if it was an extremely complicated CPU, then maybe at 1.2GHz, it'd be as fast as say Sandy Bridge per core at 4GHz. Sure, it's undoubtedly not the case for the WiiU, but it provides perspective on why clock speed doesn't matter if you don't have the full specifications of the system.
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