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Confirmed: The Nintendo Switch is powered by an Nvidia Tegra X1

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ArchedThunder

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May 12, 2012
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So, buy a Nvidia Shield and Switch Pro Controller, then wait for people to port all Nintendo games to it? That's actually a brilliant idea from Nvidia.
Won't happen. The memory alone makes it so you won't be able to run Switch games on a Shield even if they crack the Switch wide open.
 

Rand6

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Mar 14, 2011
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Looks like some people are having hard time to understand this...
And the others :

Isn't this too big to be a portable?
But yes, good point. If you consider this to be a portable gaming hardware, it's as good as the Vita when it was released ;) .

I still consider the Switch like the WiiU's successor, maybe I'm wrong.
 

ArchedThunder

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May 12, 2012
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And the others :

Isn't this too big to be a portable?
But yes, good point. If you consider this to be a portable gaming hardware, it's as good as the Vita when it was released ;) .

I still consider the Switch like the WiiU's successor, maybe I'm wrong.
You can't put it in your pocket but it's still portable.
 

Oregano

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Mar 13, 2013
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And the others :

Isn't this too big to be a portable?
But yes, good point. If you consider this to be a portable gaming hardware, it's as good as the Vita when it was released ;) .

I still consider the Switch like the WiiU's successor, maybe I'm wrong.
Very few people outside of GAF think that.
 

echoshizzle

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Aug 2, 2016
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The chip means nothing to me after playing BOTW. Seriously, the fact the Switch doubles as a portable system still boggles my mind.

If anything, they are getting a killer profit margin off the units and will be able to drop the price more rapidly than we would normally expect. This is great for both consumers and Nintendo.
 

Hoo-doo

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Sep 29, 2011
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I mean, we've already seen what the device is capable of. It's not a powerhouse in the slightest.
 

KingSnake

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Isn't this too big to be a portable?
Let me guess, you haven't seen a Switch in real life?

Because almost everybody in the launch thread, including me, was surprised about how small the Switch actually is. It might not fit in a normal pocket, but it's very portable.
 

RichiRamjag

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Nov 6, 2014
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Let me guess, you haven't seen a Switch in real life?

Because almost everybody in the launch thread, including me, was actually surprised about how small the Switch actually is. It might not fit in a normal pocket, but it's very portable.
Surprised the heck out of me. Perfect for traveling.
 

jdstorm

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That was really the dream right up until this die photo? Like this confirmation from Chipworks is what killed that dream??

Even ignoring the faux shock/concern here, your proposed best case scenario would cost quite a bit more than the already fairly high starting price for switch.
This confirmation from chipworks didnt obviously kill the dream. I guess i just wanted to vent. Still an Underpowered CPU compared to the Xbox one/PS4 was the biggest legitimate reason the WiiU struggled to get 3rd party ports, so shipping the Switch with a similar issue is just dumb.

As for price. An Iphone costs about 250USD to produce. Assuming Nintendo wrote off R&D as a sunk cost, and were happy to work with very slim margins they could have gotten very close to that device at the 299USD pricepoint
 

ElTorro

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May 15, 2013
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Would be true, if you use the CCI-400, which TX1 does not.

I.e if you can support the newest big.little, you can support all prior versions, but TX1 was a custom implementation, that I guess didn't prioritize that.

Anandtech:


http://www.anandtech.com/show/8811/nvidia-tegra-x1-preview/5
The weird thing is that Anandtech reports that the customer interconnect is only capable of cluster switching while other articles (for instance http://www.hardwareluxx.com/index.php/news/hardware/cpu/33788-nvidia-launches-maxwell-based-tegra-x1.html) report the contrary. One of them must have interpreted Nvidia's presentation incorrectly. I tend to trust Anandtech more, but I am looking for a more authoritative source from Nvidia nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Nvidia's white paper does not really settle it:

http://international.download.nvidia.com/pdf/tegra/Tegra-X1-whitepaper-v1.0.pdf
 

GLAMr

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Yeah I remember seeing that before. I think the main point of the question though is, is HMP something that could have been added with minimal physical changes to the die? Or would it require some kind of wiring or interface that would immediately be noticeable on a die shot?
I imagine it would require some significant reworking of the chip layout and microcode. The cache and other components would connect to the cores in an entirely different way.

Samsung and Qualcomm have plenty of chips that use HMP which have found their way into devices at various price points, so the tech is fairly established and affordable. I've never heard of them retroactively adding the feature to older chips using a big.LITTLE config though.
 

Jonneh3003

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May 27, 2014
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And the others :

Isn't this too big to be a portable?
But yes, good point. If you consider this to be a portable gaming hardware, it's as good as the Vita when it was released ;) .

I still consider the Switch like the WiiU's successor, maybe I'm wrong.


It's really not too big to be portable.
 

senj

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Iirc a snapdragon 820 adreno pretty much goes toe to toe with an x1 at least in a mobile application. And yeah apples chips surpass the x1 pretty easily.
Fair point on the Apple SOCs, although it's not like Nintendo could have licensed them.
 

NOLA_Gaffer

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Jun 15, 2015
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Let me guess, you haven't seen a Switch in real life?

Because almost everybody in the launch thread, including me, was surprised about how small the Switch actually is. It might not fit in a normal pocket, but it's very portable.
As someone that really detests the size of the XL-sized hardware Nintendo has pushed on us, the Switch has really grown on me.

Admittedly I don't really take it out of the house like I do with my 3DS.
 

conpfreak

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Sep 6, 2005
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And the others :

Isn't this too big to be a portable?
But yes, good point. If you consider this to be a portable gaming hardware, it's as good as the Vita when it was released ;) .

I still consider the Switch like the WiiU's successor, maybe I'm wrong.
No? I have no idea why people ask this when the top selling flagship phones right now are phablets and don't really fit in your pocket well. It's in a tablet form factor and people carry iPads and Kindle around with them all day no matter what age group.
 

Osiris

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Jul 23, 2010
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Can you point to some technical documentation that states that these operation modes depend on hardware features? Because I come to the conclusion that these operation modes do not depend on hardware features.

Every whitepaper that I can find seems to suggest that all implementations of big.LITTLE use on a hardware level the same CCI-400 CoreLink Cache Coherent Interconnect, and that the operation modes are entirely down to to the implementation of the operating system's scheduler.

For instance: https://www.arm.com/files/pdf/big_LITTLE_technology_moves_towards_fully_heterogeneous_Global_Task_Scheduling.pdf
NVIDIA didn't use ARM's GTS for big.LITTLE support, instead it used it's own custom cluster migration that limits the use of either the cluster of A57's or the cluster of A53's.

See:
http://www.greenbot.com/article/2879437/everything-you-need-to-know-about-nvidias-new-tegra-x1-chip.html

The Tegra X1 is packing four Cortex-A57 cores (the “big” cores) and four Cortex-A53 cores (the “little” cores). The big cores are fast and use more power, but the little cores are great for background processing and are much more power-efficient. Most chips that use this eight-core configuration are tied together using a system from ARM called big.LITTLE. The newest version of this technology moves data between the two CPU islands with so-called global task scheduling. With the latest version of global task scheduling (sometimes called heterogeneous multi-processing), you can get any mix of the eight big and little cores.

Rather than using ARM’s method for controlling all eight cores, Nvidia is using cluster migration with a custom cache coherence system to shuffle data between the two islands. Under this model, the OS scheduler only sees one cluster (either big or little) at a time.

So what does all that mean? The Tegra X1 only runs processes on one set of cores at a time, but the data can be moved back and forth between the big power-hungry cores and the small power-efficient cores. Cluster migration is typically be less efficient than global task scheduling, but Nvidia says its custom interconnect has vastly improved the power efficiency of cluster management.
 
I'm definitely in the "powerful enough" crowd. For me, the PS4/XOne gen hasn't resulted in any games that are meaningfully improved by power from the PS3/360 gen. Zelda, on Switch, is more interactive in the ways I care about (systemsy interactions and openness) than most games I've played on my PS4.

All of this to say that I think Nintendo hit a sweet spot that I'm totally fine with.
 

Sub Boss

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Mar 6, 2013
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Sure, a low quality 720p screen.

Well, i asked in hopes that the thing might have some actually interesting features that might justify the price for me but the only thing i can think of is that Nintendo thinks it's Apple.
Impressions were calling the screen quality pretty good actually
 

CronoShot

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Iirc a snapdragon 820 adreno pretty much goes toe to toe with an x1 at least in a mobile application. And yeah apples chips surpass the x1 pretty easily.
Even assuming identical GPU performance, I would go with Nvidia over Qualcomm 10/10 times for driver support alone. As for Apple, it should be obvious why that will not happen.
 

Neff

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Feb 6, 2012
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Am I the only one who isn't really concerned about this?
I'm sure you're not alone. Personally speaking, I think the ratio of power/size/price for Switch is very attractively balanced, and I've been nothing but impressed by the unit so far. Also, I'm less impressed by raw technological power in an era where it's becoming more and more difficult to maximise it. We're at the point now where a game with healthy financial backing and pure talent behind it can look more impressive than a less well-made game on more powerful hardware.
 

Genio88

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Iirc a snapdragon 820 adreno pretty much goes toe to toe with an x1 at least in a mobile application. And yeah apples chips surpass the x1 pretty easily.
Wrong wrong wrong (Pixel c has Tegra X1 too)


The Tegra X1 is GPU wise(which is what most count in games) one of the best mobile GPU even today, also having Nvidia technology and drivers is a big advantage gaming wise compared to Qualcomm or even Apple
 

icecold1983

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Feb 28, 2010
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Pretty obv. You had to be a pretty dedicated nintendo belieber to think any other outcome was even remotely as likely

Wrong wrong wrong (Pixel c has Tegra X1 too)


The Tegra X1 is GPU wise(which is what most count in games) one of the best mobile GPU even today, also having Nvidia technology and drivers is a big advantage gaming wise compared to Qualcomm or even Apple
You need to remember that the tx1 in the pixel c has much higher clocks than switch in portable mode. Even with the faster clocks the pixel c isnt much faster than an iphone 6s. The iphone 7 series has completely surpassed tx1. On the cpu side tx1 has always been very meh

http://www.anandtech.com/show/9972/the-google-pixel-c-review/2
 
Jun 15, 2013
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All this just reminds me what a wild ride the rumours threads were - from the "industry leading chips" in the WSJ article to 10k and his super console theories. In comparison, this is the least unexpected thing. The old rumours threads make for interesting reading now though.
 

LordOfChaos

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The weird thing is that Anandtech reports that the customer interconnect is only capable of cluster switching while other articles (for instance http://www.hardwareluxx.com/index.php/news/hardware/cpu/33788-nvidia-launches-maxwell-based-tegra-x1.html) report the contrary. One of them must have interpreted Nvidia's presentation incorrectly. I tend to trust Anandtech more, but I am looking for a more authoritative source from Nvidia nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Nvidia's white paper does not really settle it:

http://international.download.nvidia.com/pdf/tegra/Tegra-X1-whitepaper-v1.0.pdf


Just applying Occam's razor here between the two statements, if Nvidia put the effort into making a CCI that can support all cores at once, why has it been off in every implementation of TX1?

Even tablets, where the power saving A53s would have been a huge boon and where Nvidia suffers on battery life.
 
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The chip means nothing to me after playing BOTW. Seriously, the fact the Switch doubles as a portable system still boggles my mind.

If anything, they are getting a killer profit margin off the units and will be able to drop the price more rapidly than we would normally expect. This is great for both consumers and Nintendo.
I would like this to be the case but this is Nintendo we are taking about. The price drop will need to happen out of desperation and this system still has at least two more years before that could be a possibility. Of course that is determined more by whatever developments Sony and Microsoft make in the same time
 

Malakai

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Jun 23, 2015
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Why is the shield $200 USD? Lower specs (less RAM, half the storage), and of course, no screen no Li-ion battery etc etc.
Nintendo should be able to an achieve a much greater scale and therefore should be able to buy materials at a much cheaper price than NVIDIA when it comes to ordering components that make the Switch.
 

joesiv

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I made a .GIF comparing the Switch and the X1:

http://i.imgur.com/pe8SQSm.gif
Thanks!

I get the feeling that all the marketing that Nvidia did over the Shield and Shield TV (game console performance in portable form type stuff) was targeted at courting Nintendo into this big win. Especially when you consider multi-generational products that will come with Nintendo locked in. Nvidia doing the API and all that other software ground worked, is just another show of how locked in Nintendo is now. I guess they could have picked a worse partner.

I'm actually excited, because I feel that any software I buy for the Switch now, will easily be forwards compatible with future devices. Perhaps there will have to be some transfer tool if Nintendo can't figure out the account system properly, but I don't see any reason why they wouldn't just be compatible.

As for my 3DS, I gotta keep that thing forever, so I can play my purchases lol...
 

antonz

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The X1 remains as one of the most powerful mobile options out there. Even the latest A10 Fusion from apple has only just caught upto what the X1 can do in benchmarks. Obviously TX2 is more powerful but its only now getting to reach development partner levels. It was not anywhere near ready for Nintendo let alone when Nintendo came to Nvidia for a chip.

Nintendo did not cheap out or cut corners. They worked within what was available and realistic for mass production.
 

badb0y

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May 20, 2013
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Let's pretend mobile phones don't throttle aggressively.
Not the iPhones, I think it was Anandtech that tested this but it showed iPhones sustain their performance pretty well. Of course undocked the Switch drops it's clock to like 300 Mhz so it doesn't really matter does it?
 

badb0y

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Not at all, GPU and Ram wise Switch is better, also iPhone 7 couldn't run Switch games for lack of cuda cores and Nvidia technology and drivers
When did I say iPhone 7? Not that iPhone 7 doesn't give the Switch a run for it's money in portable mode.
 

LordOfChaos

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Mar 31, 2014
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I made a .GIF comparing the Switch and the X1:



Larger version:

http://i.imgur.com/pe8SQSm.gif
Nice work man. The tiny variances I'm seeing around SRAM particularly are probably just etching and exact alignment differences.

Funny that people were making fun of the idea that Nintendo walked in on the perfect storm of Nvidia not being able to move enough TX1s to not hit a large wafer agreement fee....

Pretty well seals that it's identical. Wish we could see this puppy in a proper larger tablet, but the Nintendo deal seemed to make Nvidia cancel all work on that front. Wonder if someone else is still allowed to buy it?
 
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