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Nintendo NX – let's try to understand about the power possibilities

Neper

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Jul 25, 2013
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The way I see it, there's no way that Nintendo will let you buy a handheld game and then let you run it on a tv as well without paying an extra fee.

It would be replacing their future home console income. Nintendo will be planning on having a beefed up version of their system that is purely for home tv use, that uses this new OS.

Not only that but each handheld game would have to be optimised to be able to run at tv resolutions of 720 or 1080. Effectively meaning that every game would have to have extra work put into it, without any extra money coming in to cover it. And many people playing the handheld version will never play those games plugged into a tv. So basically extra work put in for less money and not guaranteed to be used by everyone.

A more Nintendo way of doing it would be to sell the handheld version of the game, then also offer a download for $10 or so, that allows that particular game to run on the tv.

Nintendo is super good at squeezing extra money out of people and I don't see how this fantasy of a console-powerful handheld that replaces an entire revenue stream fits into that. As per usual before a Nintendo launch, there's a lot of wishful thinking going on before the eventual crash and depression caused by the actual reveal of what they've really made. Which is a shame because it causes most people to just get upset about the specs of the thing rather than get excited about the gameplay made possible by the weird and inventive hardware they come out with.


What I would do here is to have the NX as a unified console, but sell it in 2 different packages.

· Portable-only: A cheaper package, containing the tablet screen/controller and the detachable controls. It would also feature its own cartridge port, so it is capable of executing the games, obviously.
· Desktop experience: Contains all of the above, plus a charging dock for the controller and an extra box that connects to the TV and has its own bigger CPU and GPU, and also its own cartridges slot.

This way, you can have a handheld device that works as a standalone handheld and is a fully portable console on its own, and also a, let's say, PC-like box connected to the TV that will be capable of displaying the handheld games on the TV with better resolution and framerate. On the other hand, the TV box, with its own cartridge slot, would receive its own line of games that require more power to be executed, hence becoming the de facto home console of Nintendo.

This way Nintendo would have a unified platform, but 2 lines of products: the handheld-only games that could also be seen on a TV screen for the audience that's not interested on desktop gaming; and bigger, more resource-needy games that could only be played in the more powerful TV box.
 

BDGAME

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What I would do here is to have the NX as a unified console, but sell it in 2 different packages.

· Portable-only: A cheaper package, containing the tablet screen/controller and the detachable controls. It would also feature its own cartridge port, so it is capable of executing the games, obviously.
· Desktop experience: Contains all of the above, plus a charging dock for the controller and an extra box that connects to the TV and has its own bigger CPU and GPU, and also its own cartridges slot.

This way, you can have a handheld device that works as a standalone handheld and is a fully portable console on its own, and also a, let's say, PC-like box connected to the TV that will be capable of displaying the handheld games on the TV with better resolution and framerate. On the other hand, the TV box, with its own cartridge slot, would receive its own line of games that require more power to be executed, hence becoming the de facto home console of Nintendo.

This way Nintendo would have a unified platform, but 2 lines of products: the handheld-only games that could also be seen on a TV screen for the audience that's not interested on desktop gaming; and bigger, more resource-needy games that could only be played in the more powerful TV box.

2 different machines can be cool, but the problem is how support it. Maybe they can launch one desktop later on the road, but now, is better focus all their strengths on a single machine.
 

jdstorm

Banned
Jan 21, 2016
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No, it's really not... A tv dock is going to be constantly feeding power into the unit, not trying to maintain a balance between performance and battery life.

Maybe as an a different hand held 3 years down the line... "improved nx, play console nx level graphics in the new portable!"

But anywhere near launch or at the event where they announce the system. Zero chance. It would be a retail and logistical nightmare Nintendo can't afford.

I guess I just disagree. Let's say the NX hypothetically is 450Gflps as a handheld and 700Gflps when docked.
If you are a developer you are going to have to make a choice. Do you target 1080p or even 720p for the TV experience and then downscale everything for the handheld?

Do you target 540p as a portable and then just upscale it when docked? This is essentially wasting the extra docked power.

Do you treat the NX docked vs Portable as 2 seperate SKUs and optimise like that?

Assuming the NX/Tegra has a well documented power curve, there is no reason to suggest that a larger portable, with a larger battery couldn't be availiable at launch
 

AntMurda

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Sep 30, 2006
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2 different machines can be cool, but the problem is how support it. Maybe they can launch one desktop later on the road, but now, is better focus all their strengths on a single machine.

We are already seeing scalable game development with Xbox 1S and PS4 Neo - that's would the Nintendo argument would be. Especially with a dock or console or even SCD. 1 library - one superior iterative for home experience.
 

BDGAME

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We are already seeing scalable game development with Xbox 1S and PS4 Neo - that's would the Nintendo argument would be. Especially with a dock or console or even SCD. 1 library - one superior iterative for home experience.

Yes, I know it's possible to launch a scalable game, but you are talking about 2 different machines. Even Sony and MS don't release two machines at start.

It's better for now, Nintendo launch one machine and work hard to sell it. If people desire a "home only" version, maybe them can launch it later.
 

pooh

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Dec 19, 2015
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What I would do here is to have the NX as a unified console, but sell it in 2 different packages.

· Portable-only: A cheaper package, containing the tablet screen/controller and the detachable controls. It would also feature its own cartridge port, so it is capable of executing the games, obviously.
· Desktop experience: Contains all of the above, plus a charging dock for the controller and an extra box that connects to the TV and has its own bigger CPU and GPU, and also its own cartridges slot.

This way, you can have a handheld device that works as a standalone handheld and is a fully portable console on its own, and also a, let's say, PC-like box connected to the TV that will be capable of displaying the handheld games on the TV with better resolution and framerate. On the other hand, the TV box, with its own cartridge slot, would receive its own line of games that require more power to be executed, hence becoming the de facto home console of Nintendo.

This way Nintendo would have a unified platform, but 2 lines of products: the handheld-only games that could also be seen on a TV screen for the audience that's not interested on desktop gaming; and bigger, more resource-needy games that could only be played in the more powerful TV box.

LCGeek mentioned that the CPU is already above PS4/Xbox One. So, all you would really need for power parity is an external GPU, which is already becoming common item for laptops. Cost-wise, they could use an off the shelf AMD RX 480 or RX 470, and offer a lot of extra graphics power at a fairly reasonable price. This would make an SCD even cheaper and easier to manage, so I highly suspect the theory you outline is what we're going to see.
 

AntMurda

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Sep 30, 2006
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Yes, I know it's possible to launch a scalable game, but you are talking about 2 different machines. Even Sony and MS don't release two machines at start.

It's better for now, Nintendo launch one machine and work hard to sell it. If people desire a "home only" version, maybe them can launch it later.

No one has ever done this. Design hardware with two markets in mind. Microsoft merged PC and Console. Both Microsoft and Sony merged iterative hardware together. So there are a lot of firsts.

The portable hybrid idea seems tailored for success in Japan, but for the Western market it seems disastrous.
 

BDGAME

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No one has ever done this. Design hardware with two markets in mind. Microsoft merged PC and Console. Both Microsoft and Sony merged iterative hardware together. So there are a lot of firsts.

The portable hybrid idea seems tailored for success in Japan, but for the Western market it seems disastrous.

It's all about the marketing. They can focus on portable on west and on console on east.
 

AntMurda

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Sep 30, 2006
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It's all about the marketing. They can focus on portable on west and on console on east.

Western market has been favorable to sleek sophisticated set top boxes. If the dock idea looks cheap, it's going to bomb.

So it all depends whether the dock is a legit console looking box or if a separate console iterative is marketed for the west in addition.
 

G.ZZZ

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Sep 12, 2013
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LCGeek mentioned that the CPU is already above PS4/Xbox One. So, all you would really need for power parity is an external GPU, which is already becoming common item for laptops. Cost-wise, they could use an off the shelf AMD RX 480 or RX 470, and offer a lot of extra graphics power at a fairly reasonable price. This would make an SCD even cheaper and easier to manage, so I highly suspect the theory you outline is what we're going to see.

There's a 5% chance of Nintendo going for something that confusing to appeal a very niche market while spending more in development and distribution.

Or make that 0% really.
 

Peterc

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May 15, 2015
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People really like their job as developer by not leaking anything.
How many X individual developers has seen the nx already?
 
Jun 19, 2013
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Not only that, having a port on the NX that connects to a dock with an external GPU is pretty expensive. So they won't do that

I didn't know this. Sony released a thin and light Vaio laptop a few years back which had its own GPU dock. Maybe when Nintendo has validated its own market for the NX can it start focusing on low-cost SCD options, but it's more likely a large market for NX will justify Nvidia spending more resources on designing future Tegra SoCs specifically for Nintendo hardware which I'd prefer.

One thing we do know: their consoles always disappoint power-wise.

Their last state-of-the-art console, the GameCube, was an incredible feat of engineering. I'd love to see something like that in NX. Shame Wii U's overall design was hobbled by the need to support Wii backwards compatibility, even if the effort put in to dragging Power 750 as far as IBM could was admirable.
 

MacTag

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Jan 5, 2016
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Yes, but it renders it on the home console, then sends the 480p signal to the gamepad.

You forgot that Wii U is a desktop machine and don't need to worry with power consumption like the NX will have.
Yes, that's why I said if the power envelope can accomodate it. If Nintendo pushes a single resolution output I don't see it being anything but 1080p on the television, which would downsample perfectly to a 540p tablet screen. If they can manage Wii U+ quality on that, then that's what they'll do.

More likely though I expect Nintendo will let developers do whatever they want. They've really gotten hands off in terms of regulating interface, performance, etc, for 3rd parties. For their own stuff I could see an emphasis on 1080p/60fps though, much like the push for 720p/60fps on Wii U.
 

Peltz

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Apr 26, 2014
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Anyone else think the NX will have one of those random EXT. ports that Nintendo often includes on their hardware?

Some of them never even get used, but I could see that happening here to give the console some more power with future add-ons.

Their last state of the art console was GCN and it had tons of ports on the bottom for GB player and Ethernet/modem adapters.
 

BDGAME

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Anyone else think the NX will have one of those random EXT. ports that Nintendo often includes on their hardware?

Some of them never even get used, but I could see that happening here to give the console some more power with future add-ons.

Their last state of the art console was GCN and it had tons of ports on the bottom for GB player and Ethernet/modem adapters.

I don't doubt. I believe that machine will be updatable. Maybe we can replace the "brain" of the machine for new and better models every year. Maybe some kind of "expansion pack", or any other crazyness Nintendo think.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
May 4, 2007
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My understanding is that unlike home consoles, most modern mobile GPUs do still use mixed precision and some fp16 and can see big speedups when fp16 is used. I'm not sure what the state of the GPU is in tegra, since it's clearly been optimized for mobile or pseudo mobile use, and could probably benefit from fp16 use.
That's right - mobile GPUs do use fp16. And so does TX1, and unsurprisingly - TegraNext.
 

tarheel91

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LCGeek mentioned that the CPU is already above PS4/Xbox One. So, all you would really need for power parity is an external GPU, which is already becoming common item for laptops. Cost-wise, they could use an off the shelf AMD RX 480 or RX 470, and offer a lot of extra graphics power at a fairly reasonable price. This would make an SCD even cheaper and easier to manage, so I highly suspect the theory you outline is what we're going to see.

You're not going to go from Nvidia on the handheld to AMD docked. Everything I've read has said no external processing, but if there was, it would just be a larger number of SMs than are on the handheld (e.g 2-4 vs. 4-6). I think a much more realistic option is that the handheld's clocks will simply go up when docked. You no longer have to worry about battery energy consumption, which is usually a bottleneck on a handheld before thermal limits. Just by turning off the screen in dock mode you're opening up 500mW of thermal bandwidth, and assuming a tablet sized device can provide 10W of thermal dissipation, you can overclock the hell out of that GPU.
 

Negotiator

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Jun 28, 2011
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That's right - mobile GPUs do use fp16. And so does TX1, and unsurprisingly - TegraNext.
Did PC graphics processors ever use FP16 primarily instead of FP32? I remember the TNT2/Voodoo 3 era had a lot less precision than GeForce/Radeon ones coming later...
 

G.ZZZ

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Sep 12, 2013
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You're not going to go from Nvidia on the handheld to AMD docked. Everything I've read has said no external processing, but if there was, it would just be a larger number of SMs than are on the handheld (e.g 2-4 vs. 4-6). I think a much more realistic option is that the handheld's clocks will simply go up when docked. You no longer have to worry about battery energy consumption, which is usually a bottleneck on a handheld before thermal limits. Just by turning off the screen in dock mode you're opening up 500mW of thermal bandwidth, and assuming a tablet sized device can provide 10W of thermal dissipation, you can overclock the hell out of that GPU.

Isn't a 7" screen about 3W ?
 

Retrobox

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Aug 13, 2016
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Anyone else think the NX will have one of those random EXT. ports that Nintendo often includes on their hardware?

Some of them never even get used, but I could see that happening here to give the console some more power with future add-ons.

Their last state of the art console was GCN and it had tons of ports on the bottom for GB player and Ethernet/modem adapters.

Oh please, bring back ANYTHING that can remotely be tied to the Gamecube. Loved that console. Good times were had.
On a different note though, you may be onto something. Feels like Nintendo really wants to future-proof the NX so that could help. Would drive up the costs if they never used that port though, so they would likely have a clear plan in mind if it happens at all.
 

blu

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May 4, 2007
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Did PC graphics processors ever use FP16 primarily instead of FP32? I remember the TNT2/Voodoo 3 era had a lot less precision than GeForce/Radeon ones coming later...
note: tnt/voodoo were shader-less (incl. vertex-shader-less) GPUs, and as such did fixed-point arithmetics. Floating point in pixel shaders appeared only in SM2.

Fp16 lost steam on the desktop after vendors went unified shaders. Yet 'mixed precision' did achieve notable success prior to that - R300, AMD's flagman ArtX-made SM2 part which back in the day dominated the market, did fp24 in its pixel shaders, and fp32 in the vertex shaders (non-unified model), and outpeformed NV30's fp32-all-around in pretty much everything. So nothing new under the sun (even though fp16 today is done for other reasons than ALU savings, which was the main reason back then).
 

Heyt

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May 7, 2013
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I've never read about the power-boosting dock being a thing on the original Eurogamer text, but still some talk about it like it is a given. Wishful thinking from the people who fear for the living room experience, I assume?
 
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To release a system inferior in power to PS4/XBO in 2017 will be a shot in the foot and probably will repel buyers as third-party support as well. But, according to many rumors around the net, this likely will happen.
 

lenovox1

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To release a system inferior in power to PS4/XBO in 2017 will be a shot in the foot and probably will repel buyers as third-party support as well. But, according to many rumors around the net, this likely will happen.

It's primarily a portable console.

It's seemingly greater than a generational step above the Vita.
 

BDGAME

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To release a system inferior in power to PS4/XBO in 2017 will be a shot in the foot and probably will repel buyers as third-party support as well. But, according to many rumors around the net, this likely will happen.

So, what portable machine can run games of the level of a ps4 right now?

In 2017 people will have to choose between 2 4K machines or a portable that can play games on a screen as a bonus. (I believe that you will be able to choose any "screen" that you have in your house, like a TV, a tablet or even your smartphone)
 
Sep 23, 2011
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So...

There's been a lot of fuss and rumblings about what this system will and won't be in terms of power-level and form-factor. But, have we heard anything suggesting whether or not it's gonna be region-locked?
 

Pokemaniac

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So...

There's been a lot of fuss and rumblings about what this system will and won't be in terms of power-level and form-factor. But, have we heard anything suggesting whether or not it's gonna be region-locked?

Iwata suggested that it being region free was under consideration at an investor meeting. Nothing further has been said since then.
 

Shpeshal Nick

aka Collingwood
Mar 16, 2007
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One thing we do know: their consoles always disappoint power-wise.

But it's only disappointing if your expectations aren't reasonable.

I'd be shocked if any of us in #teamhybrid were expecting a truly powerful handheld. My initial postings about it waaaaaaay back when were speculating a level slightly above the WiiU. I personally would be fine with that.
 

BDGAME

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My expectations are, at worse, a little better than Wii U.

What I truly expect is a machine capable to run most of this gen's games at 720p. Maybe Nintendo can launch a product capable to increase that resolution to buy separately, but I don't expect that.

The WUST scenario is a handle mode better than current gen at low resolution and "dock mode" better than Ps4.