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SemiAccurate: Nintendo NX handheld to use Nvidia Tegra-based Soc

Fourth Storm

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Feb 17, 2006
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The article is available to subscribers only, however the gist of it is this:


  • Though Nvidia downplayed console margins, their pride was hurt by the loss in console contracts. All the talk about "focusing on Shield" was a cover for the fact that MS and Sony had soured on them and would not enter negotiations.
  • Nvidia team was told to get a console win or "go home." Enter Nintendo, who apparently made off very well in this deal. This to the point that SemiAccurate questions whether this is a "win" at all for Nvidia.
  • SA has heard that Nvidia are promising software, support, and the whole shebang at a very low cost. According to one source, Nvidia may even be taking a loss on this deal. (Take the second sentence here with an extra portion of salt)
  • Not mentioned which generation of Tegra or which process node will be used or when the handheld is scheduled for release.
  • No mention of the home console, but we can speculate what that might be and who might provide the chipset for that one.

http://semiaccurate.com/2016/05/12/guess-whos-silicon-is-in-nintendos-nx/
 

James Scott

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May 24, 2014
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Should be good especially if the NX handheld will be the base performance for a lot of software going forward.
 

Eusis

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There were rumors that they were going to go with nVidia in the first place for 3DS but they under delivered at that time. Perhaps now they have something worth using for a handheld at the least.
 

chaobreaker

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Is this good news? I thought the goal of the NX was to have it run on the same architecture as the competing consoles and thus get easy third-party multiplatform support.
 

SirPenguin

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Emily's chose her words very carefully when debunking the Polaris rumors. I read it to mean "these rumors are false for an obvious reason - AMD isn't doing the GPU"

This helps corroborate what she's heard imo
 

Chindogg

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Oct 5, 2010
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Is this good news? I thought the goal of the NX was to have it run on the same architecture as the competing consoles and thus get easy third-party multiplatform support.
This needs to be repeated apparently.

Architecture really doesn't mean much when it comes to multiplatform support. Supporting the development and middleware tools is far more important. If it can't run something like Frostbite, Unity, Unreal Engine, etc then it's not going to get the support.
 

KingBroly

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Mar 18, 2015
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Is this good news? I thought the goal of the NX was to have it run on the same architecture as the competing consoles and thus get easy third-party multiplatform support.
You misunderstood the shared architecture part of Iwata's message.

He said their next batch of systems would run on the similar/same architecture. He didn't say anything about it running the same architecture as everyone else.

It'll use modern architecture at least, meaning it can run 3rd party engines, which Wii U couldn't do for one reason or another.
 

Thraktor

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Posting my theory for time number three:

Thraktor said:
Well, for all we know Nvidia could have done Nintendo a deal on the X1 simply to use up a TSMC 20nm wafer purchase commitment (as the X1 is their only 20nm chip, and it's only been used in the Shield TV and the Pixel C, neither are big sellers). It may have been cheaper for them to sell the chips at a loss to Nintendo than to pay a penalty to TSMC for dropping out of their wafer order.
Thraktor said:
The reason I was talking about it there is that it would explain why Nvidia would be willing to make a loss on the deal. As a point of reference, AMD was penalised to the tune of $320 million when they pulled out of a wafer order commitment with Global Foundries a few years back. That's the kind of order of magnitude you'd be looking at if (and it's a bit if) Nvidia had committed to large 20nm purchases from TSMC and they had to renege on them due to poor sales of the Nvidia X1. They'd be desperate to make the sale to Nintendo, as Nintendo would be pretty much the only customer buying in the quantity necessary to cover their wafer commitments, so would be willing to offer Nintendo an absurdly good deal, even to the point of making a loss on each chip sold, as it would still be better than paying the penalty to TSMC.
It's only a theory, but it would explain why Nvidia would be willing to take a loss on the chips. (Which could also extend to a custom-designed 20nm chip).

Emily's chose her words very carefully when debunking the Polaris rumors. I read it to mean "these rumors are false for an obvious reason - AMD isn't doing the GPU"

This helps corroborate what she's heard imo
She's talking about the home console, this is talking about the handheld, they could well be using SoCs from different companies.
 

Oblivion

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Jul 17, 2005
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So Nintendo partnered with Nvidia this time? Wow. Pretty big news since they went 3 consoles sticking with ATi/AMD.

But what is this NX "handheld" stuff?
 

Neoxon

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Jul 28, 2013
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Is this good news? I thought the goal of the NX was to have it run on the same architecture as the competing consoles and thus get easy third-party multiplatform support.
Iwata meant that about Nintendo's next console & handheld.
 

KingBroly

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Mar 18, 2015
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So Nintendo partnered with Nvidia this time? Wow. Pretty big news since they went 3 consoles sticking with ATi/AMD.

But what is this NX "handheld" stuff?
The 3DS successor.

NX is going to be an eco-system, of sorts. Like iOS, Android, etc.
 

Trago

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Aug 31, 2013
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X1 would be great, but we gotta think about power and battery. So I'm leaning towards K1.
 

Mooreberg

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Shield tablets have gotten high marks for performance relative to others on the market, but that is tablets. This suggests the idea that they'd have the same hardware for portable and in home is correct. Makes me wonder what they are aiming for in terms of third party support. Source, Unity, and Unreal 3 would run on this... not sure what the other popular engines would support.
 

ViciousDS

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Aug 14, 2013
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Damn...... This is huge news. I own a shield TV and that thing is amazing. If Nintendo walked away with a good deal. That means the handheld will be a power house of a device.
 

Yazzees

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X1 would be great, but we gotta think about power and battery. So I'm leaning towards K1.
Isn't the K1 just barely ahead of an Xbox 360 in performance? Considering the hearsay that nvidia's taking a loss on this deal and that the NX will be a sizable leap past the Wii U, I'd actually guess the X1 is what's being used.
 

georly

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Wait, the NX isn't a console, it's a handheld??
NX is a platform that can support handhelds and consoles. An ecosystem. Unless you're just trolling, he says it in the post you're quoting.

There will be an NX console and also an NX portable.

They can also make other NX devices if the market demands it, or even kill off one of the devices if need be while maintaining a game dev pipeline.
 

Asd202

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According to the op it's desperation to get a "console win".
Haha yet right they don't need that at all.

Brand growth and potential for future contracts. If Nvidia succeeds in building an efficient CPU/GPU for a console it could land them more work and a better bargaining position in the future.
Not really when you have AMD supplying the Sony and MS and taking razor thin margins.
 

Trago

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Isn't the K1 just barely ahead of an Xbox 360 in performance? Considering the hearsay that nvidia's taking a loss on this deal and that the NX will be a sizable leap past the Wii U, I'd actually guess the X1 is what's being used.
Good point.
 

Trojita

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Is this why you have to pay $100+ extra for a reference (lol) design from Nvidia? They have to make up lost margins from this Nintendo deal?
 

Thraktor

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X1 would be great, but we gotta think about power and battery. So I'm leaning towards K1.
Given that it uses a newer architecture, a smaller node and a wider GPU, X1 should be able to provide better performance than K1 in a given thermal envelope (or, equivalently, provide the same performance in a smaller thermal envelope). The reason X1 uses so much power it that it's got the GPU clocked at 1GHz (which is a typical clock for a desktop GPU). Bring that down to 500MHz or below and you've actually got a fairly efficient chip.
 

Pancake Mix

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Jun 11, 2015
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Nvidia...is back?

Remember the 3DS rumour that fell through?

This is their third appearance in console gaming since they started in 1993.

Xbox (2001) - Delivered a better GPU than you could find in the desktop market that entire year

PS3 (2006) - ATI's GPU delivered for the Xbox 360 the year previous has been stated as better, and Nvidia released a superior GPU to the PS3's the same year anyways IIRC.

I don't know if Sony was happy or felt duped with how the PS3's GPU worked out, but what I do know is that Nvidia probably wants the business and obviously, they can do a good job.
 

Oblivion

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NX is a platform that can support handhelds and consoles. An ecosystem. Unless you're just trolling, he says it in the post you're quoting.
I don't understand. How is this supposed to work?

(haven't been following hardly any NX news)

You literally quoted a post that answers your question.
Yes, but I didn't quite get it. The post I quoted made it sound like NX is an operating system.
 

NateDrake

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Dec 12, 2010
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So Nintendo partnered with Nvidia this time? Wow. Pretty big news since they went 3 consoles sticking with ATi/AMD.

But what is this NX "handheld" stuff?
Nintendo wanted to go with Nvidia for 3DS but the Nvidia failed to deliver on the performance they promised and Nintendo had to go with PICA as a result.
 

Eusis

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If NX becomes a line of systems (handhelds like 3DS->new 3DS->newer 3DS, etc) then it'll make up for it in the long run
May also be worth it as a matter of brand promotion. Take a loss in the short term to wedge themselves into the console market again and to use it to promote their brand and technology.

Hell, it's probably an exercise that can be applied elsewhere.
 

H3xum

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Jan 26, 2011
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Damn. This news has me more hyped than any other NX news up to this point.

Nintendo might have made a consumer pocket saving deal while being able to deliver some respectable hardware.
 

georly

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R00bot

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This sounds promising? I wonder how this would compare to the likes of the PS4k and Xbox 1.5...