Wii U CPU |Espresso| Die Photo - Courtesy of Chipworks

So this die shot isn't helping alot either i suppose? As we are all still scratching our heads...
On the CPU side (unlike with the GPU) there's not much confusion regarding what's there.

The issue, at least talking for myself is that interpreting CPU die photos is not something I'm that versed on, and I still took a stab for fun; but Marcan and Thraktor's "stabs" should be mostly correct.
 
It wasn't "re-released". It was a new version, based on Broadway. All the unique features mentioned in the documentation are Gekko/ Broadway features. The whole 750 line was still very much active back then, with one new version released every two years: 750 in 1998, 750CX in 2000, 750FX in 2002, 750GX in 2004 and 750CL in 2006.


EDIT: This appears to be a "regular" 750 - no idea which one, though:



Found by Birdman on Twitter.
I'm pretty sure it's the original 750. Here's an annotated version of the photo:

 
Whatever it is, it shares certain aspects with the Espresso cores, while other parts look quite different. Then again, it's been more then ten years, and the Nintendo 750s were always a bit different. Basically a superset of the 750. I just wonder what kind of silicon level optimizations there might be. Efficiency tweaks to the L1 and L2 cache subsystems for example. The chip was synthesized from scratch after all, so there are probably some improvements.

It's interesting to look at the EEMBC benchmarks for different PowerPC cores by the way. Clock for clock, the 750CL beats the 970FX in pretty much every single test. In some benchmarks, the 750GX is slightly ahead, but that's probably due to the much larger cache. Espresso combines both. On the other hand, the 970FX seems to eat PPUs for breakfast even at much lower clock speeds.
 
The chip was synthesized from scratch after all, so there are probably some improvements.
Usually done to transition from different fabrication plants/processes I believe. So just moving from the original fabrication type (not even just process size, but from a different factory and therefore different fabrication method, each fabrication plant does things slightly differently) to a modern process probably lowers the power consumption a fair bit, but if the core architecture is the same the work done per clock would remain the same. The new process would be what allows it to be clocked higher than it was designed for, but it wouldn't change performance by itself.

Not saying there are no further improvements of course, just that being synthesized from scratch alone does not improve performance by itself. It does allow increasing performance in other ways though.
 
Sooo... It seems like Broadway was core shrinked back in 2009:




Why is this relevant? well, I'd say premeditation-wise; to my knowledge IBM hasn't core shrinked their PPC 750 commercial offerings past 90 nm and wikipedia says this:

IBM has no public plans to produce a 750-based microprocessor in a process smaller than 90 nm, effectively phasing it out as a commodity chip competitive in such markets as networking equipment.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC_G3#Future


So they didn't make a 750CL at 65 nm but here we have *this*. Quick photoshop scaling tells me the width for it should be 3.1 mm in relation to the original's 4.2 mm; so scaling proportionally should mean a 3.1x3.33 area (10.3 mm², down from 18.9 mm² which is less than half the size and thus surely 65 nm); height doesn't seem to be the same though, but since perspective is different it's hard to know for sure.

Anyway my "theory" is that they knew for a fact they were keeping the PPC750 architecture in 2009 (because taking this aside, Nintendo didn't bother with core shrinking on the Wii; bigger chip and biggest candidate for a shrink would have been hollywood anyway, who remained the same), so that was already R&D; perhaps the internal core layout had already changed from the 90 nm broadway and closer to what we have on the 45 nm espresso?

Just tossing that idea in, could be the lost stepgap.
 
Sooo... It seems like Broadway was core shrinked back in 2009:




Why is this relevant? well, I'd say premeditation-wise; to my knowledge IBM hasn't core shrinked their PPC 750 commercial offerings past 90 nm and wikipedia says this:

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PowerPC_G3#Future


So they didn't make a 750CL at 65 nm but here we have *this*. Quick photoshop scaling tells me the width for it should be 3.1 mm in relation to the original's 4.2 mm; so scaling proportionally should mean a 3.1x3.33 area (10.3 mm², down from 18.9 mm² which is less than half the size and thus surely 65 nm); height doesn't seem to be the same though, but since perspective is different it's hard to know for sure.

Anyway my "theory" is that they knew for a fact they were keeping the PPC750 architecture in 2009 (because taking this aside, Nintendo didn't bother with core shrinking on the Wii; bigger chip and biggest candidate for a shrink would have been hollywood anyway, who remained the same), so that was already R&D; perhaps the internal core layout had already changed from the 90 nm broadway and closer to what we have on the 45 nm espresso?

Just tossing that idea in, could be the lost stepgap.
Good find, Lostinblue. Where did you get this info and pic from?
 
perhaps the internal core layout had already changed from the 90 nm broadway and closer to what we have on the 45 nm espresso?
I doubt that; die shrinks in consoles are always exact shrinks with no changed architectures as far as I know. Even when Microsoft moved the GPU and CPU to one package on the 360 slim, they artificially added in latency between the chips to be perfectly compatible with the old ones. Any minute change in the architecture over just a shrink can affect unforseeable things.

http://www.anandtech.com/show/3774/welcome-to-valhalla-inside-the-new-250gb-xbox-360-slim
 
we also have this from IBM itself, it may help, but I am sure you know these links after all.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/photo/34681.wss

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34683.wss

thats the only info from them and a photo of DRAM

IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm chip plant in East Fishkill, N.Y., will be the manufacturing facility for the new game chip the company is building for Nintendo's new game console due to hit store shelves in 2012.

IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter). The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.
 
we also have this from IBM itself, it may help, but I am sure you know these links after all.

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/photo/34681.wss

http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/34683.wss

thats the only info from them and a photo of DRAM

IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm chip plant in East Fishkill, N.Y., will be the manufacturing facility for the new game chip the company is building for Nintendo's new game console due to hit store shelves in 2012.

IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter). The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.


Those were released the day the Wii U was announced, or near to it iirc. I posted the eDRAM picture on page 3, it does look to be the same shape and layout as the one on the left of the Espresso.

 
well, if they changed something, normally they should change it in their website also. Is it? (eg the size of their chip) I just wanted to point this number here : 300mm
 
Those were released the day the Wii U was announced, or near to it iirc. I posted the eDRAM picture on page 3, it does look to be the same shape and layout as the one on the left of the Espresso.
That's just a test macro. If you check the die photos of Power7 and BlueGene/Q, you'll see 45nm eDRAM cache that looks almost identical to that on the left of Espresso (I say almost because the layout seems to have changed slightly, but it's definitely the same tech).

Edit: Also, regarding Wii die shrinks, you'll notice that the Wii Mini released in Canada has die-shrunk versions of both Broadway and Hollywood.
 
Good find, Lostinblue. Where did you get this info and pic from?
From bushing's flicker, known for collaborating in hackmii, wii homebrew channel, etc.
I doubt that; die shrinks in consoles are always exact shrinks with no changed architectures as far as I know. Even when Microsoft moved the GPU and CPU to one package on the 360 slim, they artificially added in latency between the chips to be perfectly compatible with the old ones. Any minute change in the architecture over just a shrink can affect unforseeable things.
This CPU is supposed to perform exactly like a regular Wii when clocked at 729 MHz though; it's probably the same thing, minus the SMP and cache changes; I'm guessing if Nintendo wanted to test whatever improvements they had in mind ahead of time this would be it.

From new instructions (undocumented and therefore not used/disabled), new core/L2 cache layout in relation to core logic (making internal cores more similar to the ones in expresso) or multiprocessor support... You name it, but advantages are obvious if they had that kind of insight/clarity a few years back.


And we've already discussed in this thread how core shrinks are not always linear:

In theory 90nm to 45nm would make it a quarter of its original size. But in reality die's never shrink perfectly, especially the logic parts (memory shrinks much more linearly and not too far off the theory I think). Gekko was 43mm2 so a perfect shrink from 180nm to 90nm should have meant 10.75mm2 for Broadway, when in reality its 18.9mm2. Though as you say Broadway wasnt just Gekko on a 90nm process, it did have some extra transistors in there.
Since it's never an automatic process, or a linear one; there might be more to it.


Advantages for Nintendo:

↳ PPC 750CL already went to 1 GHz @ 90 nm, 65 nm would give it leeway to go higher for testing purposes.

↳ Rearranging the core internals, to something akin the Espresso could potentially increase the achievable clock too.

↳ Multiprocessor support, missing from PPC750's, added to the silicon would allow for working tripple processor configurations before a Espresso tape-out was ready.

↳ Being in production and cutting price per chip a little (increasing chip count per waffle) would make Wii U R&D cheaper, said "tweaked" part would technically be a freebie.

↳ It's quite obvious from the Iwata Asks centered on Wii U hardware that development used Wii for a basis (the final appearance gives it away too).

↳ They didn't bother doing such a thing for Hollywood perhaps because they knew they were scrapping it and thus R&D was unwarranted both in time and resources.
Edit: Also, regarding Wii die shrinks, you'll notice that the Wii Mini released in Canada has die-shrunk versions of both Broadway and Hollywood.
Interesting, so they got to do it on the Hollywood too.

Is there a discernable difference when it comes to energy consumption?
 
Is there a discernable difference when it comes to energy consumption?
Not sure if it answers your question, but from the EG/DF review of the Mini:

Originally running with 90nm CPU and GPU back in 2006, we have heard unconfirmed reports that Nintendo dropped down to 55nm and then 40nm revisions of the hardware over the following years. However, the launch hardware was pretty efficient in itself - running our North American copy of Metroid Prime 3: Corruption we find a relatively miniscule 18w power draw. Running the same software on the new Mini, we find a significant reduction in power - the same game draws just 13w from the mains
 
Quick question, I don't 100% recall and I can't find the posts, but did the Wii U dev kit get nerfed or buffed compared to what it was? IIRC the newer dev kits weren't able to do some things the older ones were capable of.

Can someone help me out?
 
Quick question, I don't 100% recall and I can't find the posts, but did the Wii U dev kit get nerfed or buffed compared to what it was? IIRC the newer dev kits weren't able to do some things the older ones were capable of.

Can someone help me out?
Yes. I didn't look for a link, but there was a named dev that said there were things they did in the first kit that they couldn't do in the second kit.
 
Yes. I didn't look for a link, but there was a named dev that said there were things they did in the first kit that they couldn't do in the second kit.
Ah, ok, thanks! I was wondering because someone mentioned the "Garden" demo, and I said I didn't think it would be achievable on Wii U. One of my reasons was because I recalled that information. I was laughed at afterward, but I guess I was right.
 
well, if they changed something, normally they should change it in their website also. Is it? (eg the size of their chip) I just wanted to point this number here : 300mm
That would be the wafer size of the IBM fabrication plant. Doesn't really tell much about the chip, just how many they can get onto each wafer. They produce a bunch of chips on a large wafer like this and then cut out each individual one.

http://download.intel.com/pressroom/images/manufacturing/45nm_wafer_photo_1.jpg
 
However later revisions had a 25% CPU and 15% GPU clock bump
Wasn't the GPU bumped from 400 to 550MHz (~40%)?


Compared to the nerfed dev kit? Also, was it able to match or make up for those lost "capabilities?"
Compared to the very first kits, so probably the one the Garden demo was running on. There was apparently another significant performance bump once final silicon became available in the second half of 2012.

And I remember a dev saying that something they wrote for the first kits wouldn't run on the second kits, but that doesn't necessarily mean the second kits were nerfed in any way, it just means Nintendo broke compatibility. Could even be purely a software thing.
 
Compared to the very first kits, so probably the one the Garden demo was running on. There was apparently another significant performance bump once final silicon became available in the second half of 2012.

And I remember a dev saying that something they wrote for the first kits wouldn't run on the second kits, but that doesn't necessarily mean the second kits were nerfed in any way, it just means Nintendo broke compatibility. Could even be purely a software thing.
Yeah it definitely shouldn't be assumed that it was a "power" reduction.
 
Wasn't the GPU bumped from 400 to 550MHz (~40%)?



Compared to the very first kits, so probably the one the Garden demo was running on. There was apparently another significant performance bump once final silicon became available in the second half of 2012.

And I remember a dev saying that something they wrote for the first kits wouldn't run on the second kits, but that doesn't necessarily mean the second kits were nerfed in any way, it just means Nintendo broke compatibility. Could even be purely a software thing.
yeah sorry dont know why i thought 15% for a minute
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
Wasn't the GPU bumped from 400 to 550MHz (~40%)?



Compared to the very first kits, so probably the one the Garden demo was running on. There was apparently another significant performance bump once final silicon became available in the second half of 2012.

And I remember a dev saying that something they wrote for the first kits wouldn't run on the second kits, but that doesn't necessarily mean the second kits were nerfed in any way, it just means Nintendo broke compatibility. Could even be purely a software thing.
There was a discontinuity in the toolchain (i.e. two consecutive versions broke compatibility) which we discussed in one of the WUSTs, IIRC.
 
Edit: Also, regarding Wii die shrinks, you'll notice that the Wii Mini released in Canada has die-shrunk versions of both Broadway and Hollywood.
Thraktor, on close analysis I think it's safe to say that Hollywood really didn't shrink:



The size of the capacitors and RAM chip are consistent; Hollywood stays the same. Broadway is the only one being core shrinked there.
 
cant do any pixel counting but hollywood looks a little smaller to me
I did the pixel counting using ruler guides and the like.

Differences can be attributed to perspective although I tried to match them by scale. If you look closely the middle image RAM chip seems a little smaller, as does Broadway. It's only by a few pixels though. This occurred because I matched Hollywood's across all images, left other elements to themselves.

Also note that motherboard headlining changed a little, first board had it, seemed really light on the second one, and it's back and further distanced from the motherbord pins/gpu placement on the wii mini, that alone makes it look slightly smaller, but bare in mind as I said I matched that size so it's the same, look for the surrounding chips instead.

Dropping a node should mean a palpable difference; I'd say it's safe to say on the surface there's no difference to be seen on Hollywood; unless it's under the hood/gpu heatspreader.
Not sure if it answers your question, but from the EG/DF review of the Mini:
Interesting, thanks!
 
Ah, ok, thanks! I was wondering because someone mentioned the "Garden" demo, and I said I didn't think it would be achievable on Wii U. One of my reasons was because I recalled that information. I was laughed at afterward, but I guess I was right.
How exactly were you right? Please explain what exactly it was in the garden demo you spotted, that would not be possible on the current WiiU, due to these "things" being absent? Or you're just generalizing. Unless you know what was omitted, it seems you are indeed talking out of your ass a bit here. No offense, but for all you know, the stuff that was missing wasn't even used in the demo.

Edit: also what the others said.
 
Thraktor, on close analysis I think it's safe to say that Hollywood really didn't shrink:



The size of the capacitors and RAM chip are consistent; Hollywood stays the same. Broadway is the only one being core shrinked there.
The package size is the same, but that's no way to tell whether the die has shrunk or not (particularly as there are actually two dies in the package). The Wii Mini has both noticeably lower power consumption and a noticeably smaller cooling system, and a die shrink of just Broadway wouldn't be able to explain that.
 

Gahiggidy

My aunt & uncle run a Mom & Pop store, "The Gamecube Hut", and sold 80k WiiU within minutes of opening.
Quesiton, how does Wii Mini's 13w power consumption compare to 3DS?
 
How exactly were you right? Please explain what exactly it was in the garden demo you spotted, that would not be possible on the current WiiU, due to these "things" being absent? Or you're just generalizing. Unless you know what was omitted, it seems you are indeed talking out of your ass a bit here. No offense, but for all you know, the stuff that was missing wasn't even used in the demo.

Edit: also what the others said.
Extremely high IQ, and we have yet to see the extremely high shadow maps and GI that was presented in the demo. I've already been corrected, and I accept that I've been corrected. No need to jump on my back.
 
Extremely high IQ, and we have yet to see the extremely high shadow maps and GI that was presented in the demo. I've already been corrected, and I accept that I've been corrected. No need to jump on my back.
I would wait though for Retro's game, or a game from Nintendo that was more than a launch title, or a game that started life on the Wii.

To make those claims based on launch titles is silly, I mean if we made those claims based on the launch titles of the HD twins, vs tech videos for them, they'd look bad too.
 
Marcan updated the annotated die. Any idea why there would be three FPR blocks per core? 32 isn't a multiple of three.


Extremely high IQ, and we have yet to see the extremely high shadow maps and GI that was presented in the demo. I've already been corrected, and I accept that I've been corrected. No need to jump on my back.
We only have bad direct feed footage of an early build and various off-screen videos, so I'm not sure it's even possible to judge the IQ correctly.
 
I would wait though for Retro's game, or a game from Nintendo that was more than a launch title, or a game that started life on the Wii.

To make those claims based on launch titles is silly, I mean if we made those claims based on the launch titles of the HD twins, vs tech videos for them, they'd look bad too.
I don't doubt Retro will blow us away, it's just odd that we get this, seemingly, realtime demo, and we don't get anything that comes remotely close to that. This is all off topic though.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
Marcan updated the annotated die. Any idea why there would be three FPR blocks per core? 32 isn't a multiple of three.
We don't know how many physical register files there are - the CPU features register renaming.

We only have bad direct feed footage of an early build and various off-screen videos, so I'm not sure it's even possible to judge the IQ correctly.
Indeed.
 
We don't know how many physical register files there are - the CPU features register renaming.
Thanks for the info. I found a pretty good (high contrast) annotated photo of a 750 in an old IBM document, but I have a hard time figuring out where the register files are supposed to be...

But there are three of those table like things that look similar to the blocks on the left of the Espresso cores, though. Similar shape and size (relative to other components). I don't know what they are, but the biggest one right below the FPRs should be part of the FPU, the one below that appears to be part of the integer unit, and the small nearly quadratic one to the right seems to be part of the instruction sequencer.
 
I don't know what the 3DS draws, but I'm guessing that question is getting at how long it would take to get that power without a stationary console? It's interesting, the original Intel Atom nettop systems drew about as much power as the Wii U and much more than the original or die shrunk Wii -



And now their SoCs with nearly identical power to the single core desktop Atom parts are drawing low enough power to be in phones and tablets with good battery life per battery watt hour - just 5 years later.

Granted, Intel also has the most advanced fabrication plants and most money to throw at fast shrinks than anyone, but the Atom in phones isn't even using their newest fabrication process.
 
Don't forget Haswell drawing just 7W, and probably putting up results at 7W comparable to this gen consoles... or even better.
Well, the 7W number isn't the actual TDP of the Haswell chips. Besides, the ULV Haswells are low clocked, large die CPUs, made on a 22nm process and retailing well north of $100, so if they didn't get better performance per watt than cheap, small die 45nm/32nm console CPUs then Intel would be doing something very wrong.
 
Don't forget Haswell drawing just 7W, and probably putting up results at 7W comparable to this gen consoles... or even better.
Yeah, Anand from Anandtech said the Intel HD2500 graphics were about half as powerful as the 360s, and the HD4000 was more powerful. So with Haswell, even integrated graphics low enough power for a tablet will likely be more powerful.

Haswells GT3e with embedded DRAM on the GPU (sound familiar?) should post even bigger leads.
 

blu

Wants the largest console games publisher to avoid Nintendo's platforms.
Don't forget Haswell drawing just 7W, and probably putting up results at 7W comparable to this gen consoles... or even better.
Aside from the fact there is no such thing as 7W TDP haswell (at least not on the horizon), the ULX version would have a hell of a time trying to keep up with last-gen console, let alone surpass it.
 
Extremely high IQ, and we have yet to see the extremely high shadow maps and GI that was presented in the demo. I've already been corrected, and I accept that I've been corrected. No need to jump on my back.
Like i said, no offense but i don't follow your logic. Without knowing what exactly was missing, how can you possibly link it to an early demo having certain features not yet seen in retail games. We haven't seen the tessellator in action either, does that mean it's absent or removed since? And as you could understand from my edit, i only read the other responses after my response. It's just a bit awkward to see you gloat about how "you were right" based on broken logic.
 

Gahiggidy

My aunt & uncle run a Mom & Pop store, "The Gamecube Hut", and sold 80k WiiU within minutes of opening.
Quesiton, how does Wii Mini's 13w power consumption compare to 3DS?
I asked about this because I'm wondering about the feasibility of a future Nintendo product that has the Wii U's chipset on the actual Gamepad... with the game disc-data streaming from the console or even over the internet. Call it 'Wii Cloud', if you will.