Wii U GPU base specs: 160 ALUs, 8 TMUs, 8 ROPs; Rumor: Wii U hardware was downgraded

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#1
Hey guys. I finally caught up with someone I've talked with in the past. While the actual listed specs do not mention these exact numbers, with the die shot they are more than enough to confirm those numbers.

The 160/8/8 doesn't bother me. It's how they allegedly arrived at that which doesn't sit well with me. The allegation is that the Wii U hardware was downgraded due to overheating dev kits.

When I was here a few months ago I shared this in the Latte thread:

I will say that around the time right before I stopped posting last year someone told me something along the lines of Nintendo reducing their original plans after the overheating issue. By then after hearing conflicting things I didn't even care and just wanted to focus on other things.
But in hindsight there may have been signs pointing to this. One was a comment from Vigil (we had forgot and thought Gearbox in the Latte thread).

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/312210/wii-u-development-has-been-a-little-tricky-admits-vigil/

Donald added: "When we got the new kits there were some things in the old build that wouldn't work with the new hardware and we had to wait for updates. So it's been a little tricky in that regard."
I know when this first came out we speculated on that being due to architectural changes.

The other sign comes from Nintendo themselves.

http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wiiu/console/0/1

Iwata - Was making the casing smaller a clear target from the start? Kitano-san?

Kitano - Yes. At the start of development, Takeda-san gave us the task of making the console a "stagehand", a kind of unobtrusive role behind the scenes.
So consolidating all of that would say Nintendo chose a smaller case over more power.

Again this is a rumor. But I wanted to draw more attention to it in the hope that others out there could confirm or deny the hardware downgrade.
 

JordanN

Junior Member
#8
The CPU in Wii U got upgraded though. According to Arkam/Lherre, the first dev kits were barely 1Ghz (800mhz?). It's now 1.25Ghz or something like that.

Unless that was some whole other design. But then we got another Gamecube (faster CPU, weaker GPU at launch)!
 

LCGeek

formerly sane
#12
Hey guys. I finally caught up with someone I've talked with in the past. While the actual listed specs do not mention these exact numbers, with the die shot they are more than enough to confirm those numbers.

The 160/8/8 doesn't bother me. It's how they allegedly arrived at that which doesn't sit well with me. The allegation is that the Wii U hardware was downgraded due to overheating dev kits.

When I was here a few months ago I shared this in the Latte thread:



But in hindsight there may have been signs pointing to this. One was a comment from Vigil (we had forgot and thought Gearbox in the Latte thread).

http://www.computerandvideogames.com/312210/wii-u-development-has-been-a-little-tricky-admits-vigil/



I know when this first came out we speculated on that being due to architectural changes.

The other sign comes from Nintendo themselves.

http://iwataasks.nintendo.com/interviews/#/wiiu/console/0/1



So consolidating all of that would say Nintendo chose a smaller case over more power.

Again this is a rumor. But I wanted to draw more attention to it in the hope that others out there could confirm or deny the hardware downgrade.
I bolted on nintendo after seeing how they handle this subject. They have had two generations to figure out hardware and it seems only sony knows how to build gaming hardware that is mass market at this point and still pretty powerful. The company is so isolated they can't go out in to the industry for help. Heating issues aren't a problem considering what htpc crowd can do be it low or high end.
 
#13
At the start of development, Takeda-san gave us the task of making the console a "stagehand", a kind of unobtrusive role behind the scenes.
And then you end up with the E3 debacle and everything that came after that where you have people still asking if Wii U is an accessory for Wii.

Brilliant.
 
#15
Why the heck would Nintendo pick a small case over a better running console? That makes no sense.
Why did they severely bottleneck their console by going with a CPU solution apparently pretty much entirely for easy backwards compatibility?

Trying to make sense out of Nintendo decisions is sometimes almost a game in itself lol...
 
#17
Interesting.

Im curious to know what they downgraded from...

Not the first time from Nintendo, they downgraded the clock speed for the GameCube.
 
#20
I sincerely hope that this isn't the case. Them gimping their own console for the sake of shaving a couple of cubic inches off the console's size is immensely stupid.

I hope they gimped the console due to the added cost of the gamepad, because them doing it for console size would make me shake my head so hard my face would fly off my skull.
 
#21
Nice to see you back, even if it's only temporary.

Not surprised about 160 ALUs, the writing was on the wall. Those speculating about 320 ALUs....

Anyways, so this means that the Zelda tech demo can't even run on the Wii U as it is now?
 
#26
It makes Nintendo sense.
I might use that later on...

Anyways, I really can't understand why they felt putting all the effort into making a smaller case was more important than using that energy in making the system a more capable piece of hardware. It seems totally ridiculous.
 
#31
people throw so much blame at the gamepad for the problems the Wii U has but the smaller casing seems to be probably bigger in terms of fucking up with the console's power and price.
 
#33
I don't understand. What's the "new news" here?
Wii U GPU = 160ALUs

The Wii U had a more powerful GPU before, but Nintendo scaled the GPU back to maintain the Wii U case size due to overheating.

Edit: Also, the Wii U can't (possibly) handle the Zelda tech demo shown at E3 2011 anymore...

Edited my post so people understand that I'm not making an absolute conclusion.
 
#34
I might use that later on...

Anyways, I really can't understand why they felt putting all the effort into making a smaller case was more important than using that energy in making the system a more capable piece of hardware. It seems totally ridiculous.
Nintendo's been obsessed with targeting low power consumption, but I'm not so sure its so important to them. It's not like Japanese consumers care since they've bought plenty of PS3s and will likely do the same with PS4s. Of course, when it becomes undeniably clear that Wii U is going to run into next-gen engine technical incompatibly issues, then it will really show just how naive Satoru Iwata can be..
 
#35
Nintendo's been obsessed with targeting low power consumption, but I'm not so sure its so important to them. It's not like Japanese consumers care since they've bought plenty of PS3s and will likely do the same with PS4s. Of course, when it becomes undeniably clear that Wii U is going to run into next-gen engine technical incompatibly issues, then it will really show just how naive Satoru Iwata can be..
There's the theory that it's to cram the Wii U tech into a handheld and roll with a console/handheld hybrid next gen.
 

JordanN

Junior Member
#38
Wii U GPU = 160ALUs

The Wii U had a more powerful GPU before, but Nintendo scaled the GPU back to maintain the Wii U case size due to overheating.

Also, the Wii U can't handle the Zelda tech demo shown at E3 2011 anymore...
For what reason?

It ran at 720p, 30fps and no AA. I also think it's been said many times it isn't much better than PS3/360 games and the Wii U isn't weaker than that.
 
#39
For what reason?

It ran at 720p, 30fps and no AA. I also think it's been said many times it isn't much better than PS3/360 games and the Wii U isn't weaker than that.
How would it be able to handle the same demo with a weaker GPU? The demo wasn't a huge leap from PS360 games, but it definitely looked better than any current-gen game that I've seen.
 
#40
Wii U GPU = 160ALUs

The Wii U had a more powerful GPU before, but Nintendo scaled the GPU back to maintain the Wii U case size due to overheating.

Also, the Wii U can't handle the Zelda tech demo shown at E3 2011 anymore...
Seems like there could be two decisions here working in parallel, not necessarily one as a result of the other. Solving two birds with one stone might have made sense.
The company is so isolated they can't go out in to the industry for help. Heating issues aren't a problem considering what htpc crowd can do be it low or high end.
What do you mean here specifically? They worked with IBM and AMD on components in the past. And agreed regarding the overheating.
 
#41
Wii U GPU = 160ALUs

The Wii U had a more powerful GPU before, but Nintendo scaled the GPU back to maintain the Wii U case size due to overheating.

Also, the Wii U can't handle the Zelda tech demo shown at E3 2011 anymore...
if true, FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK
 
#43
As someone who pays a power bill, the lower power consumption is nice. But I'd be willing to pay the $5 more a year which will be useless since I have to buy a PS4 to compensate for the lack of third-party support.
 
#44
How would it be able to handle the same demo with a weaker GPU? The demo wasn't a huge leap from PS360 games, but it definitely looked better than any current-gen game that I've seen.
What evidence do you have to support this claim? Don't just toss BS in the thread to get reactions. You don't know what version of the debug unit it was running on or what changes happened to the final hardware.
 
#45
What evidence do you have to support this claim? Don't just toss BS in the thread to get reactions.
Did you read the OP?

According to Bgassassin who has leaked previous information before about all three next-gen consoles, the Wii U had its GPU cut back (back in 2012) to prevent overheating issues while maintaining its case size.

What evidence do you have to support this claim? Don't just toss BS in the thread to get reactions. You don't know what version of the debug unit it was running on or what changes happened to the final hardware.
That demo was running on Wii U hardware from 2011.
 
#47
Did you read the OP?

According to Bgassassin who has leaked previous information before about all three next-gen consoles, the Wii U had its GPU cut back (back in 2012) to prevent overheating issues while maintaining its case size.
That doesn't = the system no longer being able to run the Zelda tech demo.
 
#49
Le sigh, would it really have hurt them to have a slightly bigger box at the outset? You can always shrink a year or two later down the road, they're stuck with a lower (yet still potent) baseline now and they can't really fix that. Good thing is it doesn't really hurt them in terms of making fun games, but it would be nice to have...
 
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