Friday, March 23, 2012

Wii U to use ARM processor

There is another rumor going around now that the Wii U will also be using an ARM processor to go along with the normal CPU/GPU configuration.

What is an ARM processor you ask? These very small processors are able to handle very specific duties and are in many devices that people probably didn't realize. Here is some info:

"The relative simplicity of ARM processors makes them suitable for low power applications. As a result, they have become dominant in the mobile and embedded electronics market, as relatively low-cost, small microprocessors and micro controllers. In 2005, about 98% of the more than one billion mobile phones sold each year used at least one ARM processor. As of 2009, ARM processors account for approximately 90% of all embedded 32-bit RISC processors and are used extensively in consumer electronics, including personal digital assistants (PDAs), tablets, mobile phones, digital media and music players, hand-held game consoles, calculators and computer peripherals such as hard drives and routers." 


So what does this have to do with the Wii U? Well specifically it has to do with data being used to access the home console to the touch screen controller. Another insider at Beyond3D has posted some information on how it could work with the Wii U and notes that the 3DS already has an ARM processor as well:

"The Wii U's dedicated DSP should effectively work in tandem with the central processor making the audio footprint a veritable non-issue(streaming to the subscreen) However some ARM components will be there that allow you to use social networking/browse the internet without turning the main CPU/GPU on, or perhaps impacting a paused gaming session. Similar to what is seen in the 3DS, a standby network processor functionality." 

"Nintendo and ARM have indeed grown quite close as business partners, they will again be providing an applications processor core. A proprietary solution specifically for Nintendo. Marvell will not, as it is not SOC." 


From this it is encouraging that using this extra processor will in fact let the CPU/GPU focus more on games and less on getting certain information accessed on the touch screen. Granted, this technology has been around for a while and used in many portable devices, but the use of it with the Wii U and it's controller makes a lot of sense.


Anonymous said...

no dave i dont ask as wii had a ARM cpu embedded into the hollywood gpu as a work cpu and online in standby mode ALWAYS ON will be a gpu/mem controller core chip including the ARM then a multi-core or multi cpu CPU on a ring bus system on chip or near as damb it ....

Matt Ro said...

The Hollywood of the last Wii contains a ARM926 for controlling USB,wireless functionality, disc drive and many other I/O functions.

For a low power console it is very usefull to use a arm instead a full SPE like the PS3 for the subsystem.

Sorry for my bad english.
Greetings from Karlsruhe/Germany