There has been more talk recently that the Wii U CPU is a tad below Xbox 360/PS3 in clock speed. The question begs to be asked: Does that really matter? What we have to remember is that the Wii U CPU is actually a brand new chip and is not based on previous generation HD systems. Here is part of the press release from IBM a year ago on the Wii U CPU:
IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it will provide the microprocessors that will serve as the heart of the new Wii U™ system from Nintendo. Unveiled today at the E3 trade show, Nintendo plans for its new console to hit store shelves in 2012.
The all-new, Power-based microprocessor will pack some of IBM's most advanced technology into an energy-saving silicon package that will power Nintendo's brand new entertainment experience for consumers worldwide. IBM's unique embedded DRAM, for example, is capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience.
(Wii U Power Microprocessor test chip)
Regarding Wii U's EDRAM:
IBM's embedded dynamic random access memory (test chip shown here) will help deliver a thrilling new game experience to Nintendo fans. The new memory technology, a key element of the new Power microprocessor that IBM is building for the Nintendo Wii U console, can triple the amount of memory contained on a single chip, making for extreme game play.
Whether or not the CPU is clocked less than the current HD systems is irrelevant since this is new technology and different architecture than either of those systems that are nearly 7 years old by now. Designing a CPU for a console in 2009-2011 is a lot different than designing one in 2004-2005. Not only that but seeing as the Wii U's GPU is being designed to handle duties normally done by the CPU, porting code from platforms that normally handle code through the CPU differently to the Wii U is going to lessen performance. Almost like having the Wii U run a game with the it's hand tied behind it's back and covering one eye; it could get the job done but it would do it slower.
Developing a game on the Wii U with code that it's designed to handle will most likely show a significant graphical advantage over this current generation. However with porting on the Wii U thus far, the games are going to look exactly the same as Xbox 360/PS3 with maybe a better frame rate, less screen tearing and slightly better image quality. I guess when you think about it, that's pretty much what most people were expecting anyway.