Thursday, February 07, 2013

Wii U GPU new info and more speculation

Above is a photo diagram of the Wii U GPU die. See below for a simple as possible breakdown of this as possible:

  • The large orange block on the left is 32MB of eDRAM, known as MEM1 
  • The smaller orange block above it is also about 2MB of eDRAM, and is referred to as MEM0 (which is used as texture cache in Wii mode)
  • The blocks labeled as N1-N8 are what contains the Shader/Stream Processing Units (SPU). Each of the 8 blocks contain 40 for a total of 320 SPUs.
  • Blocks J1-J4 contain the Texture Mapping Units (TMU) with each block containing 4 for a total of 16
  • There is also an ARM, DSP and Render Output Unit (aka ROP) placed on some of the other blocks shown but not fully known which ones they are. The ROP should take about 2 blocks, while the others only 1 each. 

For even more info and explanation on the above please click here

*Speculation below*

When all the above blocks of the GPU are accounted for, there is still 30% of the Wii GPU die unknown and open for speculation. This leaves what many have assumed to be “Nintendo Customizations” to the GPU to meet their needs of power consumption while still getting the desired “Next Gen” effect, similar to the techniques used in designing the Gamecube. Fixed-Function effects that would be used in just about all Next Gen games like Lighting and Tessellation could all be embedded on the hardware without the need to be programmed. This would have a big effect on seemingly getting more with less.

The Wii U GPU could perform the same or maybe a little better than the AMD e6760 (which was speculated to be the Wii U GPU) for example even though that GPU contains 480 SPUs, since the *speculated* Fixed-Functions of the Wii GPU would be able to work in tandem with the 320 SPUs it already has. The benefits of a design like this would have helped Nintendo make a more cost effective and smaller GPU, while still getting most of the effects of the “Big Boys” that are about to be revealed in the coming months. So again, this is a Nintendo console that doesn’t simply have an AMD Radeon R700 type GPU inside, but a heavily customized and well thought out design that can’t so easily be put on a spec sheet. Just like the Gamecube in 2001, the Wii U GPU will be deceptively feature rich and have much better performance than what any numbers will tell you.  

The only unfortunate part of the whole development side is that Nintendo failed to give developers enough information on everything that the Wii U GPU could do in the early stages of development and it showed in many of those ports at launch. Nintendo has already confirmed this somewhat in the latest earnings reports and interviews, so in the coming year I’m expecting games that show what the system is truly capable of doing not only graphically but in a gameplay sense as well. Look for Retro Studios and Nintendo themselves to set a good example of this later in the year (like they always need to do with new hardware). 


Anonymous said...

not texture catch in wii mode!!! why would it be 2mb!!! the wii had a 1mb texture catch its the frame and z buffer the textures simple feed in thru the 32mb edram and maybe the sram catch witch looks like a texture shader catch in both modes aka a level 2 gpu catch (twice as big as durangos)

i think its 32mb edram and 1mb sram level 2 catch in wiiu mode that 2mb becomes a catch local scratch pad to the fixed function etc ability's in wii mode its a full blown 480p frame and z buffer EXACTLY LIKE Wii

right nano assault devs said its bottleneck free its low latency and high bandwidth and very very efficient

judging by the huge amount of fast ram and each pool feeding key areas its clear the developers were telling the truth and the main rams bandwidth is clearly IRRELEVANT




Wiiu has 32mb + 2mb + 1mb =35mb with edram being far more bandwidth and sram being the same clock for clock

if the 2mb edram is infact used like that its a huge fast local memory for effects and functions in the gpu and the sram will feed texture units and shaders the 32mb will feed everything as a level 3 catch

the cpu also has high bandwidth edram as level 2 catch its clear main ram bandwidth is simply meaningless with a high clock speed and optimized pre fetch the main ram will feed the system very very fast

Anonymous said...

a little better than e6760 a hell of a lot better its bandwidth is like 3 to 4 times that gpu and its latency will be many many times faster and the custom fixed function will be much faster than trying it in software on a shader

its defo near e6760 but vastly better suited to video gaming bandwidth = fillrate bandwidth = graphics the bandwidth is simply insane!!!

its like a x360 a gamecube and ps2 design all rolled into one

cpu has 12 x the catch of wii cpu likely the same increase in bandwidth too

neogafs guys saying starlet is the same as wii are full of it starlet of wii can never run wiius OS background tasks and the gamepad and the camera and mic etc so starlet 2 is clearly far far more powerful likely some function chips go along with it...

amazing a tiny DSP at 120mhz rumored can do better HD lpcm surround sound than ps3s cell AMAZING

Argentina 3 Sweden lucky 2 vamo messi

nothing on that chip is streaming tech thats confirmed outside the gpu core its clearly tessellation and fixed function,,

Unknown said...

I like the optimism in this article and hopefully it turns out to be accurate.
As a Wii U owner, I would certainly enjoy a title that pushes console graphics further as well as the experience of gameplay Nintendo are famous for...

Anonymous said...

it looks like flipper so much and thats a good thing

D2K Prime said...

It seems like whatever your view of Nintendo as a whole will determine how you look at the specs.

Those who love Nintendo will look at the specs as great.

Those who love gaming period and want to see all the companies be successful will look at the specs as pretty good with the potential to be great.

Those who hate Nintendo unconditionally will look at the specs as rubbish.

Anonymous said...

true that bias hurts nintendo. nintendo planed on advertising by word of mouth. and the PS3/xbox fanboys want a wii again so bash it without even understanding the specs. like finding the small kid, hear there name, then find out they are on steroids and can compete with NFL football players, then say they are still that small kid.

ram is best of 3 so far, other 3 need a new punch to compete. but nintendo probly upset about this comming out early because now competition has a chance to ajust. but they are unlikly to give better at the same price without selling at a lost or waiting an extra 1-2 years to release a consul to custommize their chip. i do expect more power from xbox720 normal games, but some people to push wiiU beyond 720 on select optimized games.

D2K Prime said...

Yes. From what I can see it seems like Nintendo basically souped-up a older car to run as good if not better than a new car of the same model.

It's one thing to see components, it's another to actually understand how they work and how they worked together which is is clear that the people doing these teardowns do not.

For those who believe, no explanation is necessary. For those who don't believe, no explanation will do. Even once Nintendo starts showing off 1st party stuff built from the ground up on the Wii U people will still say things like...

"The 360 and PS3 can do that"

"The graphics don't look next-gen"

"The Wii U is doomed"

"Nintendo is doomed"

etc, etc, etc.