Thursday, July 03, 2014

Wii U Best Graphics & Performance Depend on Custom Coding

So the Wii U specs themselves are nothing to write home about when you compare them to the PS4 and Xbox One right? Well what is so interesting about that, is the Wii U is still a Next Gen Console in terms of graphics in it's own architectural make up. The only similar aspects the Wii U has in common with the PS4 and Xbox One are it's GPU feature set. The tech specs suggest at DirectX 10.1 chip but the extra custom features inside the GPU that are not listed in the dev kit, give it all the visual effects found in DirectX 11 GPU's of today.

A reminder:The Wii U GPU is highly efficient and not based on "Power Hungry x86" like PS4 and Xbox One:

Keep in mind that the Wii U MCM (Multi Chip Module) is designed like a Frankenstein, meaning that the GPU, CPU and EDRAM are put on the same module (not a hybrid APU mind you but all separate parts working on the same module) and data rate is extremely fast between all units when developed correctly, making for a very low power consuming console using less raw power, but able to show visual results similar to higher end systems by eliminating the overhead, kinda like the Gamecube but in a larger way.

Basically, this thing is well designed:


Then you combine this with Nintendo going with PPC architecture vs x86 PC architecture and the pieces start to fall together if you do some research.

Does x86 have the capability to be power efficient? Yes. The designs are improving and are much better than they used to be versus Power PC.

Are the PS4 and Xbox One doing that though? Not quite. They consume a lot more power in watts than the Wii U does by a mile, and they need to this because they support components that are built with PC architecture in mind; and any PC Gamer knows you need a lot of raw power to get the best results and the higher spec GPU you buy, the better CPU you need to even out the efficiency, or your PC will have performance problems like stuttering and slight skipping when loading a streaming area in a large level in a game. It's a never ending cycle for PC gaming, but it's kinda fun being able to upgrade without buying a whole new system.

This is where the Wii U has a surprising advantage, what what you say? Well basically the Wii U has potential completely untapped due to it's design and the PS4 and Xbox One have extremely limited potential due to their own designs. How? Those systems will not benefit as much as the Wii U from having the games built from the ground up on them because they will never be able to reach the pinnicle of PC graphics due to each of them having low to mid range modern PC x86 specs.

The Wii U has suffered from poor sales leading to last generation un-optimized code porting from old systems, however some developers like Shin'en, Monolith, Platinum and Nintendo themselves with the new Zelda have shown that with far less power consumption than the Xbox 360 for example, they can produce results that look significantly better than that system:

Xenoblade Chronicles X:




Bayonetta 2:





Zelda Wii U:





Do you really think the Wii U could produce graphics like these at a max 40 watts power consumption without some highly custom/modified/tested hardware? You simply can't compare the Wii U to a PS4 or Xbox One in those terms, they are completely different in just about every way except for the GPU features which all 3 can produce similar effects.

Developers also have a lot they can work with in terms of texture compression and optimizing on the Wii U which some have already said is off the charts. What the PS4 and Xbox One have the advantage in is giving developers everything right at the beginning, they have all the power (right now) to make games look great with not too much effort, whereas with the Wii U, they need to write new code, texture compress, optimize and basically do more work to get the same results and granted with the low sales of the console, it's not gonna happen and devs would rather just not make the game on the Wii U due to this.

I guess it's a good and bad thing, good in the way that Nintendo made the Wii U so efficient and solid with the low power consumption and cheaper costs associated with it, but bad in that for developers to get the most out of making games for the console, they need to write code directly to the hardware and not try to port down or port in general other code designed for other systems in mind for it.

The Wii U does not have "high specs" but it's not underpowered either, it's made to play games designed for the console itself. Wii U = Nintendo's Gamecube mentality in console development.


Anonymous said...

exactly right ps4 is a pc it has no console advantage its built for the untalented middleware needing industry and runs on pc code...

wiius GX2 is a api that allows direct coding to the cpu and gpu at microcode levels not many many times away from the chip set like a os works this is how generic engines work there designed for point and click developers not PROGRAMMERS....

PS4 IS A SELL OUT CONSOLE because its not a console its a pc with a dualshock

wiiu's low latency and huge eDRAM is another massive advantage ,and its great compression systems data compression texture compression vertual texture design

look how tiny wiiu exclusive down loads are mk8 3D world etc there tiny files with amazing graphics

wiiU isnt a pc its a custom built gaming console and like you say here its another gamecube

wiius cpus pipeline stage is 4 x shorter than ps4 its also pure RISC cpu and it has peak 4to1 data compression and a huge 2mb high bandwidth catch to a single core

it has dirct access to the gpus edram

wiius latency is many many many times faster than ps4s memory

Anonymous said...

lets not forget metaldave wiiu runs all of those pc engines just fine

cry engine ,frostbite,unreal 3/4 there all capable of fully supporting wiiU there just middleware

iv never understood engine fanboys there fanboying middleware this weird developer needs a ready made engine nonsense started on ps2 when its chips werevso difficult to use renderware etc built engines and of course the pc space

witch is all os-engine-app based now the industry no longer has CODERS CUSTOM CODERS theres no talent anymore

shin'in are true coders factor 5 used to be true coders and theres a few IBM PPC fans out there capable of amazing code on ppc chips

x86 is very weak in direct comparason in real terms wiiu cpu-gpu are bandwidth monsters and latency monsters

its all about memory speed and shifted data around from one place to another all graphics are at the end of the day are moving pictures wiiU is a graphics monster

iv seen some experts in code talk about wiiu having a 40 plus Gtexel pushing power and how cpu gpu gpgpu code can run super fast because wiius cpu gpu and edram all talk directly to each other at processor speed

Anonymous said...

ibm ppc 750 family is the purest out of order risc cpu ibm ever made nintendo knows a good cpu when they see one...

only 4 pipeline stages is in this day and age unheard of its amazing as it gives a huge per clock advantage x360s cpu was 40 stages long combine that with it being inline and no branch prediction clock for clock it was very very very weak

jaguar of ps4 is 16 stages long and x86 cisc its not comparable to wiius extreamly tight and risc cpu with compression also wiiu cpu has memory speeds that are catch fast sub 5 nano seconds vs ps4s 200 nano second GGDR 5

Anonymous said...

Cool article MetalDAve. I'm 100% happy with the WiiU. I bought it at launch. I patiently understood they had to iron out the OS and menu speed and they have since fixed many bugs/issues.
But let it be known - IT IS A BEAST in the hardware department. People forget that it is rendering and outputting to 2 screens! Hello? That alone hints of its graphics prowess!

I can't wait for the next wave of titles that will utilize the GPGPU.

I always tell people some Nintendo fans are so hardcore with specific titles that they wait for their favorite title and BOOMI! Console sales spike again. The Nintendo WiiU will have "legs" as they say..