The Nintendo NX GPU performance and specs are already being compared against the Xbox One and PS4 GPU even though Nintendo has yet to make any official announcements. A report claims to have leaked Nintendo NX specs, which lists 900p/60FPS as the expected performance level. Fans of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One been quick to jump on this information, claiming it must mean the Nintendo NX GPU will be slower than expected, but others point out that this may mean the Nintendo NX hardware is about as fast as the current generation of video game consoles.
The leaked Nintendo NX document comes from Liam Robertson, a gamer who has a history of digging up rumors and data related to unreleased products. The document in question relates the contents of the box, including a Nintendo NX sensor bar like the Wii U, but it also provides some basic marketing information about the console.
- Exclusive game franchises featuring Mario, Zelda, Donkey Kong, and more
- Connect with other Nintendo players around the world via the Nintendo Network
- Gameplay flows between Nintendo NX console and Nintendo NX handheld device
- Earn and share gaming achievements, triumphs, and defeats with your gaming friends and the Nintendo gaming community
- Surf the Web or make video calls on your TV
- Support 4K/60fps streaming
- Gameplay graphics at 900p/60fps
Everyone has focused on the last two lines. Both the Xbox and PS4 HDMI ports support the HDMI 1.4a standard fully, which does, in fact, support the Ultra HD or 4K resolution. The bad news is that the max data rate provided by HDMI 1.4a is limited to 30 Hz, so 60FPS is out of the question even if Sony and Microsoft allow for 4K streaming. It may be possible that a PS4 and Xbox One update could provide a HDMI 2.0a software update that offers 4K 60 Hz support (or 2160p60), but Microsoft and Sony haven’t commented on whether the hardware is capable of the additional bandwidth required for 60 Hz.
Assuming the leaked info is true, Nintendo would have the upper hand since the Nintendo NX HDMI port will support this standard from the start and the hardware will likely be capable of supporting the standard fully. It may even be possible that Nintendo titles with simpler graphics could provide limited 4K gaming. As a comparison, the Nvidia Shield GPU the Tegra X1 only outputs 512 GigaFLOPS, but certain games can run at full native 4K resolution.
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Many fans have argued that both the PS4 and Xbox One GPU and CPU are underperforming compared to what was considered state of the art during the launches of previous consoles. At the same time, both the Wii and the Wii U made the mistake of providing a hardware performance target so drastically different from the competitors that game developers had difficulty porting titles over. If the leaked hardware specs for the Nintendo NX are being interpreted accurately, then it could be argued Nintendo is once again three years too late.
But that’s presuming the interpretation is accurate. The Xbox One GPU outputs 1,310 GigaFLOPS (or 1.31 TeraFLOPS), and the PS4 GPU cranks out 1,843 GigaFLOPS (or 1.84 TeraFLOPS). While 900p/60FPS may sound bad, it depends on the graphics scene being rendered. For example, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt is framerate locked at 30 FPS on both the PS4 and Xbox One, but the game engine adjusts the native resolution between 900p and 1080p based upon the scene. If the Nintendo NX GPU is capable of 900p/60FPS with The Witcher, then technically it would still be faster.
The rumors surrounding the Nintendo NX hardware specs are all over the map. Most agree that AMD is producing the GPU, although what it’s called is uncertain. NintenGen created some Nintendo NX rumors by suggesting the GPU is based upon the AMD GCN 1.3/2.0 architecture. Assuming that’s the case, the memory system could use the improved High Bandwidth Memory (HBM 2.0).
The crazy rumors got even crazier when it was suggested the NX GPU would be capable of 4.6 TeraFLOPS of shader compute power. As a comparison, the Radeon R9 Fury X outputs 8.6 TeraFLOPS, but that PC video card costs over $500 while the Nintendo NX price is likely to be far less than $500.
Still, the idea that the Nintendo NX GPU performance is better than the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 may have some validity based upon prior reports. The Wall Street Journal’s Takashi Mochizuki reportedly told members of NeoGAF that Nintendo NX dev kits were being sent out in the fall of 2015, and those who saw the tech demos claimed it’s faster than a high-end gaming PC. (Queue the PC master race jokes.)
“Several people who said who have seen a demo said what they saw is impossible to run on a computer without a ‘industry-leading’ or ‘cutting-edge’ chips. Cutting-edge in what way, they refused to elaborate,” he allegedly wrote in an email. “And an important thing to remember, probably you know well already, is that chip specs won’t be finalized until much closer date to the release.”
Do you think Nintendo will actually create a console faster than the PS4 and Xbox One?
[Image via YouTube]