Dirty Little Secret - CPU/GPU Clock Speed Fraction of 360/PS3

#1 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

A known Wii hacker, Marcan, has apparently taken the Wii U apart to figure out its exact specs, which Nintendo has thus far not shared with the public. Many developers have come out and said, that it's painfully slow. Well - according to Marcan, the clock speed of the CPU is roughly 1/3 of the 360s/PS3s CPU. What exactly that means for developers and gamers however, I'll leave to more adequate commenters. It's apparently less bad than it implies, but certainly not good either.

It's quite telling however, that we're getting the Wii U's specs from a hacker, rather than from Nintendo. Seems like something's fishy. PR nightmare really.

Here's a link to a NeoGAF thread about this topic. And another one to a Gamestar.de article, where I first read about it.

#2 Posted by Mirado (992 posts) -

Speed isn't everything; architecture changes and proper implementation on the side of the developers can more then make up the gap. (And yeah, I get it; the PS3 and 360 are far older then the brand new Wii U, so it's weird to even think that anything on those systems would outstrip a new one).

But honestly, I'm not sure why anyone ever thought the Wii U would be a titan of graphical prowess. It's Nintendo, guys. They got out of that race after the N64 days. The Gamecube was better then the PS2 but not by leaps and bounds, and it was saddled by that stupid disk format.

Killing the clock speed to keep heat down to stuff everything in a small box is a very Nintendo thing to do.

#3 Posted by Blastroid (257 posts) -

If it can render a 3D Triforce then it is powerful enough.

#4 Posted by iAmJohn (6109 posts) -
#5 Posted by yoshisaur (2663 posts) -

@iAmJohn said:

As Ars Technica's article from earlier shows, it's much ado about nothing.

Although the editor of that article is correct, it bleeds elitism with the his condescending tone.

#6 Posted by BlackLagoon (1383 posts) -

Clock speed comparisons stopped being relevant a decade ago, as Athlons started outperforming Pentiums at a higher clock speed. I think the news here is more that the Wii U CPU is simply three spruced up copies of the Wii CPU, which again was based on the Gamecube one, with the core design going all the way back to 1997.

It's convenient for dedicated Wii programmers, who will be able to keep using the same techniques they've used for years now. But it's not for everyone else, who will find a CPU that has its limitations and needs a lot of special care just to keep up with the PS3 and 360. A far cry for the machine that was going to 3rd parties back to Nintendo, and certainly inadequate compared to the AMD chips rumored to be in the next Sony and Microsoft consoles.

#7 Posted by SirShandy (38 posts) -

I really don't know that much about the technical aspects of computers, but I don't think you can strictly compare clock speeds of two pieces of hardware like this and call it a day with respect to power . The architecture of the WiiU is very different compared to 360 and PS3, just as the 360 is different to the PS3.

Marcan said himself on twitter:

- "It's worth noting that Espresso is *not* comparable clock per clock to a Xenon or a Cell. Think P4 vs. P3-derived Core series."

Espresso being the name of the WiiU CPU.

Oh, and this has nothing to do with the GPU, it's a separate component.

Also, since when does Nintendo put out PR's with detailed systems specs and clock speeds? They've made no claim to be offering the cutting edge in graphical power and computer processing. That's not their MO, and have never hinted otherwise.

#8 Posted by ssj4raditz (1125 posts) -

It could be run by a potato for all I care, as long as I get my F-Zero game.

#9 Posted by iAmJohn (6109 posts) -

@ck1nd said:

@iAmJohn said:

As Ars Technica's article from earlier shows, it's much ado about nothing.

Although the editor of that article is correct, it bleeds elitism with the his condescending tone.

A little bit, yeah. Though I'd argue it's perfectly matching a lot of the condescension of a lot of the disdain for the Wii U.

#10 Posted by jsnyder82 (728 posts) -

It's Nintendo in HD. First party Nintendo games are going to run like a dream and look beautiful like they always do, so I don't care.

#11 Edited by august (3827 posts) -

@Seppli said:

It's quite telling however, that we're getting the Wii U's specs from a hacker, rather than from Nintendo. Seems like something's fishy. PR nightmare really.

I don't think any console manufacturer is in the habit of revealing the specs of their hardware.

#12 Posted by SpaceRunaway (845 posts) -

@BlackLagoon: So this means the Wii U is...6 GameCubes duct-taped together?

#13 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

@august said:

@Seppli said:

It's quite telling however, that we're getting the Wii U's specs from a hacker, rather than from Nintendo. Seems like something's fishy. PR nightmare really.

I don't think any console manufacturer is in the habit of revealing the specs of their hardware.

I've fond memories of companies showing off with their next generation's specs. Tech demo ducklingsat E3. Blast processing. You name it. Might just be nostalgia though. Can't tell anymore. It's been that long.

#14 Posted by xyzygy (9899 posts) -

Don't care. It will inevitably have Nintendo games on it so I don't need them to be blisteringly real.

#15 Posted by believer258 (11668 posts) -

Some of you saying "I don't care" should stop and think for a minute. I'm not a Nintendo doomsayer, I never have been, but in a world that continues to slip away from giving a damn about them, do you really think they can continue to rely solely on Mario and Zelda games and promises of innovation by way of gimmicks that get pretty tired, pretty quickly? Do you really?

No, the Wii U won't be a complete failure. No, the next one probably won't either. But you can't tell me that you don't think Nintendo might be better off as a company if they really did try to accommodate developers that aren't themselves? I mean, the PS3 had enough trouble as it is because its architecture was different.

Look, this is just a rumor but it's not one that I would doubt. Taking down clock speeds by a third just to make sure your system will work fine in a tiny box isn't a very business savvy move. It doesn't do anything for their "innovation" at all, it doesn't do anything for anyone, really. It's just... what the hell is Nintendo thinking these days? I'm disappointed in them because they've got all the money, respect, and potential they could possibly need to really bring something great to the table and here we've got a vastly underclocked machine with horrible ports of games that didn't always run that well to begin with and New Super Mario Bros. U, and I'll bet that later on we'll have a new Pikmin that plays similarly to the old one, a new Zelda that doesn't really do much different from Ocarina of Time, and a Super Mario 64-like "get 8 stars in every level" type of game. That doesn't sell systems forever. Sorry. Stack the seemingly broken internet and the really unconventional ways of setting things up, and you've got a recipe for a system that would be a complete and total failure if it weren't for the names attached to it.

/rant.

#16 Posted by SirShandy (38 posts) -

@believer258: Almost every point you made contains a very narrow perspective or is based on speculation. You criticize Nintendo with trying to innovate with "gimmicks" at the same time you criticize them with relying too much on old franchises and tired ideas. There are certainly examples that would seem to give both criticisms some weight, but it's hardly the whole story.

- It's true that Nintendo does sometimes put themselves into a corner, creating unique hardware that doesn't always align with the goals and creative vision of a lot of developers. It put's them in a position where they demand special attention and care which a lot of developers prefer not to deal with. However I don't think the answer is, do what everyone else is doing. Do we need three consoles that do the same sort of thing, constituting mostly the same experiences? I disagree that the gameplay environment that Nintendo has introduced with the WiiU gamepad is inherently a gimmick. There will certainly be a lot of gimmicky implementations of it, but there are ideas and experiences that will be new and unfamiliar, given that developers are willing to experiment a little bit.

- I don't understand this view that Nintendo relies solely on Mario and Zelda. They certainly are key franchises but you're ignoring all the other first party and second party efforts that have come along. You can see that Nintendo is actively courting third-parties with the WiiU, with interesting exclusives like ZombiU, Lego City Undercover, Rayman Legends, the Wonderful 101, and obviously Bayonetta 2. And except for Bayonetta, these are all within the first quarter of next year. I don't know if any one of these games will "sell systems", but I imagine the lot of them make for diverse library of choices. As for first party efforts, we still know very little. We only know of Pikmin 3, Game & Wario, and Wiifit U, to be released in the launch window. Yes, Pikmin 3 will probably play similarly to past Pikmin games, it's a sequel, to a game that came out ten years ago. But there's really no other games on the market that play like it.

- Given the two examples of Mario and Zelda not differing much from their N64 forebears, you must not have played Super Mario Galaxy or Skyward sword. There are genre similarities, and perhaps a few touches that could be left behind, but they are different enough to divide the fans of the franchises. With Mario Galaxy, people complain that it's more linear and not open ended like mario 64 was. A similar complaint was made about skyward sword, how it lacked a cohesive open world, and the controls themselves made for a completely different experience, which alienated a lot of people.

- The wiiU is two weeks into it's life. There are problems. Some of which can be solved with updates, probably after it's been released in all regions. I don't know how it will sell, but do numbers tell the whole story about the quality or potential of a system? If the original wii sold almost a 100 million, and yet at the same time disappointed so many people, isn't the other extreme a possibility? I don't know what kind of impact the lack of horsepower compared to future consoles will have, or what kind of impact they will have on the game industry, but I think that makes it a lot more interesting than if Nintendo only did what people expected of them.

#17 Posted by Andorski (5202 posts) -

@believer258: I would say logically your point has every right to be agreed upon. Still, you can't ignore that a game like Super Mario Bros Wii, an inferior 2D platformer compared to the SMB games and Super Mario World from the late 80's and early 90's, sells 10.5 million copies. Few multiplatform games hit that kind of number. Can they rehash the same game again this generation? If you say "probably," then Nintendo has a future as solid as Sony or Microsoft. The nose dive of the Playstation platform proved that no console holders' future is assured.

#18 Edited by Laiv162560asse (487 posts) -

@iAmJohn said:

As Ars Technica's article from earlier shows, it's much ado about nothing.

That article reeks of bias and partiality. An extract:

My basic tests of the console using a bunch of Wii U ports found them to be graphically indistinguishable from the PS3 and Xbox 360 games they were based on, with comparable fidelity and smoothness. More detailed examinations of the Wii U's launch ports found graphical performance that was comparable to that of other systems, though not really improved over the previous versions.

Anyone who's been watching the GB coverage of some of the Wii U ports knows first hand that 'comparable performance' is a completely weasel-worded statement. The 'basic tests' the author mentions are mostly fluff about how he was faintly disappointed that the touchpad wasn't used more innovatively, however he did notice stuttering and pop-in which for some reason he wasn't inclined to attribute to raw processing power. The reasons why he still doesn't think the differences are down to horsepower aren't made known - it's just easier to criticise the porting job than the machine. More damningly, the links he attempts to use as evidence, which examined the ports with a much more critical eye, show up his statements here as outright lies. Some quotes from the articles he has linked, which supposedly support the argument that the Wii U ports have 'graphical performance that was comparable to that of other systems':

'Performance analysis - Wii U struggles to compete'

'the game is plagued with judder'

'we see three distinct performance bands - Xbox 360 at the top, PS3 in the middle and the new Nintendo console right at the bottom.

'it could well be that the Wii U's lacklustre CPU is also a contributory factor.'

'the fact that the Wii U falls so short of the expected standard during gameplay is a real disappointment.'

'the CPU is simply not up to scratch for straight PS3/360 ports without some extensive optimisation.'

'the Wii U version of this classic title is unpolished and less enjoyable to play than Rocksteady's original.'

'we'd take any of the older - and now cheaper - versions of this excellent title ahead of the underwhelming Wii U port.'

These are the analyses which Kyle Orland uses to support his argument that raw clock speed is not a factor with the WiiU. Either he hasn't bothered to read the comparisons himself or he's counting on the fact that the reader won't bother to. Rather than 'disappointing' or 'underwhelming' as in the articles he links to, he describes the graphical performance with such linguistic contortions as 'comparable', 'not really improved' and 'not markedly better' (wow). Never let technical guff cloud the fact that you're being lied to by a fanboy.

#19 Posted by MooseyMcMan (10519 posts) -

@ssj4raditz said:

It could be run by a potato for all I care, as long as I get my F-Zero game.

It's been nine years since F-Zero GX. NINE YEARS.

They better be working on one.

#20 Posted by haggis (1677 posts) -

@SpaceRunaway said:

@BlackLagoon: So this means the Wii U is...6 GameCubes duct-taped together?

It wouldn't really matter if it was, so long as the games deliver. At least from the gamer perspective. I don't particularly care if it's a hundred hamsters running on a wheel making the thing go. What I'd really like to know is what the developer opinion is of making games for the console, but they tend to not talk about that sort of thing. They've got working relationships with the console makers, and it doesn't make sense for them to slag a console.

But as we saw with the current generation, the PS3's slight edge in raw performance didn't necessarily translate immediately into better-looking games. I think it's better to compare the games on the platform than the specs. Sure, it's fun to look at specs, but that's all theoretical performance. I'm more interested in real-world results.

#21 Posted by ProfessorEss (7281 posts) -

@haggis said:

@SpaceRunaway said:

@BlackLagoon: So this means the Wii U is...6 GameCubes duct-taped together?

It wouldn't really matter if it was, so long as the games deliver. At least from the gamer perspective. I don't particularly care if it's a hundred hamsters running on a wheel making the thing go. What I'd really like to know is what the developer opinion is of making games for the console, but they tend to not talk about that sort of thing. They've got working relationships with the console makers, and it doesn't make sense for them to slag a console.

But as we saw with the current generation, the PS3's slight edge in raw performance didn't necessarily translate immediately into better-looking games. I think it's better to compare the games on the platform than the specs. Sure, it's fun to look at specs, but that's all theoretical performance. I'm more interested in real-world results.

Yeah, I'll be curious to see the sales numbers of the second wave of third-party titles. It won't give any answers but it might give us an idea of whether developers will stay whole-heartedly on board.

#22 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18955 posts) -

@ssj4raditz said:

It could be run by a potato for all I care

And Portal 2 has shown us the way! Quick, get Gaben on the phone.

#23 Posted by Starfishhunter9 (369 posts) -

@AhmadMetallic: best comment ever. Also who cares as long as the gameS are good.

#24 Posted by Claude (16254 posts) -
@MooseyMcMan said:

@ssj4raditz said:

It could be run by a potato for all I care, as long as I get my F-Zero game.

It's been nine years since F-Zero GX. NINE YEARS.

They better be working on one.

This and how about a goddamn Mario Golf game. The fuck Nintendo make my dick hard. Do it!
#25 Posted by Azteck (7449 posts) -

The people saying "as long as the games are good" are completely missing the point. Yes, first party Nintendo games are usually good because they know how to work with their hardware but when you're asking 3rd party developers to build for your system which is comparable to the 360 at launch, while they are busy making games for the new console generation, Nintendo is shooting themselves in the foot right from the start. I'm sure the next Mario game will be as well liked as the last one but Nintendo are putting themselves further and further behind in the generation, which will come to hurt them eventually.

#26 Edited by John1912 (1831 posts) -

Read the new Metro 2033 game scraped development for the Wii U because the CPU was too slow.

http://www.gamespot.com/news/no-metro-last-light-for-the-wii-u-report-6400436

#27 Posted by Zekhariah (697 posts) -

It will probably take a jail break to benchmark wii U and really know what it is capable of.

CPU clock speed is one variable, but IPC and instruction decode width also need to be taken into account. Benchmarking CPUs that do not already run similar operating systems is kind of a pain in term so getting a 1:1 comparison.

#28 Posted by onarum (2016 posts) -

Did anyone really thought it would NOT be a weak ass console?

#29 Posted by qawsed (143 posts) -

Yeah but how many bits is it?

#30 Posted by sarge1445 (676 posts) -

@qawsed said:

Yeah but how many bits is it?

over 9000

#31 Posted by Rolyatkcinmai (2682 posts) -

Clock speeds.. Eh.

My computer has an i5-2500k clocked to 3.1 Ghz.

When I was in eighth grade I had a Pentium 4 desktop clocked to 3.0Ghz.

The two are not even on the same plane of existence.

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