Question [WSJ] new nintendo switch models coming, any clue which tegra?

Oct 12, 2014
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#2
Xavier is way too large, too different (code-morphing Carmel cores vs A57) , and too thirsty, IMO.

But is there any reason it has to be a Tegra? A bespoke chip with Bifrost should be far ahead of where the underclocked X1 is today. (It is unclear to me whether Nintendo holds the relevant IP rights for NVN, however.)
 

gorobei

Platinum Member
Jan 7, 2007
2,934
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#3
nintendo isnt willing to lose money on the hardware like sony or ms. so a mid life upgrade cant be too radical or require to much rework. the wii and 3ds received all kinds of little upgrades over their lifetime.

so if xavier is that different then it will probably be X2.
 

DeathReborn

Golden Member
Oct 11, 2005
1,976
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#4
X2 would be nice (although it is Denver 2 x2 + A57 x4, from A57 x4 + A53 x4) along with a bump to 8+GB of RAM, I'd buy one for myself then. Already bought 2 for my nephews who love them. With 2 models though it might be a standard model with a clock bump plus 8GB RAM and a "Pro" model with X2 and 8GB.
 

NostaSeronx

Platinum Member
Sep 18, 2011
2,311
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#5
I'm rooting for a very small Orin-derived SoC for the XBX/PS4P competitor.
7nm EUV
Four Carmel-derived cores
512 Turing-derived CUDA + RTX cores.
W/ VirtualLink support.
 

Jimzz

Diamond Member
Oct 23, 2012
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#6
If its still called a switch I doubt it will be a major update. The updated PS4/Xbox have more performance but no one is going to make a game just for them. So they make games for the lower model and just say better performance on the higher end model.

Maybe, and a big maybe at that, they do the X2. More likely a shrink on the currnet model with more memory since memory prices are down.
 

Jamban

Junior Member
Mar 26, 2019
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#7
Agreed with @SarahKerrigan and @Jimzz here. Why not just a simple shrink of the current X1 instead? God knows the Switch can use a clock speed bump, so a conservative GPU clock speed of 500 MHz undocked, 1 GHz docked (to keep the 1:2 ratio) plus a bit on the CPU side are easily achievable. Boost clocks notwithstanding. TSMC's 16/12 FFC provides up to 60% lower power or 50% higher perf over its 20nm so Nvidia & Nintendo have plenty of room.

8GB of DRAM would be nice but I'm a bit skeptical on that. Undocked should maintain docked's 1600 MHz at least. 64GB of NAND should be a given, at least on the higher end model.

To speculate even further, the cheaper "Switch Go" will have integrated controllers, no bundled dock, updated SoC and target the $200 price bracket. The "New Switch" will replace the current one - with updated SoC, double the NAND, larger battery and display while keeping the form factor to maintain compatibility with current Joy-cons and dock. A late 2019 release bundle with Pokemon practically prints money.
 
Apr 27, 2000
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#8
Not sure if Nintendo wants to bother with the Denver cores of the Tegra X2. It would be cheaper to go with X2 though, since it would be an "off-the-shelf" solution. Cheaper than trying to do an optical shrink of X1, that is.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
4,742
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#9
Not sure if Nintendo wants to bother with the Denver cores of the Tegra X2. It would be cheaper to go with X2 though, since it would be an "off-the-shelf" solution. Cheaper than trying to do an optical shrink of X1, that is.
Yeah we have to remember that part of the choice in X1 had to do with it being a cheap toss in that Nvidia was offering discounts to move. They haven't really worked with a bespoke part since the gamecube with everything else till the Switch, being a die shrink. But considering this isn't a new console but a mid term refresh I doubt they would want to do that. It's going to be off the shelf hardware, might even still be an X1 but with better cooling to get better clocks.
 

BigDaveX

Senior member
Jun 12, 2014
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#10
They haven't really worked with a bespoke part since the gamecube with everything else till the Switch, being a die shrink.
No, the Wii U used bespoke hardware. Incredibly poorly designed hardware, I'll grant you, but the CPU and GPU were both custom solutions rather than something off-the-shelf.
 

Topweasel

Diamond Member
Oct 19, 2000
4,742
345
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#11
No, the Wii U used bespoke hardware. Incredibly poorly designed hardware, I'll grant you, but the CPU and GPU were both custom solutions rather than something off-the-shelf.
I'd have to double check but I could have sworn that while the original Gamecube was bespoke, the Wii and Wii-U were just die shrunk and higher clocked versions of that.

Just checked. You are right, maybe not any super significant changes but enough that it could be considered a completely new chip.
 

Mopetar

Diamond Member
Jan 31, 2011
4,448
374
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#12
No, the Wii U used bespoke hardware. Incredibly poorly designed hardware, I'll grant you, but the CPU and GPU were both custom solutions rather than something off-the-shelf.
It wasn't even that custom other than the chip itself being purpose built. The IP was just recycled from products that IBM and AMD already offered, although Nintendo seemed to continue building on top of what they had previously (in part to ensure easy backwards comparability) as opposed to just grabbing newer IP or commodity hardware (like the original Xbox) or what companies seem to be returning to with both Sony and Microsoft rumored to use Zen 2 chiplets.

I do agree that Nintendo hasn't made particularly good hardware choices, but they've got such a popular first party library that they don't really have to care if third party support is lackluster. They can make money off of their dedicated base.
 

Jamban

Junior Member
Mar 26, 2019
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#13
Shirley selling 20 million units per year is enough to justify the cost of a die shrink (among others)? Nintendo shipped some 17 million for the 2018 calendar year, I believe.
 

dark zero

Platinum Member
Jun 2, 2015
2,507
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#14
New chip.
12nm
4XA75 or A76 cores
4XA55 cores.

Same GPU or a Pascal one if they want 4K.

And the chip would be used on both models with some restrictions and underclock on the lesser one.

Just how Qualcomm and Mediatek are doing with their 12nm chips.

Simple.

Now my coins for clock rates on CPU. All docked.

- Switch mini
Big cores at 1.6Ghz
Small cores at 1.0Ghz

- Switch Pro
Big Cores at 2.5Ghz
Small cores at 1.75Ghz
 
Last edited:
Nov 14, 2014
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#15
I doubt it's anything other than a Tegra X1 SoC since the Switch seems to be tightly coupled to NVN which exposes raw 2nd gen Maxwell shaders. Backwards compatibility will be a nightmare in the future for Nintendo systems but on the bright side it's a massive deterrent against emulation and more so for piracy ...
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
8,245
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#16
I doubt it's anything other than a Tegra X1 SoC since the Switch seems to be tightly coupled to NVN which exposes raw 2nd gen Maxwell shaders. Backwards compatibility will be a nightmare in the future for Nintendo systems but on the bright side it's a massive deterrent against emulation and more so for piracy ...
They could always make a beefed up X1 shrink to 12/10nm. Double up the number of SMs, and boost the CPU clock.
 

jpiniero

Diamond Member
Oct 1, 2010
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#17
Shrinking to 16/12 would be my guess. No extra cores, just higher clocks.
 
Nov 14, 2014
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#18
They could always make a beefed up X1 shrink to 12/10nm. Double up the number of SMs, and boost the CPU clock.
Is a 12/10nm logic node good enough to gain a 2x perf/watt advantage against 20nm ? Moreover, do you think Nvidia would be interested in revisiting an older architecture and then having to port it to a different logic node ? The last time I've seen Nvidia do this was nearly 10 years ago with their release of the Tesla architecture on desktop ...

I assume Nintendo factored in these risks regardless and that goes especially being stuck with compiled NVN binary shaders ...

NVN shaders are particularly very scary to deal with for backwards compatibility ...
 

Hi-Fi Man

Senior member
Oct 19, 2013
551
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#19
Is a 12/10nm logic node good enough to gain a 2x perf/watt advantage against 20nm ? Moreover, do you think Nvidia would be interested in revisiting an older architecture and then having to port it to a different logic node ? The last time I've seen Nvidia do this was nearly 10 years ago with their release of the Tesla architecture on desktop ...

I assume Nintendo factored in these risks regardless and that goes especially being stuck with compiled NVN binary shaders ...

NVN shaders are particularly very scary to deal with for backwards compatibility ...
RSX (G71) in the PS3 was shrunk all the way down to 40nm. Most likely we'll see X1 being shrunk to 14nm or 10nm. I highly doubt Nintendo will want to pay for 7nm chips especially since nVIDIA themselves haven't done anything on 7nm yet.
 

NTMBK

Diamond Member
Nov 14, 2011
8,245
215
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#20
Is a 12/10nm logic node good enough to gain a 2x perf/watt advantage against 20nm ? Moreover, do you think Nvidia would be interested in revisiting an older architecture and then having to port it to a different logic node ? The last time I've seen Nvidia do this was nearly 10 years ago with their release of the Tesla architecture on desktop ...

I assume Nintendo factored in these risks regardless and that goes especially being stuck with compiled NVN binary shaders ...

NVN shaders are particularly very scary to deal with for backwards compatibility ...
20nm really wasn't a very good node. I think that the jump from planar to FinFET will give them the perf/watt they need, and the jump to 10nm would give them the increased density they need.

It's not uncommon for console parts to be shrunk down repeatedly, far more than normal desktop parts. Just look at how AMD shrunk down GCN1 and Jaguar cores to 14nm for Sony and Microsoft (or as Hi-Fi Man pointed out, Nvidia shrinking the PS3 GPU).
 
Nov 14, 2014
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#21
20nm really wasn't a very good node. I think that the jump from planar to FinFET will give them the perf/watt they need, and the jump to 10nm would give them the increased density they need.

It's not uncommon for console parts to be shrunk down repeatedly, far more than normal desktop parts. Just look at how AMD shrunk down GCN1 and Jaguar cores to 14nm for Sony and Microsoft (or as Hi-Fi Man pointed out, Nvidia shrinking the PS3 GPU).
Even moving from 20nm to 12nm for Nvidia did not net anywhere near a 2x improvement in perf/watt like we see between the X1 and Xavier. It was arguably closer to 50% higher perf/watt ...

The current crop of dedicated gaming consoles also use the GCN2 architecture and I've only seen AMD shrunk their dies once during this entire industry cycle. I have yet to see anything comparable to the past industry cycle where both AMD/Nvidia shrunk the dies of console graphics chips twice. It seems unlikely that AMD will do another shrink for this current industry cycle and 20nm proved to be competent for the Tegra X1 too ...
 

dark zero

Platinum Member
Jun 2, 2015
2,507
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#22
Shrinking to 16/12 would be my guess. No extra cores, just higher clocks.
Hardly... A57 can't go over 2 Ghz at 14 nm without any power compromise.
Even the best exponent, the Exynos, had a hard time with that design....
They are forced to move to A72 or A73 at least.
 

DeathReborn

Golden Member
Oct 11, 2005
1,976
9
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#23
There may be new Shield TV in the near future so maybe they are making a new chip with Pascal/Turing and off the shelf ARM cores which could go into a new Switch(s) too.
 

ZGR

Golden Member
Oct 26, 2012
1,795
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#24
There definitely is a need for more performance. A game my friend's kids play is Fortnite for the Switch, and that game often drops below 20fps!

But to be fair, other games I would enjoy have 0 performance issues.

I hope Nintendo updates the Switch with a much faster SoC and a new display.

But if Nintendo has to wait for a 7nm Tegra, we may be looking at 2 Switch updates. One soon, and one 2 years from now?
 
Apr 27, 2000
11,188
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#25
There definitely is a need for more performance. A game my friend's kids play is Fortnite for the Switch, and that game often drops below 20fps!
Is that docked, or in portable mode?

And yes, the Switch used some bottle-of-the-barrel hardware in its original version. Sadly.
 
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