Nintendo does Wii U teardown; talks HD, multi-core chip

Nintendo chief executive Satoru Iwata recently sat down with a handful of engineers to discuss what went in to his company's Wii U. And before long, the discussion turned into a teardown.

Nintendo's Wii U GamePad.
(Credit: CBS Interactive)

Dubbed "Wii U: The Console" ,the discussion centered on the technologies that make the Wii U tick. And chief among those technologies might just be the device's multi-core CPU. According to Nintendo, this is the first time it has used a multi-core CPU, though the company stopped short of saying how many cores are actually in use.

The Wii U is based on a multi-chip module (MCM), which allows the CPU and graphics chip to run on the same piece of silicon. The result? Faster transmission speed between the components, and improved power consumption, according to Nintendo.

Nintendo then turned its discussion to the console's design. According to Yasuhisa Kitano, one of Nintendo's engineers, the company "adopted a policy of drastically reducing the characteristics of the main console, causing it to stand out even less".

Design issues quickly became heating issues, according to Kitano. The company was forced to install a larger heat sink in the Wii U to improve heat dissipation. In addition, the Wii U comes with a substantially larger fan than the Wii to handle the heat issues. With larger fans, however, comes more noise. Nintendo's engineers said that the company worked on the fan design to determine the proper balance between heat handling and noise.

Finally, the engineers talked about the Wii U's orientation. Unlike the Wii, which was designed to be stood on its side, the Wii U has a "mainly horizontal design". Those who want to prop the console up, however, will be able to get a console stand. That stand comes in the deluxe bundle that Nintendo is planning to launch next month.

Nintendo is calling the Wii U the first next-generation console. However, some have said that it's more of a catch-up device. The console now supports HD games, and many of the early launch titles have been ported from the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Still, Nintendo expects to have more than 50 games available for its console by the end of March.

The Wii U is slated to hit Australian store shelves on 30 November. A basic bundle featuring the console and GamePad will cost AU$349.95. The Deluxe set, which adds Nintendo Land and a charging station, will cost AU$429.95.


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