This close to the system’s launch, you’d expect the Wii U to be a known quantity. We’ve seen the videos, we’ve poured over the alleged tech specs, we’ve listened to various developers (both anonymous and otherwise) offer their appraisals of the system, but the debate about the Wii U’s power — pointless though it may ultimately be — rages on.
New information on the Wii U hardware has surfaced, and though it hardly paints a definitive picture of the system’s capabilities, it does offer a more precise take on how the Wii U compares to its current-gen rivals, the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.
Though there have been widely varying estimates of the Wii U’s power, many of the disparate rumors have coalesced around the idea that the system is slightly more powerful than either PS3 or Xbox 360. That theme returns in an extensive post on Wii U’s power over at Eurogamer, which spoke both on and off the record with developers who claim to have final Wii U development kits, and know the final specs of the Wii U retail hardware. A developer who wishes to remain anonymous sums up the hardware succinctly.
“Wii U has a powerful GPU with more oomph than the rivals – and is more modern in architecture and shader support, which may come in handy later on.”
“The CPU on the other hand is a different question. We are not limited by it but some other games might suffer from it. Still, because of the GPU, I expect most multi-platform games to look the best on Wii U, even if the difference might not be huge sometimes.”
According to Eurogamer’s sources, the Wii U will be powered by a CPU comprised of three Power PC cores, which is right in line with the alleged tech-specs that surfaced during E3 2012. The quoted developer’s issue with the CPU is that it allegedly runs at a slower clock speed than either PS3 or Xbox 360. The Wii U’s GPU, meanwhile, is said to be a custom design based on the AMD 7 series chipset (which, again, squares with the rumored specs) that supports DirectX 10 and shader 4 type features. Finally, the Wii U is said to boast a full GB of RAM for games — much more than either Xbox 360 or PS3.
So, where does that put the system? Blitz Games Studios’ John Nash sounds the refrain we’ve heard so many times before.
“It’s comparable to the current generation and a bit more powerful than that.”
Nash is quick, however, to caution against judging the Wii U on tech-specs alone.
“On the hype rollercoaster ride we go on with all new hardware, everybody’s super-focused on specific details, processor speed, RAM and all of that stuff. But people need to look beyond that, because Nintendo’s rationale in terms of building game platforms and exploiting their huge roster of cool IP is to build a piece of hardware that allows them to explore new ways to interact with their IP. That’s their rationale behind designing hardware.”
He makes a strong point. For the full interview with Nash, be sure to check out Eurogamer.
What do you think, Ranters: are these Wii U specs (if accurate) encouraging, discouraging, or irrelevant? How much — if any — do technical considerations play into your decision to buy a given console? Bottom line: right now, today, would you buy a Wii U? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
The Wii U will release this holiday season.
Follow me on Twitter @HakenGaken.