Noted for its versatility, ease of on-the-go gameplay, and sleek design, the Switch looks modern from the outside. But a handful of players have wondered what’s going on underneath the surface. Well-known for their teardown videos, tech company iFixit got its hands on a brand-new Nintendo Switch and promptly broke it open, revealing all the tiny details of the console’s inner hardware.
In a video posted on the company’s YouTube channel, iFixit tore down its Nintendo Switch using a slew of small tools, and revealed just what the console is working with to all those curious players. As the teardown clip itself doesn’t feature any audio or detailed instructions, iFixit published an accompanying blog post that guides gamers step-by-step through the cracking open process, and offers up descriptions of each layer of hardware.
iFixit gave a general overview of the Switch before pulling off its metal shield to get to the good stuff. The handheld-console hybrid runs on a NVIDIA customized Tegra processor, features a “multi-touch LCD screen with 1280 × 720 resolution,” utilizes “802.11 a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi [and] Bluetooth 4.1,” and has a “USB Type-C charge port.” iFixit also mentioned that the total weight of the console with Joy-Con controllers attached comes in at 0.88 pounds, noticeably less than the “1.1 pound Wii U GamePad.”
The very first step of the teardown was having a full X-ray of the console done by Creative Electron, the largest company that conducts scans for electronics, because the process can be difficult and time-consuming. Removing the plating, which was done using a 64-bit driver kit due to the console’s tri-point screws, came next.
Once inside the Switch’s hardware, it “looks like a computer.” It holds a 16 Wh battery, as opposed to the power supply standard to most consoles; this is due to the console’s portability that “demands wireless power.” The Switch also features a heatpipe, heatsink, thermal paste, and fan, which is “trapped under the I/O board.” iFix it noted that the fan seems one of the most important aspects of the Switch, since it appears one of its main priorities is cooling. Thankfully, it looks like it’s rock-solid in place, held by “three screws with rubber vibration damping mounts, and is rated for 5 V and 0.33 A.”
The Switch’s motherboard is very well-connected, as iFixit states, and can be reached by removing the backlight, digitizer, antennae, speaker connectors, and both Joy-Con rails. However, the impressive modularity doesn’t extend to the USB charger port for the Switch battery, which will take some soldering to replace.
Other standout software specs from the teardown include the bass-heavy speakers, whose “larger diaphragms will displace more air [and] ported back allows for booming bass”; the digitizer independent of the LCD screen; and the fully-removable screen. Both Joy-Cons contain a “1.9 Wh lithium-ion battery, Bluetooth, accelerometer/gyroscope, and a haptic ‘HD Rumble’ motor,” but the red controller also houses an NFC antenna and IR hardware.
Overall, iFixit rates the Nintendo Switch an 8 out of 10 for level of repairability, as the tri-point screws restrict easy access and the digitizer or display replacement process requires “heating and prying against strong adhesive.”
The full teardown and specifications of the console, like its motherboard details and its dockside specs, can be found in iFixit’s blog post.
With many gamers around the globe either relaxing with their pre-orders or frantically searching their local retailers that have Switch consoles in stock to finally purchase one, it appears the newest Nintendo system is quite coveted. Getting an up-close look at what’s powering the versatile handheld system will likely pique the interests of current owners and may even serve to reassure those who were on the fence about picking one up. Additionally, a better look at the console’s guts may help point to the root causes of early issues players were experiencing, like Joy-Con sync troubles and reports of the Switch blue screen of death.
Despite some initial hiccups, the Switch has proved itself as the strongest console launch in years at retailer GameStop and has even brought together the game development industry who congratulated Nintendo on the Switch launch.
The Nintendo Switch is available now.