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WiiU

Wii U to Have 2GB Internal Memory, GPGPU Support

by Pedro Hernandez - September 13, 2012, 12:44 am PDT
Total comments: 27

The system's memory will be 20 times that of the original Wii.

The main Wii U system memory will total 2 GB, the Nintendo Direct press conference confirmed. 

Of this memory, 1 GB of RAM is intended for use by games while the other 1 GB of RAM is reserved for the Wii U system's own functionality. Nintendo pointed out that 2GB amounts to 20 times that of the original Wii. It is not clear whether more RAM will be made available to games in the future. (Support for using the second CPU core on the 3DS was added months after launch).

In addition, the Wii U will support general purpose GPU computation, meaning that non-graphics calculations can be performed on the AMD graphics processor. This is useful for highly parallel computations such as physics engines. No more details were made available.

Nintendo President Satoru Iwata also confirmed the size of the Wii U's game discs. The discs will be able to contain up to 25 GB of data, and the drive will have a read speed of 22.5 MB/s.

Talkback

BlkPaladinSeptember 13, 2012

Well we know it will multi-task extremely well. Plus since there is resources set aside for it, network play/MiiVerse integration will not came at the cost of something in the game. The best news is the price I guess the lowest priced Wii U SKU will be about $250 considering the Wii's launch it may be $275 with a pack in title. I will probally get the "premium" though black console and 32 GB of storage.

azekeSeptember 13, 2012

I expect the amount of memory taken by OS to shrink with time as they optimize it.
Just like they unlocked one core on 3ds last year.

KDR_11kSeptember 13, 2012

Should be mentioned that this is RAM, not flash memory.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusSeptember 13, 2012

1 GB RAM for the OS and related Apps is crazy big for a console. I know they are moving more and more towards being media boxes, but that's a bit much. Hopefully it's more of a soft cap and memory usage is more flexible than the article indicates.

PlugabugzSeptember 13, 2012

Quote from: oohhboy

1 GB RAM for the OS and related Apps is crazy big for a console. I know they are moving more and more towards being media boxes, but that's a bit much. Hopefully it's more of a soft cap and memory usage is more flexible than the article indicates.

I guess they want to have as much as possible going in.

AdrockSeptember 13, 2012

For comparison's sake, the PS3's Blu Ray drive moves 9MB per second do that's pretty neat that the Wii U more than doubles that speed.

1GB seems high for system resources. It's probably for all the multitasking. Netflix, voice chat, and GamePad simultaneously?

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusSeptember 13, 2012

It's possible they are also counting things like frame buffers for multiple screens, universal netcode, any API developers had to program themselves in the past as part of the "OS" so the 1GB for developers is completely free for the engine itself, textures, level and AI. I guess at the end of the fay it might be a question of semantics.

ejamerSeptember 13, 2012

Is anyone else underwhelmed? I mean, only 1 GB of RAM allocated to developers seems pretty low for a "next gen" system and I would've assumed that it wouldn't be expensive to bump it up a bit higher.


Then again, PS3 and 360 apparently have half that amount. Those consoles have been out for years now but games still look ok to me. If Wii U is only shooting for "parity and a bit more" then doubling the RAM might be more than enough. Or maybe RAM just isn't as big a deal as I'm thinking for consoles, as long as the architecture is done right?

AdrockSeptember 13, 2012

It's only underwhelming if you we're expecting a big jump above PS3/360. Wii U should have at least 2-3 years before 3rd parties start phasing out current consoles. That works out to about half a generation for Nintendo which they can probably live with even if it makes some fans nervous. Best case scenario: most 3rd parties don't want to migrate to higher dev costs and smaller install bases of Orbis/Durango and sticks with the current generation longer, deeming it "good enough for now" and Wii U gets a majority of ports.

TJ SpykeSeptember 13, 2012

Quote from: ejamer

Then again, PS3 and 360 apparently have half that amount.

About 1/4 actually. PS3 has about 256MB of RAM.

AdrockSeptember 13, 2012

PS3 has 512MB of RAM, 256MB each for the CPU and GPU. It's one of the things developers hate about programming on PS3 and why voice chat isn't as fancy as it is on 360 which has a grab bag of 512MB to be allocated to whereever it's needed.

broodwarsSeptember 13, 2012

Quote from: Adrock

PS3 has 512MB of RAM, 256MB each for the CPU and GPU. It's one of the things developers hate about programming on PS3 and why voice chat isn't as fancy as it is on 360 which has a grab bag of 512MB to be allocated to whereever it's needed.

Yep, it's unfortunately very developer-unfriendly for porting, as the PS3's RAM requires funneling tasks in a different manner to use all 512 MB of RAM. Still, development that goes the extra mile to optimize the code for PS3 does usually result in good-looking and playing games.  Devs who are lazy, on the other hand...they end up making Skyrim PS3.

As for the Wii U's 1 GB of RAM, that will be sufficient for PS3/360 ports but you can probably forget about easy ports from the next-gen consoles.

ShyGuySeptember 13, 2012

1gb for the OS is cah-razy! I expect to run full fledged applications on this thing.

NeoThunderSeptember 13, 2012

to put into perspective, xbox 360 has 512 megs of ram

ShyGuySeptember 13, 2012

Yes, and 32mb of the 360 RAM is used for the OS, so 480mb for games, shared by the video card and cpu.

BlackNMild2k1September 13, 2012

OS level cross software voice chat must be a given with all that RAM just for the OS.

ShyGuySeptember 13, 2012

The GPGPU sounds good also. It could mean fancier games as programmers learn how to shift some gaming load from the CPU to the GPU.

Kytim89September 13, 2012

What are Nintendo's chances of still maintaining third party support with the Wii U in say about 2014 or 15 when its real competition comes out?

Quote from: Kytim89

What are Nintendo's chances of still maintaining third party support with the Wii U in say about 2014 or 15 when its real competition comes out?

You mean 2013?

Honestly, we'll just have to wait and find out. I think there's so many different ways things could play out, and as a hardened Nintendo fan, the first scenarios that come to mind are likely on the pessimistic side...

AdrockSeptember 13, 2012

I feel like 2014 is more likely for both Orbis and Durango. Neither Sony nor Microsoft has announced anything and if they wait until E3 2013, that's cutting it a little close in terms of a holiday 2013 release. More importantly, PS3 and 360 are still doing well. 3rd parties don't seem to be struggling to make games on current hardware even if they could do more with newer hardware. That also means that few are going to really take advantage of Wii U's extra power, but I call it a wash.

Besides a few holdouts, Nintendo should be able to get most major 3rd party titles for at least the next 2-3 years because porting is so easy. This is only really especially helpful for people like kytim who will only have a Wii U and never had the other consoles, but that's not a bad thing. That's a win-win for everyone. Kytim gets titles he wants and people like me get options. 3rd party support will probably start to dip in the Wii U's 4th year and then we'll see what Nintendo does. They could hold on for a rocky 5th year then launch a successor or try to limp through a 6th year like they did with the Wii. They might not get away with it this time (they barely did with the Wii) because Wii U probably won't be the runaway success the Wii was (in sales).

Chozo GhostSeptember 13, 2012

1GB RAM for games (2GB total) might seem like a respectable amount right now, but what happens when the PS420 comes out and has 8GB RAM (or something like that)? What then?

TJ SpykeSeptember 13, 2012

LOL, I think there is almost no chance of Xbox 3 or PlayStation 4 having anywhere near 8GM of RAM.

ShyGuySeptember 13, 2012

Then we all sink into a deep depression, and cry out with a loud voice, "WHY? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?"

ShyGuySeptember 13, 2012

Next Xbox and PS4 are pure speculation right now, they can have 16gb if the fanboys want them too.

BlackNMild2k1September 13, 2012

Quote from: TJ

LOL, I think there is almost no chance of Xbox 3 or PlayStation 4 having anywhere near 8GM of RAM.

Well, Wii U was rumored to have 2GB of RAM w/ a rather large amount reserved for the OS.... that turned out to be true.

X720 is rumored to have 8GB of RAM (in the devkit), so we could be looking at around 4GB (just for the games) if this plays out the same way. No where near 8GB, but I also remember hearing that MS may reserve upto 4GB just for Win8 OS integration into the system as well. but that's mostly hearsay at this point, as I haven't really kept up on rumors or news lately.

Chozo GhostSeptember 13, 2012

Even if it is 4GB that's still double (or quadruple) what the Wii U has. So its still an issue.

And the X420 devkit may be rumored to have 8GB RAM now, but this probably not the final revision of the devkit. Remember how the Wii U's devkit kept being refined and improved? Alot can change between now and 2014. And this isn't even counting the PS4, which may well be even more powerful than that.

azekeSeptember 16, 2012

Quote from: Kytim89

What are Nintendo's chances of still maintaining third party support with the Wii U in say about 2014 or 15 when its real competition comes out?

The way things are going Wii U is going to be THE home console in japan.

So they at least they will have some japanese third parties. The majority of japanese third parties will flock around 3ds but wiiu might get some too.

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