3DS got two ARM11s

Discussion in 'Mobile Devices and SoCs' started by thop, Sep 22, 2010.

  1. DeadlyNinja

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    I know right. Just look at how badly the DS got beaten the the technologically superior PSP. Before that, the GBA got its ass kicked by N-Gauge and Gizmondo. Back in the GBC days, they got beaten by the Neo Geo Pocket and Wonder Swan because of their more powerful processor and more colors. Let's not forget the original Gameboy. Man, that black and white piece of crap got murdered by the Game Gear. I think the Game Gear out sold it 10000 to 1. Nintendo just doesn't learn. Their only success in the portable sector was the Virtual Boy due to the lack of competition. I'll bet when the superior specs of the PSP2 comes out, everyone will abandon the 3DS just like they did with the DS.

    Shooting for better tech and shorter battery life defeats the whole purpose of a portable. I was constantly worried the 3DS's battery life would be horrible after seeing how advanced the graphics were, because I've been very disappointed in the progress being made for portable battery life for 3D gaming.
     
  2. darkblu

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    According to Nintendo's DSL facts sheet:

    Code:
    Brightness Approximated Continuous Play
    1st level     15-19 hours
    2nd level     10-15 hours
    3rd level     7-11 hours
    4th level     5-8 hours
    
    What does the iPod touch give in terms of batter life, though? Until we answer that question, it's still apples to oranges. I can give an answer to a similar question re iPod Touch 1st gen, and it's not favorable, at all.
     
  3. Teasy

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    The physics and AI should be no worse then GameCube was capable of. Can't believe that first sentence by the way, only?, you've just listed everything that makes or breaks a handheld games system!
     
  4. Entropy

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    There is an interesting discussion hiding in the above statement. Has it really been in the best interest of PC gamers that nVidia and ATI pushed technology in such a way that power draw had to be increased enormously from the 25W limit of AGP? Has it really been in the best interest of developers to have anything but the most technologically advanced games get panned for non-cutting edge graphics, at the same time as shooting higher means alienating major parts of the installed base? Has the impression that continuos upgrades is necessary to be able to play new games really helped PC gaming?

    You make an absolute statement about how it is in our best interests that companies push technology forward. I have a feeling that you are pushing a personal ideology a bit too far.

    At least you recognize that there is a tradeoff. Many PC oriented people (and sites) seem to miss the importance of power draw and how it influences usage patterns and device design. You argue as if Nintendo represented a monopoly, but Nintendo doesn't operate in a vacuum. They compete for consumer mindshare and money with a lot of players, cell phones most notably, but it really is wider than that. Also, I don't think lack of Nintendo titles is much of a problem for other platforms. Lack of Mario didn't stop the PS2 one whit, nor does lack of Zelda mean much for Apples iOS devices.
    Simply put - if Nintendo do not offer consumer value, they'll fail in the marketplace. But they don't measure "value offered" with the singlemindedness of the most diehard technology enthusiasts on these message boards. Nor do their customers obviously. Small surprise there. What's on offer, and at what price-point? Nintendo, to the best of their ability, tries to hit the spot.

    I find it ironic to see old PC figures of merit back from the desktop days being paraded once again by tech sites. MHz? That's so 1998. :)
     
  5. Exophase

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    "Better tech" and "shorter battery life" don't always go hand in hand. For instance, I don't believe Nintendo has been known to use latest process nodes. Of course, taking your comment to the logical extreme would mean we should still be using Gameboys (or worse), so obviously there's a favorable middle ground where battery life is "good enough." GBC was much weaker than that point, IMO.

    Sorry, I don't really trust first party figures. Or should we go with the 10 hours of video playback figure for iPhone 3GS too?

    He was using price, don't eschew it with a power argument. Let's not compare it to an iPod Touch 1st Gen, quite old hardware - instead how about an iPod Touch 4th Gen, only clocked down immensely to match 3DS's capabilities.

    Which brings me to..

    This isn't about "pushing power envelope forward." Let's put it another way, do you not consider Intel's work on Core 2/Nehalem/etc to be a technological advancement over Pentium 4, despite consuming less power? Nintendo isn't just using low power tech, they're using old tech, probably cheap tech. I'm not at all convinced that they're maximizing perf/Watt on the CPU this way.

    Yes, it's in our best interests that companies push technology forward, that's pretty much tautological; however not for a distorted view of "forward" that you have presented.
     
  6. darkblu

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    Sorry. Would you have preferred a 'Yes, DS can last for 10h of normal use, on non-dimmest screen setting?', which practically any DS owner could tell you?

    Power comes at a price. The iPods Touch have always had smaller, cheaper batteries. You don't think the traditional price difference between the iPhones and the iPods Touch has been solely form the baseband modem, do you?

    Also, I'll pretend I did not read the "match 3DS capabilities when clocked down immensely" part, particularly coming from you. Unless of course you have performance figures for the CPUs & GPUs of the devices involved.

    I brought up iPod Touch 1st gen because:

    a. We actually have charged-to-depletion battery data for it from a synthetic graphics workload, and until an A4 owner cares to provide us with the results from a similar test, I have no other sound figures to rely upon (running a test on the iPad myself would make for a very poor comparison - there the batteries and screen power parameters are totally different).

    b. iPod Touch 1st gen is very close features and performance-wise to 2nd gen, which has been Apple's =<$200 device for the past year - 2nd Gen 8GB was sold in the store brand new for $180 up until very recently. Talking about Apple's 'huge margins' is hardly serious - where are the A4-competing Droids at half the price? Or the cheap-yet-high-end Android tables that prove your point? For all we know, Apple has been pricing their entry-level iDevices very competitively, and when claiming otherwise you need to show some evidence in support of your claim.
     
  7. Exophase

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    No, I'd prefer actual test reports, because I've heard DS owners reporting figures closer to 8 hours. I haven't sat down and measured it myself, but 10 hours seems like more than I've ever gotten (don't remember brightness though). I'm not saying 10 hours is false, I just want to see real test numbers.

    I don't think it's enough to make a $600 difference. On the other hand, I don't think iPhones cost $800 to begin with. You bring up an interesting point though. If battery life is more important than anything for Nintendo handhelds then why do they get the cheapest batteries they can?

    I was speaking purely regarding CPU capabilities. No, I don't have performance figures for the CPU, but ARM11 is not exactly an unknown uarch, but I guess we'll see what the memory hierarchy is like. Yes, I know that GPU is much more pivotal for this platform but that isn't the point of this thread. The point I'm trying to make is very simple, but everyone wants to argue around it: Cortex-A8 and A9 have better perf/Watt than ARM11.

    By the way, I'd like to know where this notion that 2x ARM11 @ 266MHz = Gecko @ 485MHz. Even pretending you got perfecting load balancing between the two CPUs (we all know you won't, especially if they're sharing memory bandwidth, especially if they don't have L2 cache) you can't pretend that ARM11 and PowerPC 750CX have similar level of throughput/IPC, nor can you pretend that ARM11 is available with SIMD.
     
  8. Teasy

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    No the ARM11 x2 @ 266Mhz won't match Gecko. However Gecko had to handle quite a bit of T&L, while the ARM11's won't, that should even things out quite a bit.
     
    #68 Teasy, Sep 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 28, 2010
  9. darkblu

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    Fair enough. The best I can offer you is an actual test from a DSi I ran today over the course of my business day, on a freshly-charged unit.

    10:30 - Pop Island DSiWare launched in demo/attraction mode (game video).
    17:30 - Noiticed the power LED was red.
    18:09 - Power LED went blinking, at which stage I shut down the system.

    Total run time from fully-charged to 'shut-down-now!' indication - 7h 39min. Let's go see what Nintendo's fact sheet has to say about that (my DSi's brigness level bolded):

    Code:
    Brightness Approximated Continuous Play
    1st level   9-14 hours
    2nd level   8-12 hours
    [b]3rd level   6-9 hours[/b]
    4th level   4-6 hours
    5th level   3-4 hours
    
    Because Nintendo's battery-times lead in front of the competition is so huge that it makes not sense for them to push even further, just for the sake of competing with themselves, I'd guess. Also, how is Nintendo's 840mAh Li-Ion battey (in the DSi) so much cheaper than PSP Go's 930 mAh (given the battery size is comparable), let alone 'the cheapest battery they can get'?

    Your point stands. What I don't understand is why you think that perf/Watt is Nintendo's leading decision factor for their handhelds? Why are you not factoring absolute watt too? I'd venture to guess nintendo's combined criteria scale is something along:

    • right consumer pricerange (by far the most important factor for such a product)
      .
      .
    • absolute power draw (determining the battery life)
    • perf/Watt (determining the processing power of the device, namely the best for the intended battery life)


    Aside from the fact I think we should take that 'ARM11' rumor with a grain of salt (people tend to call everything v6 by the 'ARM11' moniker; it could be one of Marvel's v6 hybrids just as well, which, apropos, have SIMD), I don't think anybody seriously has made any '2x ARM11 @ 266MHz = Gecko @ 485MHz' claims in the context of sheer CPU performance. Unless I missed something earlier.
     
  10. Exophase

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    The problem I have with this is that it's giving Nintendo benefit of the doubt that the screen brightness really eats away so much, this is not an exhaustive verification. It's pretty important because the figure you got is in the range of "good, not amazing", unless at the low level (and I wonder what conditions are necessary for that level). Anyway, don't you think those levels are quite a lot lower for something that only lost 18% of battery life? The ranges went down way more than that, and I fully expect DSi to be made on a smaller and therefore more energy efficient process. I doubt this is incorporating anything that uses the higher clock speeds, at least not for the high end figures. So something doesn't add up - unless Nintendo is revising their original claims.

    Maybe I'll test on my DS Lite sometime...

    PSP Go was just dumb in a lot of ways, everyone knows this, probably including Sony.. I hope you won't mind me avoiding a comparison.. I'd rather look at the original PSP-1000 at 1800mAh or PSP-2000 at 1200mAh. They also sell higher capacity ones, but I digress. Bear in mind that battery capacity DOES improve per unit cost, just slowly. 1500mAh is pretty standard for small form factor phones.

    Anyway, I'm finding this a little uncomfortable because I feel like I'm basically fending off a circular argument that's coming from two different people at the opposite ends and I'm kind of getting crushed. You ask "why improve battery capacity if it doesn't need it", DeadlyNinja asks "why improve performance if it hurts battery life"; obviously both can be done at the expense of price. I'm not saying that Nintendo needs to extend its bottom line, but I am making the point that that's where the decisions are lying.

    For the performance ranges we're talking about they're the same thing. Unless the device needs to run at < 100MHz or > 1GHz (rough numbers, lots more margin than what we're talking about, don't hold me to them exactly please) it'll get better battery life out of better perf/Watt by clocking the faster architecture at the lower clock.

    Yes, price is king. And as far as I'm concerned Nintendo doesn't price aggressively, not in the slightest. I give MS and Sony far more credit for that. They sell hardware at huge margins and they don't drop the price until they really have to. This is on top of their extremely successful software sales. Obviously they'll be defended as doing nothing wrong, or even praised for maximizing their profits; I'm not going to criticize them, instead I'm just going to yearn for more competition to force them into chasing lower margins. It's not that I'm cheap, I just want better hardware.

    But I'm not really representative of what Nintendo wants - hardware that's good for the games they want to do - or what their market wants - said games. I'm pretty interested in what the machine can do outside of commercial games, and it's here where the weak CPU is most limiting. Fortunately, Nintendo probably has little intentions of making it very available to common folks for such purposes in the first place, leaving us to inevitably hack around on it like usual.

    I've never, ever seen someone call something an ARM11 for being ARMv6. I've heard about a million people call Scorpion a Cortex-A8 though. I'm sure whoever dropped the rumor, IF credible, also knows better.

    "The physics and AI should be no worse then GameCube was capable of."

    I imagine you don't think physics and AI to be non-CPU problems, at least not for Gamecube or 3DS. Regarding his later response, GameCube did have fixed function T&L and I'm sure games used it. So it's pretty apples to apples.
     
    #70 Exophase, Sep 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010
  11. Aeoniss

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    I find this quote to be amusing considering we're pretty sure what the 3DS is packing and Nintendo is charging japan 25,000 yen (298$) for it*.

    I also call into question the validity of this on the ground that Nintendo also charged a pretty high price for the Wii hardware- despite it being little more than a slightly souped up GCN.

    Sony and Microsoft have sold their consoles at a loss day 1 and it took them a few years to get their die size shrunk and streamline production to make the machines profitable on their own. Sony only just recently accomplished this- they had huge initial losses for the PS3.


    If anything Nintendo is (now) a company that knows it can make a huge profit simply by slapping their namebrand on the device and promising Mario to appear on it. There is literally not much impressive about either of their past two products but they sure charged a fairly high rate for them all things considered.

    To put this into perspective, this is 80$ more (give or take) than a 4th Gen iTouch and all that it entails.


    *http://www.1up.com/news/3ds-launching-february-26-japan
    http://www.product-reviews.net/2010/09/29/nintendo-3ds-official-release-date-and-price-for-japan/
     
    #71 Aeoniss, Sep 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010
  12. sfried

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    You do realize that it's the pricing for Japan, right? And in the demo reel they presented at the press conference was more than just "slapping Mario". There's already hefty amount of third party support.
     
  13. Aeoniss

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    People are still anticipating a 250$ price tag.

    My quip about Mario was simply to say that Nintendo has realized it can basically charge very high prices and simply sell through its namebrand alone. It doesn't matter how the machine actually performs, all that matters is that Nintendo made it. Developers flocked to the 3DS because they knew this too.

    Don't get me wrong! The games that are to be released on the 3DS look pretty cool to me (RE and Splinter Cell in particular) but I just cannot swallow the asking price.. I just can't get over that it will cost more than the newest iTouches.

    From a hardware point of view this makes me sad is all.
     
  14. Xenus

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    Yes but his point still stands even the GC days they made money basically on that principle. They like apple have a cult like following that are willing pay much more than what a product is worth from a BOM strandpoint to play their games. Now on some level it's commendable that they have this following on others it's not bad that someone wishes they push the envelope a little more cutting into their margins. Let's be honest here Nintendo has shown the past they are not wiling to push the envelope unless challenged. No one wants to go back to the days of the gameboy and gameboy color. However this is all completely beside the point as the 3DS they have pushed the envelope somewhat even if they are charging too much for it still if it comes out to $299 USD.
     
  15. tongue_of_colicab

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    Funny you name Apple because if there is one company that likes to ripoff their customers as much as they can it's Apple. They ask tripple the price for some mac's of what they are even close to begin worth, a iPhone for is costs like 900 euro's while a comparable smartphone will cost you about 500 etc.

    Still, I agree that the price is high.
     
  16. liolio

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    Does the fact that the 3DS as the previous DS has to power two screens could be responsible of Nintendo choices to aim for lowest power consumption?
     
  17. brain_stew

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    I don't know why people are bringing up machines built on the broken razor blade model. That stupidity won't ever return to the console/handheld market after it managed to put MS some ~$6 billion in the hole and Sony to lose just as much on the PS3 as they ever made througout their entire successful PS1/PS2 reign.

    Nintendo have always made a profit on hardware because they don't have dozens of other divisions to soak up the costs. Its the only strategy that ever made any sense, their might have been argument for the razor blade model back in the PS1 days where functional 3D graphics were a genuine USP but its been a fool's pursuit ever since then.

    Back to the hardware itself and the new trailers for DOA:D, RE:Revelation, RE:Mercenaries, MGS3 and SSFIV convince me this system is capable of some fantastic 3D graphics. All of those titles are more than a match for absolutely anything produced last generation and they blow away any launch title we saw last generation which bodes seriously well. One thing that really has got me a little worried is the general image quality. Texture filtering and mip mapping in particular look pretty much borked just as they were on the PSP. :/ It looks like AA may be restricted to 2D mode judging by that MT Framework feature and if the texture aliasing is as bad as it is in most PSP games (and it looks like it might be) then I guess I'll be giving up the S3D support in most games. Its the only major issue I have with Nintendo's choice of GPU, the lack of full ES 2.0 support looks to be a total none issue judging by the amount of nice lighting and shader effects most high end 3DS games are packing (which is way more than even the best ES 2.0 exclusive iOS games).

    I just don't buy that mediocre general purpose and FP CPU performance is such a big deal. What games last generation ran any sort of complex physics model? There was Half Life 2 but that game really wasn't in anything like a shippable state, it'd straight up freeze when any physics intensive scenes were initiated. Where are all these GCN, PSP and PS2 games with complex physics and A.I? Because I sure as hell haven't played them.

    You can't look at the CPU in isolation either, the PICA200 has some very capable vertex shader hardware by all accounts and that should account for most usage cases of the FPUs we saw last generation. Sure the GCN and Wii have hardware T & L but any developer that wanted to do something as simple as a decent approximation of per-pixel dot 3 bump mapping had to use the CPU and that would utterly tank performance.On the 3DS we have titles like MGS3D where the entire environment and all character models have correct per pixel normal mapping and specular highlights despite their being thousands of flowers in the scene which all react to character interaction.

    Here's some of those videos I'm talking about:

    DOA: http://www.gamecity.ne.jp/doad/
    MGS3: http://www.konami.jp/mgs_se/
    RE: Revelations: http://www.nintendo.co.jp/n10/conference2010/3ds/lineupMovHigh.html

    I understand the concerns with the paper specs but these issues just don't seem to be hampering the quality of games from top tier developers at all.

    P.S. I'm as disapointed with the launch date & price as anybody, Nintendo claerly dropped the ball there and have given their competitors a small opening to take advantage of when in reality a $200 2010 launch could have had the market sewn up before Christmas.

    I wonder what is delaying the launch? Supply of the autosterescopic screens perhaps? They've never been produced in anything like this sort of mass scale before and we've already seen how supply of high end mobile displays has held back devices from both Apple and Samsung.
     
    #77 brain_stew, Sep 29, 2010
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  18. DennisK4

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    The price is about what I expected given how determined Nintendo is to make good profit on hardware itself. US launch will be around $249 I think. They will sell a lot at this price and can then comfortably lower price as necessary to maintain sales. I am absolutely convinced that it wll sell like hot cakes.
    The PSP2? Likely just as expensive or priced even higher. PSP launched at US$249 if I recall correctly, so PSP2 could easily be higher.
    I am convinced the PSP2 will outspec the 3DS - perhaps even by a great deal. I simply cannot see a PSP2 trying to be a cheaper alternative to the 3DS.

    About the graphical capability of the 3DS: The hardware is obviously very impressive for a handheld. Seeing something like RE:Revelation on a handheld device is amazing. Dem shaders! :cool:
    However, outside of RE and MGS I haven't been all that impressed with the line up but that is no fault of the 3DS.

    And I don't think Nintendo is worried at all. No Christmas? Thats just too bad but Sony is not launching any time soon, so no worries. Price? Let the hardcore eat the initial price (I will!) and lower as needed. The profit margin will allow it and PSP2 will not launch at $199 anyways.

    Edit 1: I can't help but notice that Nintendo haven't released any battery life info....Not something I care about myself but a lot of people assume this is big issue.

    Edit 2: Nintendo didn't have enough Wiis at launch which left a lot of money on the table. They are not going to want to repeat that mistake so this may be behind the delayed launch - of course this may be linked to the screens more than anything else.

    Edit 3: I wonder how far the PSP2 plans are? Everything finalized and just waiting for Nintedo to release price and date, before their own reveal. Or are major hardware changes still possible?
     
    #78 DennisK4, Sep 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010
  19. brain_stew

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    We've had multiple confirmations of developers already receiving PSP2 devkits so the system must be pretty close to launching and the hardware locked down in al the key areas. It'll definitely be arriving sometime in 2011.
     
  20. Exophase

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    There's no fine line between the extremes Sony and Microsoft have taken with under-pricing XBox and PS3 respectively and the extremes Nintendo has taken with over-pricing Wii. Their successful PS2 reign (and the PSP run which I wouldn't call a failure) was certainly backed by a gradual earning strategy that made sense. They didn't retain the market during the PS2 era by selling it with current-Nintendo-like margins; the pricing went a long way towards making DVDs more accessible, for instance. On the other hand, look at how Nintendo dumped the Gamecube's price, pushing it all the way down to $99 in 2003, long before its successor was out.

    Nintendo does have another division to soak up costs, their gaming division, where they sell hundreds of millions - they probably make far more in profit from their first party sales than they make in third party licensing fees, which would certainly support the "broken razor blade" approach. Of course, there's no indications that Nintendo would sell substantially more at lower margins, so there isn't enough incentive for them to do this. This is why they need more viable competition, particularly in the handheld space.

    Why do you find the quote amusing when we're saying exactly the same thing? This is exactly what I meant by Nintendo "not pricing aggressively." Maybe you were thrown off by my saying "price is king" for them; what I really mean is "profit is king." That translates to them saving as much money as possible on the BOM and charging as high margins as possible.

    But I honestly didn't anticipate a launch price this high for 3DS. Let's say it is $250 in the US. That'll be $100 more than a DSi costs and nearly twice what a DS Lite costs. It might be easy to justify that to the public with the new 3D display and better graphics but I think we know what it's going to really cost Nintendo to make 3DS compared to DS. Even if we're not talking launch prices, Nintendo has a recent history of taking much longer to drop prices than Sony or MS.

    I think that in people's minds the $200 price point is still critical for handhelds, and going over that hurt PSP's initial sales vs DS's. If Sony releases a PSP2 any time soon for the $200 point (which they probably can't afford to do, but if they do happen to..) they'll have at least one tangible advantage.
     
    #80 Exophase, Sep 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2010

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