Feasibility Of a Portable Wii U?

Discussion in 'Console Technology' started by Swoosh, Jan 19, 2013.

  1. Swoosh

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm just curious what some people would think about this, perhaps Nintendo designed the Wii U to possibly be a portable gaming tablet some day?

    Maybe that's why the it doesn't have a large bus, to easier facilitate future hardware shrinks?

    We know the system runs at about 30-35 watts when running a game. An iPad 3 runs at about 10 watts when playing Infinity Blade 2. The Wii U has a 40 or 45 nm CPU/GPU from most accounts.

    If they were to shrink the chip some day to 20nm/22nm or 28nm, would that get the chip small and power efficient enough to put the chipset directly into the controller itself?

    Lets axe the disc drive obviously, which appears to take up half of the current system casing and probably gobbles up a few watts itself. Aim for 4-6 hour battery life.
     
  2. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
    Moderator Legend Alpha Subscriber

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    12,492
    Likes Received:
    8,695
    Location:
    Cleveland
    A portable Wii U would have all of around 15 minutes of battery life judging by how long the Wublet lasts.
     
  3. Swoosh

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think that has more to do with Nintendo going cheap on the battery on the Wii U tablet.

    If they could get power consumption down to the 15 watt range (w/screen) or less, a 4-6 hour battery life wouldn't be unreasonable I don't think.

    I'm thinking of this in more of a 2014/2015 type of deal.
     
  4. JasonLD

    Regular

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Messages:
    379
    Likes Received:
    3
    I think it is very possible, maybe in 3-4 years. It will be more of a business rather than a technical decision.
     
  5. Squilliam

    Squilliam Beyond3d isn't defined yet
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,495
    Likes Received:
    113
    Location:
    New Zealand
    I think their choice of using eDRAM probably limits this option as implementing it in future process nodes could be difficult.
     
  6. arijoytunir

    Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    12
    nintendo also merged their console and handheld divisions ! so its quite possible to get a portable wii u with the support of 3ds or next gen nintendo handheld .
     
  7. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    17,682
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Location:
    Maastricht, The Netherlands
    I think the iPad 3 has a battery powerful enough to power the Wii U for quite some time. so yes, I definitely think it is a possibility, especially asscreens can be a lot more efficient than the iPad one, It will be interesting what that system would be like though in terms of dual screen capabilities.

    They are likely not in a hurry to get that out there though, considering it could get in the way of the 3DS, but they should be able to do it within a few years definitely.
     
  8. BRiT

    BRiT (╯°□°)╯
    Moderator Legend Alpha Subscriber

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Messages:
    12,492
    Likes Received:
    8,695
    Location:
    Cleveland
    The iPad3 has a 42.5 watt-hour battery. The iPad3 draws around 8 Watts when it's going full bore. The main WiiU console would burn through that in 1 hour. Add in the additional power constraints of the WiiU tablet itself and the screen, and you're looking at less than an hour.

    A WiiU portable is not currently possible without several die shrinks, process improvements, display improvements and a heavier battery if you're targeting typical 6 to 8 hour battery life.
     
  9. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    17,682
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Location:
    Maastricht, The Netherlands
    No, a few years are definitely needed. The Wii U tablet itself right now burns through its battery at half that though so they may settle for much less. ;)

    And of course unless it needs to send video to a TV as well, it won't have the heavy wireless comms requirement that the controller has now.
     
  10. arijoytunir

    Regular

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2012
    Messages:
    347
    Likes Received:
    12
    this news is confirming that future of nintendo is indeed one console platform . my take on this is like the ipad ; the next gen nintendo console will be only a portable device that can behave as a home console .
     
  11. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
    Legend

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2002
    Messages:
    10,801
    Likes Received:
    2,172
    Location:
    La-la land
    They need to release the new luigi's mansion for wuu. I have no interest whatsoever in 3DS, but I want to play this game...!

    Also, update Metroid Prime series for wuu please. I don't like to play with the wii wand (as in the MP Trilogy wii release), and my original GC discs won't run on wuu. Thank you - that is all.
     
  12. Exophase

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,406
    Likes Received:
    429
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    Not really. It lasts 5:58 off of a 42-Wh battery meaning it draws about 7.5W. A fair amount of this draw is from the high PPI 10" screen. In fact, at full brightness it consumes a staggering 7W from the backlight alone: http://www.displaymate.com/iPad_ShootOut_1.htm#Backlight_Power (of course Anand's tests couldn't have been at full brightness)

    Nintendo never aggressively shrank Wii's chipset so I wonder what current experience they have there. I don't think you're going to see power consumption even halve going from a typical 45/40nm to 22/20nm. Then you have to add the power consumption of the screen. While I'm sure it won't use even close to what a high end tablet does it'll probably still suck a couple watts. iPad 3's 7.5W is on the upper end of what a reasonable tablet should tolerate (it did get pretty hot) - this assumes that Nintendo is willing to put in the same high capacity battery and the same level of thermal support. Given their history of terribly skimping on battery capacity I'm skeptical that they'd be willing to do this.

    I'm going to argue that this would never even take off without at least a higher resolution screen that what's on Wii U's controller. While that may work as an auxiliary device it'd be pretty poor to have to throw out resolution on every game you play. The dual-screen options in games wouldn't work out either, of course.

    Working without a BD drive is going to be cumbersome, even if they include a full sized SD slot. Games are allowed to get huge, something like 25GB. If they didn't value this capacity they would have stuck with DVD. In this case Nintendo would need to make all the games you own available for free or at a very reduced price if they have any hope of selling it (and not totally bombing like PSP Go), but this doesn't seem to fit with how Nintendo does business at all.
     
  13. joesiv

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2012
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    1
    They could throw in a BD drive ;) Like those old diskman's, given the size of the Wii U controller, it might work muahahha...
     
  14. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
    Moderator Legend

    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Messages:
    17,682
    Likes Received:
    1,200
    Location:
    Maastricht, The Netherlands
    Or they could mean they are planning to do something similar to what we see on PS3 and Vita, trying to make it easier to make games for both devices, perhaps by creating two versions of all assets during the game production to start with (it would be more work for them considering the bigger distance between performance and memory on Wii U and 3DS). Many of the game engines for their best selling franchises are currently not that demanding, I think, so just scaling the assets could go a long way.
     
  15. BobbleHead

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    2
    Did you actually read what you quoted? It says exactly the opposite.


    Just because they didn't market it differently doesn't mean they didn't shrink. The Wii, 360 and PS3 had similar numbers of shrinks for their main components, it just looked identical from the outside each time. There was no slim or 250GB model to draw attention. If they hadn't done it you would not have the $99 model that's out there now.

    Despite that, it will be a while before even the modestly power hungry WiiU could reasonably fit in a portable form factor. Especially at the price points Nintendo tends to target for handheld systems.
     
  16. Sonic

    Sonic Senior Member
    Veteran

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2002
    Messages:
    1,878
    Likes Received:
    85
    Location:
    San Francisco, CA
    If not for the Wii controller Nintendo most likely could have sold the machine at launch for $99, or at the very most $129, and still make a profit.
     
  17. BobbleHead

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    2
    You're significantly underestimating the BOM cost at launch. The probably could've done 199, but certainly not 99 or 129. They were making a profit at the time, but not a huge one. Regardless, we're going off topic.
     
  18. Exophase

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,406
    Likes Received:
    429
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    We're talking about the Wii specifically, 360 and PS3 are irrelevant (and both MS and Sony publicized their shrinks). I'm pretty sure Wii never moved past its initial 90nm, and it's not that hard to see why because it never sported very large dies.

    But if you have a reference that says otherwise by all means share it.

    You may not remember this but Gamecube was also only $99 in its later years, and I'm not aware that it ever received shrinks either. Given that Wii's chipset is already little more than a shruken Gamecube chipset plus a few support components that have since come down quite a lot in price (wifi module, accelerometers for the wiimote) it's not hard to see how Nintendo could sell it at $99 now, although I'm only seeing this as a refurbish price with $130 being standard. This is also a pretty recent shift; Wii hung on to its initial $250 price point for what seems like forever. I somehow don't think they did a major chips redesign just for its last stage of sales, much less after Wii U was released..
     
  19. BobbleHead

    Newcomer

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2002
    Messages:
    58
    Likes Received:
    2
    I remember GameCube well enough. When has Nintendo ever publicized things like a shrink?

    With MS and Sony you usually heard about it because it was something that had to be publicized. Sometimes it was going to help them go from losing money to making money and they had to report it as part of their financials. Other times it coincided with a new form factor or other obvious changes. Smaller box, less fan noise, lower power, these are all things they can and did use to hype it up.

    Historically Nintendo systems have been as small and as quiet as possible from the start, and they've been making money on them. There's no need for them to shove it everyones face that they made changes under the hood to improve their costs. The cost versus savings for transitioning from 90 down through 40 are significant enough for almost any decent sized high volume chip to get a shrink. If you are a company expecting to sell 100m units of something over 6-8 years you'd be negligent if you didn't make the main parts cheaper. You may disagree with some of their goals and choices, but they aren't stupid and they don't hate money.

    Buy a Wii from the store now and open it up. You'll see.
     
  20. Exophase

    Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    2,406
    Likes Received:
    429
    Location:
    Cleveland, OH
    I'm not buying and disassembling a Wii to try to prove your point. Fortunately there are available shots: http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/df-hardware-nintendo-wii-mini-review You can't really conclude anything from pictures of packaged chips except a maximum size, and I don't feel like trying to cross reference that with some other component whose size is known (that and I can't find dimensions for the mini). But at least you can see that they're still using two separate CPU and GPU chips. This site says that there are unconfirmed reports of shrinks. They do show that power consumption went down, and while that could be in part due to a reduction in other components I suspect at least one of the two major chips got at least one shrink. On the other hand, you'd expect better improvements if both were shrunk all the way down from 90 to 40nm.

    Given that they never integrated the two I can't fathom why they'd want to shrink the tiny 19mm^2 CPU. The savings would be miniscule. There's more incentive for the GPU, but at 70mm^2 there's still much less to gain than from the shrinks Sony and MS made.

    Nintendo has never been on leading edge processes much like they aren't using leading edge IP. Case in point, the ARM11 in 3DS, which I'm pretty confident isn't on 45nm or 40nm. They never would have made decisions to shrink in deference to 100+m Wii sales - by the time they'd be in any position to shrink their remaining sales prospects were far below this.
     
    #20 Exophase, Feb 1, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 1, 2013
Loading...

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Beyond3D has been around for over a decade and prides itself on being the best place on the web for in-depth, technically-driven discussion and analysis of 3D graphics hardware. If you love pixels and transistors, you've come to the right place!

    Beyond3D is proudly published by GPU Tools Ltd.
Loading...