Our first look under the hood of the Wii U

Under the hood of the Wii U
Wii u everything you need to know pricing launch release date

Nintendo has released an internally conducted interview of four engineers working on the Wii U product. Though the company stopped short of getting into the specifics of clock speeds and architectures it does provide some new details about what is in the company’s latest console.

Wii U GPU CPUThe juiciest information relates to the new processor, which Nintendo calls the multi-chip module (MCM). It is a package that puts both the CPU and the GPU onto a single die. This is similar to what both Intel and AMD do with the integrated graphics components in some products. In this case, however, the package combines hardware from IBM (the multi-core CPU), AMD (the GPU) and Renesis (RAM).

Genyo Takeda, one of the engineers on the project, stated this approach was beneficial because “the package costs less and we could speed up data exchange among two LSIs while lowering power consumption.” The MCM’s reduced latency between components and reduced power consumption has made it possible for Nintendo to extract respectable perform from a small, inexpensive part.

Wii U heat sinkWith that said, this decision bolsters complaints that the Wii U might not have mind-blowing performance. Placing the CPU and GPU on one package concentrates power draw and heat generation at a single location. This reduces the maximum performance potential relative to a system with a separate CPU and GPU.

Engineer Yasuhisa Kitano went further into the packaging of the new console. He revealed that Nintendo sees its console as a “stagehand” – something that works unobtrusively behind the scenes – and went on to describe how this influenced its design.

To be unobtrusive the Wii U had to be small, quiet, and reliable. The new MCM helped achieve this goal by reducing the areas responsible for producing significant heat from two to one. However, because of the console’s improved performance, overall heat generation tripled. The engineers dealt with this by substantially increasing the size of the heat sink and the fan. Even the system’s vents were tweaked to ensure maximum airflow. 

Wii U fan

Yet, in spite of these efforts, the system’s fan speed still had to be increased to keep the console cool. Kitano said that engineers accounted for this during testing. “If you increase the number of fan revolutions, it makes more noise, so we checked to see how much noise was acceptable while playing games.”

Some details about the console’s exterior emerged, as well. The engineers confirmed that it is designed to be primarily horizontal, but will work in a vertical position with a stand that comes in the Deluxe Set. They also revealed that the Wii U has moved the two USB ports found in the original Wii from the front to rear and made the remote sync button more accessible.

Wii U heat sink and shieldNintendo’s engineers took time to talk about the extensive testing conducted on the Wii U to make sure defects won’t occur after launch. Using the MCM made this process particularly complicated because components from three different manufacturers were included. All four companies had to work closely during testing to locate and squash bugs.

While a fair amount of information was divulged in this interview there’s some that we’re still waiting to hear. Specifics about the architecture used in the CPU and GPU remain elusive, and the engineers did not reveal any new information about the technical specs regarding the console’s controller. It’s possible that we’ll have to wait until release, or even after, to know more.


Apex Legends adds its first new gun, the Havoc energy rifle

Respawn added the first piece of new content to Apex Legends, the Havoc energy rifle. It's available now for PS4, Xbox One, and PC players. The fully automatic rifle can be modded to shoot single-shot energy beams.

Among hundreds of choices, these are the best 25 SNES games of all time

The Super Nintendo Entertainment System might be the greatest game console ever made, but what are the best titles for the system? Here are our picks for the best SNES games.

PS4 vs. Switch: After weighing the pros and cons, which one comes out on top?

Nintendo Switch versus PlayStation 4: Which one has better overall value? We break down the pros and cons of each platform to tell you which of these consoles is truly worth the money.

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.

You're not a true fan without these Nintendo Switch exclusives

Who doesn't love a good Nintendo game? If you're looking for great first-party titles for your Nintendo Switch, take a look at our list of the very best exclusives available right now.

Samsung Galaxy S10 optimizations make it great for Fortnite

Samsung's new line of Galaxy S10 devices have been optimized for gaming. All three offer improved support for the Unity engine and the S10 Plus also offers vapor chamber cooling, similar to the Xbox One X.

Having problems with your Xbox One console? We have the solutions

The Xbox One has evolved over the years, but so have its problems. Thankfully, we have solutions for some of the console's most enduring problems, whether you're experiencing issues with connectivity or your discs.

Did Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown fall victim to the Madden Curse?

Join us as we take a tour through the long-running history of the Madden Curse -- and Tom Brady's recent accolades. We all know John Madden is a longtime NFL talent, but is he also an agent of dark forces?

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

Need help getting the Sleeper Simulant in Destiny 2? We’ve got you covered

The Sleeper Simulant is one of the coolest new Exotic weapons you can unlock in the Warmind expansion of Destiny 2, but it's an involved process that will take awhile. Here's everything you need to know.

Want to trick out your PlayStation 4? These themes will get you started

Personalize your gaming experience with some of our favorite themes for the PlayStation 4, including free, paid, static, and dynamic options. Fan-favorite third-party and exclusive games are also included.

Fortnite squads up with Ninja, Chan, and Samsung for exclusive K-pop skin

The Galaxy S10 Plus has features that make it great for mobile gaming and just like last year, Fortnite and Samsung have joined forces to bring an exclusive K-pop skin to the phone. Here's how you can get it.

Between Intel and AMD, these are the best gaming CPUs at every price

What are the best processors for gaming you can buy? You don't need to spend a fortune to get an amazing gaming CPU and now that AMD is competitive again, there are more choices than ever.
Virtual Reality

HTC Vive Focus Plus makes it easier for developers to port PC content

HTC Vive has announced the Vive Focus Plus headset. The upgraded stand-alone headset makes use of "six degrees of freedom" support in controllers for a PC-like virtual reality experience.