Nintendo Teardown: Here’s what the inside of the Switch looks like

nintendo switch teardown switchfixit01
iFixit
With any new gaming platform release, there are always those who are just as interested in how the platform was built as they are in playing games. That’s why the kind folks at iFixit have done their job once again and broken open a brand new Nintendo Switch to give us a look at just what’s hiding under the hood.

The Nintendo Switch is a unique piece of hardware because it looks to operate as both a portable gaming system and a home console. That means it has to be compact, but powerful, and low-temperature but lightweight. And because it’s Nintendo, it needs to be kid-friendly. Considering we felt that Nintendo managed to tick a lot of those boxes, getting a look at the insides will tell us a little more of how the firm achieved this.

The above video gives us a whistle-stop tour of the Switch and its internals, but iFixit has completed a reasonably comprehensive teardown, too. It begins, as with many guides, with the unscrewing of some uncommon screws, but that’s no barrier to a service that has been taking apart complex hardware for years.

Unsurprisingly for a compact, modern games console, the Switch’s internals look much like a small gaming PC. A large metal plate acts as a universal heat spreader, while a copper heatpipe design funnels heat away from the Nvidia Tegra X1 based processor. The reasonably large and well-padded battery is said to be non-replaceable, though Nintendo has said it may offer a paid service for that in the future.

The main, oddly shaped motherboard contains all of the important components: the aforementioned Nvidia chip, Samsung DDR4 memory, Broadcom Wi-Fi and Bluetooth chips, a Realtek audio codec, and a step-down buck converter, among other power regulating hardware.

The main Switch hardware itself seems fairly replaceable, with lots of simple screws used throughout and not much in the way of adhesive. In fact, iFixit reports that the LCD and digitizer can be easily separated, so swapping out either in the future in a home repair should be doable.

Getting into the Joy-Cons was even easier and showed that they contain micro Li-ion batteries, a Bluetooth chip, accelerometer, gyroscope and “HD rumble” motor, among controller inputs. The left-hand, red controller also packs an infrared camera and four IR LEDs, as well as an NFC antenna.

The Switch dock contains a pair of CMOS flash memory chips and a USB 3.0 hub controller.

Overall the Switch was given a repairability score of eight out of ten, thanks to its use of screws over adhesive and Phillips head screws in most cases. A lot of components can be replaced, though iFixit did mark Nintendo down on the likely difficulty of replacing the LCD and digitizer.

Computing

Superpowered MSI Trident X packs RGB lighting, Intel 9900K, and a GTX 2080 Ti

The MSI Trident X might be small, but it is mighty. With an RTX 2080 Ti and up to a Core i9-9900K CPU in their own segregated cooling chambers, it's one of the most powerful mini-desktops we've ever seen.
Computing

Nvidia is slowly rolling out its next generation of GPUs. Here's what you need to know about them

Nvidia's new RTX 2000 series graphics cards are impressive pieces of hardware, with some amazing advancements and some rather high price tags to match. Here's everything you need to know about Nvidia's new top-tier cards.
Home Theater

Don't wake the baby! How to connect headphones to a TV

Do you need to connect a pair of headphones to your TV? Our handy guide will show you how to hook up your headphones in a variety of ways, whether you're using wired headphones, wireless headphones, or gaming headsets.
Deals

18 portable tech gadgets you’ll want to use every day

If you're looking for portable tech to keep you charged up and plugged in while on the go, we've rounded up our favorite must-have gadgets currently available. You'll find everything from mini arcade machines to a folding Bluetooth…
Gaming

From Blackout to Zombies, here's everything we know about 'Black Ops 4'

Call of Duty: Black Ops 4 arrives on PS4, Xbox One, and PC on October 12. Here's everything you need to know about the game, including info on multiplayer, Zombies, Blackout, and Signature Weapons.
Gaming

GameStop manager marks ‘Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’ launch by mimicking cover art

To celebrate the launch of Call of Duty: Black Ops 4, GameStop stores held midnight launch events across the United States. One manager even cosplayed as the cover star from the game, complete with an accurate haircut.
Product Review

'Black Ops 4' learns a few new tricks, but it's Call of Duty to the core

Despite nods to hero-based tactical gameplay, Call of Duty: Black Ops 4’s multiplayer feels as stable as ever -- even as the game trades in its story-driven campaign for the new Blackout mode.
Gaming

Here's where Xur is and what he has for wares this week in 'Destiny 2: Forsaken'

The weekly vendor in Destiny 2: Forsaken always brings Exotic weapons and armor, some of the toughest loot to find in the game. Here's everything you need to know to track down Xur: Where he is, when he shows up, and what he's stocking.
Mobile

Here’s our guide on how to get ‘Fortnite’ on your Android device

'Fortnite: Battle Royale' is one of the biggest games in the world right now, and it's finally on Android, even if getting set up is a bit long-winded. Here's how to play 'Fortnite: Battle Royale' on an Android device.
Mobile

Put your iPad Pro to the test with these great games

Did you recently purchase a 10.5-inch iPad Pro, or are you enjoying the 12.9-inch version? If so, we've rounded up a few of the best iPad Pro games currently available on Apple's mobile platform.
Gaming

Open-world video games are getting too big for their own good

As technology has progressed, open-world video games have grown increasingly bigger. What seems like a universal positive has shown problems preventing the genre from truly moving forward, however.
Product Review

The Oculus Rift is cheaper, the Vive Pro is better. Is the original Vive still worth it?

The Oculus Rift may have brought virtual reality into the public eye, but HTC’s Vive, built in partnership with Valve, does it better. Does the Vive still represent the true future of virtual reality, or are there better competitors on…
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Gaming

As deaf gamers speak up, game studios are finally listening to those who can’t

Using social media, personal blogs and Twitch, a small group of deaf and hard-of-hearing players have been working to make their voices heard and improve accessibility in the gaming industry.