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Nintendo 3DS GPU Revealed

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the powered-by-sunshine-and-bubblegum dept.

Graphics 133

An anonymous reader writes "The GPU for the Nintendo 3DS has just been revealed, and it's not made by Nvidia, ATI, or even Imagination Technologies. Instead, Nintendo has signed up Japanese startup Digital Media Professionals (DMP) in a deal that sees the company's PICA200 chip churning out the 3-D visuals. For the first time in Nintendo's history, the 3DS will feature a GPU with programmable shaders, rather than a fixed-function pipeline, meaning the 3DS is more graphically versatile than the Wii. Among the PICA200's features are 2x anti-aliasing, per-pixel lighting, subdivision primitives, and soft shadows. As well as featuring DMP's own 'Maestro' extensions, the PICA200 also fully supports OpenGL ES 1.1. The architecture supports four programmable vertex units and up to four pixel pipelines."

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133 comments

Doom3 in 3D (1, Interesting)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674910)

So, in theory, this should be able to run DOOM 3 in 3D. I donnow, it sounds cool to me.

Re:Doom3 in 3D (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674954)

Doom 3 can run on a Voodoo 2 at a playable frame rate (admittedly it'll look like a higher polygon count version of Quake 2).

I'd imagine that there'd be much lower res textures and lots of other sacrifices that would have to be made to on a 2gb cart.

Re:Doom3 in 3D (1)

Rallion (711805) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675040)

Lower res textures are probably fine, though, given the lower resolution of the actual display,

Re:Doom3 in 3D (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675560)

That res is more suited for Doom I & II. I still play those, and large pixels were never this bloody!

Re:Doom3 in 3D (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675624)

He meant with all the effects turned on.

But still: I don’t believe your statement. Got any proof? (Proof. Not just a citation. As that would just be another comment.)

sorry ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32674922)

anyone remember "neomagic-rap"?

Cheap or low power? (2, Insightful)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674938)

TFA doesn't mention why they went with this over a more established and modern GPU like Imagination's PowerVR or Nvidia's Tegra. OpenGL ES 1.1 isn't really anything to brag about, so I assume it either uses a lot less power, or (more likely) is much cheaper to make.

I figured they'd take this opportunity to make a single-purpose gaming device that was more powerful than the phones they're now having to compete with, so this seems like a weird choice.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Shadow of Eternity (795165) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674964)

Simple nationalism?

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674996)

It's not nationalism. Cost-per-unit always trumps such notions into today's world. I bet it was significantly cheaper than the alternatives (going with a big name manufacturer).

Re:Cheap or low power? (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675050)

It's not nationalism.

Do you know anything about Japan?

Re:Cheap or low power? (3, Funny)

incognito84 (903401) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675156)

I live there.

Re:Cheap or low power? (3, Funny)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675354)

Shouldn't that be "I live here"? Suspicious!

Re:Cheap or low power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675476)

He means in his mind. Didn't you know? All of these internet kiddies live in Japan working on cartoons, speak "conversational" Japanese and know Karate.

Re:Cheap or low power? (2, Insightful)

trapnest (1608791) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675378)

Doesn't answer the question though!

Re:Cheap or low power? (5, Funny)

Chuck Chunder (21021) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675574)

Yes i it does. He was asked if he knows anything about Japan.

Clearly one thing he knows about Japan is that he lives there.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676676)

Actually, he knows two things about Japan: He knows that he lives there, and he knows that he knows two things about Japan.

Re:Cheap or low power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676534)

At least you know something about Japan. Nana certainly.

Re:Cheap or low power? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676034)

Do you? This notion of Japanese nationalism is ridiculous and unfounded.

I hate to sound paranoid... (1)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#32674982)

"...has signed up Japanese startup..."

The Tegra2 is a really powerful chip and fairly low power, and company like nvidia would have probably sold the thing at or below cost just to get the deal on the assumption they could lower costs in the future to turn a profit at the volumes Nintendo would need. Maybe they screwed up and just couldn't give Nintendo the right deal, but I would be surprised.

Re:I hate to sound paranoid... (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675388)

Tegra2 would also need significant modifications (including two additional CPUs, an ARM7 and an ARM9) for backwards compatibility with the older systems, and would be significantly more expensive (as in, SIGNIFICANTLY below cost would have to be required,) and use significantly more power. So, if you want a 3DS that has 3 hours of battery life and costs $600, yes, Tegra2 would be great.

Re:I hate to sound paranoid... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676118)

the Cortex can run ARM9 code with a pretty simple trap for the privilege instructions due to the huge similarities between ARM9, ARM11 and Cortex.
Also the Tegra2 has an ARM7 hidden in it already.

The lower end Tegra2 is $18 and can play video for about 10 hours on a 1200mAh battery. the 2W of the AP20 (the most power hungry of the Tegra2) is the peak, not the average.

The modifications would really to kill areas of the silicon that won't be used and put it in a reduced pin count package to help lower cost. These are not significant for a company that pushes millions of units worldwide.

1. where do you get your "3 hours of battery life" number? 2. where do you get your $600 number? 3. are you a licensed nvidia partner, or are you more of an armchair technologist?

Re:I hate to sound paranoid... (2, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678668)

Video is 10 hours on Tegra 2 because it doesn't stretch the GPU or CPU.

Look at an iphone. I can watch 8 hours of video no problem. Start up an intensive game like Espgaluda 2 and I'll barely get 2 hours.

Re:Cheap or low power? (2)

KibibyteBrain (1455987) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675036)

From TFA:

DMP's president Tatsuo Yamamoto said the company, "had a very ambitious goal in the realisation of naked-eye 3D stereo vision, and video game console-style high-quality graphics rendering, whilst maintaining low power consumption."

My guess from this is that DMP probably already had a buttoned-up solution for integrating 3D stereo vision with their GPU, saving Nintendo the development costs and enabling this super-fast time to market for the 3DS, and that's probably why they went with it. I'd expect for version 2 they'd perfect something with a more conservative architecture.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675454)

"My guess from this is that DMP probably already had a buttoned-up solution for integrating 3D stereo vision with their GPU"

There's NOTHING which needs to be done from GPU's side for 3D-stereo.

Essentially, you just need to render two framebuffers for each frame instead of one. Which often can be achieved just by modifying projection matrix a little.

DS unbuffered rendering (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678482)

Essentially, you just need to render two framebuffers for each frame instead of one.

There's something you need to understand about the DS: It can operate without a full-screen frame buffer. Most games use unbuffered mode, which uses a 48-line-tall ring buffer outside of VRAM that gets filled in four passes from top to bottom as the hardware renders polygons. In this mode, all 512 KiB of the texture memory can be used for textures. Games that have higher poly counts or put 3D on both screens use "capture mode", which captures the output of the ring buffer into a frame buffer. The front and back buffers use up half the texture memory. In order to render unbuffered 3D view, the hardware would have to support both left and right eye views in the ring buffer.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675058)

The NVidia deal fell through quite early on from what I gather. Rumours suggest that after that, Nintendo wanted to look for a Japanese solution.

Although PowerVR is widespread and powerful, it also seems to eat a lot of power at full load. Nintendo since the GB days have always targeted 6 hours life as an acceptable minimum. I also imagine Nintendo wouldn't be too happy with their system being too 'off the shelf'. They won't want iphone ports (or 3DS games appearing on iphone).

The PSP3 is still expected to use Tegra 3 and rumours suggest graphics somewhere between the xbox and the 360.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675690)

Wait, PSP3? Did they release the PSP2 when I wasn't looking?

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

PBoyUK (1591865) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675848)

Probably referring to the PSP Go as the second iteration.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Narishma (822073) | more than 3 years ago | (#32677734)

The PSPGo is still just another revision of the PSP. It has the same specs as the older ones as far as developers are concerned.

Re:Cheap or low power? (4, Insightful)

cybereal (621599) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675196)

If you read some of the other articles that compare capabilities you'd see that though this chip is a little dated, it blows away both iPhone 4 and PSP in pixel fill rate. It may be that this factor is important for good 3D performance. It really stands out in pixel fill rate, like double the competition.

Everything else though yeah... it's old. But also, this is Nintendo, they have to sell cheap and they won't sell for a loss like their competition, which isn't profiting, so I can't really knock their strategy.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675966)

If you read some of the other articles that compare capabilities you'd see that though this chip is a little dated, it blows away both iPhone 4 and PSP in pixel fill rate. It may be that this factor is important for good 3D performance. It really stands out in pixel fill rate, like double the competition.

Double the fill rate divided by twice as many frames equals the same fill rate. This system is 3D.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

shimage (954282) | more than 3 years ago | (#32677286)

Even counting both frames, the 3DS has 1/3 the resolution of the iPhone 4, so I would guess that pushing polys would be more important. I have read that the PICA200 is easy to program for, on account of its multitudinous built-in functions. That probably also improves battery life somewhat.

Re:Cheap or low power? (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675230)

OpenGL ES 1.1 isn't really anything to brag about

This confused me a bit in the summary. OpenGL ES 1.1 uses the fixed-function pipeline, but then the very next line talks about it supporting pixel and vertex shaders, meaning that it should also support OpenGL ES 2.0. I've no idea why Nintendo would choose to use a chip that can support 2.0 but only provide driver support for 1.1.

Re:Cheap or low power? (2, Insightful)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675422)

It has fixed-function pixel/vertex shader extensions, I believe. That's the "Maestro" extensions that they refer to.

The idea being that you get most of the benefit of an OpenGL ES 2.0 chip, with almost none of the additional power consumption, as I understand.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

shadowrat (1069614) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676634)

Just because the chip is 1.1 compatible doesn't mean it can't have it's own shader extensions. it's shader support is likely not 2.0 compliant.

It could just be because they speak Japanese (1)

NotSoHeavyD3 (1400425) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676296)

It's alot easier to ask engineering questions when both you and the guy on the other end speak the same language. Makes asking questions a lot more straight forward. Yes I've been there before. (Admittedly the engineer I was working with over the phone spoke english but the receptionist didn't so getting in touch with him could have easily become a problem.)

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676586)

The DS has proven that Nintendo doesn't have to have the prettiest graphics to be successful. As long as this is a significant jump over the existing DS line, it's going to be well received.

Re:Cheap or low power? (1)

Christoffer777 (991273) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676592)

To me, it can also make perfect sense. If it is one thing Nintendo has gotten right lately, it is that not everyone are willing to pay 399$ just go get the hottest graphics possible. It is also about gameplay. Fine, they may fail to sell to some people that are all about performance and graphics etc. but they will make up for it in selling at a much more affordable price and with good games with decent enough graphcis.

In unrelated news, (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32674942)

My pants are on fire. PANTS ON FIRE!

Re:In unrelated news, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675628)

Liar liar!

Interesting but non-conclusive (3, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675014)

Looking at just the gfx chip features would draw the conclusion that the PowerVR chips found in a good number of portables is more powerful. It seems to provide ammunition to Apple for them to say the iphone is more powerful.

The demo vids shown are inconclusive though. The Metal Gear Solid demo vids is better than anything on the iphone. As is the suspicious Resident Evil demo. However Kid Icarus is on par with the best iphone games graphically and Star Fox and Mario kart in their current form wouldn't exactly max out the iphone.

Depending on the trickery on display in the MGS and RE demos, the power of the 3DS seems to range from PS2 level to slightly above GC level. Although those two demos are likely not well optimised for the console, they also don't have the gameplay/AI overhead you'd get from a full game.

It's probably safe to assume that the main CPU will be similar to that in the DSi and XL, probably at a higher clock (maybe with a few new instructions).

The main advantage of the 3DS will likely be the battery life. Despite Apple's claims about how amazing the battery life for their devices are, they only ever do benchmarks for tasks offloaded from the main CPU or that aren't taxing. The second you start playing an intensive game, you're looking at a 2 hour battery life. This is something that almost every tech site ignores when talking about idevices as gaming machines.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675082)

Not really very fair comparisons considering the 3DS will have to render each scene twice to get the 3D effect.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675134)

From what I gather, rendering in 3D doesn't feature that much more overhead than rendering at twice resolution. Certainly seems on PS3 and PC systems that 3D versions of games usually result in a simple 1/2 resolution or half frame rate choice.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (2, Informative)

Psaakyrn (838406) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675236)

1/2 the framerate or 1/2 resolution is a significant overhead. You're getting 1/2 the performance.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675386)

Exactly - twice the resolution requires twice the power, or you'll get half the framerate. Directly comparing the visuals on a 3D system vs 2D ones at similar resolutions isn't exactly a fair comparison of power.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (2, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675586)

Overhead isn't really the correct term though. With 3D you are pretty much rendering the image at twice the resolution. Each eye sees a different image so you're seeing twice as much detail.

You're switching an 800x240 image for 2*400x240 images. That to me doesn't imply any overhead because there's no loss of resolution, you're seeing the same number of pixels.

Where there will be overhead is in calculating two different camera angles (although I imagine there are all sorts of optimisations that can be done for this).

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675732)

Overhead isn't really the correct term though

You're the only one to mention "overhead" so far, so I'm not sure what to say to that!

Though yes depending on how the scene data gets to the card, there may be some overhead in switching the rendering viewpoint. I'm not sure if you can just keep the same scene geometry in the gfx card's RAM and change the rendering point rather than having to resend the whole scene.

I just said it will have to render each scene twice, which is true. At the very least it will take as long as rendering an image that is twice the resolution of a standard 2D display.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675746)

At the very least it will take as long as rendering an image that is twice the resolution of a standard 2D display.

Guess I shouldn't have said "twice as long", should have said something like "take at least the same resources", because of course it won't take longer if it has twice the graphics power/bandwidth of the iPhone or whatever you want to compare it to!

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

root_42 (103434) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675854)

Where there will be overhead is in calculating two different camera angles (although I imagine there are all sorts of optimisations that can be done for this).

Not even that. I would imagine they will use a disparity map created from the depth buffer to create the two images. This is how Philips' 3D displays with lenticular lenses work. The advantage is that you don't need to transform and render all polys twice. Disadvantage is that disparity maps cannot encode occluded information.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678590)

Disadvantage is that disparity maps cannot encode occluded information.

Does Nintendo want occlusion artifacts on vertical edges to be the one biggest thing that players remember about the 3DS, just like the sprite flicker on the NES and the blurry textures on the N64?

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

JJTJR (883367) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676352)

Just to clarify, when you say 'twice' the resolution, you are talking the difference between 320x240 and 452x340 not the difference between 320x240 and 640x480 because that would actually require four times the computation since there would be four times the pixels. So not that this is the point but seems to me like you get more band for your buck going to 3D than going to the slightly higher 2D resolution for the same pixel fill rate.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676760)

Nope talking about the difference between 800*240 (2D mode for the top screen) and 400*240 (3D mode). Parallax barrier tech basically ensures each eye only sees every other pixel horizontally.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

JJTJR (883367) | more than 3 years ago | (#32677184)

I meant notionally, but that's very interesting. I didn't realize the top screen was doing 800*240 all the time regardless of whether it was in 3D mode or not. So this means the parallax barrier can be turned on/off? That's cool, do you have a link that talks about that?

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678608)

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/12/3d_illusion/ [theregister.co.uk]

Good article on the tech it uses.

The 3DS features a 3D slider that allows you to adjust the 'depth' of the 3D image (presumably it's linked the the standard 3D API) or lets you turn it off completely (presumably the console then doubles the pixels and shuts off the barrier).

Nintendo have said they won't be requiring 3D for the console so potentially there could be some games that aren't 3D that use 800*240

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675502)

The main advantage of the 3DS will be that it's a gaming system. Fine, there are some games that can be adapted to a touch/motion interface but there are many many more that just don't work without button input. I tried a lot of games on my iPhone 3g before I replaced it and none of them were comparable to playing on a dedicated console.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676240)

I'd be very suspicious about the Metal Gear and RE demos. The Kid Icarus video is much more in line of the announced hardware's capabilities. Anyone remembers the original Killzone 2 video?

And please note that almost everything in the App Store right now targets first and second-generation iPhone devices such as the iPhone 3G. There is still very little content made for the 2.0 devices such as the 3GS and the iPad (but this is changing, and will be fully changed when the 3DS ships sometime next year).

Demos and content made for the later Apple devices can be *vastly* superior (in purely technology terms) to anything PSP or the new 3DS have to offer. Of course, there is many gotchas (the market is not yet there for high-investment in iPhone games) but there is no denying that the mobile space is miles ahead in technology.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (1)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676804)

The Metal Gear Solid demo was in real time on the demo units (it let you control the camera) so the 3DS *can* do graphics of that quality (just depends how much of an impact gameplay code has).

RE was video only though which leaves it open to being 'simulated' visuals.

Re:Interesting but non-conclusive (0)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678720)

Looking at just the gfx chip features would draw the conclusion that the PowerVR chips found in a good number of portables is more powerful. It seems to provide ammunition to Apple for them to say the iphone is more powerful.

It probably is. In stereo mode, the resolution is 400x240 (x2), so when you're generating the scene, there's no point using high-res textures and high-res models because the extra detail will be lost. This is different in 2D mode, where you'll have to push 800x240 pixels and could use the extra definition.

The iPhone 4 and iPad have to push 640x960 or 768x1024 screens, and those screens demand higher res models and textures just to look nice. This makes the GPU have to work harder since it's pushing higher res models and textures to a larger screen. If we go with the 320x480 resolution of the iPhone pre-4, it still requires a higher res texture and model to look good (despite having less pixels than the 3DS screen).

Sure, each scene in the 3DS has to be rendered twice, but when you're starting with low-res models and textures to begin with, it's a lot easier than rendering a screen with twice the pixels that requires higher res models and textures. The 3DS "wins" by simply having less detailed models and textures to begin with which consume the most GPU resources.

Same old Nintendo strategy (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675024)

As expected, Nintendo is using a severely underpowered chip that is at least 5 years obsolete in pure technological terms. Note that the article summary is wrong: there is no pixel shader support in the PICA200 device (and neither is in OpenGLES 1.1), although the chip supports several marketspeak 'extensions' that somewhat allows you to hack a few selected shader-like features into the rendering pipeline.

The resulting hardware is similar to the original PSP, but performs worse and requires a lower resolution. Any modern smartphone is *much* more powerful.

This is reminiscent of the Wii strategy, where Nintendo produces uncompetitive hardware at great margins and relies instead in mass appeal, brand power and gizmo features to unexpectedly great results. No real news here.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (2, Informative)

faragon (789704) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675166)

Note that the article summary is wrong: there is no pixel shader support in the PICA200 device (and neither is in OpenGLES 1.1), although the chip supports several marketspeak 'extensions' that somewhat allows you to hack a few selected shader-like features into the rendering pipeline.

That is also the case for the Playstation 3, and you can not deny it has pixel shader support.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675500)

What? the ps3's RSX is based on Nvidia's Geforce 7900 architecture, which features Pixel shader 3.0 as seen in DirectX 9.0C. (and vertext shaders as well) I would say that qualifies as full shader support by even the most rigid definition. The fact that the PS3 might have some custom extension doesnt detract from that.

In this PICA chip however, the extensions apparently are the only form of shader-like functionality, and apparently dont quite conform to what most people in the industry would call full shader support

Also, pixel shaders? my 7 year old Geforce 4 wants its features back... (and yes, i know GF3 had them first, as did the radeon 8500, i just dont have those things myself)

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

faragon (789704) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675556)

I wanted to say "vertex shader" and not "pixel shader". As you point, the PS3 has both vertex and pixel shaders, while the PICA200 seems to have just vertex shader support.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675212)

Uncompetitive? How so? They've sold way more consoles than their competition. What is wrong with mass appeal? It keeps them in business!

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676152)

Because the console is more than its hardware alone. Obviously all those other features are very important to its success (and lets add excellent first-party software to the mix).

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678832)

Tech geeks thing hardware requires big numbers to be competitive. However, being competitive also encompasses things like low cost, ease of development, appealing application of the technology (e.g, 3D display in this case), and more.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

BikeHelmet (1437881) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675640)

As expected, Nintendo is using a severely underpowered chip that is at least 5 years obsolete in pure technological terms.

It seems to have more actual vertex shading power than the iPhone 3GS.

In this market, going for streamlined capabilities and lower power consumption probably beats DirectX 10.1 support. (which the SGX535 only has in theory - there's no drivers out to provide such capabilities?)

I'm interested in seeing how much RAM they stick on it. Since they're Nintendo, I'll bet on... 64-128MB.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (0, Troll)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675680)

This is reminiscent of the Wii strategy, where Nintendo produces uncompetitive hardware at great margins and relies instead in mass appeal, brand power and gizmo features to unexpectedly great results.

Well, Apple is quite successful with that strategy.
And the Wii as successfull too.
Also, while MS always has pretty crappy OSes, they too still win with it.

Seems like it’s a better strategy nowadays, to sell dreams and lies, than to create actual value.
Just look at all the nearly empty boxes at supermarket, that are way too large for their content, or look larger in volume than they are. Same strategy.

It always takes two. The fault lies just as much on the idots who buy it, as it lies on the fraudulent (in my eyes) companies.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (5, Insightful)

TheNumberless (650099) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676770)

Just look at all the nearly empty boxes at supermarket, that are way too large for their content, or look larger in volume than they are. Same strategy.

Bullshit. Where is Nintendo lying about the capabilities of their hardware? Where are they selling something that doesn't do what it says on the box?

It always takes two. The fault lies just as much on the idots who buy it, as it lies on the fraudulent (in my eyes) companies.

How is the fact that Nintendo isn't putting the emphasis on graphics performance to the exclusion of other factors somehow dishonest? And how is basing the decision to buy a videogame system on something other than graphics performance stupid? And finally, what is the great crime here for which "fault" needs to be assigned? Marketing a product that you don't want to buy? What a grievous sin that is.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 3 years ago | (#32677820)

Seems like it's a better strategy nowadays, to sell dreams and lies, than to create actual value.

Riiight. So you equate computing and rendering power with "value". Not fun games. Not an enjoyable user experience. Not accessibility or approachability. Simply computing power. And anyone who isn't selling high-powered, over-priced consoles at a loss is, apparently, "[selling] dreams and lies"...

Gee, I can't imagine why MS and Sony are getting their asses handed to them, given this *obvious* failing on Nintendo's part.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

bonch (38532) | more than 3 years ago | (#32678850)

"Fraudulent?" Huh?

It's like you're operating under some weird, arbitrary assumption that GPU power is all that matters, and selling points that aren't based on that are "dreams and lies." Basically, you're a kook and a graphics whore.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (4, Insightful)

DJCouchyCouch (622482) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675866)

This is reminiscent of the Wii strategy, where Nintendo produces uncompetitive hardware at great margins and relies instead in mass appeal, brand power and gizmo features to unexpectedly great results. No real news here.

You forgot the part where they make some of the greatest video games in the world. But don't let that fact get in the way of your argument.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675884)

This might be an issue...

If power usage was not a major priority. Would you like some cheese?

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676000)

The GPU wars died about 3 years ago. There was a point at which people stopped willing to pay an extra $200 - $300 for a marginal increase in realism.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (1)

Sam1230 (1265736) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676978)

Partly because game developers/publishers started focusing their efforts on consoles instead of PCs.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676210)

It may not be news, but it's interesting to see Sony and Apple still playing the horsepower game.

Everything depends on the selling price... (1)

IYagami (136831) | more than 3 years ago | (#32677798)

Suppose that Nintendo sells the 3DS at a 100 USD price. At global launch.

That would make it a very easy purchase and it would annihilate the competition.

Re:Same old Nintendo strategy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32678208)

Did you actually look at any of the real-time games shown? Its far better looking then the PSP had and Re/MGS demos look better then anything Ive seen on Android and iPhone devices so far.
Also, the chip isn't preforming worse if its having to render 2 frames rather then 1to get the 3D effect - that would mean its preforming better.

No OpenGL 2.0? (2, Interesting)

dlafferty (1741262) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675122)

Seems odd to advertise programmable renders (suited to OpenGL ES 2.0), but only support OpenGL ES 1.1. Looking at the leaflet, it looks like they only allow vertex rendering programs and not fragment rendering programs. This might be preventing DMP from claiming OpenGL ES 2.0 support. Have to wonder if the lack of interoperability in this respect make these chips cheaper?

Re:No OpenGL 2.0? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675274)

Yup, I initially misread programmable in the summary as applying to both the vertex and pixel programs. In theory, you could implement OpenGL 2.0 on this chip, but any pixel shaders that didn't do exactly the same thing as the fixed-function units would be run on the CPU. Given that the ARM core probably has fairly weak floating point performance, this would be painful.

Having vertex shaders but not pixel shaders is an interesting choice for a GPU chip. There are a lot of 2D things that use pixel shaders, but not vertex shaders, but it's relatively rare to find something the other way around. This basically limits the chip to game devices - I wonder if it was designed with Nintendo in mind.

Re:No OpenGL 2.0? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32677628)

that's just a marketing thing, nintendo doesn't use the opengl APIs on their consoles (none of the console makers do, that would be crazy, it's what killed the performance of the iphone for games). In fact, knowing nintendo, they might just give you a set of pre-made shaders and say "load one of these, here's how to use them".

shaders, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675178)

OpenGL ES 1.x is fixed-function.

You could say "well, uh, but they could create an extension for shaders!" But then, why not use 2.0?

Sure, 2.0 doesn't have logic op. Big whoop.

Re:shaders, eh? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675280)

2.0 has vertex and pixel shaders. This chip has vertex shaders, but not pixel shaders. And you don't need to create an extension for shaders - they've been around since before 2.0 - you just need to implement it.

Tegra or Tegra 2 (1)

mlauzon (818714) | more than 3 years ago | (#32675718)

I am not an nVIDIA or ATi fan, I use whatever suits me, however, with that being said. It would've been great to see nVIDIA's chip in the 3DS.

Re:Tegra or Tegra 2 (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32675942)

They could have stuck a Fermi inside! Perfect for warming your hands for half a minute when you live in the artic!

Isn't it obvious? (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 3 years ago | (#32676016)

The name of this chip is the "PICA200".

One day, the DMP guys invited the Nintendo suits in for a product demo. As soon as the Nintendo suits saw the promo posters scattered around the room with the demo board on the table, they all sprouted enormous anime-style eyes and shouted "PICA200, I choose you!".

That's how it went down. True Facts.

Re:Isn't it obvious? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32676178)

(and, once DMP mentioned that, for a modest 'customization fee', the chip package could be labeled 'Nintendo PicaGPU' pricing negotiations went very well indeed...)

Support for the home team? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32677006)

Perhaps it's as simple as a tax break for using local resources. I don't know Japan's tax codes, but I do know other countries were floating ideas like that at the start of the economic disaster.

The GPU does what they want it to do and is cheap, making the cost to consumers cheaper. When did that become reprehensible?

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