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Nvidia Tegra powers the Nintendo Switch

Earlier today, Nintendo officially announced the Nintendo Switch (formerly known as the NX) and just as previous rumours predicted, it is a home console/handheld hybrid. While the three-minute trailer gave us a look at what sort of games to expect on the system and how it works, it didn’t dive into specs. Fortunately, Nvidia has come out with some information on what’s under the hood, with the Switch’s GPU likely being based on the Pascal architecture.

Nvidia has been working on its Tegra processors for years, with a few of them featuring in Nvidia’s own Shield devices. The Tegra found in the Nintendo Switch is based on a custom design with a high-efficiency, scalable processor that includes an Nvidia GPU that is “based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards”. From the sounds of it, it could be a Pascal chip inside of the Switch, though we are awaiting confirmation on that.


It’s not just the Tegra chip that Nvidia worked on though, the Nintendo Switch is also backed by custom software: “The Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses.”

Right now, the Xbox One and PS4 are running AMD chips, so there will be a bit of a learning curve for developers looking to release games on the Nintendo Switch. However, that hasn’t stopped an impressive number of publishers and studios signing on to support the system, including Bethesda, EA, Ubisoft, From Software, Warner Bros, Epic Games, Square Enix, TakeTwo and more.

The Nintendo Switch is coming out in March 2017, so we will start seeing more information pop up as we get closer to the time.

KitGuru Says: The Nintendo Switch looks impressive judging by the preview released earlier today. However, there is some concern surrounding battery life and performance while the console is in its portable mode. It will certainly be interesting to see what the console is capable of when we can get our hands on it next year.

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  • rocky40

    We are hearing about the new switch console ummm errr hand held but no one is actually saying what the specs are for CPU and Graphics. What the bandwidth or how much memory it has. How it will compare to the bigger console for performance. With all of this information missing from the product outing leads me to believe they already know it is way under powered to fully compete in today’s console market. Yes it has got some nice features but with VR taking off and the horse power required for that as well as 4K gaming (market hype 4K gaming) I just do not see this thing selling to anyone other than true die hard Nintendo that want to play the newest version of Mario or Mario Kart and the other Nintendo only games…just my opinion on this and I know it won’t be in my living room any time soon same as the rest of the consoles are not.

  • Tyrann

    They want initial news on sites and paper to be hyped on possibilities. They said they’re releasing specs by the end of the month. Probably gonna fall short of everyone’s expectations cause everyone wants a super computer these days lol. I just hope it has longer than 5 hour battery life while gaming and costs under $350

  • Mike

    I am PC MASTER RACE and strong… But even I can see this thing is gonna be huge with teens and kids. I like nintendos games, but I just wait years after a new release to buy their consoles and games when they are cheap on ebay. Their games are cartoony art pieces that are just as good 20 years later as they were at launch, you people worried about graphics just don’t get it.

    It’s always been about gameplay and art. Wind Waker is still a wonderful experience to this day on the gamecube, as is metroid prime.

    This handheld is strong enough to run the new skyrim HD, so at least it’s around the performance of a xbone. Does it need to be more powerful? No not really, devs just have to make more cartoony looking games, and that’s all I want out of a nintendo console, that’s what keeps them different and interesting.

    If I want good graphics I sure as hell won’t buy a xbone or ps4… PC kicks their asses in all ways. Nintendo is the only other platform I give 2 shats about.

  • Lelisevis

    My last Nintendo was a NES but seeing as I turn 40 next year I was seriously considering adding one of these to my PC and Xbox but……… DAMN those fiddly little side controllers, how the hell am I meant to hold those in my gigantic shovels lmao. My gloves are XXL and my trigger fingers almost meet round the top of an xbox controller so those little things are going to be on my fingertips👉👌

  • BigJimbo

    No it wont. Kids and teens already have their smartphones/tablets/phablets. They want something that they dont already have e.g. super fancy graphics aka new ps4 and xbone…..not another portable piece of electronics.

  • chris

    Huge i don’t think so most of them want a ps4 /xb1 to play online with there friend’s

  • Maurice Fortin

    SkyrimHD on a small screen as it shows, and the fact that it is a console, I hardly would call that a selling point and a “win” Nv has an “edge” GPU wise with Pascal BUT they also so are not “advanced” to get the most out of DX12 and Vulkan (they do not have all the parts required to use it natively without requiring fancy BS workarounds) and Tegra anything, sorry but it never was high end, ever, at least the ps4/XB1 actually has parts meant for decently high end performance, i.e standard/semi-custom computer parts.

    Tegra might be find for smartphones, and maybe gameboy type deals, but a full fledged meant to run higher resolution and high spec titles, yeh I do not think so. My world is not made bright by Nv and Intel drumming sales that screw even their own shareholders in the long run 🙂

  • Tyrann

    omg i just realized how tiny it was as well lol! Maybe they’ll release a XL version like they did the Nintendo DS? Hope it won’t be too expensive.