More Revolution Specs Uncovered
Developers come forward to reveal new performance details on Nintendo's next-generation console.
by Matt Casamassina
December 6, 2005 - Just yesterday IGN Revolution launched with technical details on Nintendo's next-generation console, codenamed Revolution. And today more development sources have come forward with both clarification and even more tech specs. The latest news begins to paint a clearer picture of Nintendo's aim with its next platform.
We cannot stress this enough: Revolution is not being positioned as a competitor to either Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3. Nintendo has instead chosen to design a console that will be very affordable for consumers. For that very reason, say developers in the know, the Big N has opted out of filling the system with a massive supply of expensive RAM.
In yesterday's article, we wrote that Revolution would include 128MBs of RAM, or possibly less. Developers have clarified the makeup based on officially released Nintendo documentation. Revolution will build on GameCube's configuration of 24MBs 1T-SRAM and 16MBs D-RAM (40MBs) by adding an addition 64MBs of 1T-SRAM. The result is a supply of memory in Revolution that totals 104MBs. That number does not consider either the 512MBs of allegedly accessible (but hardly ideal) Flash RAM or the Hollywood GPU's on-board memory, said to be 3MBs by sources.
Revolution's Broadway CPU, developed by IBM, is an extension of the Gekko CPU in GameCube, according to official Nintendo documentation passed to us by software houses. The Hollywood GPU, meanwhile, is believed to be an extension of the Flipper GPU in GameCube. Since developers have not gone hands-on with the GPU, they can only go on Nintendo documentation, which is limited.
Exact clock rates were not disclosed, but one development source we spoke to had this to say of the Revolution CPU and GPU: "Basically, take a GameCube, double the clock rate of the CPU and GPU and you're done."
We presented that description to another informed studio, which clarified that the clock rates may even fall short of doubling those on GameCube.
"The CPU is the same as Gekko with one and a half to two times the performance and improved caching," said a source. "Our guys experimented with it and think they'll be able to get about twice the performance as GameCube."
"It's a gamble for the Big N," said another source. "It's not about horsepower for them -- it's about innovation and gameplay."
We've also been able to unearth firm details on the storage capacity for Revolution discs. Recent rumors suggesting that the discs can hold 12GBs of data are false. In fact, Revolution discs can store 4.7GBs of data on a single layer or 8.5GBs when double-layered on a single-side. This is a massive jump from the 1.5GB capacity of GameCube discs and more than enough storage capacity for any non-high-definition game.
Readers discouraged by Revolution's seeming lack of horsepower when compared to Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 should remember that Nintendo is not interested in competing in the high-definition gaming arena, and as a standard-definition console, Revolution is more than capable. Capcom's Resident Evil 4 remains one of the most gorgeous games this generation and it ran on GameCube, a console at least half as powerful according to developer reports.
Software houses we spoke with also waxed on the immediate advantage to Nintendo's approach with Revolution, which is, of course, system price. Every developer was in agreement that Revolution should launch with a price tag of $149 or lower. Some speculated that based on the tech, a $99 price point would not be out of the question.
Stay tuned for more as it develops.