A report obtained by Wii U Daily suggests that the Nintendo Wii U CPU is based on the IBM 710 Express chip, but is underclocked at 3 GHz and comes with 4 cores and 8 threads. The new CPU is said to be 20X faster than the chip found in the original Wii console.
Wii U Daily’s Japanese source, which originally leaked the Wii U system specs, now elaborates on the main processor. The Wii U CPU, as we know from Nintendo, is made by IBM and is based on their POWER 7 architecture, and will be built on 45nm. The new details reveal that the Wii U CPU is modeled after the 710 Express IBM server processor, which as standard has 6 cores and runs at speeds of up to 3.7 GHz. The 710 Express chip can also execute 4 threads per core at the same.
In order to save on production costs, Nintendo has scaled down the processor for the console. The Wii U version of the CPU will scale down the cores to 4, the clock frequency to 3 GHz, and threads per core will go down from 4 to 2. This means the Wii U CPU will be able to execute 8 threads at the same time. The current Xbox 360 CPU, also made by IBM, can execute 6 threads at the same time.
On paper it looks like the Wii U is “around 50% more powerful than current gen systems” as analysts suggested last year, but in reality, the console is likely to be much faster than the raw numbers suggest. This is due to the new features and the architectural improvements of the POWER 7 design. Overall, the Wii U CPU is said to be 20X faster than the IBM Broadway chip found in the Wii.
While Nintendo isn’t expected to reveal any CPU or hardware details at E3, the NDAs developers signed will likely expire after E3. This could pave the way for developers to share some of the specific hardware design features of the Wii U, including the CPU, GPU, RAM, etc. We’ll have to wait until then to see whether this rumor holds true.