Wii U GPU
The Wii U GPU is made by AMD and is based on a modern Radeon HD design. Nintendo has been working with AMD for two console generations now, and this will be the third time AMD/ATI supplies the graphics processor in a Nintendo console. The Wii U CPU will be made and supplied by IBM. According to reports, the Wii U GPU is based on the Radeon HD 5000 series GPU, which was introduced to the PC gaming market in 2009. However, while the based architecture will be the same, the Wii U GPU will be custom made with additional features. For more on the console hardware, check out the complete Wii U system specs.
Wii U GPU specs
The Wii U GPU specs have yet to be announced, but based on developer comments and on the already available design sheets from AMD, we can estimate the following features for the graphics chip:
- Based on Radeon HD 5000 “Evergreen” series
- Built on 40nm manufacturing technology
- Unified shader architecture
- GDDR5 memory support (memory is likely to be shared with CPU and system)
- Shader count: 400 unified shaders (rumored)
- 75 GB/S bandwidth
- Low power design, 50W TDP
- Full 1080p, 60 frames per second support
The Wii U GPU has been in development since 2010 according to sources, and it’s likely that AMD created a highly specialized chip for Nintendo, with many modern features incorporated into the 3 year old Evergreen design.
Wii U GPU power and performance
While the above specs don’t sound much compared to the current generation graphics chips from AMD, where up to 2000 unified shaders are possible, the specs are feasible for a console. Due to pricing, power, and resource issues, the GPU is estimated to have 400 unified shaders with extra features added. This would still make the Wii U GPU many times faster than what’s found in the Xbox 360, which only has 48 shader units. It has been rumored that the Wii U GPU includes a small amount of RAM (32 MB) embedded with the graphics processor and aside from the main system memory, although this report hasn’t been confirmed. This RAM is supposedly used as a framebuffer and to assist with some of the other GPU features.