Nintendo's upcoming NX games console is powered by Nvidia's Tegra mobile SoC


It looks like Nintendo is going in an interesting direction with its upcoming games console, known as the NX. A number of knowledgeable sources have provided matching information to Eurogamer, detailing the games machine's concept and hardware power.

In short, Nintendo wants to fuse a mobile hand-held system with a set-top box, letting users play on the go, or game on a smart TV by connecting the console to a base station. As visible from the illustration above, the NX has a pair of controllers attachable to its sides, which transform the "brain" module into a hand-held gaming system.

Although the system won't run Android, it's going to feature some familiar internals under its hood. Multiple sourced have confirmed that Nintendo will be using a Nvidia Tegra chip, with current developer units driven by the Tegra X1 – a powerful SoC found inside devices like the Nvidia Shield Android TV console and the Google Pixel C Android tablet. In theory, its rendering and number-crunching capabilities stand somewhere between the Wii U and Xbox One consoles. This makes sense, as Nintendo has never aimed for parity with Sony and Microsoft's traditionally muscular machines.

Nintendo is known for pursuing a casual gaming audience with franchises such as Mario, Pokémon, and Zelda. This particular audience has been thoroughly captivated by smartphone games' immediacy, low prices, and pleasant visuals. The NX's lightweight, portable nature means the company is influenced by the profitable mobile gaming market, but is also eager to try and convince users that dropping their smartphones for a hand-held console is still worth it in 2016.

With the NX supposedly scheduled for announcement in September, we're curious to see how the games company's strategy will pan out. If it doesn't, well, the smartphone-based Pokémon Go is still quite the money-maker!

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23 Comments

1. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

This is stupidest decision N could make. It will be nowhere as powerful as XO and PS4 (Scorpio and NEO around the corner) and RIP 3rd party support due to ARM architecture and weak components. Tho I keep my fingers crossed because looks like N is the only player that is willing to take risks and innovate

4. sgodsell

Posts: 7184; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

The X1 Processor is capable of running at 1 teraflop, so that is no slouch. The current XBox One is running at 1.24 teraflops, and the PS/4 is running at 1.8 teraflops. Also it supports steam.

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7184; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

It could also be the tegra X2 which is going to release very soon. So most likely it will be the X2 which is much faster than the X1. Plus it's more efficient with 16nm finfet.

9. Wiencon

Posts: 2278; Member since: Aug 06, 2014

Still will lack power due to being in a handheld. You can't provide same energy and cooling for it as you can in PC and other consoles

11. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Nintendo has never really had powerful consoles though.

17. SenorThrottles

Posts: 284; Member since: Dec 23, 2015

Never? The Nintendo 64 and GameCube were very powerful for their time and were actually more powerful than some of their competitors.

14. sgodsell

Posts: 7184; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

If it is the X2 SoC, then it will be more powerful than the XBox One, and still run cooler and faster. What was your point? Are you trying to show the world how ignorant you really are? You are forgetting that it will be 16nm finfet, so it will be physically smaller on the die, plus it will consume less energy. The industry is still investing billions on mobile. Look at Qualcomms new SD 830 will be released for sampling in a few months, and it should be close to a teraflop. That is a Processor that goes into a smartphone. It's time wiencon to get on that PC of yours and actually looked up some technology in regards to what is coming out. You make it sound like mobile and specifically Arm processors are slow. Which is definitely not the case.

16. UglyFrank

Posts: 2193; Member since: Jan 23, 2014

That's one TFlop at FP16, not FP32.

18. vuyonc

Posts: 1089; Member since: Feb 24, 2014

1 TFLOPS in FP16 = 512 GFLOPS in FP32. Much worse memory bandwidth than either console. No VRAM. Much less storage space for digital downloads (expect high prices for 64 GB and up). Much worse API.

8. KParks23

Posts: 722; Member since: Oct 13, 2010

Whyyyyyyyyy!!! Just release a normal Fn console already it's gimmick after gimmick with these fools a standard console with online a good controller, Mario kart, smash, Zelda, metroid, and all nintendos normal stuff and it will sell like hot cakes... I DONT WANT THIS!

21. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Go play your XBone and PS4. Nintendo has never been the one to produce powerful console since Nintendo 64. I buy Nintendo each generation to play their franchise not for bragging rights.

12. xq10xa

Posts: 808; Member since: Dec 07, 2010

Maybe so they can sell games on the console then have a backdoor to tablets and some phones?

13. ibend

Posts: 6747; Member since: Sep 30, 2014

the wont care about other console since they have tons of exclusive titles.. game makers can just reduce texture detail, game effects and vertex/poly count to make their xbone/PS game smooth on nintendo's new console, and most console gamers wont even care about a little graphic difference (if they care, they should use PC, lol..)

2. SuperAndroidEvo

Posts: 4888; Member since: Apr 15, 2011

Yeah, I am still not too sure about all of this. Nintendo always delivers, but I need to see OFFICIAL information. All this speculation is driving me crazy. In September we will FINALLY know. September can't come soon enough...

3. bucky

Posts: 3776; Member since: Sep 30, 2009

I'm not sure if I'm right here but isn't the tegra capable of streaming from steam? If so, this may be brilliant with support for Nintendo games and at the same time of stuff too.

5. Gatorsrule52

Posts: 103; Member since: Mar 18, 2013

They were never going for something as powerful as the Scorpio but I doubt it will just be a x1. I heard that it will have Pascal architecture so maybe the "base" has another gpu there?

6. Ordinary

Posts: 2454; Member since: Apr 23, 2015

Yea there are some rumors about new Tegra with Pascal on 16nm which is gonna be much better than X1.

20. Furbal unregistered

They can probably get close to passive cooling a Pascal at the 1050 card level. Considering the 1060 its similar in performance to the 980, that would be some very good power

10. gskelter

Posts: 7; Member since: Mar 23, 2016

I hope turn out to be something good, by this time I thought Nintendo have had learned what the people want but it seems they will continue with the gimmick path.

15. ebilcake

Posts: 1227; Member since: Jul 16, 2016

Good choice, it's more powerful then any other SoC available for graphics even without active cooling.

19. Arch_Fiend

Posts: 3951; Member since: Oct 03, 2015

It's Nintendo so whatever they decide to do it will be good, no matter the components. In the last 10 years Nintendo hasn't been focused on the same type of games that the XB and PS systems focus on, the games Nintendo offer don't need to push high resolutions or crazy frame rates, they just need to be fun and entertaining.

22. yoghibawono

Posts: 240; Member since: May 04, 2016

I agree, what I like about Nintendo that their console is always an entertainment console with features so different from others.

23. eyedoc81

Posts: 56; Member since: May 20, 2011

I'm not against a new Nintendo hand-held, as they usually are the main reason to buy Nintendo products. It's all gonna be in the execution. Will this have appropriate controls - DUAL joysticks with triggers? But, even if it does in it's put together state, when you detach the two controllers, each will probably only have one joystick, 2-4 buttons, and maybe 1 trigger on the back, plus wii-mote like motion detection. I can't see that as being great for multiplayer options.

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