Jstar’s Chronicles #15 – X1’s Not All Bad

In this issue, I rant a little on how the Nintendo Switch uses the Tegra X1 processor, but also show that it isn’t that bad considering Nintendo’s options.

MY TAKE: NINTENDO SWITCH USES TEGRA X1

When I first heard about the Nintendo Switch, I was blown away by knowing that it’d be using Nvidia’s Tegra processor. This is because of how Tegra is known for being powerful but also efficient for mobile use. Their latest model, the Tegra X1, was used in their Nvidia Shield microconsole since 2015. It hasn’t been used in many other devices since, but it’s always been known of how powerful it is capable of.

With the Nintendo Switch, I was fully hoping that it’d be using an enhanced version of whatever Nvidia’s been working on. Considering that it seemed like there would be a massive partnership with this, and that we were told it’d be “customized”, we were all hoping for the best. We’ve been getting leaks of rumors of both “It’ll use the X1” and “It’ll use the X2/P1/Something-Else”. We got our answer, and everyone’s been let down. This is what happens when we get hyped for something that wasn’t official, but it’s not even that, and I’ll explain it.

A die scan of the Nintendo Switch’s processor has revealed that not only does it run off of the Tegra X1, but it’s practically identical to the one found in the Nvidia Shield; this means that the processor wasn’t physically modified to be classified as “customized”, rather it seems like the only thing changed was the clock speeds (currently rumored, but most likely true). If that’s what they meant by “customized”, then I’d like to see what those 500 man-years were also put towards. In reality, the only big difference in terms of specs between the Nvidia Shield and the Nintendo Switch is that the Switch has lower clock speeds, 2x the storage (16 GB vs. 32 GB) and an extra GB of RAM (3 vs. 4). I don’t think that this is entirely bad, though.

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t run off of Android; it runs on a customized OS specifically made for the Switch. We do know that the Switch uses new APIs developed from Nvidia that are made to really take advantage of the hardware. Android is an OS that’s focused on running lots of different devices with the same coding, while the Switch can focus on coding specifically for that platform. This is entirely good news, as developers can go from a structured database of information of the Tegra X1, to a new platform with slightly more potential if coded specifically for it. The Nvidia Shield, at 2015, was phenomenal. With that hardware in a portable, it’s pretty much a portable beast with low-end hardware as a home console. Looking at Nintendo’s options, however, made me think that it simply wasn’t an option for them.

The only mention of something that would succeed the Tegra X1 has only really been focused on in cars, and it was entirely focused on power instead of both power and efficiency. In this case of the Switch, it needed a strong center that focused on both while still be at least kind-of recent. We may have had a more powerful Switch if they waited a few more months, but that would have also brought up the price and would have given Nintendo less time in the spotlight before Microsoft’s Project Scorpio. Nintendo needed this time to keep relevancy between now and E3, and then hit it home with a big focus on just games. They can focus on selling games to consoles that are already in the hands of the masses, compared to simple hype of something that hasn’t released yet. It’s a good step-up from Microsoft, so it would have looked bad if Nintendo focused on doing the same thing that a reputable company would be doing in the same building. Nintendo was not going to keep the Wii U going, consider how badly it sold, and needed something out almost as soon as possible. Nintendo didn’t have much choice in this case.

I really, truly, honestly hope that Nintendo nails this platform on its head multiple times, as they will have to go all-out on this new platform. With Splatoon 2, ARMS, Super Mario Odyssey, and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe, Nintendo’s first year of titles can’t arrive soon enough. I know that the Switch will sell well once games like Monster Hunter and Pokemon, and with their focus on 3DS hardware, the Switch didn’t have to reach high to have a new successor in their franchise in HD.

Let me know what your take is on the Nintendo Switch using the Tegra X1, and how do you think the Nintendo Switch will fare with it’s competition and whatever it’ll be releasing in the near/long future.

GAMING IN THE NEWS

Hmm… where’s the “My Take” for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild? Well, let’s just say that this game is a lot bigger than I ever imagined. I don’t think I’ll get to it by next week, even! Don’t worry, though; It’ll be done eventually. For now, look below for a 55+ minute video of Zelda with commentary, and I’ll catch you next week for more! Until then, thanks for reading!

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