Stringent hardware analysis site Digital Foundry have discovered the exact specifications of Wii U due to detailed polysilicon die photography of the Wii U’s GPU being released on the internet. The publication says that we can rule out any next-gen pretensions for Wii U, as they claim that the GCN hardware in the next Xbox and the PlayStation 4 is in a completely different league. Here’s their thoughts.
It was ballpark speculation at the time based on what we had eyeballed at the event, but the final GPU is indeed a close match to the 4650/4670, albeit with a deficit in the number of texture-mapping units and a lower clock speed – 550MHz. AMD’s RV770 hardware is well documented so with these numbers we can now, categorically, finally rule out any next-gen pretensions for the Wii U – the GCN hardware in Durango and Orbis is in a completely different league.
All of which may lead some to wonder quite why many of the Wii U ports disappoint – especially Black Ops 2, which appears to have been derived from the Xbox 360 version, running more slowly even at the same 880×720 sub-hd resolution
While there’s still room for plenty of debate about the Wii U hardware, the core fundamentals are now in place and effectively we have something approaching a full spec. It took an extraordinary effort to get this far and you may be wondering quite why it took a reverse engineering specialist using ultra-magnification photography to get this information, when we already know the equivalent data for Durango and Orbis. The answer is fairly straightforward – leaks tend to derive from development kit and SDK documentation and, as we understand it, this crucial information simply wasn’t available in Nintendo’s papers, with developers essentially left to their own devices to figure out the performance level of the hardware.