Latest reports indicate Nintendo's new Switch console-and-handheld hybrid will have dramatically varying performance across its two different modes: mobile handheld and docked console play. Despite this obvious GPU performance disparity, Nintendo can still deliver on its promise that the Switch can hit "console quality gaming while on-the-go."
New Switch patents revealed that the system will scale its GPU and CPU power while in handheld mode, and only hit its full clock speed perf while docked and tethered to a steady power source.
Up until now we didn't know what those GPU and CPU clock speeds would be: as it turns out, the Switch halves its GPU speeds to just 302.7MHz while in portable mode, and only hits 768MHz while docked. This GPU drop is to improve battery life and thermals. We also know that the Switch's 6.2-inch tablet will be 720p instead of the full 1080p rendered when the Switch is docked. With that kind of dramatic disparity, how can Nintendo possibly create the illusion of truly seamless switching?
Interestingly enough, developers can choose to keep the same performance across both modes so users don't really notice a difference. This means docked mode won't always provide better gaming, and it's up to developers to scale/adjust performance.
So in essence, this is how developers could make the games play exactly the same across both mobile and console play: the games could be locked at just 302.7MHz of GPU speeds while docked, syncing and matching the perf of the game in console mode (despite the obvious resolution bump).
This coincides neatly with our past coverage that the Switch's GPU and CPU performance/clock speeds can be variably adjusted by games, apps and programs.
It'll be interesting to see how developers utilize this little trick, and whether or not gamers will be able to tell the difference. Remember that the Switch's seamless swapping of form factors is its main selling point, but despite this, Nintendo has affirmed the Switch is a "home console first and foremost."
The Nintendo Switch will launch in March 2017, and Nintendo plans to hold a major reveal event to showcase specs, launch games, and more on January 12-14.
Check below for everything we know about the Nintendo Switch so far, including specs, analysis, and much more.
Everything we know about Nintendo Switch so far:
- Nintendo Switch portable GPU speeds halved to 302MHz, docked GPU speeds only hit 768MHz max
- Nintendo Switch has higher GPU, CPU perf while docked?
- Nintendo Switch may support head-tracking mobile VR
- Nintendo Switch switches to full 1080p while docked
- Nintendo Switch to have Gamecube Virtual Console games
- Nintendo Switch listed at $245, to release March 17?
- Porting games over to Nintendo Switch might be easy
- Nintendo Switch to get full HD Pokemon Sun and Moon port
- Nintendo Switch price to start at $249, deluxe at $299
- Nintendo Switch launch games teased, 2017 will be huge
- Nintendo Switch to let you play modded Skyrim on-the-go
- Zelda Breath of the Wild may not be a Switch launch game
- Nintendo Switch may have 4GB unified memory pool
- Nintendo Switch handheld delivers console-quality gaming
- 3DS won't be cannibalized by new Switch console, Nintendo President confirms
- Nintendo Switch to have wide array of hardware add-ons
- Nintendo Switch may use USB Type-C for power
- Nintendo Switch has 6-inch 720p display with 10-point capacitive multi-touch
- Nintendo investors hate the Switch hybrid
- Everything you need to know about the Nintendo Switch, Nintendo's new transforming handheld console hybrid
- Nintendo to reveal Switch pricing, specs, launch games and more on January 12, 2017
- 3DS won't be cannibalized by Switch, says Nintendo
- Nintendo Switch gameplay graphics and features are subject to change
- Nintendo Switch is single-screen only, says Nintendo
- Nintendo Switch to launch only as complete bundle
- Nintendo expect 2 million Switch console sales at launch
- Nintendo Switch may have extra power while docked
- Nintendo Switch isn't backward compatible with Wii U games
- Nintendo Switch's battery may only last 3 hours?
- Nintendo won't reveal full Switch console specs until 2017
- Nintendo Switch gets a much-needed splash of color
- Nintendo's new Switch console powered by NVIDIA Tegra
- Nintendo Switch may sport dedicated game video recording
- Skyrim hasn't yet been confirmed for the Nintendo Switch