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Nintendo Switch has higher GPU, CPU perf while docked?

Nintendo Switch may have limited performance while taken on-the-go, with full GPU and CPU perf unlocked while docked for console play
By: Derek Strickland | Gaming News | Posted: Dec 15, 2016 11:25 pm

Nintendo's new Switch console-and-handheld hybrid may have variable GPU and CPU performance across its two different modes, portable on-the-go handheld mode and stationary docked console mode, with the latter providing extra processing power while hooked up to an active power source over USB Type-C.

 

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Note: It's vital to realize that patents aren't 100% confirmations, and there's a chance that this information, specs, and embodiment details may not manifest in the finalized Nintendo Switch hardware.

 

The United States Patent and Trademark Office just published new Nintendo Switch patents that seem to corroborate past reports on the Switch's variable processing power. According to the patent, the Nintendo Switch's processing clock speeds are variable, and can be controlled by specific games, apps, and programs on the Switch tablet. So in essence, games and programs will control the CPU and GPU scaling, whereas the resolution is hardware-based.

 

The patent indicates the system has a GPU and CPU frequency cap while in mobile mode, and is able to hit its full GPU and CPU clock frequency threshold while docked and tethered directly to a power source over USB Type-C.

 

The console must be docked in its cradle in order to hit max CPU and/or GPU perf--users can't just hook the device up to a USB Type-C charger to get more performance. This also makes sense considering the Switch reportedly has a 6.2-inch 720p display, not a full 1080p HDTV display that is used for docked Switch console play.

 

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"In the portable mode, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified by program is limited as compared with that in the console mode," reads the patent.

 

"Note that if the main unit (Switch tablet console) includes a GPU in addition to the CPU, the range of processing power (ie clock frequency) may be limited for the CPU and/or for the GPU."

 

Considering the Nintendo Switch is based on a highly customized NVIDIA Tegra processor, with both the Maxwell Tegra and newer Pascal Tegra both featuring onboard GPUs, this limitation will stand with the Switch.

 

The patents clearly state that the Switch drops resolution while taken on the go, fitting neatly in with our reports of the tablet's 720p display. The console will revert to full 1080p while docked in the "cradle," which transmits a full HD signal to an HDTV over HDMI.

 

The reduced CPU and GPU performance in portable mode will reduce heat and power consumption, both of which are extremely important for any on-the-go handheld. We have reports the Switch will support up to 3 hours of continuous gameplay at 720p, but remember the tablet handheld supports USB Type-C so gamers will be able to quick-charge thei

 

The patents also revealed that the Switch may have a VR HDM add-on, with the Switch tablet docking into the HMD like Samsung's Gear VR headset.

 

Here are the pertinent details:

 

  • In portable mode, the clock frequency range over which the CPU is allowed to operate is limited. In present embodiment, the clock frequency CPU 81 is allowed to operate can be specified by a pre-determined range by the program executed on the main unit.
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  • In the portable mode, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified by program is limited as compared with that in the console mode.
  •  

  • For example, the range over which a clock frequency can be specified in the console mode is X1 [Hz] or less, whereas it is limited to X2 (

     

  • Note that if the main unit (Switch tablet console) includes a GPU in addition to the CPU, the range of processing power (ie clock frequency) may be limited for the CPU and/or for the GPU.
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  • In the present embodiment, in the portable mode, the image rendering capacity (which can also be referred to as the image generating capacity) is limited. Specifically, in the portable mode, the resolution (in other words the number of pixels) of images generated by the main united is lower than in the console mode.
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  • With the limitation above, the amount of computation executed in the main united is limited in portable mode, and i tis there possible to reduce the heat generation and the power consumption of the main unit.

 

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The Nintendo Switch will release in March 2017.

 

Nintendo plans to hold a special media briefing in Japan and New York on Jan 12-13, 2017, where it will unveil complete details of the system including specs, launch games, accessories, and much more.

 

Check below for a comprehensive list of everything we know about the console-handheld hybrid so far:

 

 

Everything we know about Nintendo Switch so far:

 

NEWS SOURCES:Pdfaiw.uspto.gov

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