Switch OLED dock can get firmware updates, may pave way to Switch Pro?

The new Switch OLED model's dock can receive firmware updates, likely for LAN functionality, but Switch 4K speculation is high.

3 minutes & 22 seconds read time

The new Nintendo Switch OLED model doesn't have any CPU, GPU, or RAM upgrades, but it does have a dock that's capable of receiving firmware updates.

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Nintendo recently confirmed the Switch OLED's dock will get firmware updates.

"Only the dock with a LAN port - model no. HEG-007 - can be updated. This is the dock included with Nintendo Switch - OLED model."

No one knows exactly what's inside the dock but it presumably has the same Megachips STDP2550 Mobility DisplayPort (MyDP) to HDMI Converter, a special converter chip that facilitates dock video output via DisplayPort Alternate mode over USB Type-C.

Switch OLED dock can get firmware updates, may pave way to Switch Pro? 2Switch OLED dock can get firmware updates, may pave way to Switch Pro? 3

DP Alternate Mode allows USB-C cords to transmit USB 3.1 data, power, and A/V signals through one cord. When you dock your Switch, the video signal is sent through the USB-C connector via the DP over USB-C (Mobility DisplayPort) protocol. The STDP2550 then converts that video signal into HDMI 1.4 video out signal which is transmitted through the HDMI cord and to a HDTV. The dock is basically an adapter that lets you play Switch games on a screen.

Still though, the full exact reasoning for dock firmware updates is unknown.

Gamers speculate the system may have a new internal chip that future proofs the dock to support a beefed-up Switch 4K or Switch Pro model. This concept of Nintendo upgrading the console's dock was also something we predicted in 2020. There's belief that the firmware updates will switch on and activate latent dock hardware features over time to enable higher performance, but this seems like a stretch.

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It's likely the Switch OLED dock is a test case for a new upgraded next-gen Switch...however it would be interesting to see the dock become forward-compatible with the new hardware. It would be beneficial to Nintendo to create an iterative family of Switch hardware with interoperable accessories like JoyCons and hardware docks.

Also remember that the Megachips STDP2550 chip is limited to just 1080p output. Nintendo would have to upgrade the chip to the MCDP2900 which allows HDMI 2.0 for 4K 60FPS output.

And maybe, just maybe, Nintendo will use the OLED dock's dedicated LAN port to better connect systems to cloud servers and beam over PC-level performance upgrades via powerful servers, not unlike how NVIDIA beams high-end RTX performance via GeForce Now. At the very least, the Switch OLED dock could theoretically connect to these servers to make use of NVIDIA's AI-upscaling technology.

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Photo: iFixit

Remember the Switch uses custom Tegra X1 and X1+ SoCs, the same chips that are used in its Shield TV set top boxes that were made specifically for cloud streaming over GeForce Now. AI-based upscaling has been possible on the Shield TV for a while now.

This is a concept we outlined back in 2016 when Nintendo published its Supplemental Computing Device (SCD) patents, which called for a special LAN adapter box with a dedicated CPU that would facilitate higher-end horsepower through the cloud.

In other Switch 4K speculations, remember that NVIDIA just enabled RTX with ARM mobile processors.

This could be the early frameworks to bring DLSS and RTX-powered effects to mainstream mobile devices including Switch consoles, whose chips are powered by ARM Cortex A57 CPUs.

The current belief is that the new DLSS-powered Switch 4K would run on an NVIDIA Tegra Orin-based 8nm SoC, possibly the T234 chip, but those are due out sometime in 2022.

Check below for a huge catalog of NVIDIA's Tegra SoCs:

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Derek joined the TweakTown team in 2015 and has since reviewed and played 1000s of hours of new games. Derek is absorbed with the intersection of technology and gaming, and is always looking forward to new advancements. With over six years in games journalism under his belt, Derek aims to further engage the gaming sector while taking a peek under the tech that powers it. He hopes to one day explore the stars in No Man's Sky with the magic of VR.

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