I read the most ridiculous rumour this weekend regarding the Wii U, but I thought I’d share it with you anyway, and see what you think. It’s well known by know that the Wii U runs on a 1.24GHz IBM PowerPC 7xx-based tri-core processor dubbed “Espresso, and that its GPU is a 550MHz AMD Radeon codenamed “Latte.” An unsourced rumour on TV Tropes of all places suggests that the most recent firmware update has significantly bumped up the system’s clock rates.
CPU: IBM PowerPC 7xx-based tri-core processor “Espresso” clocked at 1.24 GHz before the 3.0.0 update, 3.24 GHz after the 3.0.0 update. This is an evolution to the Broadway chip used in the Wii, is 64 bit and uses Power6 technote When IBM has said that Nintendo has licensed the Power7 tech from IBM, Nintendo is not using it for the Wii U, explaining its backwards compatibility.
GPU: AMD Radeon High Definition processor codenamed “Latte” with an eDRAM cache built onto the die clocked at 550 MHz before the 3.0.0 update, 800 MHz after the 3.0.0 update.
According to that, Nintendo’s magically increased the CPU’s clock rate to run at nearly 3 times the speed; to 3.24GHz, and the GPU’s clock rate to 800MHz. We’ll not get in to the Megahertz Myth here, but suffice to say, that’s quite a ludicrous bump – and is quite unlikely. But is it so far fetched?
Sony’s PSP’s CPU was clocked at 222MHz for most of its life, until hackers (and an eventual firmware update) increased it to 333MHz. Even Nintendo’s 3DS was similarly underclocked, with the developer intentionally locking out one of the system’s cores.
The most recent Wii U firmware update has certainly increased system performance, which seems to have even carried over to games. I’ve noticed that ZombiU runs a little smoother than it had in the past, but that could quite honestly be put down to the placebo effect, or just the result of system fine-tuning. Or it could be that Nintendo indeed intentionally underclocked the Wii U, and has now, through a firmware update, unleashed its true potential.
While I think it’s possible that the system has gotten a slight spec increase, I find it rather unlikely that there’s been such a mammoth clock rate increase. Unless of course, the reason that Pikmin 3’s been delayed is that those little Elvish creatures have been visiting Wii u owners and switching out their components.
Last Updated: May 13, 2013