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Rumor: 3DS tech specs leaked, Digital Foundry analyzes

JC Fletcher
JC Fletcher|@jcfletcher|September 22, 2010 11:01 AM
IGN claims to have received the technical specs for Nintendo's 3DS. According to the site, the handheld will use the DMP PICA200 GPU, but running at a slowed-down 166MHz, along with two ARM11 CPUs, each running at 266MHz. That's quite a bit less powerful than the Nvidia Tegra chips once rumored to be in the device. According to IGN, it will also have 1.5GB of flash memory for storage.

Okay, so IGN listed a bunch of names and some numbers -- along with the claim that "Numerous developers working on software for the platform have likened its graphical capabilities to current-generation consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, albeit on smaller, lower-resolution screens." But to find out what all those numbers mean, we turn to Digital Foundry. The parts "represent a massive step-up from the existing DSi," DF said, "while measuring up badly against the latest in smartphone technology." For example, the 64MB of RAM does not compare favorably to the iPhone 4's 512. However, DF notes that there's no iOS to hog resources, and in terms of the graphical capabilities, the relatively low resolution (compared to consoles) uses far less overhead.

DF notes that the motherboard originally sent to the FCC appeared to use a Tegra chip, suggesting that Nintendo has changed the design since then. "Quite why Nintendo decided to switch suppliers and go with DMP remains something of a mystery," the site says, "especially bearing in mind just how much more modern and capable the Tegra IP is compared to the much older PICA-200."

To get a better idea of what 3DS games look like than you'd get from people talking about numbers, investigate these screenshots of 3DS games.