Nintendo's new console, the Wii U, was finally unveiled to the world today at E3 2011, and we got a glimpse of its graphical prowess at the company's keynote. Details were scarce about the IBM silicon Nintendo's new HD powerhouse was packing, but we did some digging to get a little more info. IBM tells us that within the Wii U there's a 45nm custom chip with "a lot" of embedded DRAM (shown above). It's a silicon on insulator design and packs the same processor technology found in Watson, the supercomputer that bested a couple of meatbags on Jeopardy awhile back. Unfortunately, IBM wouldn't give us the chip's clock speeds, but if it's good enough to smoke Ken Jennings on national TV, we imagine it'll do alright against its competition from Sony and Microsoft.
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IBM Microprocessors to Power the New Wii U System from Nintendo
ARMONK, N.Y., June 7, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it will provide the microprocessors that will serve as the heart of the new Wii U™ system from Nintendo. Unveiled today at the E3 trade show, Nintendo plans for its new console to hit store shelves in 2012.
The all-new, Power-based microprocessor will pack some of IBM's most advanced technology into an energy-saving silicon package that will power Nintendo's brand new entertainment experience for consumers worldwide. IBM's unique embedded DRAM, for example, is capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience.
IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter). The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.
The relationship between IBM and Nintendo dates to May 1999, when IBM was selected to design and manufacture the central microprocessor for the Nintendo GameCube™ system. Since 2006, IBM has shipped more than 90 million chips for Nintendo Wii systems.
"IBM has been a terrific partner for many years. We truly value IBM's commitment to support Nintendo in delivering an entirely new kind of gaming and entertainment experience for consumers around the world," said Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director, Integrated Research and Development, at Nintendo Co., Ltd.
"We're very proud to have delivered to Nintendo consistent technology advancements for three generations of entertainment consoles," said Elmer Corbin, director, IBM's custom chip business. "Our relationship with Nintendo underscores our unique position in the industry -- how we work together with clients to help them leverage IBM technology, intellectual property and research to drive innovation into their own core products."
Built on the open, scalable Power Architecture base, IBM custom processors exploit the performance and power advantages of proven silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology. The inherent advantages of the technology make it a superior choice for performance-driven applications that demand exceptional, power-efficient processing capability – from entertainment consoles to supercomputers.