Nintendo R&D Director Defends Wii U CPU Speed

One of the most heavily criticized aspects of Nintendo’s Wii U is its CPU performance. While Nintendo never gave any solid number regarding its core frequency or its calculations speed, a well-known hacker dismantled it last November and concluded that it runs at 1.24 GHz.

This number shocked fans and experts alike as it is less than half the 3.2 GHz speed of Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3’s CPUs. Nonetheless, Nintendo didn’t dispute it till now.

Nintendo's R&D director Genyo Takeda is the man behind all Wii U major design decisions, including its CPU speed. During his speech at a Kyoto investor meeting last week, he didn’t acknowledge or deny the 1.24 GHz claim, but he asserted that Wii U combines "low power consumption and a fairly high performance."

"Regarding your comment that we focus on the GPU and that the CPU is a little poor, we have a different view," Takeda answered one question. "It depends on how to evaluate a processing unit. In terms of die size [area a chip occupies], the GPU certainly occupies a much larger space than the CPU."

"As you can see CPUs used for the latest PCs and servers, however, it is usual for current CPUs that the logic part for actual calculations is really small and that the cache memory called SRAM around it covers a large area. From this angle, we don't think that the performance of the Wii U's CPU is worse than that of the GPU."

The R&D director then argued that Wii U’s architecture is insensitive to CPU speed. "We have taken a so-called 'memory-intensified' design approach for the Wii U hardware" he explained. "It is no use saying much about hardware which should remain in the background in our entertainment offerings, but at least we think that Wii U performs pretty well."

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