News Article

3DS Powered by Pica200 GPU

Posted by James Newton

No, we've never heard of it either

For months it was thought that NVidia would be providing the graphics power behind Nintendo's 3DS portable, but a recent report revealed the chip manufacturer would have no part in the console's construction. So whose technology is making those impressive graphics possible?

Digital Media Professionals, that's who. The Japanese company recently announced its Pica200 graphics processor is onboard the 3DS, and it boasts some seriously impressive vital statistics: clocking 15.3 million polygons per second at 200MHz, the chip also supports procedural textures, anti-aliasing and per-pixel lighting using its "MAESTRO Technology." All very impressive sounding but the proof is in the pudding, so head over to Engadget for a video of DMP's GPU in action and imagine that running in 3D before next March.


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User Comments (29)



citizenerased said:

Can someone translate this into normal gaming language...? It's a little bit less than the gamecube, isn't it?



Oregano said:

Polygons and stuff is low than Gamecube but it has powerful shader technology that are closer to the PS3 and 360.



jorenmartijn said:

Even if it's not as powerful as the Cube, do we actually <i>need</i> more polygons than 15.3 million on a screen of the 3DS' size?



Archy said:

Dude just click on the source link and there is a video, you will clearly see the difference between the 3DS and the GameCube. From what I have seen it is for sure more powerful than the GameCube and the Wii!



DAaaMan64 said:

If it supports shaders correctly, then it will be damned miracle. 3rd parties will start making games that look better than most Wii games, and certainly most Wii 3rd Party games.



Golgo said:

The NVidia deal went sour, according to a report on Eurogamer...



opeter said:

Absolutely. It has more powerfull hardware than the Wii.
When will we get an upgraded Wii?



Oregano said:

Actually it seems what I was saying was wrong, we're not wuite sure what level the GPU is at and these details are for the initial 2006 model, in 2008 they were advertising 40 million polygons per second so it's entirely possible the 3DS is more powerful than initially thought.



HipsterDashie said:


Don't forget that the 3DS will be rendering everything twice in order to produce the 3D effect. Plus, I'd take these tech demos with a pinch of salt, since it's a pre-rendered thing. Something running in real time like the 3DS games at E3 are going to be closer to reality.


Nintendo is a big fan of using cheaper, underpowered parts, since they aim to make a profit on each console sold. It's entirely reasonable that they're using a 4 year old chipset to keep costs and power consumption down.



moosa said:

The only "normal language" that exists when it comes to this stuff: Look at the games, and see how good they look. There are so many variables involved that seeing numbers like these, especially polygon counts, is pretty much meaningless. There was a time when Sony claimed its PS2 hardware could push 100 Million polygons, while Nintendo reported something like 20 Million for the Gamecube, and the GCN hardware is substantially more capable in the graphics department than the PS2, so trying to compare numbers like that to other consoles is a waste of time.

Also, that video is apparently from 2006, and it's obviously not running on 3DS hardware, nor is it meant to be a representation of actual 3DS graphics.



Oregano said:

@SoulSilver That doesn't mean they go with the lowest thing though, look at the Gamecube for example and if they can afford the higher ones then they'll go with that. The 2008 chip should be mass production and relatively cheap and Nintendo using it would help greatly as well and considering the potential userbase for the 3DS and how valuable that would be to DMP Nintendo are likely getting really good deals on whatever GPU they go for.



geek-master said:

i think the wii has the ATI hollywood graphics card am i right? when will ASUS ever get to do the gpu for a game system?



noname875 said:

"but the proof is in the pudding"
I likes pudding (Eats pudding, along with the proof)



Alphack3r said:

I wonder...will the Pica200 will be rendering both screens simultaneously? Or will it simply render & have some other module translate the environment into 2D & 3D? Somehow I feel we won't really know til it's released...but I believe that it will be more powerful than the PS2 (~300MHz), lol I just found out that the Gamecube was superior technically to the PS2 (lk a difference of almost 200 Mhz)!
Totally different Nintendo's always been awesome n my book.



Bassman_Q said:

Considering it'll be on a smaller screen than the video, these graphics are amazing!



TLink9 said:

A demo of the graphics. For some reason you can't use the link.



AVahne said:

The shaders? so THAT'S why there were rumors of the 3DS being closer to the PS3 and 360!



WaveGhoul said:

The shaders for Chris Redfield and Solid Snake in those 3DS Screenshots are just fantastic. Now I see the comparison towards the PS3/360. Even in that Mario Kart 3DS screen shot where it shows Mario high in sky, the clouds look pretty damn good and you can tell something awesome is going on there. So basically as it stands, the 3DS is on par in ways with the PS2/GCN/Wii yet it has more powerful shaders?



moosa said:

@WaveBoy Seems you're about right. It looks like it'll be pushing around as many polygons as you'd see on the PSP, but with better texturing and some real quality shaders and lighting effects and such things that make a big difference. On top of that, all of the hands-on impressions have indicated that the 3D effect only makes everything appear more impressive, so that alone should bump up the perceived visual quality somewhat as well.



Bobpie said:




RyuZebian said:

It definetly has some marginal to the real limit, which is the 3DS screen resolution... Any not-so-smooth edge is probably the screens fault! But let's not be too hard on it: It's probably the first non.glasses 3D screen, which is great!



Lotice-Paladin said:

Better shaders = better looking graphics. Just goes to show you that sometimes, graphical power is not enough when you can make something look better by just adding a little smoothness in the shading.



Token_Girl said:

What's the screen resolution? I'm sure the DS can process better than the graphics you see, but the screen resolution is so low everything's pixellated.

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