News Article

Rumour: 3DS Tech Specs Revealed

Posted by Zach Kaplan

Specifications, not spectacles

The technical specifications for Nintendo's upcoming wonder machine, the 3DS, have found their way online, IGN reported recently. An anonymous source has divulged to them that the hardware will feature two 266MHz ARM11 CPUs, a 133MHz GPU, 4MBs of dedicated VRAM, 64MBs of RAM, and 1.5GBs of flash storage. Other devices using ARM11 include the Zune HD, some Android smartphones, and previous models of the iPhone and iPad Touch.

Also, according to the story:

The 3DS' GPU has been named DMP's PICA200, which features a maximum processing speed of roughly 200MHz, though it seems Nintendo is scaling it back a bit for use in the 3DS. 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.

We'll be keeping you up to date on all 3DS news, so stay tuned to Nintendo Life to learn when Nintendo reveals the official specs.

[via uk.gear.ign.com]

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User Comments (69)

zezhyrule

#2

zezhyrule said:

Cool! Awesome!

...I don't get all this technical stuff, but I'm sure it means something's good!

LuWiiGi

#3

LuWiiGi said:

I was just about to tell you guys about this. Looks like I didn't need to.
If only I could understand tech talk.

Oregano

#6

Oregano said:

Numbers can be decieving though, we still don't know what model of Pica it's using and considering that DMP added 3DSquare(3D support) to their chips recently it's likely Nintendo is using a custom version.

The main things we learn from this is that is has more VRAM than the Wii, the same RAM as the Xbox and that it consumes a quite low amount of power. It's battery life should be good and Nintendo said it's aiming for the DSi's battery life.

That's if these figures are true.:D

skywake

#8

skywake said:

If there was some way to precisely measure performance from Mhz (there isn't) this would sit somewhere between the Gamecube and Wii in terms of raw power. With the added benefits of a smaller screen to make average visuals look good and good visuals look awesome and the convinience of portability.....

and 1.5GB to store much more than one page of WiiWare size downloadable software. :)

ToastyYogurt

#10

ToastyYogurt said:

These specs better be real. It would be great to get more than half a Gigabyte in a Nintendo console.

MeloMan

#11

MeloMan said:

Hm... plenty of d/l room w/ the 1.5gb compared to the current size alotted for the current DSi downloadable games. Now we just need to know the max downloadable game size for downloadable 3DS games, then this will tell if 1.5gb is enough or not enough space (going by Nintendo's track record, I'd say the size of the downloaded games will get bigger, hence, eat up more of this 1.5gb rendering it "no big deal"). We'll see, we needs some FACTS here...

Denkou

#12

Denkou said:

heh. in comparison to the dsi, 1.5 gb of storage is huge! about five times more than the dsi i believe.

LordJumpMad

#14

LordJumpMad said:

I'll wait for official specs, because these seem...a little underwhelming. If they are correct then...ugh, 3D can only go so far Nintendo...

GiwrgarA

#15

GiwrgarA said:

Well...to be honest i don't really care about the size of flash storage to save downloaded games...if i want to i put an sd card...maybe it's big for the system menu or something....

wes008

#17

wes008 said:

Well I'm happy and sad at the same time. Happy because It's not going to be crazy expensive, sad because the chances of playing the console games on a handheld is becoming more bleak. I think we can say that hard installs are out of the book too :( Then again, these could not be the real specs. The truth be revealed on September 29th!

HipsterDashie

#18

HipsterDashie said:

These specs sound pretty good to me. Considering more recent chips can be more powerful with a lower clock rate, this could be pretty damn good!

Shame you can't compare chips just by raw clock speed anymore though, someone ought to do a benchmark test with these.

Token_Girl

#19

Token_Girl said:

These are underwhelming. If this only costs $30 less than the current 8GB iTouch, I'll be pretty pissed, seeing as it's using a processor comparable to a previous version. What's really going to kill the graphics is the screen resolution though, I think.

It is nice to see more storage space, especially since you'll probably be able to expand it with an SD card. I agree with TBD; plz to have transfer solution. An SD card solution should be implemented from the start as well. 1.5 GB is a lot of memory, but if they drop or raise the size restrictions, it won't last long.

invmat

#20

invmat said:

If this is true, 1,5 GB flash memory is a strange amount... I guess it is actually 2GB, but the system menu will take up 0,5 GB. However, it will become too little anyway, so an SD card seems to be the only storage solution again...

Objection

#21

Objection said:

I thought the 1.5GB was the flash memory on the carts and I was gonna be disappointed since the DS uses 1GB (usually) and with the new graphics and technology, 1.5GB would be filled far too easily.

EdEN

#22

EdEN said:

1.5 GB of flash is way better than what's currently available on Wii or DSi. My guess is that 3DSware games will max out at 100 MB (it's 40 MB on Wiiware and recall that it's about 30 MB on DSiware in case you're wondering) which means you could have 15 games on your memory or maybe combine games and movie downloads. 3D movies should clock in at about 200-300 MB at most since it's a smaller screen we're talking about.

I'll be buying a 16 GB SDHC card to go along with my 3DS. It's the card size I use for the SD channel and Guitar Hero Songs and it still has 8 GB free even if I have 40 songs and 50 games in there so I guess the same size will be enough for me on 3DS. Might even go with a 32GB one depending on movie sizes.

RyuZebian

#23

RyuZebian said:

Pfft, typically Nintendo gamers not knowing anything about specifications! But why should they? After all, they almost only care about quality gameplay! ;) I understand what these number mean though, and that is not very much. The comparison to the 360 says more! And those of you who compare this to smartphones out there... The smarts have to run an OS! The OS takes up A LOT of system recources, unlike this machine! Also most smartphones lack a dedicated GPU. Those who worry about this machine being weak; don't worry. In fact, the only thing I have left to worry about is the screen resolution, which will probably be the biggest draw back of this wonderous handheld! :D

WaLzgiStaff

#24

WaLzgi said:

@OB: 3DS games will initially have 2 GB of space in them. The 1.5 GB is the flash memory of the system itself.

Of course, the games may have more space through the system's life

ReddLionz

#26

ReddLionz said:

What? 1.5 GB? I thought this was supposed to have the power and memory of a console! I WANT 250+ GB! No way I'm buying this.
J/K

motang

#27

motang said:

Now we all know Nintendo does not like to impress people with screaming hardware spec as they like to do that with software, so I am more inclined to believe this to be true.

mjc0961

#28

mjc0961 said:

So I guess since there was such an uproar about the 4GB Arcade vision of the 360 on the net, I'm supposed to start saying how anchovy the 3DS is for only having 1.5GB? :p

But yeah, don't care. I wouldn't be surprised if Nintendo didn't release specs like that at all (Wii anyone?), and don't care anyway. It's just a bunch of incomprehensible gibberish to me. Just get to the 29th please, I want release date and price.

Punny

#31

Punny said:

Sweet! A handheld with the powers of a console! I knew what it could do already, but hearing it again makes me all the more excited! :)

pikku

#33

pikku said:

haha I showed pics of the announced 3DS games to my PSPfanboy friend, and he almost fainted! :D

PSICOffee

#35

PSICOffee said:

Does this mean we'll finally have portable ports (hopefully with added features) of all those N64 games that were hoped to be released when the original DS was first released in 2004? Just like we saw with Super Mario 64 DS (only now maybe the controls can be better with another remake)? Yes, and that's what I care most about this new system. Maybe when the profit runs dry of Rare games on Xbox Live, they can port those old games to the system as well. Hopefully rumble support is reinstated too, as it really added to the games (in some cases required to find things in Zelda).

But does this include Gamecube games now too!? It would seem they would at least try by looking at these specs. All I can be is hopeful.

wes008

#36

wes008 said:

I just compared, and these specs beat the PSP Go. Starting to feel a little better. No doubt Sony will come out with something with better specs, though. But they can't beat ingenuity! Remember, we're getting a device with 2 screens, one of them a Sharp Paralex screen and the other a touch screen. We've got three cameras, two of them dedicated to taking 3D photos. An accelerometer and gyroscope are under the hood. You can expand the memory with an SD or SDHC card. Lastly, we've got our hopes and prayers that the rumors of game installs and 3G connectivity are true. Definitely trumps any handheld or even console to date.

WaveWarlock

#37

WaveWarlock said:

I thought the screen resolution as been increased or looks almost HD-like? Anyways Wii-like polygon power, with PS3/360 shaders, in jaw dropping 3D technology(!!!) all crammed into tiny screens? How can you NOT be excited!?

wes008

#38

wes008 said:

@PSICOffee I forgot about rumble! Does anyone remember that cheap rumble solution for DS? I hope we get some real rumble this time!

TKOWL

#39

TKOWL said:

This is like salt on the wound, Nintendo! I can't wait for better details any longer!

Peznaze

#41

Peznaze said:

Yup, sounds like a $200 price point.

The 64MB RAM is depressing, though. Sure, it'll play games really well, but that's about it. Why must we still buy 3 devices to read, view media, and game on? sigh

super-nintendo

#44

super-nintendo said:

I would pay $249 for it...I know..I know...but I would. $199 would be better because I have soooooo many games I want. I am getting Ocarina Of Time and Paper Mario off top. Probably Kid Icarus right at launch. Metal Gear 3DS comes out in 2011 so probably that as well. I'm excited. :)

wedgeredleader

#47

wedgeredleader said:

The clock speed is not every thing with a processor. For example if you compare PowerPC processors to Intel Pentium processors of the same clock speed, the PowerPC will probably be much faster. My computer with a 1.8ghz PowerPC processor that was released in 2004 can still compete with most consumer computers today. So don't say that 266mhz is weak. based on the video seen at E3 I would bet the 3ds would do fairly well in performance and graphics. And because of the 3ds having two processors, it should be quite good at multitasking. It should be much more powerful than the current PSP and iPod touch 2nd Generation.

Nintendoftw

#48

Nintendoftw said:

I would say it's almost as powerful as the Wii, maybe even on par with the original Xbox.

Bankai

#49

Bankai said:

1.5GB of download room is appaling. I have a 320GB PlayStation 3, and I've only got 70 GB worth of room left, with 40 download games and demos.

In 1.5 GB I would get perhaps 5.

If Nintendo freaking cared about online distribution, then there would be more than 1.5 GB. I suspect that this means we'll have a very restrictive "maximum size of download" crap again.

Sean007s

#51

Sean007s said:

For those who do not understand the specs of consoles.
I'll sum it up how powerful the 3DS is:
It's more powerful than a PS2, Gamecube and close to the Original Xbox and Wii. It's not as powerful as most smart-phones like the Iphone.
As for the PS3 and Xbox360. The 3DS does not come close at all to those systems.

However with the power close to or better than an Xbox1/Wii and the smaller screen, you will have games that look excellent for a hand-held gaming system. I am personally getting it alone for Zelda OOT 3DS. :)
I also hear it's a tad bit smaller than a DSi. That is quite astounding to me.

Alphack3r

#56

Alphack3r said:

As far as storage capacity goes - the FULL NAND dump of my Wii, that includes all the system files & @ least 1800 blocks worth of games & saves, was a paltry 580MB (it's more than 512MB cuz it was uncompressed and there's a BILLION directories in the Wii NAND), & the Wii's HD is 512MB, so I'm thinkin that 1.5 GB is gunna b way better than the Wii. Also, keep in mind that a Gamecube disk only holds 1.35GB...& it's very rare to have a game completely fill the disk (though they pad it out to capacity with zeroes anyway).

With that in mind, unless you expect to carry ur whole GC library wherever you go, you're gunna be ok.

Now as far as prosessing power goes - the 3DS has 2 processors that beat out the PS2 individually, not to mention them together, or with the 133Mhz GPU.
The great thing is that everything is going to be optimized, so if they did it right, they could definitely beat out a Gamecube, & maybe, since the screens are smaller, even the original Xbox!

But what I wanna know is, what in the name of Din is the iPhone going to do with that much power? Personally, I think it's just so they can get away with writing sloppy code...ugh...

Anyway, awesome news! Nintendo should totally get into personal computing...well
/looks at Wii OS
Maybe not...lol xD

HolyMackerel

#57

HolyMackerel said:

Those are great specs for a portable device. I expect the visuals will look almost as good as the PS3/360 considering the fact that less processing is required thanks to the smaller screen sizes.

RyuZebian

#58

RyuZebian said:

@ triforceofcourage
Yupp, you're right about that. But graphical awesomeness and screen resolution are two different things! Imagine that you've bought a PS3. If you play it on a standard definition screen, the graphics will look great, but not as good as they would on an HD screen. The feedback I've heard about movies on the 3DS is sceptical, and as we know the 3D isn't the problem! xD It's simply the screen resolution that gets out-shined compared to the 3D blu-ray version of the movie. And so I conclude that if there is a drawback of the console, it's the screen res. Especially as the 3D effect takes it's fair share of pixels to work!

JebbyDeringer

#59

JebbyDeringer said:

The specs aren't that impressive at all though really specs are just numbers. Heck the SNES had a 3.5mhz processor and the graphics still look great today (provided you use a proper low res 15khz screen). I got a free ipod touch 8gb (basically a second generation) and I'm at a point in my life where I'd rather have this than a dedicated handheld console. Actually truthfully the last handheld I owned was a Game Gear and have had little interest in gaming on the go. But as for the ipod touch even the old 2nd generation is very impressive. It does far more than gaming and the gaming it does do is top notch. I try and stay away from some of the more traditional D-Pad controlled games because it really is a lot better having physical buttons but there are some amazing games that utilize the touch controls. Oh and most games are dirt cheap yet still high quality. For me this is the future but I like that there are options for everyone. I don't have a cellphone (hate them) so for me it's nice to have something for a calendar, music, music production, email, and gaming. I'm just so amazed how far portable technology has come in the past 10-15 years.

triforceofcourage

#60

triforceofcourage said:

@WaltzElf
if nintendo put anymore memory on it then there wouldn't be room for the stuff that powers NON-downloadable games! Plus it has an SD card slot and those aren't expensive so you could just go out and buy one for $8 and save bigger games to that.
P.S. I hate ipod touches!!! useless for gaming! there are only like 5 real quality games on them, all the others get booring in 20 min.
@ryuzeban
yes i see your point, but on a handheld it LOOKS almost as good. which essentialy is what matters, not the numbers.

KiroX777

#62

KiroX777 said:

this dissapointed me... but w/e thats what i get for expecting too much. 3DS just went down from a 10 to a 6 in my mind. oh well :

Pod

#64

Pod said:

The GPU is a really interesting chip from what I've read about it, hopefully developers will enjoy working with it.

If the two ARM 11 chips thing is true, that will seal how the backwards compatibility is going to function. These can quite easily behave as an ARM 7 and ARM 9, to allow hardware compatibilty with existing DS games.

gatygun

#65

gatygun said:

dude the 1,5gb is probably the internal memory that it has, you can probably easily expand it yourself with 32 gb sd card, which you simple can replace in the sd slot.

the slot itself can handle 600gb on sd cards ( future focused ) now only the sd memory needs to catch up. Even without 64gb or 128gb cards which do not yet exist, you can simple buy another 32gb card or whatever. ( this way it reduces the production cost, so 3ds gets cheaper).

Basically i don't see the problem in 2gb memory module which gets shortened by formatting + probably some system files etc towards 1,5gb left space.

Then some following information about other consoles etc, i got the feeling that people have just litterly no clue in what the specs actually mean:

a comparison on memory / ram ( no cpu, because its not comparable):
ram = mb
vram = mb

3ds ( the rumored specs ):
ram : 64
vram : 4

psp first versions:
ram: 32-64
vram: 2

ps2::
ram: 32
vram: 2-4

xbox:
ram: 64
vram: 4

gamecube:
ram: 32-48:
vram: 3

wii:
ram: 88
vram: 3

Why the cpu isn't comparable = because cpu's can only be compared on architecture, which i simple dont know. a 166mhz cpu can outdo a way higher older clocked mhz cpu. I dont know the facts or stats on them.

anyway, you can clearly see, the 3DS is going to outdo them all, specially if you realise that the 3DS got a 3 inch screen and not a 30 inch one. to power.

I didn't took the ps3 and xbox360 because they are simple way higher speeded, (it was never a discussion to start with if the 3DS would be on the same speed of the xbox360/ps3, but on the iQ it comes pritty much closest then anything out there yet ).

The stats of what got leeched so far, are really promising.

Even if you consider that the gpu makes the IQ ( image quality ) alot higher then the wii version. while maintaining the wii speed on top of that. The shaders on the thing are fantastic. And will outdo the xbox quality because of it.

you can simple state, the 3DS is faster then xbox/wii/gc/psp/ps1/ps2/n64/nds. On top of that the IQ quality is comming close towards the ps3/xbox360.

If you saw the demo's / screens at the e3, you can clearly see that even when these are simple made tech demo's, they already outdo all those devices. Yes there are games that do not ( specially nintendo sided games ) but the re/mgs are really really promissing, specially when the development was really short.

Comparing a Iphone against a handheld.
is like comparing a computer vs a console, the computer cost alot more + has alot more stats to start with, while it barely looks anybetter then the ps3/xbox360 quality ones.

For example look at gta for the ps2:
while the ps2 just has half the vram/ram of the 3DS, 32/2 i bet a pc wouldn't even boot up with it.
Better the pc needs to have atleast 700+ ram + a 32mb videocard. And even if you got that, gta wouldn't run any near decent.

Anyway i gona stop the float here on my spamming comment :P but here's just some info :P

gatygun

#66

gatygun said:

to get a bit further on the iphone vs 3ds.

a iphone 4 can only locate 64mb ram towards 1 single program execution from what i heard from a developer which develops programs for the devices. Even on top of that, a iphone is just like a PC. even with a way better gpu/CPU/memory, the OS / applications / code behind it, take up ALOT of the power in order to make the thing function at all. which a handheld game console doesn't got. It only has 1 task, gaming. With a simple interface at the start of it. ( this makes it way cheaper and effectiver on hardware, if not having better optimalized game power vs electric power.

The 512ram and es2.0 gpu, from a iphone basically ends up having the same problems as the psp on battery time. Its empty after a few hours 2-3 at max,
And of course the same problems that PC's got with console games, you need to out spec the gaming console as "multitasking hardware" big time, in order to generate the same result.

not to forget even if the battery wasn't the problem for the 3DS, then a next problem starts to show up, money. While a iphone cost like 700 euro +. the handheld cost WAY lesser in order to get any attention at all. Think again at the second psp problem "price". it just wasn't attractive for the casuals.

Anyway, lets not even talk about the controls. Its pritty much the biggest downsize to start with on a iphone. 1 touchscreen = horrible if thats basicly your only imput.
On top of that, Nintendo got a way more attractive game lineup.

As far for the iphone specs, its not a option for Nintendo to even go there, and even without getting all the fancy costly hardware which consumes power. the 3ds gpu with es1.1 has pretty much all the fancy 2.0 shaders without dropping into the battery life time.

Its like having the good things from a highly power consuming and money costing gpu, and at the same time drops those downsizes with it.

about the browsing etc:

Sorry, but i don't wanna end up with a OS that eats massive amount of ram/cpu speed in order to just browse a internet site, which you can simple done with a pc / mobile these days. I rather keep it towards a raw gaming device, And i think that Nintendo agrees with this big time. Or els nintendo needs to focus on multitasking which eats ALOT of extra hardware/power/cost.

Anyway, i hope i cleared some stuff up. this is basically what the specs mean. And if you ask me. they are fine as it is.

Mach-X

#67

Mach-X said:

Oh I love it when tech specs are leaked and you hear the thumps of soapboxes hit the ground as suddenly everybody knows exactly what a piece of hardware will do, and can't WAIT to pontificate that to us. First off, don't assume that every OS is like Windows 7, that is feature laden with oodles of bells and whistles. Don't believe me? Try using an android phone. Mine has a 500mhz arm cpu and the os runs lightning quick and is completely unobtrusive. At first I questioned why nintendo would use two cpus instead of one more powerful one, then i smacked myself because it makes perfect sense with dual screens as the DS did. Also I'm not sure if I'd go so far as to put it up with the 360, but it should have no problems doing good 3d with the much-lower-than-hd res it will probably have. But please nintendo, could we at least have VGA (320x240) resolution?

Frango

#68

Frango said:

(copy and paste gatygun comments here)

And that's why I'm going to buy a 3DS and am looking forward to it's release. Tomorrow is the day!

Frango

#69

Frango said:

@ 69. Mach-X:
The lower screen, which is the one with the lower resolution, already has 320x240 pixels... The top one has even more: 400x240 effectively... And also, the 3DS will suppoer antialiasing while in 2D, and while in 3D, just the fact that the image is doubled will make it look much more "rounded"... So why do we need a higher resolution on a 3.5'' screen? It would just chop off the performance, and, if you say the reason is for "detailed graphics", well, the performance rip off by the resolution would probably make it impossible to add more details without losing performance, and, as eveyone knows, when you buy a Nintendo console (or handheld), you know you're aiming for gameplay, so we don't want choppy fps, right?

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