News Article

E3 2012: Wii U Tech Specs Revealed

Posted by Damien McFerran

1080p, NFC, powered by IBM and AMD chips

Nintendo has officially revealed the final tech specs for its Wii U console, many of which confirm what we've already heard about the system.

The Wii U will be powered by an IBM multi-core CPU and AMD Radeon HD GPU combo. Sadly, the data falls short of supplying the amount of RAM inside Nintendo's new box. If you're a fan of vital statistics, the console is 1.8 inches high, 10.5 inches deep and 6.8 inches long, with an overall weight of 3.41 pounds. The Wii U Game Pad tips the scales at 1.1 pounds.

HD output is included as expected, with 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p and 480i all being supported. Near Field Communication also makes the cut via the Wii U Game Pad.

Speaking of the Game Pad, it boasts a rechargeable lithium-ion battery which, according to Nintendo Japan, takes approximately 2 and a half hours to charge and gives around 3-5 hours of play time, depending on screen brightness. You can also go 'old school' and plug it into an AC adapter to play while it's charging.

As previously confirmed, the Wii U will feature internal flash storage of an undisclosed amount, which can be augmented by SD cards - just as was the case with the original Wii console. With both Microsoft and Sony favouring expansive hard drives for storage on their machines, this is a brave move by Nintendo. Fingers are firmly crossed that it doesn't result in more headaches for eShop developers when it comes to software size limits.

In terms of expansion, there are four USB ports on the system - two on the front and two on the rear. 'Nearly' all Wii accessories can be used on the Wii U, which is both vague and slightly ominous at the same time.

So there you have it - the Wii U has some official specs at last. It's just a shame that they're so vague; over the next few weeks we'll probably see them expanded in a little more detail as developers begin to spill the beans on the machine's power.

[via e3src.nintendo.com, nintendo.co.jp]

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User Comments (61)

irken004

#1

irken004 said:

Lack of hard drive is unsettling, they better support external drives at least :o

GreenDream

#2

GreenDream said:

Until modders open it up, we won't know all the juicy details...

The proposition of using a standard hard drive begs the question: will online game support be handled exclusively by Nintendo's servers? I am curious to see Nintendo's take on restrictive DRM.

Kagamine

#8

Kagamine said:

Definately not enough info here to make any conclusion on what it can do. All I see are brand names, no data, no model numbers, no power measurements, not even the number of cores! all it says is multicore. Can't wait to hear the full tech specs though.

Burning_Spear

#9

Burning_Spear said:

Three-to-five hours of play time for the game pad? Are they out of their effin' minds? I know I can plug it in, but that's absurd. We gave up wires six years ago.That sounds like something my mother thought up to keep me from playing too much.

WaveWarlock

#10

WaveWarlock said:

so will 'all' games be 1080p, or will it be a big mix of both 1080p and 720p? And 3-5 hours seems fine by me. I personally don't like going over the 2 1/2 hour mark anyways. :p

MeloMan

#12

MeloMan said:

Typical Nintendo, keeping the full specs vague. It's paid off in the past usually (SNES, Gamecube) but it's also bitten them in the rear (Wii), so... guess we'll see as the software comes over time...

ThatOtherGuy

#13

ThatOtherGuy said:

Every time I here about the Wii U I want it more and more. It sucks because I'm SUPPOSED to be saving for a car.....

kdognumba1

#14

kdognumba1 said:

Ya, the lack of the hard drive is a downside but I'm actually impressed with the controller so far. The system looks fun, can't wait to play it!

pc999

#17

pc999 said:

3-5 hours for the Controller ???????

Are they kiding????????

Also the gfx seems really weak.

This thing better be very cheap.

Dante52uk

#18

Dante52uk said:

I am sure I remember reading something awhile ago stating SD and External Hard drives would be supported.

rjejr

#19

rjejr said:

"the Wii U will feature internal flash storage of an undisclosed amount,"

Yeah, no point in telling us how much, I'm sure nobody cares.
Is HDMI out a real HDMI out or a Nintnedo proprietary connection? What cable comes in the box?

goldgin

#20

goldgin said:

It better be cheap, it seems like WiiHD to me. Battery life also sucks, if this console is to be used by everyone in the family then 4 hours is just not enough.

Wolfenstein83

#21

Wolfenstein83 said:

Not really worried about the SD card thing, since their capacity has increased quite a bit.I just hope I can transfer WiiWare and VC games to the Wii U as well.In any case, I am alot more impressed with this console than I originally expected.I thought it would be pretty hard to top the Wii, in terms of innovation, but the big N has done it again, and I cannot wait to get my grubby paws on the Wii U myself.
As for the design itself, it's pretty much a Wii with rounded edges, but whatever.
Battery life kinda sucks for something that can be taken anywhere in the house, so hopefully there will be more efficient batteries in the future to replace the old ones.
I am just so excited at this point that some of those little details don't even matter to me.
Rock on, yes!

g1i1ch

#23

g1i1ch said:

@pc999 Since the specs were pretty much what we thought they'd be it means that the Wii U is more powerful than 360 and ps3 and may still be competitive to 720 and ps4. Just because they devs haven't showed it to its potential doesn't mean that's all it can do.

mamp

#24

mamp said:

THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! THE PRICE!!! You know what I would like to know? THE PRICE!!!

Luffymcduck

#25

Luffymcduck said:

That battery time makes me want to play with Wii U Pro Controller (which will have much longer battery time, right?).

OldBoy

#26

OldBoy said:

This is hardly the specs confirmed is it. We already knew who was making the CPU /GPU last year. Next you'll be 'revealing' how the WiiU is powered by electricity using a wire that plugs into the wall.

fredtoy

#27

fredtoy said:

I see a lot of people complaining about the lack of internal HD or support to external ones. I don't see the point. On X360 or PS3 (as people tend to compare), the internal HD is used to install games (retail and download) , store music and movies. As WiiU will not serve as media center and retail games will not be installed on the HD, only downloadable games will use storage media on the console. Assuming that the average downloadble game will use about 1GB of storage space, one 32 GB SDHC card will hold about 30 of them. I think it's a fair number.

Xkhaoz

#28

Xkhaoz said:

Good, now to find out processor clock speed, GPU series, and RAM. Plus price would be good

Sean_Aaron

#29

Sean_Aaron said:

I don't think the lack of internal hard drive is a negative. If there's a sizeable amount of internal flash (I think 8GB min. should suffice) then SD cards will be quite sufficient for people buying games in disc format. I cannot imagine the system would have four USB ports if it wouldn't support external USB drives for people who intend to be doing a lot of full retail downloads and don't want to shuffle SD cards. Less moving parts internal is a good thing as is giving the end-user the ability to choose the kind of external storage they like.

goldgin

#30

goldgin said:

Guys, WAKE UP, look closely at the REAL-TIME videos at the presentation again. The best looking title that comes close to PS3's graphics is ZombiU and it is actually bad, sorry to say this but just notice the blur effect to hide the framerate, also the lack of hi-res textures.... same goes for the Assassins Creed real-time video (very short, in-between the rest of Ubi's games), it looks worse than PS3 demo for the same game. Even more, compare this to yesterdays "Beyond" by Quantic Dreams, or plain old RE5. Unfortunately, at this time, the WiiU is inferior to PS3/XBOX360. I wonder if it can handle current-gen multiplatform/multi-core games like Fifa or CallOfDuty.
It better be really cheap or at least just good enough of an excuse to replace the low-res Wii from my living room.
The only reason I'm probably buying this is cause I already own 4 wii-remotes, 3-motion-plus peripherals, one Classic Controller Pro and 2 nunchucks collecting dust in my living room.

OldBoy

#31

OldBoy said:

You know what I love about having a harddrive on the 360. I can install any disc game.This is a much overlooked feature but has some great benefits including faster load times, better in game performance and less wear on the optical drive. Also when some demo's are nearly 2GB then that space soon gets taken. I hope to God that the WiiU can support an external HardDrive. If Nintendo is serious about digital releases they are going to need an HD. Most 360 games when installed are about 7-8GB FFS.

gohanrage

#32

gohanrage said:

I would like to know about the Panasonic Wii U Disc.

One Wikipedia site says 25GB per layer and up to 3 Layers.

Another Wikipedia site says 25GB doesn't mention other layers

The next Xbox and PS4 could support BDXL which supports 100GB and 128GB

GCNSean

#34

GCNSean said:

You can use a USB HD... states is on Nintendo website...

"Wii U uses an internal flash memory. It also supports SD memory cards and external USB storage."

A USB Hard Drive will do me just fine... much cheaper too... I can grab a 1 TB USB HD for under $100...

Yellowtails

#36

Yellowtails said:

I'm glad Nintendo will finally be in HD. I don't know how Microsoft and Sony can go further in High Definition so hopefully Nintendo doesn't have to worry if their competition reveals their new consoles. Maybe Nintendo should make a Silver Wii U system.

ViRtUaLbOy11

#37

ViRtUaLbOy11 said:

Was JUST reading over the Technical Specs on E3.Nintendo.Com, and it states that, quote: .."Storage:
Wii U uses an internal flash memory. It also supports SD memory cards and external USB storage.." end quote.

So yeah..... I think we're good. Nintendo has learned from it's many mistakes. Well, maybe not from E3 presentative mistakes, i.e. LACK OF CONTENT! sighs... but I doubt they would go that route with the memory solutions all over again.

sinalefa

#39

sinalefa said:

Why are people going crazy about the battery life? It has a 6 inches high res screen! And speakers, and a mic and a camera. Of course it is gonna eat the battery, like a 3DS or a Vita does.

And you can play while it is charging, hooking it up to an outlet, which means you don't really have to be close to the console as with a PS3.

Regarding the hard drive (or lack of), it is less than ideal, but I find it much easier to store a bunch of SD cards than to have physical hard drives around.

C-195

#40

C-195 said:

These tech specs aren't precise enough for me.
How powerful each component is down to the very last detail is the only thing that would satisfy me and I'm not surprised the battery life for the controller is so poor, lithium ion cells are outdated technology, they will lose charge even when there is no current draw. Maybe I can rig my controller to use a Lithium Polymer battery, providing I can do it safely and without voiding the warranty.

pastasauce

#41

pastasauce said:

This things tiny, I can't imagine it will be more powerful than current systems. Better be 150 or less.

Supremeist

#42

Supremeist said:

1080p! Now we're talkin', Nintendo! Turning out to look like a pretty powerful system, it supports all memory storage devices and the control pad remote TOAB, all turns out with a decent looking line-up.

The problem is.. how much will this thing cost?! Hopeful that It's not as expensive as the PS3 was when it launched. :/

StarDust4Ever

#43

StarDust4Ever said:

@goldgin Yes, assuming you watched it online like everybody else, there will be a significant level of artifacts and blockiness to the e3 presentation; that is a live feed which had to be compressed on the fly and streamed across the internet in 1080p to at least 100k viewers. FYI, that's a boat-load of bandwidth. If ZombieU looked worse than Mario, it's because all of those high resolution textures and chaotic movement onscreen did not compress well. I remember seeing the same type of artifacts on Reggie's arms and legs as well while he was giving his speech.

Dauntless

#44

Dauntless said:

I laughed when I read the part about not having a hard drive being a 'brave move' because I think it is a stupid move. Look at how not having a hard drive hurt the wii. The 360 started with a 20GB hard drive. Now they have 320GB drives. Thats because 20GB wasn't enough over the long haul. The WiiU's rumoured 8GB internal flash won't last. More headaches will eventually come as you have to copy GB files from SD to Internal.

MakeMyBiscuit

#46

MakeMyBiscuit said:

The ONLY think keeping me from jumping on the Wii U band wagon is the lack of Gamecube support. I have a huge number of Gamecube games I still play on my Wii.

The Wii U line up does look impressive. I might have to cave in after all...depending on how much the system really is.

alan123456

#47

alan123456 said:

If the Mass Effect 3 video shown during their conference was running on Wii U, then I believe it's definitely more powerful than PS360 because when I see it running on them the frame-rate is crapy. And in the E3 video it was really smooth. But how much more poweful it is is a mistery. Although I'm happy with it just being better than PS360.

BudrSbastig

#48

BudrSbastig said:

If the wii u pad was stand alone and called "game boy" I would get it.....but have no intrest in Wii u

ThreadShadow

#49

ThreadShadow said:

I see some sadness in this story.

The gamepad needs to be able to recharge through the console itself. There are four USB ports after all.
And with four USB ports there is bound to be room for an external HDD. Nintendo themselves may even provide a Nintendo branded one, who knows.

goldgin

#51

goldgin said:

@StarDust I also watched "Beyond", and "The Last of Us" online the previous night, it looked quite good. I know the feeds are different (youtube/ustream) but still, I'm talking about texture sizes here, even on a feed, when the image is relatively still, you can see the detail. Reggie looked pretty hi-res to me while standing still, so did the pre-rendered videos, ie ZombiU FMV intro. All the WiiU 1st party games were pointing to a low polygon/cellshaded look too, instead of the Zelda demo we were expecting.

TimboBaggins

#52

TimboBaggins said:

This is a good thing, disk drive are becoming outdated, everything is moving towards proprietary flash technology, this is actually forward thinking, unless you wanted them to put an SSD inside, which would cost too much. If you put in a traditional HD it would be dated in a couple years. SD cards will be used for a long time, perhaps completely replacing CDs, DVDs, and BDs.

Mikau94

#53

Mikau94 said:

I am a bit worried about the lack of a hard drive but 1080p gives me hope.

DrSlump

#56

DrSlump said:

The specs are on par with the actual generation consoles, BUT it has not an internal hd (while both ps3 and xbox360 have it). The ram: if they don't give a mention to it, it means they are not proud of it, so the amount is not as big as we would like it would :D:D
It's opinion to me that the hardware is really similar to the xbox arcade version (the xbox360 without the hard drive).
Again, this hardware will be really cheap for Nintendo but not for us.

tanookisuit

#57

tanookisuit said:

There's a leaked tech sheet for this online you know, but perhaps being gaming media you don't want to post this out of fears of NOA getting an itchy trigger finger. 1080p output standard, 8GB game/data storage with 512MB for the internal os/software for the system, 1.5GB of RAM, a Radeon 7xxx video card series, GPU with 3x the RAM than the x360, and more.

My friend runs a gaming forum (very small) but they listed the tech specs if anyone wants to read it not on his forum but the source site: http://www.vgleaks.com/world-premiere-wii-u-specs/

Basically the system comparing against the most powerful out there now (PS3) is like 3-4x more powerful in output than that.

HaNks

#58

HaNks said:

the games aren't actually being rendered at 1080p, at least for now. everything shown so far has been 720p, no AA (according to reports). as with the 360/ps3 it can output a 1080p signal but barely any games natively render at this, nor will they.

retro_player_22

#59

retro_player_22 said:

@goldgin Didn't they say that you can play it while it's charging by plugging the controller wire onto the USB drive in the console. If it had that then there's no worry, console is not meant to be handheld so 3-5 battery isn't really a big deal, now with the 3DS that's another story.

Skogur

#60

Skogur said:

I'm pretty sure they confirmed support for external hard-drives last year.

goldgin

#61

goldgin said:

@retro_player_22 Playing while it's connected by a cable huh? they'd better go patent that sort of innovation. Anyway, it would require quite a long usb cable from the TV to my sofa, unless you are implying playing as close as one meter from the TV.
In other news, check the latest NL feeds about performance that prove me right http://bit.ly/MZaHz9

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