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More Nintendo Switch details: 4GB of RAM, touchscreen, could support VR in the future

By midian182 · 37 replies
Oct 31, 2016
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  1. Nintendo hasn’t rushed to reveal the technical details of its upcoming Switch console. The lack of information saw the company’s shares fall 7 percent, as investors worried that the machine could turn out to be another Wii U-style flop. But some of the Switch’s rumored specs have been revealed over the last few days, and they could help ease concerns.

    In the Switch’s preview trailer released earlier this month, there is no mention of the device’s touchscreen. With none of the actors in the video actually touching the display, could it be possible that it may not possess this ubiquitous feature? Thankfully, it seems this isn’t the case.

    The Switch will reportedly use a 6.2-inch, 720p 10-point multitouch capacitive screen, according to Eurogamer. If accurate, it will be an upgrade from the 3DS and Wii U’s resistive, single-touch only screens.

    While Nintendo has revealed that the Switch features a custom Nvidia Tegra chip, there have been few other details surrounding the platform’s specs. But according to a Tweet from long-term Nintendo blogger Emily Rogers, the Switch will have 4GB of RAM – double the amount found in the Wii U.

    4GB may be half that of the PS4 and Xbox One, but Nintendo’s hybrid handheld device is a lot less demanding than the current generation of consoles, and it hasn’t been designed to challenge them in the graphics department. But the news has come as bit of a disappointment to some fans, who were hoping for 8GB.

    More information has leaked regarding the Switch’s cartridges which will reportedly come in a ‘standard’ size of 16GB. There was also talk of the console’s arrival spelling the end for the 3DS, but according to Nintendo President Tatsumi Kimishima, that won’t happen.

    “Thanks to our software, the 3DS hardware is still growing. So that business still has momentum. And certainly rather than being cannibalized by the Switch, we think the 3DS can continue in its own form.” Kimishima told Bloomberg.

    In the same interview, the Nintendo boss was asked if the Switch would have virtual reality capabilities. And although they seem unlikely to be present at launch, VR games could arrive in the future.

    "If you asked as if this might be possible in the future, certainly we can't say no," he said. "In terms of how it can be used for gaming, it's something we must consider. It depends on the system specifications. I can't say that we have no interest in VR because VR offers new ways of playing, but that depends on what kind of software can be played.”

    One person excited by the Switch's arrival is Final Fantasy XV director Hajime Tabata. Speaking to French site Gameblog, he said: “I’m very interested in this machine! As a player, but also as a developer. The Nintendo Switch that you can transform into a controller, that you can put into a dock, that you can move around with, on which you can replace elements. It’s been a while that I’ve told myself that I would like to make games on a Nintendo machine, so if the Nintendo Switch could be that opportunity, I’ll be delighted!”

    The Nintendo Switch is set for release in March 2017.

    Permalink to story.

  2. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,312   +536

    "In the same interview, the Nintendo boss was asked if the Switch would have virtual reality capabilities. And although they seem unlikely to be present at launch, VR games could arrive in the future.
    "If you asked as if this might be possible in the future, certainly we can't say no," he said. "In terms of how it can be used for gaming, it's something we must consider. It depends on the system specifications. I can't say that we have no interest in VR because VR offers new ways of playing, but that depends on what kind of software can be played.”"

    Only the most optimistic person would interpret this as "the Switch could have VR in the future"... I think it's pretty clear that the answer was "No, VR isn't happening on this console - but sure, anything's possible...."
    avoidz and TheDistraction like this.
  3. Richnj

    Richnj TS Rookie

    It's worth noting that the Xbox One only has 5GB of RAM available for games, the rest is used for Kinect and the OS. The PS4 has 7GB for games, with the remaining 1GB for the OS.
    Lionvibez likes this.
  4. Squid Surprise

    Squid Surprise TS Evangelist Posts: 1,312   +536

    True... but we have no idea how the 4GB in the Switch will be allocated either... in fact, we only "know" there is 4GB thanks to a sketchy rumour in the first place...
    Lionvibez likes this.
  5. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    How can anyone be disappointed? As much as anyone is concerned, we have no idea how anything is going to work on it, so it might be nothing, windows games run perfectly fine in 4gb computers, and that's sharing almost as much as half of the ram to the OS, the cartridges alone that will be nintendo proprietary have 16gb and they can develop and use that memory as they see fit, meaning fast load times, shared resources, literally whatever.
    Panda218 likes this.
  6. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,279   +105

    Considering that the Kinect has been unbundled from the Xbox One early on, I wonder what the real value is.
  7. thehaxfactory

    thehaxfactory TS Rookie

    It's worth noting that that 8 GB of RAM is shared with the GPU as there is no dedicated VRAM in the PS4 and only a 32 MB framebuffer on the Xbox One, so most GPU intensive tasks use system RAM on the Xbox One as well. I'm not sure if Tegra traditionally uses dedicated VRAM or not, but 4 GB is at least about on par with the other consoles if the Tegra has dedicated VRAM.
  8. Axiarus

    Axiarus TS Maniac Posts: 228   +108

    They run fine with 4gb? No, no they don't.
    GyratingIndy likes this.
  9. thehaxfactory

    thehaxfactory TS Rookie

    To be fair, computers are running a full operating system with running background tasks. I mean 360 was still being used until the start of this year with 512 MB of RAM shared between the console and the GPU. 4 GB for a console (especially if not shared with the GPU) is pretty solid. The most important thing to find out is if they GPU has dedicated VRAM as that is going to be the major factor in whether or not the Switch has plenty of RAM or not quite enough. The Xbox One would have less than 4 GB of RAM available for game logic once you factor in how much RAM the GPU is taking up. 4 GB of RAM could be plenty for 1080p gaming so long as the rest of the system is handled appropriately.
  10. Richnj

    Richnj TS Rookie

    I'd imagine the OS still takes up a fair amount of RAM, it is MS and Windows after all.

    All I know is that while a game like Destiny can run at 1080p on Xbox One without Kinect (900p with Kinect) Xbox One games (and therefore all Multiplatform titles) have to be playable with just 5GB.
  11. mbrowne5061

    mbrowne5061 TS Evangelist Posts: 652   +284

    It is like that for nearly every 'computer'. A certain amount of RAM will always be reserved for the OS.
  12. Richnj

    Richnj TS Rookie

    Well yeah, but like I mention above, the amount of RAM used is an important factor. If multiplatform games of current Gen games have to be playable with 5GB because of the Xbox One, and the Wii U used less than 1GB of RAM for its OS. Then the difference (at least in terms of RAM) between the Switch and current gen consoles is a lot smaller than most would realise.
  13. Lone35

    Lone35 TS Rookie

    Keep in mind that dedicated VRAM on mobile devices in general has been uncommon up to this point, and even when a mobile device has dedicated VRAM -- and I'm considering laptops here, even though they kind of fall into a different size category from tablets and handhelds -- the amount is comically small compared to what you find on gamer PCs.

    A historically popular alternative on gaming consoles is to use small internal working VRAM area, with a combination of fast memory bus and beefy L1/L2 caches for uploading data from System RAM quickly. This allows developers to stream textures/sprites from System RAM while other GPU draw operations are in progress using the local RAM & caches. It's a fine design for getting good-performance hardware produced on a budget, but it is also traditionally very difficult to develop for from a software engineering and sometimes even an overall game-design standpoint.
  14. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    Get out of here! Made by techspot.

    And if you don't want to click that link I will even quote it for you:
    Or even another one, for a hog game:
    Summary... Yes they do!

    Also, on top of the love wagon, if this will be able to dock and have external video connection, how hard would it be to add an external VR-like headset? If it runs on tegra (And as already mentioned it looks kind of shield-ish) and Android has it, why wouldn't they be able to add VR into the Switch? Maybe not mount the console in the headset but I don't see why they wouldn't be able to do so. Obviously this is all in the theory-crafting department.
    Last edited: Oct 31, 2016
    Mr Dude likes this.
  15. ET3D

    ET3D TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,279   +105

    Which runs fine with 1GB of RAM, even with all the Win32 baggage, which the XBox One doesn't have.
  16. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Addict Posts: 153   +72

    Most phones have about 2GB ram right now. The Switch will only have 4GB ram. W-H-Y!?!?! Ram isn't even that expensive so why the hell wouldn't they shove a ton in there to make people go ooooooohhhhhh! even if its not really needed? Seriously, spend an extra $50 and give us something to gawk at.
  17. Emexrulsier

    Emexrulsier TS Evangelist Posts: 560   +59

    That's never how it works though. People always moan and ask for higher specs, but would cry even more if the price was higher.
  18. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    Have you read anything so far? Why people assume more ram is always better? They won't need any more, at all. Even on a resource intensive system 4gb to play is enough, how about a dedicated device for it? And even then, everything is still a rumour.

    I'll even quote myself for you so you don't go to all the trouble to find the article.
  19. OutlawCecil

    OutlawCecil TS Addict Posts: 153   +72

    Then give it some accessable memory and throw some screws on the backside, allowing people to upgrade it later like a PC. Problem solved.
  20. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    Why?? It's not a freaking windows computer, you won't need more ram, it's MADE specifically to the specs. Also please read a bit, windows memory hog games run perfectly fine in 4gb systems, considering almost half of it is going to the system. I think a game developed specifically to the console will run just fine.
  21. Liffie420

    Liffie420 TS Rookie

    Well Nintendo has done it again. They have shot themselves in the foot AGAIN. Look I like the idea they have going with the handheld console hybrid its cool and fits with Nintendo's domination of the handheld market. I LOVE the idea of cartridges as well. I know they are not trying to challenge Sony or Microsoft in the graphics department as they decided not to focus on that since the Wii days. But there is one HUGE problem with this info, which is subject to change of course, that problem is with the storage space on the Carts. 16GB?!?!?! Really are you kidding me? The Wii U holds 25GB on its disc, and flash storage is CHEAP like insanely cheap especially for a company like Nintendo buying it up in bulk. You can buy 16gb micro SD cards at retail for like $8 US, and that's ALL they can be bothered to put on a cart not even going to be on par with the Wii U??? They should be aiming for 64GB on a cart, 16GB is a joke. Man I love you Nintendo but man do you even WANT to make money anymore? Do you even CARE about the home console market at all?
  22. Bigtruckseries

    Bigtruckseries TS Evangelist Posts: 583   +317

    The Nintendo Switch absolutely will not be a challenge for the PS4 or the Xbox One in the graphics department.

    Depending upon how memory is used, most likely we will see 1080 P gaming on the big screen.

    Virtual reality ?


    It is interesting to finally hear them say that it will have a touchscreen because I thought that it was very odd that we never saw anyone into react with the screen in the videos. It would have been suicide to not have a touchscreen at this point.

    The 3DS/XL needs an integrated analog thumb stick without the add-ons. In the long run, Nintendo will probably do a lot better with its basic handhelds than it will with this obvious money making gimmick .
  23. Mr Dude

    Mr Dude TS Enthusiast Posts: 64   +47

    Wow. Exactly what do you expect to go into the cartrige? A 20 hours por- ahem, documentary collection?
    Considering the size of modern games and the fact that it will be a 720p portable console, it won't have to pack all that much in terms of textures and graphics/audio files.

    I mean, it won't have 20GB of 4K cinematics, unlike *cough*other*cough* games. Big whoop. For actual game files, it's more than enough.
  24. spydercanopus

    spydercanopus TS Evangelist Posts: 846   +102

    The GTAV 16 vs 8 vs 4GB RAM accounts for having dedicated VRAM and simply using system RAM for preloading files.

    That's why it doesn't matter how much PC memory you have for some games.

    However, when it comes to portables, the RAM is normally shared for use as VRAM and system RAM.

    The Switch's 4GB likely counts onboard RAM and any VRAM the Tegra contains. I'm gonna throw out a 2+2GB guess. 2GB system RAM and 2GB VRAM. Hopefully it's more like 1+3GB however, since the ROMs will likely be fast enough not to need "pre-loading" data from the game.
  25. Kibaruk

    Kibaruk TechSpot Paladin Posts: 3,158   +829

    Are you also going to tell me that the games had all the ram only to themselves and the OS actually used 0?

    Also let me remind you the "custom" tegra chip, we have no idea what that means and so far everything is simple speculation.

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