Only days after going inside the Sony Playstation 3, Semiconductor Insights rolled the cameras once again, this time as it went inside the Nintendo Wii. This is what it found.
"This is the last of the 'next generation' videogame platforms to be released, and it redefines the way videogames are played," said Gregory A. Quirk, SI's technical marketing manager. "Using three-axis motion signal-processing technology, the Wii is a truly interactive gaming experience, where [game] controller movements simulate actions on the screen."
The Nintendo Wii is the first SI has seen of the 90-nanometer IBM processor code-named Broadway. The device was designed solely for Nintendo using IBM's Power architecture. The processor features silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, which improves processing power and reduces energy consumption by 20 percent.
"Nintendo has used both 1T-SRAM and eDRAM technology," said Don Scansen, SI's lead process technology analyst. "It remains to be seen if the NEC/MoSys-co-designed 90-nm embedded DRAM will provide enough power to compete with the game play offered by Microsoft and Sony."
SI is currently analyzing some of the components inside the Nintendo console, including the IBM Broadway processor; ATI Hollywood graphics processor; Broadcom BCM2042 wireless sensor with Bluetooth functionality, Broadcom BCM4318 Wi-Fi transceiver; Qimonda HYB18HS1232 GDDR3 graphics RAM; Samsung K9F4G08U0A 65-nm, 4-Gbit NAND flash; and Elpida S1616AGTA 16-Mbit SDRAM.
Click on the image below to view the video teardown.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.