Rumor Mill: The Nintendo Switch's Innards Have Been Outed!
Nintendo has kept its cards very close to their chest when it comes to the Nintendo Switch. Information on its hardware, OS, and sometimes even its software has been hard to come by. Even after multiple Nintendo Switch consoles got delivered early -- and were eventually revealed as stolen merchandise -- we still don't know that much about the system!
Now, a Chinese site known as Taobao has claimed that they tore apart a Nintendo Switch console, and have released the images to the world. Keep in mind: this is still just a rumor until confirmed by multiple sources. As such, one should take our analysis of these images, as well as the images themselves, with a hint of skepticism at all times. The legitimacy of these images can range from a knockoff console to a prototype console, after all.
With that said: let's take a peek, shall we?
The Part Everyone Wants to Know About
First up is the part that everyone has been wondering about: the processor. Our resident tech-guy (and associate editor) looked into the code on the chip, which has been printed as "UDNX02-A2." This code bears a resemblance to those of the Tegra X1. However, the most interesting thing to note is the "A2" part of the code. This would mean that this is a second revision of the Tegra X1, making this a newer chip than ones already on the market.
Does this mean that the Nintendo Switch is running on Pascal tech? Probably not. At the very least, we know that the Switch will be running on a newer revision of the X1, and hopefully, that will be enough to ease the minds of fans who are hoping for a more powerful console.
Until someone X-Rays the chip -- or at the very least uses a razor and microscope -- this is about as accurate as the information will get for some time. Assuming that this is legitimate, of course.
Other Good Stuff
As if it hasn't been confirmed enough times, the Nintendo Switch found on the Taobao site had a non-replaceable battery. While this means that the rumors and official sources were telling the truth, it will be some small comfort to hardware junkies that the battery can still technically be replaced. All it will take is some wiring know-how -- and the gall to risk damaging your system.
The fan found in the Nintendo Switch console is quite sizable, taking up at least 1/7 of the space inside the device. Those who followed my hands-on coverage of the device at the Toronto event already know that the console was very efficient at remaining cool while switching to -- and playing in -- handheld mode. The fact that this leak uses a stronger fan typically found on nVidia devices lends credit to the legitimacy of this leak.
Dedicated Audio Card
As expected, the Nintendo Switch (or at least this alleged Switch) has a dedicated audio card for both speaker playback, as well as the headphone jack seen on the bottom-right of the chip. This can only be a good thing as this means we will get higher quality sound playback, even while the device is not in console mode.
The following images were also included on the Taobao site, but creative liberty was taken while assigning their purpose due to the unconventional shape of the pieces, and my lack of ability to read Chinese.
Most likely the SD card reader, at least based on the lack of visibility on the initial -- mostly still built -- image...
Without a doubt, the main motherboard. Note the CPU/GPU in the middle, as well as the connections for other parts and hardware.
Possibly the Nintendo Switch card reader? The black bit at the top right might be where the cartridges connect. Otherwise, I'm at a loss...
Could this be a type of low grade SSD, or SD card soldered to the board? EMMC being on the board indicates it could be where the OS is stored?
That's all folks!
So we now (possibly) know more about the Nintendo Switch than before. We still don't know if this A2 version of the Tegra X1 is the rumored "Pascal" architecture that people thought was being put into the console, but at the very least we know that it's a newer Tegra family processor.
As for the rest, we now know that the battery is at the very least removable -- if not traditionally replaceable; and we also know that there is enough fan power to ensure players won't get toasty hands while playing.
So what do you think of this new release of information? Got any guesses as to the parts that we couldn't figure out? Leave your thoughts and guesses in the comments section below!