The Wii U is technically going to be the first of the "next generation" game consoles to be released, well ahead of the next consoles from Sony and Microsoft. The console is currently scheduled to launch sometime in 2012. However, if a new rumor news story is correct, the hardware specs for the Wii U look, at least on paper, to be pretty close to the current generation hardware found inside the Xbox 360 and PS3 consoles.
The WiiUDaily.com web site claims to have received the hardware info for the console from a game developer who is in the process of porting a current PS3 game to the Wii U. The source claims that the processor inside the Wii U is a 3 GHz PowerPC-based 45nm CPU with four processor cores. By contrast, the current Xbox 360 has a 3.2 Ghz PowerPC inside but with only three processor cores.
The story also says that Nintendo is actually testing out two versions of the Wii U. One of them has 768 MB of DRAM inside while the other has a full 1 GB of DRAM. Both versions have the memory embedded in the CPU and the memory is shared between the CPU and the GPU.
Finally, the source claims that the GPU is ATI-based but made on a 40nm process. No other info on the GPU was revealed.
While the Wii U could be somewhat more powerful than the Xbox 360 on paper, the big question is whether the combination of hardware inside the console will be enough to run high end games. Nintendo is most likely trying to strike a balance between hardware and low cost like it did on the original Wii.