Nintendo 3DS graphics chip confirmed

Japanese graphics house DMP has confirmed that their PICA200 GPU powers the Nintendo 3DS. Eurogamer's Digital Foundry goes in-depth on the hardware and points-out that the PICA200 is a fairly old design that was completed more than 5 years ago. This puts the horsepower of the chip below the PowerVR SGX535 that powers the iPhone 3GS and iPad. Digital Foundry also clarifies that the chip does not support the OpenGL ES 2.0 standard that Apple's recent devices have utilized.

According to DMP, the PICA200 is capable of rendering 15.3 million polygons per second, with a throughput of 800 million pixels per second. For comparison's sake, the iPhone 3GS's GPU is able to render 28 million polygons per second with a throughput of 500 million pixels per second. These numbers may be somewhat deceiving though as Apple does not allow low level coding to hardware as is typically done when programming for consoles and portable gaming devices.

Futuremark put together a demo highlighting the PICA200's graphical capabilities at the time of its launch. It should be noted that this sort of graphics demo does not account for the processing power needed to run game logic and AI routines.

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Looks good, but how does it stand up in terms of battery life. Graphics won't mean anything if I can't use the device for more than a few hours before I have to recharge...

Since the first Gameboy all Nintendo devices had being excellent in battery life. Also Nintendo confirmed that this device will last as long as the Nintendo DS which is excellent

"It should be noted that this sort of graphics demo does not account for the processing power needed to run game logic and AI routines."

I doubt they will be as good as that as Conjor said it will drain the battery.

Shaun. said,
"It should be noted that this sort of graphics demo does not account for the processing power needed to run game logic and AI routines."

I doubt they will be as good as that as Conjor said it will drain the battery.

I agree. Battery life is key.

"he PICA200 is capable of rendering 15.3 million polygons per second, with a throughput of 800 million pixels per second. For comparison's sake, the iPhone 3GS's GPU is able to render 28 million polygons per second with a throughput of 500 million pixels per second"
This just shows who much battery it'll drain

There's a few facts to mention:

While this Demo doesn't account for all other tasks that the 3DS might be doing in-game, it also uses a resolution way higher than the 3DS screen. Yeah, there might be some extra processing with the 3D effect and the double screen, but normally the other screen usually just shows 2D graphics like a Menu, or simple 3D graphics.

The graphics shown at E3 seems to be in the order of a First Gen NGC/Wii Game, which is cool.
Apple products have a very complex OS running behind every App and multitasking capabilities. Is not the same as a dedicated Game device. Also, who cares? The Apple products may compete in casual gaming but they are still a very long way to go in other regions of the gaming market. Fact is, that even with that power PSP games loooks better than Apple games, maybe except of a very few bunch.

And the ultimate fact, Nintendo has been very succesfull producing "good enough" products. Both Nintendo DS and Wii are "undepowered" and they sold like crazy and continue to go on this path. The important thing here is that (at least) you will be able to play the excelent games that Nintendo is known for, now with Wii level graphics and in 3D among other features.

To me that's not "good enough", that's awesome as it was for pretty much everybody that tried it.

Nintendo has never lied, and this will further prove. I don't own any Nintendo system right now, but everything they seem to put out was never a lie except for of course virtual boy, but that was actually 3D... Just poorly done.

HeLGeN-X said,
Nintendo has never lied, and this will further prove. I don't own any Nintendo system right now, but everything they seem to put out was never a lie except for of course virtual boy, but that was actually 3D... Just poorly done.

Poorly done? at the time the tech to do that was amazing, they just needed to add Green and blue instead of just red and they would of had a full color 3D system

neufuse said,

Poorly done? at the time the tech to do that was amazing, they just needed to add Green and blue instead of just red and they would of had a full color 3D system

Not only that but the usability of the product was really bad if you consider that you actually needed a table to play and the thing was just to big to fit in a pocket.

rahvii said,

Not only that but the usability of the product was really bad if you consider that you actually needed a table to play and the thing was just to big to fit in a pocket.

It really wasnt ment to be a portable system

Nintendo likes developing toys, they have never been a big pusher of technology unfortunately. Hope their design decision works out.

nullie said,
Nintendo likes developing toys, they have never been a big pusher of technology unfortunately. Hope their design decision works out.

Has it ever not worked out in the past? The thing they understand is that fun games and gameplay are far more important than cutting edge graphics.

TRC said,

Has it ever not worked out in the past? The thing they understand is that fun games and gameplay are far more important than cutting edge graphics.

Why is it not possible to have all 3 of those things together, is that asking too much?? I would play way more Wii games if they didn't look like an N64 title... Their games are generally fun and have good gameplay but if they could find a way to put all that together they would have something and would actually be in competition.

The chip may be several years old but that doesn't mean it's bad at all! The gpus in the 360 and ps3 are at least that old and still look good! Not to mention it will be running at a lower resolution so it should look even better. We'll just have to see.

I hope that this develops graphics as good or superior than the Gamecube.
------------------------
Thanks God, it has a wider screen now.

@Original Author
The rendering capabilities you quoted are correct for a 200MHz PICA200 chip, but the chip's max clock speed is 400MHz (so essentially depending on scaling could be double those specs).

@Python46
The chip seems to draw 400mW (when clocked at 400MHz). That's very battery friendly IMO.

Source:
http://imgur.com/aoMZq.png (from 2006) and http://i49.tinypic.com/ws4d3l.jpg (from 2008)
(coming from the neogaf.com forums)

"This puts the horsepower of the chip below the PowerVR SGX535 that powers the iPhone 3GS and iPad."

As you would expect?

Tanoru said,
"This puts the horsepower of the chip below the PowerVR SGX535 that powers the iPhone 3GS and iPad."

As you would expect?


raw horsepower never meant anything, it's the actual software+hardware implementation what counts.

@Original Author
Another thing regarding the game logic and AI routines. The 3DS also has a CPU but we have no details on what it could be. That should be responsible for the game logic and AI routines and sound, not the GPU.

We also don't know if the GPU will power both screens or only the top one.

Backward compatibilty with DS games as announced probably means that the CPU part is gonna be one or two ARM chips (as the DS configuration).

Stay tuned :-p

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