Wii U GPU details,crazy customized fixed function GPU,176-450gflops

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#1 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

 ***edit*** some ppl think the range for flops is now 176-450. it depends on the number of ALU's per SIMD unit.

Some people at Neogaf got some die pics of the WiiU GPU, and it turns out that its crazy customized. It barely resembles an r700. Some people estimate that the floating point performance for the programmable shaders is around 176. In comparison Xenos is 240. The question everyone has is how the WiiU manages to run the games from teh current gen consoles with such a difference. Obviously flops cant be directly compared, but 176 is still a low number(an order of maginitude different). The idea is that the WiiU's fixed function hardware is what is allowing the console to be so energy efficient, and slightly outperform the current gen systems. Before anyone calls Nintendo cheap keep in mind custom hardware is more expensive than going the traditional route lie slightly modifying an off the shelf gpu which is what Sony and Microsoft tend to do. I guess you really can say that the WiiU is another gamecube.  Personally i think its an amazing feat of engineering, and one of the reasons i like Nintendo. They do weird and cool stuff, and while it may not benefit gamers it certainly is interesting for those who are more interested in this kind of stuff.

Here is teh thread:

 http://www.neogaf.com/forum/showthread.php?t=511628


What's going on here?

A few days ago, wsippel noticed that Chipworks had Wii U die photos up for sale on their website, and at $200 a piece (for each of the CPU, GPU and NOR dies), some of us in the Wii U Technical Discussion Thread decided to chip in a few dollars each to buy the GPU photo, with the aim of a few of us (Fourth Storm, wsippel, Blu, Durante and myself) deciphering it and posting up our results on GAF. Chipworks, though, decided to be amazingly kind and helpful, and sent an email back to us offering not only to do a higher quality polysilicon die photo for us at their expense (as they felt their existing shot didn't give us the detail we needed), but to allow us to post the full-res photo up here on GAF for all you lovely folks to enjoy!

We had originally planned on taking a day or so to figure the chip out before posting this, but as Chipworks already put it up on their blog, we figured might as well just throw this up and do the analysis in real-time.

What am I looking at?

Well, the first thing to note is that we're looking at something very different from a standard R700 die (we know that Latte is based on AMD's R700 line originally). This makes it more difficult than we'd hoped to analyse, as comparison to existing AMD die shots would generally be our main strategy. There are a few things we can say so far, though:

- The die is exactly 11.88 x 12.33mm (146.48mm²)

- The large orange block on the left is the 32MB of eDRAM (MEM1).

- The smaller orange block above it seems to be about 3MB of eDRAM. This might be the framebuffer for Wii mode, or the L2 texture cache, or something else, we're not 100% sure at this point.

- In the lower left there is what appears to be a dual-core ARM (used for security/streaming purposes) and possibly a DSP (or custom logic for the video streaming).

- Along the bottom and right sides of the chip are likely DDR3 controllers. The top and left sides of the chip are probably for communication with the CPU.

- All the small dark orange/black blocks you see over the GPU part of the die are SRAM blocks. The number and formation of them should give us clues as to what part of the chip does what.

- The eight squarish groupings on the right hand side are possibly the VLIW5 shader clusters. However, due to the apparent increased amount of SRAM there, along with the unusual layout and the general changes to the die, it's entirely possible that the number of shaders in each cluster has changed from R700 dies. In fact, at this point it's even possible that the microarchitecture itself has changed, a la the VLIW4 used in some of AMD's 6000 series GPUs. Therefore, we could have a fairly unusual number of shader cores.

- It's likely there's some legacy Broadway hardware on there for BC purposes.

Up: To clarify, Wii's "Broadway" GPU (inc. eDRAM) was 8mm x 9mm, or 72mm² on a 90nm process. That would only account for about 10-20% of the die space on a 146.48mm² 40nm chip, if they just slapped Broadway on there. However, given Shiota's comment here, many of the Wii BC functions should actually be handled by the Wii U's GPU hardware, so the actual amount of die space used purely for Wii BC should be very small, possibly just 5-10%.

I'll be updating this post as more info is figured out, so check back for updates.

c10234f5_d813301_13195mk1y.png

Red are the (presumed) shader clusters. Blue are the (presumed) TMUs.

The rest of the colorization are simply self-similar components that may not be layed down exactly in square blocks, but are still recognizable.

Neogaf dude



#2 Posted by clyde46 (47840 posts) -
5% of people here on SW will know what that info actually means.
#3 Posted by super600 (31216 posts) -

Nice job ninty.A 176GFlop GPU is more powerful then a 240GFlop GPU.

#4 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

5% of people here on SW will know what that info actually means. clyde46

too bad for the other 95% i guess :?

TL;DR

Nintendo made super customized hardware that lets it do all the stuff we'd need and want it to do despite having lower theoretical performance. They do all this while  maintaining lower power usage far below what the current gen consoles consume including the redesigned slim versions.

#5 Posted by MrYaotubo (2798 posts) -

Nice job ninty.A 176GFlop GPU is more powerful then a 240GFlop GPU.

super600
That´s not how it works.
#6 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

[QUOTE="super600"]

Nice job ninty.A 176GFlop GPU is more powerful then a 240GFlop GPU.

MrYaotubo

That´s not how it works.

Actually that is how it works. For example on average Nvidia GPU's have half the floating point performance of an AMD chip but perform on par or better than them. Having fixed function hardware for things like lighting, tesselation, and other effects negate the need for more programmable shader units thereby lowering theoretical shader performance yet achieving the same effect at the same or better performance. Hardwired effects generally tend to be close to free in terms of computational performance, and consume less power.

 

 

#7 Posted by psymon100 (6835 posts) -

[QUOTE="clyde46"]5% of people here on SW will know what that info actually means. painguy1

too bad for the other 95% i guess :?

TL;DR

Nintendo made super customized hardware that lets it do all the stuff we'd need and want it to do despite having lower theoretical performance. They do all this while  maintaining lower power usage far below what the current gen consoles consume including the redesigned slim versions.

Succinct and salient. 

#8 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -
Not only is that impressive but the dual GPU technology elevates it even further.
#9 Posted by Fizzman (9886 posts) -

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

#10 Posted by super600 (31216 posts) -

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

Fizzman

It's customized to be more powerful then the current HD twins.

#11 Posted by Fizzman (9886 posts) -

[QUOTE="Fizzman"]

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

super600

It's customized to be more powerful then the current HD twins.

When i see games that don't look like ****, i might start to believe that.  

#12 Posted by super600 (31216 posts) -

[QUOTE="super600"]

[QUOTE="Fizzman"]

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

Fizzman

It's customized to be more powerful then the current HD twins.

When i see games that don't look like ****, i might start to believe that.  

I'm getting my info from the neogaf thread.

#13 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -

[QUOTE="Fizzman"]

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

super600

It's customized to be more powerful then the current HD twins.

And it does, look at project X, using the enhanced Flop revenue, combined with the Dual GPu technology.
#14 Posted by Serioussamik (747 posts) -

"Up: To clarify, Wii's "Broadway" GPU (inc. eDRAM) was 8mm x 9mm, or 72mm² on a 90nm process. That would only account for about 10-20% of the die space on a 146.48mm² 40nm chip, if they just slapped Broadway on there. However, given Shiota's comment here, many of the Wii BC functions should actually be handled by the Wii U's GPU hardware, so the actual amount of die space used purely for Wii BC should be very small, possibly just 5-10%."

 

...and Sony had to put both the Emotion Engine and Graphics Synthesizer chips in the early PS3's in order to make it backward compatible and later on both chips had to be removed to make the console 'affordable' .LOL

Nintendo sure does a few things smarter.

#15 Posted by Novotine (1199 posts) -
so if I'm reading this right, it looks like the Wii U is dead.
#16 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

so if I'm reading this right, it looks like the Wii U is dead. Novotine

No it just means the WiiU is not for you. I'd reccomend a gaming PC if your worried about power, infact I'd reccomend one to everyone regardless :P. 

#17 Posted by BrunoBRS (73374 posts) -
so if I'm reading this right, it looks like the Wii U is dead. Novotine
deader than a vita without batteries during a blackout.
#18 Posted by RyanShazam (6498 posts) -
All we need is Nintendo to show off their games and all will be well for the Wii U.
#19 Posted by Kinthalis (5340 posts) -

Lol!

 

Several generations ahead GPU architecture trumps 7 year old GPu architecture in efficiency - news at 11!

 

Seriously man. This is like being suprised that an Intel i5 is more powerful than an old Pentium running at the same clock.

 

#20 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

All we need is Nintendo to show off their games and all will be well for the Wii U.RyanShazam

IMO I wouldn't expect too much of a difference from current gen, only slightly better. Still, with Nintendo's art im sure teh games will look magnificent.

 

 

#21 Posted by yellosnolvr (19302 posts) -

[QUOTE="super600"]

[QUOTE="Fizzman"]

Soooooooooooooooooooo, it's a customized piece of ****.  

Fizzman

It's customized to be more powerful then the current HD twins.

When i see games that don't look like ****, i might start to believe that.  

cool. system is not even 4 months old. potential of hard is extremely untapped in these first few years as we've seen the past 2 generations. you are jumping to conclusions far too early, dear sir. if it still looks like ass in another year or so, then i'll hop on the same wagon as you, trust me.
#22 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (9723 posts) -

So, in other words Nintendo has done a fine job at customizing their hardware. But had to sacrifice power for backwards compatability?

#23 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

So, in other words Nintendo has done a fine job at customizing their hardware. But had to sacrifice power for backwards compatability?

FireEmblem_Man

To a certain degree backwards compatability had a lot to do with the route they went. This is especially evident with the CPU.

 

 

#24 Posted by Novotine (1199 posts) -

[QUOTE="Novotine"]so if I'm reading this right, it looks like the Wii U is dead. painguy1

No it just means the WiiU is not for you. I'd reccomend a gaming PC if your worried about power, infact I'd reccomend one to everyone regardless :P. 

how do you know what's right for me? how rude

#25 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (9723 posts) -

[QUOTE="FireEmblem_Man"]

So, in other words Nintendo has done a fine job at customizing their hardware. But had to sacrifice power for backwards compatability?

painguy1

To a certain degree backwards compatability had a lot to do with the route they went. This is especially evident with the CPU.

 

 

Interesting, well it seems that Nintendo has mastered the art of true backwards compatability.

But there still is a lot of unanswered questions about their GPU, after all they call it a "General Purpose GPU" meaning there has to be more than meets the eye.

#26 Posted by Mrmedia01 (1917 posts) -

5% of people here on SW will know what that info actually means. clyde46

 

This^^^ I am a tech person, but have know idea wtf Terriflops are and what not.

 

So the question is...... is it more powerful than PS3 or Xbox 360? If so how much more powerful? Whats the weaknesses and strengths?

#27 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -

[QUOTE="RyanShazam"]All we need is Nintendo to show off their games and all will be well for the Wii U.painguy1

IMO I wouldn't expect too much of a difference from current gen, only slightly better. Still, with Nintendo's art im sure teh games will look magnificent.

 

 

Observe: 360 version:  Wii U version:  Nintendo will finally purify the corrupted minds and bring back true gaming quality. The Vita will also help in this. With over 4 million sold world wide, the Wii U is unstoppable with breaking bone speeds.
#28 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (9723 posts) -

[QUOTE="painguy1"]

[QUOTE="RyanShazam"]All we need is Nintendo to show off their games and all will be well for the Wii U.StaticOnTV

IMO I wouldn't expect too much of a difference from current gen, only slightly better. Still, with Nintendo's art im sure teh games will look magnificent.

 

 

Observe: 360 version: - Wii U version: - Nintendo will finally purify the corrupted minds and bring back true gaming quality. The Vita will also help in this. With over 4 million sold world wide, the Wii U is unstoppable with breaking bone speeds.

Ninja Gaiden Black came out on the Original Xbox :|

Plus it's a completely unfair comparison

#29 Posted by AznbkdX (3651 posts) -

Thanks for the extra information painguy! It was rather insightful albeit obvious to some ppl. :P

Yeah I had a feeling that its power consumption to its customizability and what it puts out is pretty good.

#30 Posted by MFDOOM1983 (8461 posts) -
^^ Looks like you're confusing the OG Xbox's NG(2004) with NG 3.
#31 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -

[QUOTE="StaticOnTV"][QUOTE="painguy1"]

IMO I wouldn't expect too much of a difference from current gen, only slightly better. Still, with Nintendo's art im sure teh games will look magnificent.

 

 

FireEmblem_Man

Observe: 360 version:  Wii U version:  Nintendo will finally purify the corrupted minds and bring back true gaming quality. The Vita will also help in this. With over 4 million sold world wide, the Wii U is unstoppable with breaking bone speeds.

Ninja Gaiden Black came out on the Original Xbox :|

Uh, what? Those are Ninja Gaiden 3 pics.
#32 Posted by GarGx1 (3911 posts) -

Can't really go purely on GFLOPS/TFLOPS to give the raw power of a GPU.

For example here's my card (GTX 590) rates at 2.49 TFLOPS and the AMD equivalent (6990) rates a massive 5.1 TFLOPS but in benchmarks my card generally wins over the AMD 6990. Even the single card, AMD 6970, has a rating of 2.7 TFLOPS but is much weaker than the GTX 590 in use.

Even the GTX 680 (this years top single card) rates at 3.1 TFLOPS and is weaker than the 590 in many areas.

#33 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (9723 posts) -

[QUOTE="FireEmblem_Man"]

[QUOTE="StaticOnTV"] Observe: 360 version:  Wii U version:  Nintendo will finally purify the corrupted minds and bring back true gaming quality. The Vita will also help in this. With over 4 million sold world wide, the Wii U is unstoppable with breaking bone speeds.StaticOnTV

Ninja Gaiden Black came out on the Original Xbox :|

Uh, what? Those are Ninja Gaiden 3 pics.

No it isn't, that image you post for the 360 is from Ninja Gaiden: Black

#34 Posted by GarGx1 (3911 posts) -

[QUOTE="FireEmblem_Man"]

[QUOTE="StaticOnTV"] Observe: 360 version:  Wii U version:  Nintendo will finally purify the corrupted minds and bring back true gaming quality. The Vita will also help in this. With over 4 million sold world wide, the Wii U is unstoppable with breaking bone speeds.StaticOnTV

Ninja Gaiden Black came out on the Original Xbox :|

Uh, what? Those are Ninja Gaiden 3 pics.

Lots of jaggies too

#35 Posted by MFDOOM1983 (8461 posts) -
First image is from ninja gaiden on the original xbox, and the second image is either a cutscene or bullshot from ng3.
#36 Posted by Fizzman (9886 posts) -

Do Sheep still think the Wii U is going to end up having good graphics?  

Barely 720p at 30FPS in 2013 is laughable.  

PS3 and 360 have garbage graphics, but thankfully those consoles came out 6-7 years ago.  

#37 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -
Another example of games prove no other console can touch the Wii U:
#38 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -

Do Sheep still think the Wii U is going to end up having good graphics?  

Barely 720p at 30FPS in 2013 is laughable.  

PS3 and 360 have garbage graphics, but thankfully those consoles came out 6-7 years ago.  

Fizzman
#39 Posted by super600 (31216 posts) -

All comparisions to current gen consoles are thrown out of the window if you're comparing the flops of the GPU according to some of the people on neogaf. 

#40 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -

All comparisions to current gen consoles are thrown out of the window if you're comparing the flops of the GPU according to some of the people on neogaf. 

super600
Right now I would not take them too seriously. They are spending most of the time being distracted making Kaz gifs and pics.
#41 Posted by super600 (31216 posts) -

[QUOTE="clyde46"]5% of people here on SW will know what that info actually means. Mrmedia01

 

This^^^ I am a tech person, but have know idea wtf Terriflops are and what not.

 

So the question is...... is it more powerful than PS3 or Xbox 360? If so how much more powerful? Whats the weaknesses and strengths?

No one has no clue how powerful it is anymore because of the custom designed hardware. It's probably anywere from 1.5X-2.5X stronger then the other consoles if it was designed like the gamecube.

#42 Posted by BrunoBRS (73374 posts) -
[QUOTE="super600"]

All comparisions to current gen consoles are thrown out of the window if you're comparing the flops of the GPU according to some of the people on neogaf. 

StaticOnTV
Right now I would not take them too seriously. They are spending most of the time being distracted making Kaz gifs and pics.

because making funny gifs makes you dumber and unable to think.
#43 Posted by StaticOnTV (597 posts) -
[QUOTE="StaticOnTV"][QUOTE="super600"]

All comparisions to current gen consoles are thrown out of the window if you're comparing the flops of the GPU according to some of the people on neogaf. 

BrunoBRS
Right now I would not take them too seriously. They are spending most of the time being distracted making Kaz gifs and pics.

because making funny gifs makes you dumber and unable to think.

Where were you in 2007?
#44 Posted by BrunoBRS (73374 posts) -

[QUOTE="BrunoBRS"][QUOTE="StaticOnTV"] Right now I would not take them too seriously. They are spending most of the time being distracted making Kaz gifs and pics.StaticOnTV
because making funny gifs makes you dumber and unable to think.

Where were you in 2007?

i can't answer that question. i've made too many funny gifs to remember where i was during a whole year (obviously it was in a single place, otherwise you wouldn't make that question, right?)

#45 Posted by painguy1 (8686 posts) -

So right now people are saying its 352 gflops to 450. Still its not that much of a difference just thought i'd put that out there. It makes things seem less stupid.

#46 Posted by FireEmblem_Man (9723 posts) -

So right now people are saying its 352 gflops to 450. Still its not that much of a difference just thought i'd put that out there. It makes things seem less stupid.

painguy1

Now it's finally making sense, hopefully updated the original OP before posters say it's worst than Xenos

#47 Posted by Cali3350 (16130 posts) -

Please stop with the X% more powerful stuff.  Its horrible for hardware.  Hardware architectures all have ups and downs, and all of those downs can be tricked into being ups through various optimizations.  Obbviously some hardware is more powerful, but this 50% stronger! stuff is a horrible misrepresentation of how hardware works.  

#48 Posted by ronvalencia (15686 posts) -

Can't really go purely on GFLOPS/TFLOPS to give the raw power of a GPU.

For example here's my card (GTX 590) rates at 2.49 TFLOPS and the AMD equivalent (6990) rates a massive 5.1 TFLOPS but in benchmarks my card generally wins over the AMD 6990. Even the single card, AMD 6970, has a rating of 2.7 TFLOPS but is much weaker than the GTX 590 in use.

Even the GTX 680 (this years top single card) rates at 3.1 TFLOPS and is weaker than the 590 in many areas.

GarGx1

GPU's fix function hardware is the other half of the performance equation.

Anyway, Radeon HD 8790M 's 384 (GCN) stream processors beats Radeon HD 7690M's 480 (VLIW) stream processors.

#49 Posted by SaltyMeatballs (25159 posts) -
Wii U is more powerful.
#50 Posted by Chozofication (4402 posts) -

It's double 360, end of story.  Those guys on Neogaf have been getting no where for months.