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3DS takes longer to load DS games

Despite faster hardware, Nintendo's new portable trails the original DS when it comes to firing up original DS games.


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Nintendo released the 3DS in Japan on February 26, and we promptly flew one back to the States for some tinkering. Nintendo traditionally makes its handheld consoles backward compatible with the previous generation. The original Nintendo DS was backward compatible with Game Boy Advance games, and the pattern continues with the Nintendo 3DS's ability to play Nintendo DS/DSi games.

GameSpot tested load times on the Nintendo 3DS and the Nintendo DS Lite with five DS titles. Time measurements began from the moment we launched the game in the console's menu until we could interact with the game menu. All tests were repeated three times and then averaged to the nearest whole number.

Nintendo 3DS Load Times
Nintendo 3DS Load Times

Surprisingly, the Nintendo 3DS loads games considerably more slowly than the Nintendo DS Lite. On average, the Nintendo 3DS took 35 percent longer than the Nintendo DS Lite to get to the in-game menu. Performance didn't seem to suffer once we started to play the games, though. Frame rates seemed normal across all the games we played.

The Nintendo 3DS has internals that outclass those of the original dual-screen handheld. However, outside of stating that the console contains a 200MHz PICA200 GPU, Nintendo has been silent on the details surrounding the CPU, but it's clear from the resolution jump on both screens that the 3DS needs to have more processing power. By comparison, the original Nintendo DS is powered by a 133MHz ARM9 and a 33MHz ARM7. We're guessing that the software emulation hoops the Nintendo 3DS needs to jump through to run DS games bog it down a bit. Nintendo hasn't yet responded to inquiries regarding the results.

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