IBM shipping Wii CPUs

Mario Factory confirms that it has already received the first batch of "Broadway" CPUs for its next-generation console.

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On September 14, Nintendo will hold simultaneous, superselect press events in Tokyo and New York City to reveal details about its forthcoming Wii console. As part of the hype buildup to the event, Nintendo today revealed that it has already received the first central processing units for its next-gen console.

"The first chips are in our possession," said Genyo Takeda, the senior managing director and general manager of Nintendo's integrated research and development division. "Today's milestone marks the final stage of our drive to reach both core and nontraditional gamers with an inviting, inclusive and remarkable gaming experience."

Though it was not mentioned in the IBM/Nintendo press release, some wire-service reports claim that the first batch of Broadway chips landed in the Mario Factory's hands in July--meaning production of the console could be further along than expected.

The Wii CPU, code-named "Broadway," was developed by American computer giant IBM, which also made the central chip for the Xbox 360. It was made using the 90-nanometer production process at the company's East Fishkill, New York production facility. IBM also codeveloped the PlayStation 3's Cell CPU with Sony and Toshiba.

Not so coincidentally, IBM also made the CPU for Nintendo's current-generation console, the GameCube, which was code-named "Gekko." That chip, made at IBM's Burlington, Vermont, factory, is apparently much less powerful that its successor. "Silicon on Insulator technology from IBM helps deliver to Nintendo a generous improvement in processing power while achieving a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption," said IBM when comparing the Broadway and Gekko processors.

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