Skip to the "VS" section below if you just want the educated guess of the next gen comparison.
Nintendo last week gave us a look at the new console that will be released next year around summer of 2012. Here is some important facts about the new system and some educated guesses that we can make and give us a pretty good idea about what the next generation will look like between all 3 systems.
First before I get into listing what we know and what we can guess at, I want to give everyone some background to this speculation: http://www.gustavhalling.com/2011/06/08/wiiu-thoughts-nintendos-new-console/This is a designer for dice, he knowsthe specs inside Wii U, and while he does get some things wrong (Zelda was rendered in REAL TIME, meaning you can take that as in-game footage of what a zelda game would look like on Wii U, he does say that Wii U will be the strongest console"BY FAR"when released. his words, and capitalization was his as well, it's in the comments below.)
The longer garden demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2Nsa06KRLo
The Zelda Demo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arHNcSMXaBk
1. Foxxcon to start production of console in October of this year.A million units created a month, about 8million needed for a world wide launch, giving it a may/june release for those counting
2. Power7 CPU, same architecture used in watson.This is a 4 core CPU running at at least 3.0ghz, with 4 threads per core and at least 16mb embedded ram. giving it a realleap over current gen consoles inCPU. This will alsobe the same cpu you will find in the Xbox next, though they might go with more cores, but is likely that they will stick with 4 cores, as heat rises with more cores, and it's likely not going to give them too much of a difference in head room. Basically Microsoft knows this next gen will be a 3 horse race, and won't see much of a reason to spend too much money on making the box more expensive, they will definitely over power Wii U, but it will likely be xbox vs ps2 in power, rather then ps360 vs wii.
3. Wii U's likely using a R700 GPU. The original leak of Wii U back in April nailed the details of the controller, what type of CPU it was using and had an educated guess as to R700 from AMD/ATI this would fit in a closed box system with the Power7 CPU well, Nintendo doesn't use APIs like DX11, so using a DX11 card means nothing to them, also what a lot of people don't realize is Nintendo has a chip developer inside their company, that helped make the original Gamecube's GPU thanks to ArtX doing all the heavy lifting, AMD owns the original ArtX team and they work with Nintendo's development team on custom chips for their GPU, meaning the R700 chip, likely a reworked R770 (4850/4870 @ 32nm/28nm process) would be highly customized, but sit right around the same performance as the HD4870 and sit under 100watts. The real importance to all this speculation about the GPU though is that Nintendo will have to use something this powerful to keep the CPU fed and to have the multiple display, thanks to the controller.
4. RAM. This next part is speculation, it has more ram then ps360, Dice confirmed that in the link above, how much ram is a good question, developers are whispering 1gb in the dev kits with Nintendo telling them 1.5GB in finalized hardware, which makes a lot of sense for what they are trying to do, but will likely be AT LEAST 512MB less than PS4/xbox3. This will allow them to have HD graphics even if it means 720P @ 60fps vs PS4's 3D @ 720p (impossible currently for HDMI to produce 1080p 3D above24fps)/ xbox3's 1080P @ 60fps.
Sorry to burst everyone's bubble, but PS4/Xbox Next cannot put Wii U behind far enough to turn it into Dreamcast/Wii, from a technical stand point, it is simply impossible working inside TDP's and Technology slated for 2013. Here is why at best they can make it the PS2 of next gen, and at worst, put the comparison to gamecube vs xbox.
1. IBM will not have a Power8 architecture out by 2013. All next generation consoles will likely use Power7 cores, which are based on IBM's work on the Cell Processor, but highly advanced and much more efficient.
2. R770 vs R870 is in the same ballpark graphics wise.and getting the TDP's down far enough to use something from the HD7000 series, will be possible, but will keep a performance simular to a 6870/5870 if they go with a big enough console a 6950's performance will be possible at a 20nm process, but it will still be comparable and arguably fit right inside the ps2 vs xbox comparison.
3. RAM going beyond 3GB next generation is simply useless for a closed console with a ~HD6950/Power7 core @ 1080P. Developers will always want more of course, but that's to make development easier, Microsoft and Sony would be much smarter to use 2GB ram inside their next boxes, as the power of these consoles will not match up well with the extra ram and will seem like a waste.
4. Developers will not want to throw away their engines,but will want to evolve what they have, UE4 can likely be optimized to sit into a 6950/Power7 system at nearly no loss of detail (minus going to 1080P) leaving Wii U to get a 720P version of the same engine with a ~HD4800 series chip. To further drive this point home, Darksiders 2 was ported to Wii U in 5 weeks, GRO in 4 weeks. Developers will like to keep their cost and development times down.
5. Deminitioning returns are here to stay. Here is a question for you;
Does Gears of War 3: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kFmYbaAjrfovs
Project Samaritan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RSXyztq_0uM=
If the Wii U is 4 to 5 times more powerful than PS360, then PS4/Xbox Next could be 10 times more powerful and end up only 2 times the power of Wii U, leaving the comparison of PS2 vs Xbox (300mhz cpu, 32mb ram vs 733mhz cpu, 64mb ram) to be anear identical comparison but with it meaning even less then it did in that generation and this is the worst case scenario with Microsoft and Sony pushing the limits of 250Watt/TDP in 2013)
This is an educated guess, but the limits of what you can put into a box the size of PS3 in 2013 is very real, there is also the very real danger of another PS3, which Sony could not afford, and I doubt Microsoft wants to take on another RROD situation. Any questions about my estimations or if more links are needed to my facts, please let me know, the only one that is currently heavily rumored in facts was Wii U's Ram, the GPU is pretty much an estimation based on prior reports (IGN, net 01) matching up the CPU and stuff like running the garden demo on both the tv and tablet at the same time.