Along with pretty much everything else about the Wii, including its name, Nintendo has kept the Wii specs pretty close to its collective chest. Given they’re now out in the open, as well as available to software developers, this is a good time to take an in-depth look at the Nintendo Wii specs and find out exactly what you’re getting for your money.
In all the fuss about the innovative Nintendo Wii controller, it’s been hard to appreciate the underlying excellence of the actual box itself.
The CPU, known as Broadway, was developed and manufactured in association with IBM. It operates at 729 megahertz and bandwidth tops at 1.9 gigabytes per second. The graphics processing unit, developed by ATI, clocks at 243MHZ. It comes with three meg of onboard dedicated graphics memory and 24 MB of high-speed main memory.
The external main memory is 64megabytes of GDDR3 (MEM2) which can be accessed by both the CPU and GPU at a top speed of four gig a second.
The console itself is unusually small, significantly smaller than the PS3 or the Xbox 360. At 8.5 inches high, six inches deep, and a shave under two inches thick (16cm by 21cm by 4.5 cm), it’s about the size of three DVD cases. Even with the stand it takes up less carpet or cabinet real estate than other consoles, and can be stood either vertical or horizontal.
In a real innovation, the optical disc drive (which glows blue) supports both the new 12cm single-sided double-layer game discs for the Wii, and the older 8cm GameCube discs. When a GameCube disc is inserted into the Nintendo Wii, the console automatically adjusts the speed of the GPU to suit the game. The drive reads at a maximum speed equivalent to DVDx6. Inserting a disc automatically turns the console on, and turning it off automatically ejects the disc.
The Nintendo Wii console supports a plethora of peripherals. It can process input from four Wii controllers at once. It also has ports, however, to take four GameCube controllers, increasing its backwards compatibility with the older console, as well as slots for two GameCube memory cards. (It’s not, however, compatible with many of the GameCube’s other peripherals, including its Game Boy player.) On top of this (not literally), the Nintendo Wii also sports two USB ports at the rear and one SD card slot in the front.
Nintendo is adamant that the Wii is compatible with all televisions, existing and forthcoming. It produces up to 480p NTSC or 576 pixels PAL. It works with projectors as well, and supports 16:9 widescreen modes. The console is Dolby ProLogic II capable, and the controller has its own speaker, adding a new dimension to surround sound gaming.
Intriguingly, the Nintendo Wii console connects wirelessly to the internet, even when it’s off. It can download updates from Nintendo’s WiiConnect24 support service at any time, and you can decide for yourself how paranoid to be about that. It connects wirelessly using IEEE 802.11 or a USB 2.0 LAN adaptor. Mii avatars can also be stored on the internet, or downloaded into the controller for transportation between different consoles.
The Wii also has a parental control mode, where the console can be set to refuse to play games rated above a certain level, highlighting Nintendo’s concentration on the family gaming market. Game discs have their rating level encoded on to them, and ratings are keyed with the requirements for each local market.
All in all, even for a seventh generation console, the Nintendo Wii’s specs are impressive.
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