Nintendo Wii U 40

Rumor: The Latest Wii U Update Boosted the Wii U CPU & GPU Speeds Tremendously

A new rumor is floating around the web that the latest firmware update on the Wii U boosted the clock speeds of the CPU and the GPU of the system. 

On the source site, there is no evidence or other sites they source, just this statement.

CPU: IBM PowerPC 7xx-based tri-core processor “Espresso” clocked at 1.24 GHz before the 3.0.0 update, 3.24 GHz after the 3.0.0 update. This is an evolution to the Broadway chip used in the Wii, is 64 bit and uses Power6 technote When IBM has said that Nintendo has licensed the Power7 tech from IBM, Nintendo is not using it for the Wii U, explaining its backwards compatibility.

GPU: AMD Radeon High Definition processor codenamed “Latte” with an eDRAM cache built onto the die clocked at 550 MHz before the 3.0.0 update, 800 MHz after the 3.0.0 update.

I don’t know about this one. If it boosted the clock speeds of the processor, wouldn’t have Nintendo said something to developers about it? And this website provides no tests or proof. Were just going to have to wait and see if someone more credible can confirm this.


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  • ei8bit

    Old and New Generations Processor has overclock features. They can stress it out whatever they wanted to as long they have the right tools and as long as the processor limit goes. With the likes of AMD and INTEL, the new generations of processors have features specific for overclocking enthusiast.

    There's a video I saw last time that the group of Overclock Enthusiast using AMD processor bulldozer 3.4 ghz overclock to 5 ghz. Using Hydrogen Cooling system, they achieved that goal. My point is, it could be possible to stress that out but it will take so much heat and stress out the processor to its limits. Also the cooling system of WII U would hold that much longer, so you will have an unstable system and worse it will broke the WII U. It's impossible for me using software update to boost that so much speed, overclock may activate only on BIOS.

    • ei8bit

      My speculation was entirely based on PC. So I have no Idea what goin on console hardware architecture and I dunno what's on the mind behind this Nintendo Hardware. Yeah it may surprise us how powerful this Hardware is.

      LOL It's Over 9000!!! Hidden power it is.

  • SortableDude19

    Is that really even possible to do?

    • RicardJulianti

      To increase the clock speed? Sure. Gamers with dedicated PC's overclock their CPU's all the time. The question isn't if it is possible to do it, but if it is possible to increase it by that much and not burn out.

      Routerbad suggested above that it would even be possible for software to include an override that would allow a clock increase across at least the GPU, maybe CPU but idk personally. This would allow Nintendo to squeeze more performance out of the system without causing it to overheat entirely. There would be no need for most of the software to do that, so there wouldn't be a point in making it system wide if it would just fry the system because someone is playing a VC game which wouldn't need the extra power. I believe they might be able to increase the fan speed a bit in order to help cool the system if they were to do a clock bump with software.

      This almost threefold increase is highly unlikely, but an increase up to 1.49Ghz-2Ghz isn't completely out of the question. 2Ghz might even be too much, but we don't really know.

  • Rpx

    So Nintendo is going to solve the Energy Crisis of the World that is an interesting joke.

    But in all seriously, Nintendo needs to show off “must-have” games for the system before Sony and MSFT dominates the headlines with their next consoles.

    Look, I would prefer a system that works properly without any light of death; so hopefully Nintendo do not break my WiiU with this supposed tweak to the system specs. Basically, Nintendo should not create the next RROD situation with the WiiU.

    That all I asking.

  • MrSilver

    So first Nintendo creates the hardest substance known to man "Nintendium", and now they've learned how to use magic. What will they harness next?

    • RicardJulianti

      Didn't you hear? They are working on perfecting cold fusion. They've done it already, but it just needs that Nintendo polish before they can reveal it.

      • routerbad

        Jeez, they need to stop milking cold fusion and come out with a new IP, like Super Diddy Mil-Spec Shooter: Banana Rampage.

  • Sid

    I don't know too much of this CPU but I see it almost impossible to go from 1.24 GHz to 3.24 GHz, it would just burn the CPU, the Wii U does not have a cooling system to support such an overclock.
    A smaller overclock it would be posible like Ricard said 1.25 to 1.49 GHz, but 2 GHz i don't think so.

    • routerbad

      Power7 has been able to hit stable clocks of 4GHz with very low heat output, but I agree, this would not bode well for system stability at all.

      • Furious Francis

        Routerbad, what is your opinion on the Wii U GPGPU overall?

      • RicardJulianti

        For all we know, Nintendo has a room dedicated to running Wii U's at various overclocks 24/7, some with discs, some without etc just to find out how much they can get away with and how long before the system is fried.

        But I feel like that kind of thing would have been done in R&D and not after the fact….

        • Furious Francis

          Do you think Nintendo purposely tested out the speed first to see if there were reports of overheating, then deemed it safe to bump up the speed? R&D is one thing, but actually getting it into the hands of the public is another.

          The PS3 and Xbox 360 both had R&D and both of those systems suffered with overheating.

          • RicardJulianti

            That's true. They probably had some sort of R&D that determined the best stability and they went with that and maybe just started seeing what they can do with clock speeds.

            There was one of the Iwata Asks where he mentioned them doing extensive tests, running HW for hours on end. But, it's possible that Nintendo was dead set on Holiday '12 and weren't able to do the whole….room full of Wii U's thing as extensively as they wanted until after launch. They knew that yet another year without the new console would probably bring losses bigger than the year before.

            An interesting thing to note is that the power supply is rated at 75w, meaning it has to be able to supply 75w of power consistently, but the Wii U only uses ~33w. There is room for improvement there, but it wouldn't be able to run at 100% efficiency….ever… it's not like the Wii U will start pulling 75w all of a sudden. They definitely would have had to make the cooling solution capable of handling the bump from the start though…..we just don't know what it can do.

            Nintendo is just too mysterious with their hardware. They did say it was up to them to prove that the Wii U wasn't underpowered……but this would be one of the biggest bluffs ever. To say that it is a 1.24Ghz CPU and then just…..switch it on….would rival DBZ in terms of hidden power, haha.

          • routerbad

            Lol, very true. Although the 75w is delivered power, after the efficiency has been accounted for. Like PC PSU's, the rated power output is the minimum constant output available, 80Plus versions only mean that it delivers the same amount of power but draws less from the wall to reach that.

          • Furious Francis


            I'm just waiting for Iwata in a Nintendo Direct to say: "Do Nintendo Viewers Experience fear?" Then turn Super Saiyan along with the Wii U on camera.

            Best Nintendo Direct ever

          • RicardJulianti

            *Cut to Kaz* It's OVER 9000!!!!!!!! *crushes a Vita in his hand*

          • routerbad

            This would make my life complete.

        • routerbad

          Ah-ha, but R&D wasn't entirely complete by the time the console released. They didn't even finalize the hardware until early 2012, there were changes happening every day, some easy to spot, like switching from sliders to full on tilting thumbsticks, to switching from a hardware target based on HD4XXX series to one based on just the shaders from the HD6XXX series. I have a feeling that they had no idea what clocks could be reached on the platform at a safe level when it launched, because both are custom, and there was little time for professional stress testing.

          I don't doubt that they are working to tweak the clocks as we speak, but bumping it 300% is unrealistic.

  • Titan64

    And now another rumor with absolute no credibility at all: This rumor started by Nintendolife (I know I rag on them too much but I can't let this one go) says that WWE14 and GTA 5 will not be coming to the wii u? The problem? They got it from a 4chan thread………..yes I am dead serious.

    On-topic: This is another rumor that doesn't make much sense. It was clocked 1.24 then goes to 3.24? What…..? I can see maybe going from 1.24 to like say 1.6 but not 3x over.

    • RicardJulianti

      Well, the rumor started on GoNintendo sadly enough, but it was shown as a rumor with piles of salt. Since the 4chan thing has been taken down, I think it's safe to say it was complete BS. I browsed the comments and saw one that finally brought some sense into the argument (some people were saying the Wii U was going to be dead before it was even out for a year)

      Then I looked at the commenter…..and it was Francis. Cracked me up.

      • Titan64

        Anyone who uses 4CHAN as a news source, you lose all credibility. And yeah that is hilarious.

      • Furious Francis

        Yeah, some of the GoNintendo users are freaking idiots. They go around doubting any positive Wii U rumors….but as soon as there is a negative Wii U news they freaking take it as truth.

        • RicardJulianti

          That seems to be true about the entire internet these days. Nintendo fans don't jump on every "Always Online" rumor and start proclaiming the death of MS, or that the PS4 will cost $598 because it is technically less than $599.

          Sony and MS fanboys do that to each other, and then they both team up on every, single, Nintendo rumor. I wouldn't be surprised if those crazy GoNintendo folks are there simply to cause trouble and may or may not even own a Wii U/3DS or a Nintendo console ever.

      • bigchad

        ha ha, i seen it too.

  • Ray01

    Hmm, its definetly a possiblilty, especially if it was underclocked to begin with for whatever reason.
    Of course, I don't think it wouldv'e improved that much, but a good amount.(Like 1.6 or something along those lines)

    It would really be a nice surprise if they did to increase performance.
    The Wii U is such a mystery, we still don't even know what that other 30% does.

    Well i'm gonna take this with a grain of salt, but I do hope that its true to some extent. 😛

  • routerbad

    The fact that they claim that the Wii U CPU is Power6 based on not Power7 based makes the credibility of the entire claim absolutely zero.

    The Wii U CPU is actually using plenty of design cues from Power7, starting with the EDRAM cache, and continuing into SMP, OOE, etc.

    Power6 did not have OOE at all, and relied heavily on high clocks to make up for that.

    PPC7XX did not ever have SMP (multicore), was never produced at 45nm (Power7 is the first IBM chip produced at that process) and was never clocked over 1GHz (really never clocked over 900MHz, but the FX was supposed to have slightly higher clocks but was never produced).

    The Wii U CPU boasts all of these features, while retaining code compatibility with the PPC7XX series on one core, has the P7 EDRAM cache (and LOTS of it), and has better SIMD performance to boot.

    Whether the clocks were raised remains to be seen, but they would not raise it to over 3GHz by any means, it would blow away their focus on power and thermal savings and make the system less reliable.

    • Furious Francis

      Routerbad, I love your tech analysis, and trust you as a source for it. Can you give us your honest breakdown of the Wii U power overall?

      • routerbad

        Wii U has feature parity with XBOX Infinity (whatever the name may be) and PS4, though it has fewer shaders and raw floating point performance, it will be able to deliever the same visuals as the other platforms, but with slightly less detail (I can't stress SLIGHTLY enough) than PS4 in rare occasions depending entirely on development effort.

        The CPU is on par with PS4's 8 core Jaguar with regards to instruction execution, but will not be as parallel as Jaguar, this won't make much of a difference in game, where parallelism can actually hurt performance. Core for core (1 Espresso core vs 1 Jaguar core module) Espresso trounces it.

        For the GPU, there is still so much that is unknown, but we do know that 30% of the overall logic gives us about 352 GFLOPS, and that Nintendo is using a lot of custom logic that will be utilized as semi-programmable (read: flexible) fragment and vertex shaders. Even this is mostly based in conjecture, but 50% of the GPU is unaccounted for, and it is doing something.

        The 32MB of EDRAM on the GPU die will be amazing for memory performance, as the most bandwidth hungry services (framebuffer and z-buffer, as well as commonly used textures) will reside there, and will be available at a higher bandwidth than the PS4s GDDR5.

        What this means visually is that the Wii U can do everything PS4 and XBOX next can, albeit to a different extent. We cannot discount what feature parity means for development, and what it will mean for in game visuals. Most will look identical regardless of platform. This is the first generation in which all platforms have the exact same hardware featureset.

        • Furious Francis

          I can believe you, but how come other developers don't see it this way. Why is Epic not supporting the UE4 with the Wii U?

          • RicardJulianti

            Elitism. Nintendo's "image". General dbaggery. Etc

            It could easily be a PS3 type situation. The difference in architecture and Nintendo's custom way of being insanely efficient isn't as attractive as straight x86 architecture, so they don't want to put in the work. Once some developers DO put in the work to figure it out, they will be highly successful in making gorgeous games. Pair that with the Gamepad and you've got yourself some seriously excellent games.

            I believe this is what Iwata was talking about during the investor call when he spoke about proving the Wii U wasn't underpowered and that 3rd parties who aren't supporting it will regret doing so as other 3rd parties have success.

        • RicardJulianti

          I'm not sure if you've seen it or not, but my first article covered the whole….diminishing returns thing. I didn't get into all of the tech stuff like you did here (which would have been nice for the article) but I explained other aspects that would factor in as well.

          1080p vs 720p, high budgets, diminishing returns….and so on Here's the link:

          You are quite knowledgeable…..and really, there isn't anything you have said that would make me question it. Really, everything I have read from different sources over the past months mirror your sentiments here, but they never definitively said that it would have feature parity. You better not be getting my hopes up *shakes fist* haha.

          It really doesn't matter that much, but I would LOVE to shove it in the naysayers faces.

        • donzaloog

          That’s good to hear.

  • RicardJulianti

    This one is far too out there to be believed.

    Increasing the CPU clockspeed by almost 3x, and the GPU by 300Mhz would increase the heat a bunch, might be impossible due to the architecture of the PPC750, and the power draw would noticeably increase.

    The system would no longer only pull ~33 watts unless Nintendo has discovered actual magic. It still has the same power draw as it always has

    A slight bump could be possible, but not on that scale. Maybe just the GPU or maybe the CPU up to something like 1.49Ghz….2 would even be pushing it. If Nintendo somehow managed to pull that off though…..

    (I just wanted an excuse to use that gif, haha)

    • routerbad

      PPC750 architecture would limit it to one core and it wouldn't be able to hit 1.25GHz if it was using pure PPC7XX design.

      • RicardJulianti

        Ah. Good thing it doesn't then, huh? I should just leave all of the tech analysis to you in the future. haha

        Do you think that we would notice either an increased power draw from an overclock or notice in the way games played?

        I've seen some suggesting that it might need to be accessed through the game's code. Like, they would have to program the game to disable the power saving features or something like that to get it to push the CPU and GPU.

        • routerbad

          That depends entirely on implementation. What they could do, if they were to decide to, is allow for a clock override in software, or change to another power state, that would bump clocks. This would leave the clocks alone for software that doesn't need it, which means power utilization would be the same (no reason to have it screaming at all times) until there was software running that required higher clocks.

          To some developers this would be confusing, and most if not all of them would just hit that switch right away so they are always working with the same power state. However, since higher clocks won't be necessary for some smaller games, and especially web based games (HTML5, CSS, etc) as well as OS applications, it would allow for a higher power threshold only when necessary.

  • bigchad

    that’s one wild rumor. but it could be possible let’s just Hope if it is true it didn’t cause over heating issues. but nintendo did a lot of r&d for the heat sink so I don’t think it will be an issue. I always figured it was a possibility to overclock it.

    • bigchad

      because it was purposely underclocked in the fist place for safety. they probably since given more time to test it out found that it still runs cool at normal speed.

  • Piee90

    It might have improved it but not as much as they’re saying.