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Is the Wii U even Powerful Enough to Handle GTA V?

Wii U

One of our users Eyeofcore, has a amazing breakdown of the Wii U’s specs in response to a thread asking if the Wii U is powerful enough to handle GTA 5. Get the full breakdown below. 

That game was made on older development kits for Wii U, later Nintendo released an updated one that had 20 to 40% higher clocks than previous one. Warriors Orochi 3 Hyper, Darksiders 2 and other launch games used only 2 cores, maybe a third though that was probably barely.

Wii U CPU:
- Tri Core IBM 45nm PowerPC750CL/G3/Power7 Hybrid
- Core 0; 512KB Core 1; 2MB Core 2; 512KB L2 Cache
- Clocked at 1.24Ghz
- 4 stage pipeline/not Xenon-Cell CPU-GPU hybrid
- Produced at IBM advanced CMOS fabrication facility
- Can use eDRAM as cache(!?)
- Dual Core ARM for background OS tasks clocked at 1Ghz with 64KB L1 cache per core

Wii U Memory:
- DDR3 2GB, 1GB for OS, 1GB for Games (12.8/Gbps is speculation)
- eDRAM 32MB+4MB Memory/VRAM/Cache(UNIFIED, 4MB for gamepad)
- Clocked at 550Mhz
- CPU for Cache and GPU for VRAM use eDRAM
- eDRAM acts as unified memory, similar to AMD’s hUMA/HSA by function/behaviour(?!)
- Little to no latency between CPU and GPU with eDRAM Cache/Memory/VRAM

Wii U GPU:
- VLIW 5/VLIW4 Radeon HD 5000/6000
- DirectX 11/Open GL 4.3/Open CL 1.2/Shader Model 5.0
- Supports GPGPU compute/offload
- Customized, Using custom Nintendo API codenamed GX2(GX1 Gamecube)
- Clocked at 550Mhz
- Produced at TSMC
- Uses eDRAM as VRAM
- DirectX can only be used by Microsoft thus silicon/hardware/feature is removed replacing with transistors for performance and maintaining full Open GL 4.3/Open CL 1.2/Shader Model 5.0/GPGPU compatibility

Wii U Note;
- Can’t use DirectX 11 except Open GL 4.3 that is ahead DX11
- Easier to program, no bottlenecks causing trouble like on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
- more efficient hardware with no bandwidth bottlenecks
- Most early ports and even now use 2 cores and 3rd is barely used #fact
- Wii U CPU has much higher operations per cycle than Xbox 360/PlayStation 3
- It is maybe in fact most efficient performance per watt in the world in terms of 45/40nm chips
- Power7 architecture allows shave off 10% of texture size without loss of quality(special compression)

It is ahead of 7th generation, developers will learn to handle and optimize for Wii U properly. I was digging on the internet for various information’s for a month and all you read is what I compiled and gathered. It can handle 1080p because it has 3.5 times more eDRAM than Xbox 360 also has no severe memory/bandwidth bottlenecks that Xbox 360/PlayStation 3 have all over the system with their FSB that is choking. Xbox 360’s GDDR3 that has theoretical 22-28Gbps is reduced to 10Gbps thanks to piss poor FSB.

Wii U has same amount of eDRAM as Xbox One, remember that and also Wii U’s CPU utilizes Power7 architecture a bit so maybe just maybe Wii U’s CPU can use eDRAM as CPU cache as GPU uses it as VRAM so in a way something like AMD’s hUMA/HSA is possible on Wii U.

If Grand Theft Auto 5 was on Wii U then you can only expect better visuals/details, less pop ups, higher framerate that would be 60 fps most likely since Wii U is light years ahead of current generation and that is factual and you can be in denial but I did one whole month of dedicated digging on the internet in search of all sort of information’s related to Wii U’s hardware.

It can run it harder, better, faster, stronger and more sexier than 7th generation consoles by far.

You are not a core gamer if restricted to handhelds/consoles from one company thus limiting amount of games, further by genre’s and graphical style of the game.

It’s crazy that people would even question if GTA 5 could run on Wii U.


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  • ChRiStAfIsT777

    People say that the Wii U is a family console…. and the Xbox 360 and PS3 arent????? what about assassins creed 3 and 4, watchdogs, and zombie U???? are those family games??? I think not!!!! Just release GTA 5 for Wii U, please.

  • atari falcon

    The expresso cpu is the EXPRESSO CPU its not a poweroc 750 thats like calling a i7 intel cpu a pentium 3

    Wiiu is mulyi pul times more powerful than x360 and vadtly more efficent and effective and far kore moden what kind of clown shoe even asks or writes shit like that

    X360 11 mb processor catch wiiu 38mb processor catch

    Just a hint hay wiiu can do over 3 x the edram buffering of x360 jesus christ common fucking sense

    Gta5 is a jaggie old looking mess wiiu could run gta 5 at high end pc settings and assets in above 720p hd and have great graphics on the controller too

    People need to stop this industry cool aid shit seriously the wiiu gpu is like 4 gens ahead of ps3s rsx if not more and has massive amounts of fast ram

    Every engine supporting ps4 supports wiiu enough already with the crap ONLY WIIU IS NEXT GEN DUALSHOCK IS NOT

    Expresso is cutting edge edram as catch is 2 x the bandwidth if sram and expresso has 3 mb of it first in history as oevel 2 catch its out of order execution its branch perdiction its got over 5 execution units pet core x360 only had 1

    It has built in data compression it has ibm smp it has direct access to gpu edram

    Its the highest cpocked 4 stage risc cpu in existence its multicore tech comes from power7

    Its backed up by a hd sound processor and a arm co cpu

    Stop sniffing glue fanboys

  • venomjamaica

    I knew all about this…. but it's great that it's now spreading over the net.

  • Jim

    The 360 has eSRAM, not eDRAM…

  • Furious Francis

    I disagree somewhat, the PS4 and Xbox One's graphics aren't going to get much better over the course of the generation because they are using PC X86 builds. Developers already know how to max them out. Even the Witcher devs said we've pretty much maxed out the PS4 and Xbox One. Crytek said the same thing.

    Meanwhile the Wii U will continue to get better looking games as developers learn how to use that system as it''s not built with Straight up PC component parts like the XB1 and PS4

  • Espeonic

    And as I thought, that stupid video on YouTube about how The Last of Us proving that the Wii U is not a next gen console is udder bullocks. People are turning me off of that game more and more everyday.

    The sad thing is none of this should matter that much as long as the console can play game properly. But no, the haters have to make a big deal about it, and the deal is the Wii U (as we are seeing so far) is having games that are able to run more smoothly and a high graphically quality than games not only on the PS3 and 360 but games on the PS4 and Xbox One as well.

  • UncannyOmninaut

    In raw numbers and on dry paper the Wii U will come up short in comparison to the competition but in actually performance I suspect the Wii U might be the clear winner for this whole generation. While that is a bold statement it is also something that I'm afraid will happen and I say that as a Nintendo fan. If your one claim to fame is power and graphics and you aren't capable of it as easily as the "weaker" competition then something is wrong.

  • joe

    GTA 5 on Wii U now and pc now so we can get that 60fps and r 1080p

  • siu leung

    If the specs posted on here about the Wii U's GPU is correct, then I'm pretty positive Wii U's GPU is on par or more powerful than AMD's APU GPU being used in PS4 and Xbox One. This could explain why Nintendo is already hitting 1080p/60, while the others are not.

    • Nintendo Power

      I agree. We never claimed WiiU was as powerful, but RIGHT BEHIND them… but Nintendo always had a secretive grin about their new hardware… maybe in raw specs like memory it doesn't stack up higher, but in customizations and optimizations, I think the WiiU is like Little Mac from punch out, whooping on the bulkier champs after going the distance… Nintendo#1 =)

    • RicardJulianti

      To be perfectly honest….the most likely reason that Nintendo is hitting 1080p/60fps is the fact that the art style they use for the games reaching that aren't exactly resource heavy in the texture department. Yes they look great, but they aren't exactly super complex or realistic images.

  • DePapier

    I honestly believe the Wii U's more powerful than the Xbox One and the PS4 in terms of the games we have seen running on hardware so far, and I think I have yet to be proven wrong.

    • brintourfair

      There may be no launch or launch window games for PS4 or Xbox One that are leaps and bounds ahead Mario Kart U or 'X', yet. But the developers for the PS4 and XBOne are still learning the ends and out and have yet to refine their engines or code to work on them. Some devs are even using ancient engines, albeit modified, to good effect on these newer consoles. In the years to come, maybe even by late next year you will see a graphical difference difference between them and the Wii U. It all comes down to those consoles having more powerful hardware.

      As I stated in my previous message on this thread, graphics and power aren't everything. As far as I know the most powerful console has never won a generation. Games are where it's at. Fun games trump graphically impressive boring games. Nintendo does have more than a few aces up it's sleeves in this area. They have a virtual trifecta of top selling franchises: Mario, Zelda and Donkey Kong sell in the millions with each installment. Nintendo will be fine with the Wii U for this reason alone.

      Nintendo builds systems to make their games on, they don't compete in an arms race for the most powerful hardware. That more than anything should inform Nintendo fans that Nintendo doesn't care about having the best specs, just the best system and controllers to make the plethora of great games that only they can make. People buy Nintendo consoles for the Nintendo games, not for the system specs. Nintendo's about innovating the way we play our games, they've done that since the Snes days, they're the real risk takers, the toy makers, the game makers that we've all become fans.

      Were the games you may have played on the Snes, N64, Wii any less fun because the horsepower of the machines was less than the competition? No? I didn't think so, it's the game makers, not the console makers that make our hobby what it is. I didn't note the Game Cube for a good reason, PS2 was the weakest of that generation and we all know how that turned out.

      • DePapier

        "But the developers for the PS4 and XBOne are still learning the ends and out and have yet to refine their engines or code to work on them. Some devs are even using ancient engines, albeit modified, to good effect on these newer consoles. In the years to come, maybe even by late next year you will see a graphical difference difference between them and the Wii U. It all comes down to those consoles having more powerful hardware. "

        I'll stop right there for a second. The same goes for Nintendo and the Wii U, they're just getting to work on it. Let's not forget X is Monolith Soft's first Wii U game, which design direction, even more important than its graphics is to be a seamless open-world game — meaning no loading times, on the Wii U.

        Nintendo is just getting started. And when you see what Nintendo has been capable of with the Wii (Super Mario Galaxy for example), one can only imagine what they'll be able to do with the Wii U.

        From where I stand, the difference in power between the Wii U and that of the PS4 and Xbox One is similar to that between the 3DS and the Vita. Yet I still haven't seen a game on Vita, on hardware, (can't say I've looked for it) that have put the likes of Fire Emblem Awakening in full 3D to shame, and I'm positive I never will.

        • Matthew Wesley

          The problem is that devs for ps4 and xbox use technology like a crutch. Instead of focusing on better gameplay, they focus on graphics.

          • lindyshutterbug

            I see it as that a lot of devs tend to just use a small percentage of what the system is capable of. At the begining of a console's life cycle devs are unfamiliar with the console so they use old engines . . .etc. As time goes on some devs grown more and more experienced pushing the hardware to the limits and sometimes even find better tools, tricks, techniques to get the hardware to "dance".

            I kinda liken this to what I've learned in photography. A truely gifted photographer knows the limits of their gear and strives to find and play with those limits learning their gear inside and out. I've seen really talented photographers with so called "amateur" Canon Digtal Rebel cameras take pics that blow the socks of so called "pros" with thousand dollar cameras and thousand dollar white lenses. I see the same with the talented in house Nintendo developers, Shinen, Altus, Monolith Soft, Platinum, etc . . . .

            What I see as Nintendo's advantage is that their in house engineers custom build the console for their in house developers.

  • eyeofcore

    http://thewiiu.com/topic/14970-wii-u-hardware-bit… - join this thread, join the discussion that will probably start very soon… :)

  • brintourfair

    The Wii U is definitely more powerful than last gen consoles, but to say it's on par with the Xbox 1 or PS4 in terms of power is short sighted. Even if these games aren't running at 1080p and 60 fps they have a lot more going on in terms of lighting, shadows, and various other graphical tweaks. Not to mention some of the levels in these games have very huge levels with high poly counts on the background scenery: trees, buildings, vehicles, etc. That's not to mention the ai algorithms for the a.i. The developers will need time to take full of advantage of the power of those consoles. As this generation progresses you will definitely see that difference.

    I'm not knocking the Wii U, it's a capable machine that will have quite a few visually appealing games, but it doesn't have the system memory, or graphical power to keep up with Sony or Microsoft next gen consoles. That will become more apparent as time moves on. Graphics shouldn't be the be all end all in gaming anyway. A fun game beats a beautiful bore fest any day.

    In the end these pissing contests over raw power are quite pointless. Up until now the superior powered console has never won the generation. Games move hardware, pure and simple. That's one thing that Nintendo has in abundance. Even if they don't pick up 3rd party support, they'll still have Mario, Samus, Link, Donkey Kong and a slew of other characters from their past to draw upon. Too often in video game message boards and comments sections there are pointless arguments as to which console is best. Rather pointless because it's all a matter of opinion. Play and enjoy games on your system/s of choice and be happy. The systems are here to provide a means to play the games developed for them. No console is ever going to ask you to defend it and if it does, do us all a favor and go see a psychiatrist.

    • timg57867

      What you said is true, but the gap is nowhere as bad with the Wii. I think the difference will be more along the lines of PC to PS360 than Wii to PS360. Besides, with Wii U, Nintendo has finally entered HD development and they don't make systems to last 10 years. (They especially won't try if it means partaking in the "arms race".) I honestly think Nintendo wanted the Wii U on the market in 2011 because they knew Wii's hardware wasn't keeping up anymore but HD was just to big hurdle for them to do so. But by the time this generation passes, they'll have fully mastered HD development and they won't have as much trouble making a new system to succeed once it starts to show its age. And by the time the tentative 9th gen comes, graphics will probably be all but an irrelevant issue on consoles, considering how strong the PC will probably be by then and Nintendo's art direction will more than compensate once we get to that point too.

      • eyeofcore

        I hope Nintendo will release their next console in Q4 2018 or Q4 2019 to make a final blow…

        They would go all out on 9th generation!

      • Dusklurker

        I agree, the artistic direction and game play mechanics will start having a much stronger play in the industry again because realistic graphics are starting to peak and will become redundant. When it gets to a point of how many hairs are rendered on someones head, or wrinkles on their face as the next big thing that is a sign that different avenues will need to be taken soon. Look at the praise Rayman has been getting for instance.

    • Dusklurker

      Well here's the thing I find funny about your statement. MS and Sony are developing games on an architecture that they don't need to learn because they already know it. There are parts where there can be improvement made, but they shouldn't be running into these resolution walls already. The only reasonable explanation I can think of with this is that they are trying to save something for later in the life of the console. As it stands now they should mostly be able to utilize their entire potential. The stumbling blocks are that the OS's probably need to be refined so that the games can run better on them since it's shared memory and with the X1 with the eSRAM and learing to utilize it. I think you need to read eyeofcores statement a couple posts above this one again because it explains much. There is no point in rehasing the same stuff he has already said.
      The Wii U was designed with gaming in mind, so they chose their architecture and processors very wisely. Everything is extremely stream lined. This is a very similar approach they used with the gamecube in comparison to the Xbox. The Xbox should have been a better performer but in the end it wasn't because of how Nintendo created and put the gamecube together and streamlined it exactly for what it was to be used for. This generic approach that Sony and MS are using works well for PC's because they are PC's and they are used for many different uses and purposes including gaming, but a more direct and structured approach will yield a better result in comparison. I'm not saying that the Wii U will outperform the other two systems, but it will certainly use it's assets that is has better than the other two.

  • bblack1989

    I think if Watch Dogs does well in sales on Wii U, (hoping it isn't a butchered port like SC Blacklist) then I can see GTA coming to Wii U because it will show that there is a fanbase for that style of game. For the fact that GTA V just released 2 months before the new XBONE ans PS4 come out, I can possibly see and GTA V one XBONE and PS4 since they're not backward compatible and the pc version isn't even out yet. So a Wii U is a possibility.

    • Dusklurker

      SC blacklist isn't a butchered port. The game runs fine and is equally on par with it's rivals minus the HD texture packs offered on the PS3 and 360. The online has issues on each console and is being worked on each. It's on equal ground as the other versions of the game.

    • RicardJulianti

      Watch Dogs is being made simultaneously with the PS4/X1 versions and not with the PS3/360 versions….which is going to help immensely. It's also nto shipped off to some B-team that doesn't know what they are doing….it's the same team as the PS4 version (possibly X1 but it hadn't been announced yet when they talked about it)

      GTAV isn't coming to X1 and PS4 though, R* confirmed it yesterday I think.

  • timg57867

    Anyone who still thinks Wii U can't handle stuff like this is either very ignorant or EXTREMELY stupid. I swear this whole power issue has become less relevant with each day. First UE4 was shown to run on Wii U in limited form and not even able to fully run on PS4 and isn't even widespread. Then Monolith X was revealed showing the system's potential. Criterion proved EA was full of balloon juice with their NFS port while Shin'en tore up the system and sung to the high hills about just how advanced it is. Then comes E3 where none of the games were running on actual PS4 and XB1's. We also were told that only 4.-5 GB of RAM would actually be readily available to all devs. Direct X 11 is only on XB1. Third parties are still making games for the Xbox 360 and PS3. Then Doctre81 revealed how much third parties were downplaying the Wii U memory caches after hearing that PS4 briefing. And to top it all off, Wii U is doing certain games in 1080p in 60FPS while devs are struggling to do the same for a lot of PS4 and XB1 games. Console power is really an irrelevant issue now.

    PS: I disagree with that end quote of the article. In my eyes, you're a core gamer as long as you play a ton of games and play them with a passion.

  • gamenchick

    lol people are idiots

    Wii U isnt powerful and cant run GTA V, but yet is the only console easily able to do 1080p 60fps, yet devs with PS4/XB1 are having a hard time achieving that

    yes..Nintendo isn't ''next gen'' people are so silly if they truly think that

    • Jon Turner

      Hypocrisy if there ever was any.

      • gamenchick


  • eyeofcore

    http://www.gamefaqs.com/boards/631516-wii-u/67278… - I and couple of guys burned this guy in this thread and you can learn even more about advantage that Wii U has. It seems specially with AI.

    I am an AMD fanboy but man I need to face with truth that Jaguar inside Xbox One and PlayStation 4 are nowhere close to Wii U's CPU core to core in some very important ways. It is the truth…

    I was sick of those trolls and haters so I started doing some research on my netbook that has single core atom, ouch… I know, it is terrible. :/ Can't do much gaming… I am trying to find a job so I hope I can join soon in near future guys to play with you and have fun. Enjoy those details. It is the probably the closest to the truth.

    • RicardJulianti

      Exactly. People like to go on and on about the Jaguar cores…but really they are tablet CPU's with less cache per core than the Wii U's CPU. When your CPU has twice as much cache available per-core (before taking eDRAM access into account), and could be used in a full PC, there;s almost no doubting it's better. I have a hard time believing the Jaguars….even at 8 cores….would fare well in a full PC that wasn't relegated to fairly barebones stuff.

      I already knew this stuff, but thank you for putting it all in one place. Unless some serious NDA's are broken, this is probably all we're going to get as far as hard numbers goes. Nintendo has a penchant for defying expectations when it comes to their systems too. The Gamecube was actually a bit stronger than the Xbox in some ways….could definitely push more polygons at once. Also, Sony and MS boast purely theoretical numbers that will never be achieved under normal circumstances.

      We also have to keep in mind, that for everything we know about the GPU….we know nothing in the scheme of things. Over a third of it is only known to those under NDA's that would result in a crippling lawsuit if broken and Iwata said that there isn't any wasted silicon.


    Wii U can totally run GTA5 and will most likely run it better.

  • koopzilla

    Of course it is. The game runs on PS3 and 360. Who are the idiots asking this anyway?

  • eyeofcore

    Thanks for posting…

    Can you update the article that Power7 can use eDRAM as L3 cache so Wii U may have that implemented.

    • The G Man

      Even if we dont get GTA V at least your research shows us that an open world Zelda on Wii U would be amazing.

  • donzaloog

    We need to stop entertaining this conversation that the Wii U is weak. The evidence is already there to show that it is powerful. Monoliths Soft's X, basically all of Nintendo's first party games running in full 1080p and 60fps.

    Isn't the XBone struggling to get certain games to run at 1080p 60 fps? Yet no one is denying that it's a next gen console. This is just gaming media bias and hypocrisy at work.

  • Zeldarocks

    Great research big well-done.If anyone doubts the power of the U I say to them take a look at X

  • MortyF1

    One thing that I did not know was the edram. I never knew that Wii U has the same amount as XBox One

    • eyeofcore

      It has 32MB eDRAM and another 4MB of eDRAM for gamepad so it actually has more, if all eDRAM was used for GPU then it would exceed Xbox One, maybe not in performance but in data that can be stored and used.

      • MortyF1

        Well that's even better 😀

  • sparkticle

    I can't believe that the topic of "is Wii U weaker than last gen?" is STILL being brought up today. It's ridiculous. This is all factual, and this is as far as analysis can go. As you can see, it's not even in the MIDDLE between 7th generation hardware and 8th generation hardware, it's JUST BEHIND the PS4/Xbox One. I don't get where these fools are coming from with these questions.

    Hey, there still are chances for GTA V on Wii U though. Maybe it will be announced along with next-generation consoles. Well, whether it comes or not, I still am more excited for Watch Dogs. I have obvious reasons for that.

    • Jon Turner

      Except Rockstar said they wouldn't be releasing GTAV on next gen consoles. Then again, there WAS that leak for the PC version, so… I honestly don't know what to believe.

    • gameflow

      I think the problem is that the real "next generation" is even less powerfull what people expected from it 😉 With every news of Ps4 or Xbox One titles even dont get close to 1080p with 60fps I feel more comfortable. I know what game I will have on the Wii U in the next months 😉 And they are not only technical wise impressive, but also on a gameplay side

  • DePapier

    "It’s crazy that people would even question if GTA 5 could run on Wii U."

    "You are not a core gamer if restricted to handhelds/consoles from one company thus limiting amount of games, further by genre’s and graphical style of the game."
    I only play on Nintendo (with some PC on the side a little): personal choices, personal preferences. Consider me a a gamer, period.

  • Suportedcofe

    Do people seriously still think the Wii U an 8th gen console is less powerful than the 7th gen consoles?