Wii 2 to use next-gen PowerPC CPU?

wiiboy101, one of this site’s earliest readers, has shared with me what he believes to be the CPU that could power the Wii’s successor. He suggests that Nintendo may opt to continue using the fairly successful PowerPC architecture of the GameCube’s Dolphin and the Wii’s Broadway CPUs.

According to him, the PowerPC platform offers a number of functional advantages unique to it, like out-of-order execution and branch prediction. The Cell processor used in the PlayStation 3 – previously rumoured to make an encore appearance in the Wii 2 – might appear to offer more raw power at first, but it’s very difficult for developers to code for.

Tray of Broadway processors

The PowerPC 476FP can be thought of as "Broadway 2.0".

This high-performance, power efficient, compact processor core allows customers to meet the needs of today’s applications, while preserving legacy code.

wiiboy101 believes that the relatively new PowerPC 476FP will be a more-than-adequate alternative. It’s part of the same processor family as the Wii’s Broadway chip, and will be able to provide full backwards compatibility with all Wii and GameCube software. The most attractive thing about the 476FP, however, is the sheer amount of power it has under its inconspicuous hood.

The CPU runs at the impressive clock speed of 1.6 GHz, and is fabricated in a 45 nanometre process. Up to 16 cores can be crammed onto a single chip while taking up half the space a single (and far less powerful) Broadway does. Capable of up to 2.5 MIPS (million instructions per second) per MHz, IBM claims this is the most powerful embedded SoC (system-on-a-chip) design ever created. Even more impressive is the chip’s power consumption: at a paltry 1.6 watts, it’s also a strong contender for the title of most energy efficient SoC processor in the industry.

If the technical mumbo jumbo is too much for you, allow me to put it into simpler words: the PowerPC 476FP is realistically able to provide an incredible amount of processing power that is quite possibly well beyond even the PlayStation 3′s Cell while being just as easy to program for as the Wii, and retains full backwards compatibility with its games.

It seems like this chip could be a rather logical choice for Nintendo, as the 476FP does all this and wraps it up nicely in a small, neat, and energy-efficient form factor. It has previously only been used by LSI in high-performance networking applications, but it won’t take too much effort on IBM’s part to adapt it to a next-generation game console.

Source: IBM

Special thanks to wiiboy101 for the tip!

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Comments, Reactions, and General Hooliganism

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  1. wiifan

    Sounds awesome. If it gets rid of the “wii graphic” references, then power to the powerpc chip. I don’t care about graphics but I’m tired of seeing multi plat games that ignore the Wii because of it’s so-called inability to process the games on the level of the other two consoles. And backward compatibility is something that I’ve grown to love Nintendo for including. Sony promised and then makes their loyal gamers re-purchase the PS2 games in new packages. Nintendo hasn’t done this to us and I’m happy for that. I hope their next step will keep that backward compatibility while pushing us into the graphic war with the other two consoles. I still love playing my old gamecube games. And I don’t need any more consoles to do it either. That’s so nice. I’ve been spoiled by Nintendo and their devotion to the backward compatibility offerings.

    • You’re absolutely right. You can’t help but love Nintendo for being the best when it comes to backwards compatibility. Even if they don’t end up using this processor, I’m pretty sure we can count on the feature being there; I mean, they would be leaving behind an awful lot of amazing Wii and GameCube titles if they didn’t.

      Combining Nintendo’s fantastic backwards compatibility with the most powerful CPU on the scene is only icing on the cake. :P

  2. That would be awesome if Nintendo did end up using that chip(all the info makes it seem plausible).

    By the way, “love the blog!”.

    • Thanks, Zekesoul! I’m glad you like the site!

      The 476FP does indeed sound like a plausible choice for Nintendo. I mean, you can’t go wrong with a chip that will not only run all GCN and Wii software, but will provide a next-gen level of power, too, right?

    • wiiu f☆☆k mii

      retards dont live in detatched just built houses payed for cash with a brand new golf gti on the drive way

      all payed for by profits made investing in nintendo in 2005 the rest is history wiiboy101 is a millionare on one investment NINTENDO

    • xboxmodder kev telford uk

      a guy who turned 50 grand uk pounds into 1/2 a million uk pounds investing in nintendo in 2005 and predicting nintendos industry revalution from 2003 and just had a house built over looking a lake and does not beed to work and looks 24 but is 39 and a ex child teen model and has a son whos just got his first pro soccer contract A RETARD ,hay guys his also very good looking think jonny depp but bigger build he also shares his first name with americas most decorated war hero,iv known wiiboy from his days as CUBEBOY101 he was part of the uk AOL gaming chat comunity he predicted the pointer the nunchuck the wiis rise to power the massive profits the dual screen of DS and in 2006 was offered a job at nintendo e.u in germany..via a agency…due to family issues he didnt take the job …..his ex wife he had 3 kids with she is spanish big jlo ass on her she became nentally ill and addicted to gambling wiiboy was poisioned with anti freeze and now has sinus nose ear pain/issues and has a operation this year on his ear/nose/throut to correct the damage LUCKY enough his money THAT SHE DIDNT STEAL was all invested in nintendo

      he went from poisioned and homeless to a near millionare in 12 months from a homeless hostel to a success HE WHO LAFFS LAST GIGGLES LONGER

      true story i know the guy his going to argentina to watch the copa america next month his a massive life long argentina fan nintendo saved his life litterally,oh he also has 20/10 vision way above average eye site he looks no older than his 20 year old son….

  3. sanman

    Glad to hear that the upcoming PPC will have the horsepower. But I’d like to see Wii-2 with more than just extra horsepower. I’d like to see Wii-2 with improved motion tracking tech, better than what Motionplus provides. I’d like to see leg motion sensing too, beyond what the Wii Fit balance board gives. I would like to be able to use natural running motion by jogging on the spot in my living room to navigate through a game.

    So I want more than just improved graphics horsepower, I want improved motion gaming too. Perhaps the Vitality Sensor tech could also be built into the standard control unit, to make such sensory feedback a baseline feature, so that all games could make use of it.

    Another thing I was really hoping for, although it’s a tall order, is VR glasses. Now that would really take gaming to a whole new level of immersion. Nintendo has repeatedly been saying that they don’t want to just do whatever their competitors are doing, but want to take gaming in new directions to enliven the gaming experience.
    VR-glasses could leverage their existing accelerometry and motion sensing tech, to pan a game scene as you move your head. Now that would really leap the Wii-2 ahead of the competition, and it would use Nintendo’s existing motion tech to do it.

    • Your first suggestion sounds an awful lot like something a certain computer company spent half a billion dollars on to advertise. Microsoft’s Kinect offers pretty much all the motion tracking tech you could possibly need – though some games may feel just a little awkward to play without holding anything tactile in your hands. For instance, I’d choose a Wii Remote (with MotionPlus, of course) over Kinect for golf any day of the week.

      You’re the second to suggest integrating the Vitality Sensor into something a little more seamless. I think that may have some real potential, as it will give the Wii access to interesting information about your bodily state – something never done before in gaming, to my knowledge. But it sure as heck won’t work in its current, box-on-your-finger implementation.

      I can actually see Nintendo saying they scrapped the Vitality Sensor…and then revealing a totally overhauled, redesigned version of it that will be one of the Wii 2′s headlining components.

      Nintendo has tried VR before…sorta. The Virtual Boy was quite the failure, even though the actual tech behind it was fairly solid. I was lucky enough to try one myself, and the 3D effect is actually quite convincing once you get over the black-and-red graphics. But I digress; I’m not here to defend the Virtual Boy.

      VR, the way you describe it with sensors integrated into the goggles, sounds like a truly awesome way Nintendo could get the lead on the competition. I can hear the adverts now…

      “First, there was the TV, which you first saw Mario on.

      Then, they got flatter and sharper, giving you graphical detail like never before.

      Last year, they went 3D, and the TV was now like a window into a fantastic world, closer to reality than ever.

      Today, the glass standing between you and the Mushroom Kingdom breaks down.

      Introducing the Wii 2! Using new glasses with built-in motion-tracking sensors, surround sound, and stereoscopic 3D, you won’t even see your living room anymore! Feel as if you’re there in Mario’s whimsical galaxy, or experience the raw thrill of riding Epona across Hyrule – the possibilities are endless.

      Wii 2 – Now you’re playing with REALITY!!!

  4. wiiboy101

    thanks for this,i thought it a logical evolution of what wii has now, if not a powerpc 476fp it will be based on the same process, if nintendo do indeed stick with powerpc,some other clues nintendo stated backward compatabilty,small,cool,low energy,cheap to manufacture it all fits,nintendo have evolved from GBA,DS,DSi,3DS with a continued evolved line of the same cpu types ARM and nintendo stated when gamecube was designed we are leaving the cpu race and following are own path ,so why not just do the same thing as GBA to 3DS, i think im close with the powerpc 476fp idea or they may just go ARM/MARVELL but with powerpc 476fp existing i think not

    thanks guys

  5. Mike

    With the success of the Wii, you would think that backwards compatability would be very important for Nintendo to include. I see no reason why Nintendo would want to get back into the graphics war with Sony and Microsoft, and will probably try to retain a $250 price point when it releases the new hardware. I feel that the new hardware will at best be in the same performance category as the current 360 and PS3 consoles, but will have much better motion tech than we have seen so far.

  6. Jikayaki

    Its a possibility Nintendo’s next home console may utilize architecture more similar to IBM’s latest Power series of CPUs and ironically the Cell. IBM is continuing development into the Cell, but not as a stand alone architecture. Instead IBM is planning to integrate the Cell into the Power line noting that things you once could only do with Cell can now be done with the Power line of processors.

    http://www.pcworld.idg.com.au/article/363760/cell_processor_development_hasn_t_stalled_ibm_cto_says/
    http://www.lapitapi.com/cell-technology-in-the-next-nintendo-wii.html

    • Jikayaki

      I knew both articles where old news, but it seems it has already appeared on the site. Though I don’t think anyone really focused on the right things regarding the statements by Jai Menon. Power 5-Power 7 of the current Power line of CPUs already have capabilities in common with the Cell with out some of the current Cell’s limitations. IBM at the time of the web article started to spread on the net in 2010 it seems where still negotiating with Nintendo going by the wording of Jai Menon’s statements so Nintendo’s next console may or may not continue being Power based, but there would be several advantages of a CPU based on the current Power architecture. Backwards compatibility with Wii and Gamecube software isn’t completely out of the question an it wouldn’t be hard to emulate anyway.

  7. Neil

    ‘wiiboy101′ is a well known retard. You may as well quote Donald Duck as your source.

    • Neil, I never actually quoted him as the source. I did all of the research into that processor myself, and retard or not, it did make sense.