Obsessed Nintendo fans are tracking shipping manifests to learn Switch 2 secrets

Obsessed Nintendo fans are tracking shipping manifests to learn Switch 2 secrets

You’re not a real Nintendo fan until you’ve tracked international shipping data (BBC PICTURE ARCHIVES)

Everyone wants to know more about Nintendo’s new console, and exactly how powerful it is, but some fans are going to extraordinary lengths to learn more.

As we’ve said multiple times already, in regards to both the PS5 Pro and Switch 2, technical specifications are historically a very poor way of judging how powerful a console will be and what games will look like on it. They’re only slightly less useless than tech demos, with the only thing that matters being the evidence of your eyes when you see an ordinary game running on the hardware.

That said, it’s understandable that people would be especially interested in the Switch 2, since it’s impossible to guess what Nintendo might be planning and there have been rumours of it being both less powerful than a PlayStation 4 and on par with an Xbox Series S.

The latter suggestion is reiterated by the latest unofficial information, although the lengths fans have gone to in order to acquire the information is pretty mind-boggling.

Although there’ve been virtually no leaks about what the Switch 2’s software line-up is, or what it looks like it, there has been plenty of information about things like the Joy-Cons and how big the screen is, as well as various variations of the supposed tech specs.

That’s because while Nintendo is very good at keeping secrets, they still need to work with outside component suppliers and manufacturers, in order to build the console, and that, as with any new hardware launch, is where most of these rumours are coming from.

This means the rumours are usually pretty accurate, although specs can still change surprisingly late in the day, before full production begins.

With all that in mind, the latest hobby on hardcore Nintendo forum Famiboards is trying to tracking shipment and customs information sent between Nintendo and component suppliers such as Nvidia.

It turns out that is a thing you can do but it is, as you might imagine, extremely complicated. Even if you know that Nintendo has ordered a certain amount of RAM, there’s no way of knowing what exactly it’ll be used for internally.

Nevertheless, the internet detectives have turned up an extraordinary amount of information, which for some reason is hidden on Famiboards but has also been reported on ResetEra.

There’s a useful summary, which suggests the tech specs are as follows:

1536 CUDA Cores, 48 tensor cores, 12 RT cores

Ampere architecture with features backported from Ada

8x ARM A78C

File decompression engine

12 GB LPDDR5X RAM 7500 MT/s

256 UFS 3.1

And the summary of the summary is… it’s about as powerful as an Xbox Series S.

That is a considerable simplification though, not least because it uses Nvidia tech instead of AMD and is ARM-based rather than x86 – like the Xbox and PlayStation. So you’re not comparing like with like.

Even so, the consensus is that in handheld mode the Switch 2 will be a little more powerful than the PlayStation 4, but with the additional benefit of DLSS to artificially increase the resolution.

When docked, the Switch 2 is said to be somewhere between a PS4 Pro and an Xbox Series S (which is a little less powerful than the Xbox Series X). Again, that’s before you take into account DLSS and the fact the that hardware architecture is more modern and efficient in the Switch 2.

The UFS 3.1 (universal flash storage) hard drive is said to be only very slightly slower than the Xbox Series X/S, while the RAM internal memory is slower but there’s more of it than the Xbox Series S.

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Clearly, the source is peculiar, to say the least, but it does match up with previous rumours, so none of this is a shock. The end result is that it implies a console that is significantly more powerful than the current Switch.

Except… as the crisis with Xbox this week has shown, the problem is no longer the power of a console but that amount of time and money needed to take advantage of it, something which Nintendo’s president has acknowledged this week.

The last thing anyone wants is every new Nintendo game to need eight years and a thousand people to make it, with the risk that they could all be laid off at the end, if it’s not a massive success. So let’s hope that Nintendo is doing what it can to avoid that possibility.

The Switch 2 should be a major step up (Nvidia)

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