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Does Nvidia have any chip that we know of that would be ideal for Switch 2 whenever it releases?

Oct 26, 2017
6,756
We know that Nintendo and Nvidia are sticking with each other for a good while (possibly a decade was it?), so it's a given that if Switch is succeeded by a literal Switch 2 (why wouldn't it really), then Nvidia will be back again for it. Switch uses the Tegra X1 chip that powered the NVidia Shield for reference. From just glancing at this thread, some suggestions of the Xavier chip for a Pro revision are considered too poor for battery life concerns.

The only other chips glancing at the Tegra wikipedia page are the Tegra X2 and the upcoming Orin chip which looks to be Nvidia's next big chip. Thing is Nvidia of course makes chips for high-end PCs, which in no way would work for a portable-focused model, again due to battery and heating concerns.

So where does Nvidia go from here? Tegra X2 would surely be way too underpowered by say 2022, especially since I believe X1 was only released back in 2015, so it was only 2 years old when Switch launched. And X2 was released in 2017 IIRC, though it's primarily for automobiles again IIRC. Ideally they'd use a chip releasing possibly next year if a 2022 date is a potential goal, giving Switch a 5-5 and a half year lifespan, which I think is not too long or short personally.

I want to hear some ideas from the tech experts on here. It's also true that such a chip doesn't yet exist, so we can only discuss things based on what's known, or guess on what might come out in the future.
 

VariantX

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,198
Columbia, SC
I wonder if the next machine will be even more costly for the fact that there's likely not going to be existing Nvidia hardware to repurpose for a portable device
 

Carbon

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,061
I would imagine whatever the Switch 2 has will be purpose built at the time, like a custom Tegra
I would imagine Nvidia has baked-in some proprietary crap into their Tegra line that would make backwards compatibility a chore. It's not impossible for Nintendo to go hit up Qualcomm or whoever for a different custom solution in the future, but my guess is the transition wouldn't be a smooth one.

And it sucks for Nintendo, but Nvidia isn't particularly interested in the energy-efficient mobile market when they're off making inroads in the very lucrative connected automobile market.
 

R0987

Avenger
Jan 20, 2018
1,018
Probably what nvidia has to offer around that time if not, there will be plenty of other suppliers who will be happy to sell nintendo their soc like qualcomm or whatever.
 

SiG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,076
Probably what nvidia has to offer around that time if not, there will be plenty of other suppliers who will be happy to sell nintendo their soc like qualcomm or whatever.
nVidia has a contract with Nintendo though.

Given Mariko, it doesn't seem unlikely a custom chip could be made for this Switch successor.
 

NappingRat

Member
Jul 2, 2018
158
From what I've read, the X1 was an acceptable off the shelf component ready to be integrated into the NX on an accelerated schedule compared to a fully custom Nvidia SoC (the Wii U was known to be a failure by 2014-5, so they knew they wanted a short turnaround).
After reading about the large expense spent for a die-shrink Mariko X1 revision (necessary bc the 20 nm manufacturing node was being discontinued by TSMC), I don't think nintendo will grab another off the shelf part to use as an upgrade for a now successful and popular platform.
I expect a custom chip (obviously from Nvidia), fully backwards compatible, and not released until 2021 holiday or later. Probably later. I'm personally hoping more for VRR or HDR as a whizbang marketable graphics upgrade as opposed to 4K in a hypothetical Switch 2.
 

Instro

Member
Oct 25, 2017
6,957
Presumably an offshoot of whatever they are doing with Tegra. They've continued to iterate with Xavier and the upcoming Orin, so a customized version stripping out the car specific hardware and functionality would work. Ultimately I don't think it matters very much, their mobile GPUs haven't been on a separate pipeline for years now. Everything is one architecture, highly scalable, etc. All the recent Tegra GPUs since the K1 are just shrunken versions of whatever their current GPU line is as far as I am aware, so either way I don't think it would take much for Nvidia to build something for Nintendo.
 

NappingRat

Member
Jul 2, 2018
158
Also, given how ARM SoCs are going with architecture licenses allowing small customizations for different purposes, it's highly unlikely that this Supa Switch wouldn't have an at least somewhat customized chip.
Nvidia graphics wherever they are at by the time it comes out, perhaps 8 CPU cores (or at least 4 primary cores with 2 threads each) to make some downrezzed multiplatform ports easier from a PS5 with 8C/16T.

From my limited understanding, it seems imperative to have much higher RAM bandwidth than on X1 or Mariko if they want to improve the framerate/gfx asset streaming situation in the next generation. This should be something that can be accommodated in a semi custom design IF Nintendo wants to pay for it (if I understand correctly...IMHO, not an EE/CS).
 
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SiG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,076
I wonder how much nVidia will push Nintendo to adopt RT cores in their lineup. Perhaps not? Perhaps something to accelerate physically-based rendering instead? As much as people like to think Nintendo's "behind" in the graphics department, they seem to be pushing certain advancements in graphical effects, though they're more low-key and not "in your face" like Sony's approach.
 
Jun 2, 2019
1,468
I wonder how much nVidia will push Nintendo to adopt RT cores in their lineup. Perhaps not? Perhaps something to accelerate physically-based rendering instead? As much as people like to think Nintendo's "behind" in the graphics department, they seem to be pushing certain advancements in graphical effects, though they're more low-key and not "in your face" like Sony's approach.
I can see Nintendo pushing for RT, given that both PS5 and the new Xbox support it by hardware, and what made possible the actual third party support on Switch is the modern featureset supported by the Tegra
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
Nvidia is launching 7nm+ Ampere GPUs in the next 8 months, they were working on a Tegra chip in Ampere, something like this would likely have 768ALUs or about 3x the Cuda Cores, and allow for higher clocks on the power curve, meaning a portable with ~700MHz instead of 460mhz of the current Switch in portable, and would give you a jump from 235GFLOPs to ~1TFLOPs in portable mode and could come out in the next FY, docked the GPU could clock much higher and reach as much as 2TFLOPs. What is going on is anyone's guess, but this is a possibility.

The current Switch Tegra chip is 4SM, Xavier on 12nm was 8SM and Ampere should have 12SM. That at least is the current technology outlook IMO.

If they do push for RT in games, expect Nintendo to turn it into an in-game mechanic.
Nintendo cares about lighting a lot oddly, so it wouldn't surprise me if they added RT cores and used them to just look better.
 

SiG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,076
Nintendo cares about lighting a lot oddly, so it wouldn't surprise me if they added RT cores and used them to just look better.
I was thinking more about how reflections would be utilized as a game mechanic. With other developers/publishers, it's simply for the sake of realism and graphics.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
I was thinking more about how reflections would be utilized as a game mechanic. With other developers/publishers, it's simply for the sake of realism and graphics.
It could really add to observational puzzles and such. RT cores could absolutely be in the next Switch units, the Ampere Tegra I blocked out above would traditionally only have 12 RT cores and 96 Tensor cores though, but with the new architecture, Nvidia might add more RT cores per SM, 1 RT core per SM right now seems to be a bottleneck for RTX performance with Ray Tracing enabled. Moving to 2 RT per SM, would allow for 24 RT cores, and probably the right balance for such a low powered GPU, would likely be plenty for 720p Ray Tracing.
 

Mr Swine

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,427
Sweden
It will be a semi customizable chip based on the latest that is out.

it’s not like Nvidia is sitting and doing nothing on their portable/laptop GPU’s

I’m more concerned with the bandwidth if it’s going to be a portable near PlayStation 4 power
 
Jun 2, 2019
1,468
I was thinking more about how reflections would be utilized as a game mechanic. With other developers/publishers, it's simply for the sake of realism and graphics.
It wouldn't be strange, but i can't see too many games making use for it

Luigi's mansion maybe? The series is all about lighting effects and it was the main selling point of the original (The third installment seems to go full force with it)

Nintendo cares about lighting a lot oddly, so it wouldn't surprise me if they added RT cores and used them to just look better.
Nintendo seems to have preference for water and light effects ever since SNES in the case of light (By using transparencies) and N64 with water

I find it charming tbh. I love Wave Race 64 just for the water effects



And while luigi's mansion is a loveable series overall, its use of lighting makes it one of my favorites
 

Simba1

Member
Dec 5, 2017
2,582
Probably what nvidia has to offer around that time if not, there will be plenty of other suppliers who will be happy to sell nintendo their soc like qualcomm or whatever.
Nintendo wants same architecture to stick to in order not to start every gen from zero (they were very specifik about that),
and Nvidia said they have partnerhip with Nintendo that will last two decades.
So yeah, its sure that at least Switch 2 will have Nvidia chip also.
 
Nov 8, 2017
4,382
In Q2 2022 (Switch+5 years) The 5nm tsmc node will be quite mature and the Turing arch will not be the latest thing Nvidia has. It's hard to speculate this far out.
 

Onix555

Member
Apr 23, 2019
487
UK
There hasnt been a real Tegra since 2016 (X2), as such any Switch 2 would have to use a custom processor; unless Nvidia comes out with a new part in the next few years.

As for the big car chips people like to point out, these are unsuitable for a large number of reasons such as power consumption, price, unneeded features, etc.
 

Pottuvoi

Member
Oct 28, 2017
1,504
Not yet.

Would love them to make Turing based Tegra.
Even without Tensor and RT cores Turing would be amazing for small form factory devices.
Better battery life and vastly improved rasterization pipeline.

Mesh shaders would be game changer and would allow a small machine to do some incredible things for the amount of compute power it has.
 

carlosrox

Member
Oct 25, 2017
9,864
Vancouver BC
When will a portable PS4 (give or take) be possible for Nintendo to sell at a price similar to the Switch?

Are chances more likely it'll be weaker or stronger than a base PS4?

Either way I'm just hoping for PS4 ballpark. Can't imagine what Nintendo could do with that level of tech. Just lookit Luigi's Mansion and Smash Ultimate and imagine what they could do with something much, much stronger. I cannot wait.
 

Freed Games

Member
Oct 29, 2017
110
Austria
It has to be a custom chip really, as all the latest SoCs by nVidia are designed for self-driving cars.
I agree with z0m3Ie that 768 ALUs are the most likely outcome at 7nm, together with 8 standard ARM CPU cores (unlike the custom nVidia CPUs in their current chips) and 8GB of RAM this will run all XBO/PS4 games just fine.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
It will be a semi customizable chip based on the latest that is out.

it’s not like Nvidia is sitting and doing nothing on their portable/laptop GPU’s

I’m more concerned with the bandwidth if it’s going to be a portable near PlayStation 4 power
Remember Samsung struck a deal with AMD to license their GPUs. A little over a month later, Nvidia goes with Samsung to fab their GPUs. There is Zero reason to think that Nvidia won't challenge AMD in the mobile front with their Tegra chips, and the move to 7nm+ via Samsung is a strong move to counter AMD's deal with Samsung in the first place.

An Ampere Tegra chip would be very capable of current gen base performance, slightly weaker on the go, noticeably faster when docked. Also Samsung's LPDDR5 technology offers over 50GB/s per chip, and with Nvidia's bandwidth advantage over GCN technology, 100GB/s+ on a 64bit bus, is going to be enough for 2TFLOPs of Ampere performance, we can already see this is the case when we look at the GT 1030's 48GB/s bandwidth with over 50% of that performance.
 

Hate

Member
Oct 26, 2017
4,408
Does it have to be Nvidia? Can’t it be something like what GPD Win has? Intel internals?
 

Mr Swine

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,427
Sweden
Remember Samsung struck a deal with AMD to license their GPUs. A little over a month later, Nvidia goes with Samsung to fab their GPUs. There is Zero reason to think that Nvidia won't challenge AMD in the mobile front with their Tegra chips, and the move to 7nm+ via Samsung is a strong move to counter AMD's deal with Samsung in the first place.

An Ampere Tegra chip would be very capable of current gen base performance, slightly weaker on the go, noticeably faster when docked. Also Samsung's LPDDR5 technology offers over 50GB/s per chip, and with Nvidia's bandwidth advantage over GCN technology, 100GB/s+ on a 64bit bus, is going to be enough for 2TFLOPs of Ampere performance, we can already see this is the case when we look at the GT 1030's 48GB/s bandwidth with over 50% of that performance.
I hope that is the case, I do wonder if it will have Nvidias third generation Ray Tracing Chips. It would benefit a lot when PS5 and Xbox have AMDs first generation Ray Tracing in the hardware.

can the Ray Tracing Chips be used to speed up current gen games with shadows and lightning?

Does it have to be Nvidia? Can’t it be something like what GPD Win has? Intel internals?
Nvidia and Nintendo have a contract spanning 10-20 years of partnership.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
Does it have to be Nvidia? Can’t it be something like what GPD Win has? Intel internals?
Nintendo would have to emulate the NVN API, meanwhile Nvidia is the graphics leader and can license ARM CPUs, so Nvidia is the clear choice, besides their entire developer framework is supported by Nvidia tools. Publicly Nvidia has also said that they have a long term relationship with Nvidia that could last 2 decades.
I hope that is the case, I do wonder if it will have Nvidias third generation Ray Tracing Chips. It would benefit a lot when PS5 and Xbox have AMDs first generation Ray Tracing in the hardware.

can the Ray Tracing Chips be used to speed up current gen games with shadows and lightning?
I do think we could see a Switch Pro next year, Nintendo has been known to launch their low price model right before a huge upgrade model, such as with the 2DS in 2013 to N3DS in 2014. I think a Switch 2/Pro being released before April 2021 (aka next FY) is probably the plan. Nvidia's Ampere comes out in the first half of next year, and a new Tegra chip is likely part of the Ampere family.
 

Candescence

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,472
While Nintendo has never been too concerned with having the best graphics for a long time now, I'd wager they don't want to fall too far behind Sony and MS, and ideally would like to at least keep pace with them to ensure ports are still viable. To that end, I expect the next Switch will have a completely custom Tegra, potentially with RT cores. I can imagine Nvidia trying to sell Nintendo hard with the potential of RT cores, including for gameplay.

Considering Nvidia would probably rather not lose this partnership with Nintendo, its Tegra division is likely being pushed to engineer the best possible chipset for a handheld device possible (well, within a rough ideal power draw profile). I think Nintendo and Nvidia will conclude that roughly 3 hours of battery life is not a deal-breaker the vast majority of people when it comes to buying a hybrid console.
 

NappingRat

Member
Jul 2, 2018
158
While Nintendo has never been too concerned with having the best graphics for a long time now, I'd wager they don't want to fall too far behind Sony and MS, and ideally would like to at least keep pace with them to ensure ports are still viable. To that end, I expect the next Switch will have a completely custom Tegra, potentially with RT cores. I can imagine Nvidia trying to sell Nintendo hard with the potential of RT cores, including for gameplay.

Considering Nvidia would probably rather not lose this partnership with Nintendo, its Tegra division is likely being pushed to engineer the best possible chipset for a handheld device possible (well, within a rough ideal power draw profile). I think Nintendo and Nvidia will conclude that roughly 3 hours of battery life is not a deal-breaker the vast majority of people when it comes to buying a hybrid console.
I can't help but be skeptical WRT ray tracing on the go. Is it really going to be that mainstream (in just a couple of years from now) that they would be willing to use part of a very meager power budget for RT cores? I'm not a PC gamer, but I just don't see the mass migration of devs and consumers over to a RT future so far and really don't think it's an essential add for a Supa Switch.

Would people rather lower resolutions, lower res textures, lower FPS, non HDR graphics just to include enough RT cores to do something useful with them?
 

Candescence

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,472
I can't help but be skeptical WRT ray tracing on the go. Is it really going to be that mainstream (in just a couple of years from now) that they would be willing to use part of a very meager power budget for RT cores? I'm not a PC gamer, but I just don't see the mass migration of devs and consumers over to a RT future so far and really don't think it's an essential add for a Supa Switch.

Would people rather lower resolutions, lower res textures, lower FPS, non HDR graphics just to include enough RT cores to do something useful with them?
Yes, it will be. Have you not seen the attempts by Sony and MS to overhype their next consoles? Ray tracing is a notable selling point for both of them.

With a set, singular custom hardware configuration, it'll be significantly easier to optimize RT cores for the best visual/performance profile possible for a Switch 2, and, well, Nvidia is well ahead of the curve compared to AMD by virtue of actually having dedicated hardware focused on raytracing on the market, while AMD has fuck all on the hardware side of things.

Also, HDR is basically free in terms of performance, so I'm not sure why you're saying RT hardware would potentially sacrifice that.
 

Candescence

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,472
Dude...

AMD is in charge of the new consoles' hardware

Including raytracing
We don't know its actual implementation yet, though. We've seen jack shit in terms of what or even if AMD has anything in store in terms of dedicated RT hardware, and considering their previous comments on the matter suggest they're not actually interested in making graphics cards with dedicated components for RT, I'm honestly wondering if they plan to straight up brute-force it with a regular GPU.
 

NappingRat

Member
Jul 2, 2018
158
Yes, it will be.
....
Also, HDR is basically free in terms of performance, so I'm not sure why you're saying RT hardware would potentially sacrifice that.
I'm not going to dispute the RT stuff - that's why I asked for input from ERA, and thank you.
The reason I mentioned HDR was that a capable LCD (tablet/handheld) would presumably cost more and thus leave less money available for SoC/RAM/ other improvements. It's just a guess from my IMHO pile.
 

T002 Tyrant

Member
Nov 8, 2018
1,983
I reckon it'll be a Orin Tegra chip. Because by 2023 it may just be cheap enough for Nintendo to use. I'm hoping for some kind of raytracing support in the chipset, I'm not expecting native 4k output, I'm expecting a 720p screen and perhaps maybe Nvidia's AI upscaling tech built in so raytracing can be done at lower resolutions and be scaled up.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
I reckon it'll be a Orin Tegra chip. Because by 2023 it may just be cheap enough for Nintendo to use. I'm hoping for some kind of raytracing support in the chipset, I'm not expecting native 4k output, I'm expecting a 720p screen and perhaps maybe Nvidia's AI upscaling tech built in so raytracing can be done at lower resolutions and be scaled up.
Cheap comes from die area mostly. A 768 Cuda Core Ampere based Tegra chip, even with Tensor and RT cores should be well under 150mm^2, which is within Nintendo's die size budget. (The Wii U GPU die alone was a tad over 150mm^2, and Tegra X1 is 121mm^2). Besides, Orin is up to 7TFLOPs, I feel like that is outside the scope of a device with Switch's form factor, even in 5 years.
 

T002 Tyrant

Member
Nov 8, 2018
1,983
Cheap comes from die area mostly. A 768 Cuda Core Ampere based Tegra chip, even with Tensor and RT cores should be well under 150mm^2, which is within Nintendo's die size budget. (The Wii U GPU die alone was a tad over 150mm^2, and Tegra X1 is 121mm^2). Besides, Orin is up to 7TFLOPs, I feel like that is outside the scope of a device with Switch's form factor, even in 5 years.
I was more thinking future-proofing - you downclock the chip for heat and energy savings in the present, and then in the future, you can upclock the chip for a "Pro version" a few years down the line.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,152
I'm sure they do have a more modern, bleeding edge chip that compares favorably to the highest end mobile processors of today.

Having said that, this thread kind of proves exactly why you won't be hearing anything about it ... Nintendo will be the main vendor for such a chip and they wouldn't want information on such a chip to be so widely available to the public because it would lead to rampant speculation and focus on Switch 2 instead of Switch ... which they likely want to sell for at least 2-3 more years.

Switch is at around 40 million sold WW right now and has a legit shot at the nice 100 million barrier, that means Nintendo's got at least 35-45 million more Switches to focus on selling before they launch Switch 2 and put the original Switch on cruise control.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
I was more thinking future-proofing - you downclock the chip for heat and energy savings in the present, and then in the future, you can upclock the chip for a "Pro version" a few years down the line.
Considering how fast mobile technology is moving, this isn't the right approach for Nintendo or Nvidia.

However the block I've outlined could produce ~1TFLOP at 650MHz and ~2TFLOPs at 1.3GHz. It also has the same number of shader cores as the recently announced SQ1. Nvidia going this direction with a lower clocked ARM A76 8 core chip (say 2GHz) should be able to achieve lower power consumption than the SQ1 and actually be usable in the form factor.
I'm sure they do have a more modern, bleeding edge chip that compares favorably to the highest end mobile processors of today.

Having said that, this thread kind of proves exactly why you won't be hearing anything about it ... Nintendo will be the main vendor for such a chip and they wouldn't want information on such a chip to be so widely available to the public because it would lead to rampant speculation and focus on Switch 2 instead of Switch ... which they likely want to sell for at least 2-3 more years.
Samsung's deal with AMD, to use it's GPUs was followed by Nvidia moving it's production to Samsung's process node inside of 2 months. To me that is an aggressive move to attract Samsung's business, also Ampere Tegra chips have been rumored for a long time, and one focusing on the mobile market's requirements makes sense here.

Nvidia not having a mobile chip going forward is baseless speculation, they will have a chip for any customer, and Nintendo will almost certainly choose that over a pricer custom chip, even if it's done with cheaper technology, because a custom chip, just costs more.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,349
Consumer-based Tegra development more or less ended after the X2. Nintendo's desires pretty much run that ship. If we see a new consumer tegra device, I think it will largely be dictated by what Nintendo wants for the Switch 2.

Though Windows for ARM is now a thing, so that might also factor into some design decisions
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,152
Consumer-based Tegra development more or less ended after the X2. Nintendo's desires pretty much run that ship. If we see a new consumer tegra device, I think it will largely be dictated by what Nintendo wants for the Switch 2.

Though Windows for ARM is now a thing, so that might also factor into some design decisions
I don't know if the chip is specifically going to be made just for Nintendo though. But they're likely keeping quiet about it at Nintendo's request.

The Switch IS the defacto huge success Nvidia has been dying for for the Tegra mobile chip line since day 1.

Not a chance in hell IMO they would just stop working on it now that they finally got a huge hit product that uses the chip and requires a generational upgrade.

There's no rule that says Nvidia has to tell you everything they're working on. In the past, yes they may have been more open to sharing their tech roadmap for Tegra further in advance, but now that Nintendo is the main vendor for these chips, they likely have been told to keep it quiet about further chip tech precisely because of threads like this -- it would lead to unneeded focus away from the current Switch which Nintendo still needs to sell for several more years.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,152
I think the Apple A13X chip that is supposed to come out this fall might be a decent indicator of what the Switch 2 chip Tegra could be .

The A12X is already supposedly about the same performance as the XBox One S, so A13X would be north of that running off battery power.

Fairly cutting edge for circa late 2019 for a late 2021/early 2022 product sounds about right for Nintendo.

Maybe it would more equivalent to an Apple A14X, I dunno.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
I think we are looking at a 3 to 4 year hardware refresh for the big 3. That means a Switch Pro/2 before April 2021, and with that time frame, a 1TFLOP handheld and 2TFLOP docked hybrid makes a lot of sense.
 

_Jelly_fish

Member
Oct 5, 2019
19
Melbourne
IIRC the Switch was made up of almost entirely off the shelf parts as far as internals were concerned. Honestly if there was a switch 2 or anything I'd bet on it just being that years (or the year befores) latest Tegra chips. If we're lucky that also means there will be decent cross compatibility (or at least backwards compatability like the ngc/wii/wiiu).

Also couldn't the NGC technically run wii games with a modded firmware/hardware or am I imagining that
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,802
IIRC the Switch was made up of almost entirely off the shelf parts as far as internals were concerned. Honestly if there was a switch 2 or anything I'd bet on it just being that years (or the year befores) latest Tegra chips. If we're lucky that also means there will be decent cross compatibility (or at least backwards compatability like the ngc/wii/wiiu).

Also couldn't the NGC technically run wii games with a modded firmware/hardware or am I imagining that
The gamecube can't run wii games, it doesn't have enough memory.

Yes, the Switch will likely use Nvidia's next Tegra chip, which sounds like a 768 Cuda core Ampere chip on 7nm+. That is likely launching next FY.