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

Ninjadom

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,054
London, UK
It would have been extremely interesting to see what would’ve happened if Apple licenced out their A-chips. The most powerful mobile SOC’s in the world, and updated on a yearly basis with a minor mid-year update for the iPad. Cost would probably have been way too high for Nintendo to factor in the manufacturing of the Switch.
 
Nov 8, 2017
4,422
Remember their salt when both Sony and Microsoft ditched them?
If by salt you mean how people kept asking them what they thought about consoles in interviews and investor calls, to which they would reply with pretty mild responses, and then people on forums would go "lol why won't they stop talking about consoles? They're so salty" as if they themselves had just randomly brought up the topic in a press release or something, all while posting record profits.
 

napata

Member
Nov 2, 2017
617
A) I'm not a financial expert by any extent but that's not what their financial results seem to suggest: https://nvidianews.nvidia.com/news/nvidia-announces-financial-results-for-first-quarter-fiscal-2020
B) I don't know enough about the benefits to discuss it, but given how vocal they were about losing the contracts I would sooner believe they were upset they lost them in both Sony and Microsoft's platforms.
A) Yes, that's the mining drop in effect.
B)Vocal? Upset? Salt? It's seems you have an anti-Nvidia agenda to push. All they did was answer a question. Console chips are low margin products and that's basically what they said. They lost the contracts because they weren't willing to lower the price or just couldn't provide an APU. The Switch is just a drop in the bucket for Nvidia.
 

Griffith

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,756
If by salt you mean how people kept asking them what they thought about consoles in interviews and investor calls, to which they would reply with pretty mild responses, and then people on forums would go "lol why won't they stop talking about consoles? They're so salty" as if they themselves had just randomly brought up the topic in a press release or something, all while posting record profits.
What do you call it when Jensen says the Switch a home run?

I'd call it hypocrisy. If you criticize two platforms that abandoned you for poor performance and do the same for the third which happens to be the weakest among them it doesn't seem or sound very honest.

Edit: oh and just before I'm dismissed as a console gamer or disliking Nintendo. I own a Switch, I own most Nintendo consoles in the last two decades and I bought a mid tier gaming pc a couple of months ago and yes, with an Nvidia card.

A) Yes, that's the mining drop in effect.
B)Vocal? Upset? Salt? It's seems you have an anti-Nvidia agenda to push. All they did was answer a question. Console chips are low margin products and that's basically what they said. They lost the contracts because they weren't willing to lower the price or just couldn't provide an APU. The Switch is just a drop in the bucket for Nvidia.
Oh yes I hate Nvidia so much I plunked down over $500 for one of their graphics cards a couple of months ago.

I'm not criticizing them for stepping away from a low profit deal. I'm criticizing Jensen for his comments on the consoles after he did so.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,496
The switch's modularity, joycons and all (labo and vr) are pretty much the Switch's gimmick, at least to me. Outside of that, it's pretty bog standard as far as systems go
 

Lizardus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
967
The switch's modularity, joycons and all (labo and vr) are pretty much the Switch's gimmick, at least to me. Outside of that, it's pretty bog standard as far as systems go
Agreed, all of those are "gimmicks" but that word shouldn't be treated with a negative connotation (thanks Wii/360/PS3 era). Lots of things were considered "gimmicks" before they became the norm.
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,119
Even that I don't know. You can't really take any PR statement from any of these companies that seriously, it's not like "gaming chips" are radically exotic technology nowadays anyhow. I don't think Nintendo really wants to pay massive amounts of money for super-custom designs anymore either.

Whatever "Tegra X4" was supposed to be is likely what they'll get.

I would not be so sure either that Switch 2 is the only product the chip will go into.
why would they be developing mobile SoCs for anything other than the switch?

in 2015 and 2016 jensen consistently said that part of their business was dead. then the switch became a surprise hit so sure, i guess they'd better put out a die shrink 2 years later. that is the extent of their commitment to anything non-custom that is designed to be used in a portable device.

qualcomm would eat their lunch on anything intended for broader use cases. nvidia was never even able to properly integrate LTE into the tegra 3, which killed its smartphone business. what else would they build chips for? ultra-niche android tablets?

no. nvidia's mobile business is dead, no matter how much technical overlap a hypothetical 2020 tegra might have had with the switch. they'll make a custom chip for nintendo because that's the only conceivable way they'll be able to justify manufacturing more than a million of them.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,243
why would they be developing mobile SoCs for anything other than the switch?

in 2015 and 2016 jensen consistently said that part of their business was dead. then the switch became a surprise hit so sure, i guess they'd better put out a die shrink 2 years later. that is the extent of their commitment to anything non-custom that is designed to be used with a battery.

qualcomm would eat their lunch on anything intended for broader use cases. nvidia was never even able to properly integrate LTE into the tegra 3, which killed its smartphone business. what else would they build chips for? ultra-niche android tablets?

no. nvidia's mobile business is dead, no matter how much technical overlap a hypothetical 2020 tegra might have had with the switch. they'll make a custom chip for nintendo because that's the only conceivable way they'll be able to justify manufacturing more than a million of them.
That's not even true because the Tegra X2 was just released in a VR device, the Magic One. There may not be a ton of demand outside of the Switch, but that doesn't mean Nvidia is beholden to some commandent that doesn't allow them to use their tech elsewhere if there's an interested vendor.

They can make a "custom chip" for Nintendo I guess, but good luck in getting Nintendo to pay a massive premium for that. That ain't happening. A "game centric processor" these days isn't going to be radically different from a general design anyway, I doubt the chip in Switch 2 is going to be some kind of radical, exotic design.
 

Tron1

Member
Dec 23, 2017
5,362
That's not even true because the Tegra X2 was just released in a VR device, the Magic One. There may not be a ton of demand outside of the Switch, but that doesn't mean Nvidia is beholden to some commandent that doesn't allow them to use their tech elsewhere if there's an interested vendor.

They can make a "custom chip" for Nintendo I guess, but good luck in getting Nintendo to pay a massive premium for that. That ain't happening. A "game centric processor" these days isn't going to be radically different from a general design anyway, I doubt the chip in Switch 2 is going to be some kind of radical, exotic design.
Very much agree
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,243
This is Nintendo it’s their DNA
To be honest I think Wii/Wii U and DS/3DS are really their only "gimmick based" hardware.

NES - SNES - Game Boy - GBA - N64 - GameCube - Switch

Are pretty much just natural evolutions on what came before without expressly trying to sell the concept on the basis of something well "gimmicky". Wii and DS were expressly designed to try and cater to a blue ocean audience.
 

slsk

Member
Oct 27, 2017
81
Nvidia GPU cores and their associated software (drivers, middleware etc) are the best in the business. Their weakness is the rest of SOC, especially the CPU.
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,119
That's not even true because the Tegra X2 was just released in a VR device, the Magic One. There may not be a ton of demand outside of the Switch, but that doesn't mean Nvidia is beholden to some commandent that doesn't allow them to use their tech elsewhere if there's an interested vendor.

They can make a "custom chip" for Nintendo I guess, but good luck in getting Nintendo to pay a massive premium for that. That ain't happening. A "game centric processor" these days isn't going to be radically different from a general design anyway, I doubt the chip in Switch 2 is going to be some kind of radical, exotic design.
i have no idea why magic leap is using the old X2 for its unreleased AR headset, but it certainly doesn't have any serious implications for nvidia's viability as a silicon vendor for consumer devices. maybe they picked it for similar reasons that nintendo went with the x1. that doesn't mean nvidia is going to make an x3 with aspirations for it to be widely used.

nvidia's sole advantage in SoC design is in leveraging its GPU architecture. it wouldn't at all be a stretch for them to create something for a switch 2 given the obvious built-in audience. it would, however, make very little sense for them to attempt to create a competitive SoC for anything else — it'd just be using licensed ARM cores with inefficient connectivity.

which, coincidentally, would be totally fine for a switch 2! all nintendo needs from nvidia is the ability to design an SoC with reasonably modern CPU performance (so whatever ARM puts out in time) and a good mobile-class GPU.

the bottom line is that the next switch SoC will be a custom design, but only because no other major OEM in the world would even want anything similar from nvidia.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,243
i have no idea why magic leap is using the old X2 for its unreleased AR headset, but it certainly doesn't have any serious implications for nvidia's viability as a silicon vendor for consumer devices. maybe they picked it for similar reasons that nintendo went with the x1. that doesn't mean nvidia is going to make an x3 with aspirations for it to be widely used.

nvidia's sole advantage in SoC design is in leveraging its GPU architecture. it wouldn't at all be a stretch for them to create something for a switch 2 given the obvious built-in audience. it would, however, make very little sense for them to attempt to create a competitive SoC for anything else — it'd just be using licensed ARM cores with inefficient connectivity.

which, coincidentally, would be totally fine for a switch 2! all nintendo needs from nvidia is the ability to design an SoC with reasonably modern CPU performance (so whatever ARM puts out in time) and a good mobile-class GPU.

the bottom line is that the next switch SoC will be a custom design, but only because no other major OEM in the world would even want anything similar from nvidia.
I think you would still want some flexibility preferably. You can't be so arrogant as a company to think you know exactly how the future will play out ... who's to say in 3-4 years something else doesn't pop up for Nvidia. They sure as heck probably did not bank on some Nintendo system being the savior of their X1 design, but things developed and just worked out that way.
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,119
I think you would still want some flexibility preferably. You can't be so arrogant as a company to think you know exactly how the future will play out ... who's to say in 3-4 years something else doesn't pop up for Nvidia. They sure as heck probably did not bank on some Nintendo system being the savior of their X1 design, but things developed and just worked out that way.
well yeah but like, the X1 would have been a total failure without the gigantic serendipity of nintendo coming along. it wasn't ideal for the switch, exactly, but it was good enough that they made it work.

that is not a good way to plan your business! you can't seriously invest in SoC design, something hugely expensive that really only like 5 companies in the world do at scale now, without an idea of who your customer is.

which is why nvidia's mobile business, by the company's own admission, is dead.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,243
well yeah but like, the X1 would have been a total failure without the gigantic serendipity of nintendo coming along. it wasn't ideal for the switch, exactly, but it was good enough that they made it work.

that is not a good way to plan your business! you can't seriously invest in SoC design, something hugely expensive that really only like 5 companies in the world do at scale now, without an idea of who your customer is.
I mean of course the main customer is Nintendo, but it's not like the chip has to be some wildly exotic design. It can be basically the same type of design you'd have put together if you continued the Tegra line as it was.

7nm Ampere based chip with LPDDR5 RAM, there's not likely to be anything wildly out of left field on there like some kind of exotic embedded RAM or something (though that would be nice).
 

345

Member
Oct 30, 2017
1,119
I mean of course the main customer is Nintendo, but it's not like the chip has to be some wildly exotic design. It can be basically the same type of design you'd have put together if you continued the Tegra line as it was.

7nm Ampere based chip with LPDDR5 RAM, there's not likely to be anything wildly out of left field on there like some kind of exotic embedded RAM or something (though that would be nice).
sure, but remember when the switch came out the line was that it used a "custom" chip from nvidia when it plainly didn't. i think it's pretty obvious that the same thing will happen again — the only difference is that in all likelihood the chip really will only be used by nintendo.
 

kami_sama

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,761
Only Nvidia and Samsung can provide console graphics (as in the GPU architecture, not performance) with ARM CPUs.
And Samsung doesn't have anything out right now. So Nvidia will continue to be the SoC provider for Nintendo for quite a while.

As for the Switch 2, I imagine will be a custom job based on a more current tegra chip, like the X2.
 

Onix555

Member
Apr 23, 2019
503
UK
Only Nvidia and Samsung can provide console graphics (as in the GPU architecture, not performance) with ARM CPUs.
And Samsung doesn't have anything out right now. So Nvidia will continue to be the SoC provider for Nintendo for quite a while.

As for the Switch 2, I imagine will be a custom job based on a more current tegra chip, like the X2.
Not quite, many others including Qualcomm have handhelf mobile GPUs that outpace Nvidia's. A very recent example would be the Adreno gpu in the new Surface tablet.

New software would have to be developed for them initially but its still an option on the table.
 

UltraMagnus

Member
Oct 27, 2017
8,243
I think Nintendo themselves may even request a less custom design.

There can be a lot of headaches with making a chip too custom, and I think Nintendo paid a dear price for that with Wii U ... they were beholden to so many custom decisions with the the GameCube/Wii chip that they really got into trouble with that chipset.

I don't think Nintendo wants to be in a situation where in like 10 years they have a large back catalog of content but the chip they used was so weird and custom that it's so far removed from any kind of current architecture of the time.
 

kami_sama

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,761
Not quite, many others including Qualcomm have handhelf mobile GPUs that outpace Nvidia's. A very recent example would be the Adreno gpu in the new Surface tablet.

New software would have to be developed for them initially but its still an option on the table.
But they still use a different architecture, aren't they? On the PC space there's Nvidia's (Maxwell, Pascal and Volta) and AMD's (polaris, Vega, RDNA), and in consoles there's AMD for PS4 and XBOX and Nvidia for the Switch.
I would think that Nintendo would want something that developers are already accustomed to, and I speculate that's one of the reasons they went with them.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,496
But they still use a different architecture, aren't they? On the PC space there's Nvidia's (Maxwell, Pascal and Volta) and AMD's (polaris, Vega, RDNA), and in consoles there's AMD for PS4 and XBOX and Nvidia for the Switch.
I would think that Nintendo would want something that developers are already accustomed to, and I speculate that's one of the reasons they went with them.
Adreno is Vulkan and DX12 compliant just like every other GPU on the market
 

Onix555

Member
Apr 23, 2019
503
UK
But they still use a different architecture, aren't they? On the PC space there's Nvidia's (Maxwell, Pascal and Volta) and AMD's (polaris, Vega, RDNA), and in consoles there's AMD for PS4 and XBOX and Nvidia for the Switch.
I would think that Nintendo would want something that developers are already accustomed to, and I speculate that's one of the reasons they went with them.
Wut, thats not how it works.
You dont directly program for the gpu like in the 90's, etc.
You use API's such as Vulkan, Opgl, DX, etc as a cross compatible translation layer.

Basically you just need to update the APIs and game engines beforehand and developers will be fine.
 

kami_sama

Member
Oct 26, 2017
1,761
Wut, thats not how it works.
You dont directly program for the gpu like in the 90's, etc.
You use API's such as Vulkan, Opgl, DX, etc as a cross compatible translation layer.

Basically you just need to update the APIs and game engines beforehand and developers will be fine.
I thought it was more to the metal than that. But yeah, if you use the APIs then there's no issue.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,496
And? Games on consoles don't normally use those APIs, do they? Maybe games on XBOX use DX, but I don't think neither Switch or PS4 use them.
Yes, yes they do. Nintendo's API is a branch of Vulkan and Playstation's is a branch of OpenGL (last I know of). With their hardware being off the shelf(ish) there's not much performance penalty using straight up Vulkan on these systems or the next
 

Onix555

Member
Apr 23, 2019
503
UK
I thought it was more to the metal than that. But yeah, if you use the APIs then there's no issue.
The problem with to-metal programming is thats its extremely time consuming and complex. Games these days are far too large, so it would disrupt the development process. As well as that theres a short supply of people who can actually do it.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,820
The idea that Nvidia doesn't want to use the business with Nintendo to continue to create general customer Tegra chips just doesn't make much sense. This is from Q3 2017 earnings transcript:
Nvidia CEO Jensen Huang [B said:
"I guess you could also say that Nintendo contributed a fair amount to that growth. And over the next – as you know, the Nintendo architecture and the company tends to stick with an architecture for a very long time. And so we've worked with them now for almost two years. Several hundred engineering years have gone into the development of this incredible game console. I really believe when everybody sees it and enjoy it, they're going be amazed by it. It's really like nothing they've ever played with before. And of course, the brand, their franchise and their game content is incredible. And so I think this is a relationship that will likely last two decades and I'm super excited about it."
Nvidia makes a new Tegra chip "for" Nintendo, but puts it in their next generation Shield TV devices, sell it to vendors who want an ARM powered Windows device, and stuff like VR. Also, they aren't going to ignore AMD coming into the mobile market, that is what the whole Samsung fab contract win was about IMO.
Speak of the devil


Found by z0m3le
This is talking about the Tegra chips being made after Orin. This means that at least one new Tegra chip is coming next FY IMO. The Jetson TX1 (Tegra X1 dev board) ends life in Jan 2021 as well.
Do we really need to talk about Switch 2 already?
Yes. Remember PS4 Pro, XB1X and New 3DS all launched by their 3rd or 4th year anniversary, and next FY ends right after Nintendo Switch's 4th year anniversary.
And just to put New 3DS into context, in 2013 they launched the $129 2DS, and the following year released the New 3DS/N3DSxl with about 6x the CPU performance. It also lead to about 3 dozen exclusives, such as Minecraft, Xenoblade port and fire emblem warriors.
Not quite, many others including Qualcomm have handhelf mobile GPUs that outpace Nvidia's. A very recent example would be the Adreno gpu in the new Surface tablet.

New software would have to be developed for them initially but its still an option on the table.
Nvidia hasn't left TSMC's 16nm process node (their 12nm is 16nm++), The Adreno 640 has a GFLOPs performance of 576GFLOPs iirc, hardly an improvement over Tegra X1, and inferior to Tegra X2. SQ1 is saying 2.1TFLOPs for the custom GPU, and while I believe that is FP32, it consumes up to 15watts just for the SoC (though it also consumes as little as 7 watts and has an 8 core 3GHz CPU). Nvidia is still the market leader here, and they will likely show it off next year with a new Tegra.
Nvidia GPU cores and their associated software (drivers, middleware etc) are the best in the business. Their weakness is the rest of SOC, especially the CPU.
There is no reason Nvidia or Nintendo couldn't opt into a new ARM CPU design.
ARM A76 in the chart below is using less than 5 watts of power draw.

and 2 new cores coming as early as next year are all hugely impressive.

yeah but, they already wanted in on all that and it didnt work out. it's nice to want things...

the chinese and korean companies are gonna use their own chips and qualcomm seems to have an absolute lock on everything else. part of it seems to be due to american cell frequencies, only qualcomm can seem to integrate them (this is why you dont see any exynos chips in american Samsung phones).

the idea of a high end, or almost any, american android phones releasing without qualcomm on board seems impossible.
Mobile chipsets are about a lot more than just Smart Phones though, Microsoft just last month showed off an ARM based Windows device, and intends to launch it next year, Nvidia has always wanted to release a windows SoC, but ARM wasn't compatible, that however is changing and Nvidia isn't going to miss out on it.
 

dgrdsv

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,079
Msk / SPb, Russia
A) I'm not a financial expert by any extent but that's not what their financial results seem to suggest: https://nvidianews.nvidia.com/news/nvidia-announces-financial-results-for-first-quarter-fiscal-2020
Their financial results do not "suggest" anything, they clearly show what I've said about mining crash being the main reason for the revenue issues they (and half of the rest of the industry) had during the last three quarters.

B) I don't know enough about the benefits to discuss it, but given how vocal they were about losing the contracts I would sooner believe they were upset they lost them in both Sony and Microsoft's platforms.
They weren't vocal about it at all. They've basically said what I've stated: that they have no interest in such low margin deals. There is no "upset" in business and they didn't loose anything.
 

z0m3le

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,820
They weren't vocal about it at all. They've basically said what I've stated: that they have no interest in such low margin deals. There is no "upset" in business and they didn't loose anything.
From Fourth Storm:
The article is available to subscribers only, however the gist of it is this:


  • Though Nvidia downplayed console margins, their pride was hurt by the loss in console contracts. All the talk about "focusing on Shield" was a cover for the fact that MS and Sony had soured on them and would not enter negotiations.
  • Nvidia team was told to get a console win or "go home." Enter Nintendo, who apparently made off very well in this deal. This to the point that SemiAccurate questions whether this is a "win" at all for Nvidia.
  • SA has heard that Nvidia are promising software, support, and the whole shebang at a very low cost. According to one source, Nvidia may even be taking a loss on this deal. (Take the second sentence here with an extra portion of salt)
  • Not mentioned which generation of Tegra or which process node will be used or when the handheld is scheduled for release.
  • No mention of the home console, but we can speculate what that might be and who might provide the chipset for that one.


This is the original Nintendo NX leak, it is true, and yes there were hard feelings, Nvidia was upset about Sony and Microsoft not even meeting with Nvidia about their PS4/XB1 hardware.
 

RPGamer

Banned
Oct 25, 2017
1,435
guys stepped in at the time and bought off all those spare X1s that no one else wanted, but we're still no longer interested in handheld SoCs, so we don't really have anything. If you want a custom chip, we can develop one. But that's going to cost you, because our R&D resources are better spent elsewhere than for those puny-margin type deals" and Nintendo then going, "Fuck you guys, we're a toymaker not a tech company! Specs don't matter to us and we're not paying hundreds of millions of bucks for a tailor-made chipset."
I guess they will have talked about future iterations and new chips and how they will move forward when making the Switch. Nvidia could say fuck you if they wanted to leave the console business forever with no way back and make their Tegra business even smaller or ditch it alltogether, who knows, i don't believe that. And it would be bad news for us too, as the next console would have problems with backwards compatibility and we wouldn't see a real "Pro" Switch or a successor that is compatible. It would go against everything Iwata wanted with NX.

I mean there could also be something in the middle like Nintendo providing some R&D money for the chip if they get it cheaper when beeing produced, who knows.

you're not reading what i'm saying (or the OP).

they will make a chip for switch 2, yes. but it won't go into any other device, unless they want to adapt it for another shield TV box for whatever reason. it'll be a custom design built with gaming in mind, unlike the X1 which was intended to be more broadly versatile.
It probably will go into other devices like X1 or Mariko power their Android TV. They would be stupid not to make Android TVs any more if they have a fitting chip.

z0m3le there were some rumors about a new Shield tablet/notebook/hybrid too, they found some "Mystique" called chip months ago, there are no new infos on that probably?
 

Galava

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,006
I hope they use a mobile chip with tensor cores (no RT cores) and take advantage of DLSS and so on. That way it can render at 1080p and upscale to whatever your monitor/tv resolution is at.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,496
I hope they use a mobile chip with tensor cores (no RT cores) and take advantage of DLSS and so on. That way it can render at 1080p and upscale to whatever your monitor/tv resolution is at.
RT cores fare a better chance at sticking around than Tensor cores. even then, they're both a part of the SM package, so unless Ampere splits them off onto their own portion, they'll still be in the Switch 2
 

hikarutilmitt

Member
Dec 16, 2017
3,420
If they went with whatever Nvidia is still making for some reason, I could see Xavier or Orin, but the real questions is how much RAM will they give it? The X1 can do up to 8GB and, while it would have driven the cost of the Switch up some, would have provided a great boost to its capabilities with modern games.
 

Tora

Member
Jun 17, 2018
1,149
These companies plan years and years and years into the future.

It's definitely not going to be a "Oh shit you guys need new parts for a Switch 2 lol? uhhh let's see what we can cook up" It would have already been cooked up in stupidly early planning if that was the case.
 

ILikeFeet

Member
Oct 25, 2017
25,496
What about the 1660 ti, 1650, and 1660????
I'm expecting 1080p carts to be RTX enabled for Ampere. as far as RT for Tegra, it'll probably depend on what kind of performance Nintendo/Nvidia can get out of 16-20 RT cores. but DLSS? I don't really see Nintendo going that route, so unless they can use the tensor cores for something else, I doubt they'd use it