HDTV adoption is increasing as digital television programming replaces analog, leaving Nintendo with little option but to step up the graphical fidelity of its console experiences with the upcoming Wii U. Engineers and designers from the company's Integrated Research and Development Division assembled for a round of discussion with company president Satoru Iwata to discuss the hurdles they needed to clear to maximize performance delivered by the Wii U's hardware components.
At the heart of the Wii U is the new MCM (multiple chip module) which is basically combines a multi-core CPU and GPU into one small package. According to Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director and General Manager of the Integrated Research and Development Division, power efficiency has been a key design concept for Nintendo since the GameCube. Combining both CPU and GPU into the Wii U's MCM serves to reduce latency and power consumption. The resulting package is also smaller and takes up less space, which was another plus in Nintendo's book.
Efficiency in the Wii U's MCM also extends to its architecture, which Takeda touts is "tightly designed" to better manage memory for system resources.
As you might expect, trying to piece all the Wii U's internal components together into a leaner and meaner hardware form factor proved to be another juggling act. In spite of the power efficiency which Nintendo aimed for with the new Wii U, its components still generate three times the amount of heat compared to those for the Wii. Much like building a new PC rig, the appropriate cooling solutions needed to implemented in order to maximize thermal performance.
The good news was that Nintendo managed to reduce the Wii U's heat sources to just one, which as you may have guessed is largely centered around the MCM. According to Iwata, this went a long way in allowing engineers to design components which would make the Wii U a more powerful console than the Wii for its size.