December 10th, 2012, 22:30 Posted By: wraggster
Digital Foundry assesses the power consumption of Nintendo's new home console
After a few weeks of hands-on time with Wii U, it's now pretty much confirmed that there is no revelatory increase in overall processing power compared to the Xbox 360 or PlayStation 3, but there is one technological element where Nintendo's design is leaps and bounds ahead of its vintage 2005/2006 competitors: efficiency. In terms of performance per watt, Wii U is the clear winner, providing an equivalent graphical and gameplay experience using less than half the power consumed by the other consoles.
"Wii U draws so little power in comparison to its rivals that its tiny casing still feels cool to the touch during intense gaming."
When the Wii U's casing and overall form factor was first revealed, we had genuine concerns that Nintendo could be heading for its own RROD challenge. Microsoft and Sony's woes with excessive heat are a matter of record: the process of heating up the main processors during gameplay and then cooling them down when the console was turned off caused the lead-free solder connections to eventually break over time, disabling the hardware. Since then the platform holders have shrunk the main processors, making them cooler, more efficient and less likely to fail, but the form factor of the units is still fairly large.
Initial Wii U tech demos showed that the hardware offered similar performance to the current-gen consoles, but the form factor of the machine was even smaller than the "slim" versions of its competitors. Indeed, Wii U is even smaller than the recently released PlayStation 3 "Super Slim". Wii U has a lot more ventilation than its predecessor, but the space available for a heatsink and fan is much smaller than that of both Microsoft and Sony's offerings.
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