Home > Video Games > How powerful is the 3DS and what can it do? The spec and feature breakdown inside.

How powerful is the 3DS and what can it do? The spec and feature breakdown inside.

September 21, 2010

Nintendo 3DS
Oh just wait, you beautiful creation you…in 8 more days all of your secrets will be revealed!

I received a bit of news today from a 3rd party source, as to how powerful the Nintendo 3DS is based off the person’s personal hands on time with the system. This isn’t a 100% confirmation, but similar to how my source provided me straight from Japan the news about Mr. Hideo Kojima considering to develop Metal Gear Solid 5, I’m considering this to be pretty close to reality. According to my contact, the in house model they’re using has approximately 3 times the amount of flash storage as Wii. Wii has a 512mb “hard drive” (if you want to call it that), so 3DS likely has 1.5GB. I expect that DSiWare will continue on the 3DS, as well as a portable Virtual Console, and since these games will be a lot smaller in size than their big brother’s (Wii), 1.5GB of space should suffice. It’s said that the 3DS will also have an expandable storage space (card insert) that works similarly to Wii’s own setup. I personally hope that it acts as a hard drive expansion that 1) protects Nintendo’s games from being illegally copied and 2) gives gamers a real way to store their extra files…unlike the system that Nintendo first introduced with Wii (refrigerator and ice chest philosophy).

Nintendo 3DS Teal
Teal Nintendo 3DS

The CPU has me excited as it uses dual core technology, pumping out two 266Mhz ARM11s as opposed to the original DS’ 67Mhz ARM9 and 33.5Mhz ARM7. PSP has a single CPU that has 333Mhz for rival comparisson.

The GPU seems like it’ll be around 133Mhz, but to have a processing speed of at least double that.

Nintendo 3DS Orange
Orange Nintendo 3DS

For RAM, it has 64 true MBs (which was compared to Wii’s) and possibly as much as 16 more that’s integrated onto the graphics card. Wii has an extra 24 on its graphics card, totalling 88. It looks like the 3DS may have upwards of 80 total. If that’s the case, it’ll be plenty for a handheld gaming device, so don’t worry if it doesn’t end up having more than Wii in this department.

In terms of VRAM, there are at minimum, 4MB (which would make it comparable to PS2), but just like with the RAM, it might have an extra 2 somewhere else. Personally, I hope that the unit is capable of using up 6, but if not, I know from playing it myself at E3, that games like Resident Evil: Revelations and Metal Gear Solid 3DS look stunning as is. Plus, PSP has been able to pump out some pretty games and it only has 2.

Nintendo 3DS Purple
Purple Nintendo 3DS

The gyroscope and accelerometer technology is as accurate at a Wii Remote with Wii Motion Plus attached. I think I can vouche for this one, because when I went hands on with the 3DS at E3, the tech certainly seemed there, and was all the more impressive when integrated with the 3D cameras.

The two 3D cameras facing out are powerful and are fully capable of differentiating between multiple points in 3D space. This means that when taking a picture of something with the 3D camera, you won’t just get a look at how deep the furthest away image is compared to the one closest to you, but also be able to tell the difference in 3D space of the objects in between. Once again, at E3 with the picture demo, I purposely had the Nintendo booth girl take a picture of me, with one hand stretched out all the way and to the left, one hand to the right and closer to me, and my head in between and all the way back. This was my test at E3 and it worked…I saw the difference between all three points. It seems like now my test is simply officially proven.

Paul Gale with two Nintendo 3DS systems
Take all of those specs I mentioned earlier and just double them!

My source from a specific 3rd party said that Nintendo also has a codename for the CPU and GPU, like they had with Wii “Broadway” and “Hollywood” (respectively), but it’s not yet known what they are. Hopefully in addition to the price and release date being announced this September 29th, we’ll also learn more of the 3DS’ power. When I receive more concrete information, I’ll be back to share.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

wampdog29 September 22, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Wow. Are you sure you didn’t just take this info from IGN since they posted it yesterday?

Also, you say that the graphics card could have another 16 MB or RAM and then later say that there is 4 MB of VRAM??? Are you serious????? You do realize that VRAM stands for video ram and is the Graphics memory. This means that the GPU has 4 MB of RAM or 16 MB. One or the other. And, from what every other site has posted, it’s 4 MB.

Then you say that there could be memory somewhere else lol. Where else? The cache on the CPUs???? That’s about the only other place that RAM would be placed.

Oh, and EVERY GPU and CPU has a code name. Especially custom developed chips. It’s nothing special or new.

Paul Gale October 6, 2010 at 5:14 pm

No, I didn’t take the news from any site. Different media outlets all have their own contacts they’ve established at companies. Thanks for thorough post.

james braselton October 30, 2010 at 7:15 pm

hi there you are smart there comparing wii specs with 3ds specs they should have not combine wii 3ds specs with each other like wii has 729 mhz cpu 88 mb ram 64 plus 24 mb ram 512 mb flash storae 3mb video ram vs 4 mb video ram i hope this clears up there confussion we live in a world confussing facts theres even a song caled world of cifussing too

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