AMD to provide x86 AMD chips for Nintendo's next console

Nintendo’s next console might have the same powering chip as its rivals Xbox One and PS4. It’s been rumoured for a while now that Nintendo may produce a new hardware and it’s possible that AMD SoC will be the main option for powering the recent confirmed new gaming system.

AMD’s CFO, Devinder Kumar has confirmed the company has two major new designs in the works and he has further revealed, ‘œI will say that one is x86 and the other is ARM, and at least one will be beyond gaming, right ‘¦ They [the customers] are going to announce it and then ‘¦ you will find out that it is AMD’s APU that is being used in those products.

’ He wasn't clear if he was referring to AMD’s 8-core Cortex-A57 server Opteron chip or a Project Skybridge SoC with a custom-designed ARM CPU.

Last year Nintendo has announced a cheaper version of its next console which targets customers in emerging economies. Here’s what Shigeru Miyamoto said in a recent interview with Associated Press: ‘œWhile we’re busy working on software for the Wii U, we have production lines that are working on ideas for what the next system might be.’ He also expressed his hope to see Mario leading the way to next generation consoles, the plumber's role being compared to that of Disney's Mickey Mouse.

Just from the statements mentioned above, we can’t be sure that AMD’s SoC will be integrated into Nintendo’s next console. Although it would be intriguing to play on Nintendo’s console powered by an AMD ARM chip, Nintendo is more likely to choose the x86 SoC as Xbox and PS4 did.

Supposing Nintendo delays the launch of its next console for another year or two, the company may opt to use the x86 APU with Puma (next-gen Jaguar) CPU cores. At this moment, it’s impossible to predict whether Nintendo would go for the older version of GPU (a 2012-era Pitcairn GCN 1.0 GPU like the PS4 and Xbox One) or the more advanced GCN 1.1 and 1.2 cores like Tonga Pro. Everyone is waiting to see if Nintendo takes the cheaper route or bets everything on flashy visuals against Sony and Microsoft.

Nintendo opting for X86 CPU/GPU will automatically mark a new turn for the company wherein Nintendo’s use of non-conventional hardware is put to past. We should also point out that Nintendo’s previous consoles have used an ATI or AMD GPU, paired with a Power architecture CPU custom designed by IBM. With IBM mostly getting out of making chips, it’s not hard to guess that Nintendo’s second option would be the x86.

Considering ARM’s leadership in the mobile world and based on Nintendo’s portables use of ARM CPUs, we could make another guess that Nintendo’s new console will indeed go for AMD’s upcoming custom ARM CPU, paired with a beefy GPU.