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Nintendo Switch Performance Faster When Docked, But Still Not As Powerful As The PS4

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There's been ballooning speculation about the Nintendo Switch's power since its reveal. The console, Nintendo's attempt to do right by the Wii U's longtime struggle, was confirmed to house Nvidia's custom Tegra processor, and the hot contention rested on whether the aforementioned GPU will be based on Pascal architecture instead of its predecessor, Maxwell.

Power as a category has never been a strong suit for Nintendo in the last decade, at least, typically relying on first-party titles to sell systems, even if these systems are underpowered than its field counterparts. This had been the case with the DS vs. the PSP, the Wii vs. the Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3, and the 3DS vs. the PlayStation Vita. All these examples saw the former surpass the latter in terms of install base size, and the number of systems sold spells interest for developers to develop for a console.

Part of the appeal of the Nintendo Switch is its ability to shift from console to handheld experiences instantly, and if enough third-party developers make games for the system, it could essentially overthrow the necessity of buying other platforms; the Switch could stand as the choice system that can run Nintendo's iconic titles alongside third-party titles.

But while the prospect seems genuinely groundbreaking, a nagging question has remained since its Oct. 20 reveal: just how powerful will the console be? Will it be powerful enough to usurp field competitors Sony and Microsoft, or will it just be a souped up handheld more powerful than the Wii U and the 3DS but far less capable than the Xbox One or PS4?

Nintendo Switch Rumored Specs

A new rumor that has recently surfaced online may finally give an answer to the nagging questions aforementioned. According to EuroGamer, the Switch's GPU underclocks when in portable mode, running on 40 percent less GPU power compared to when the system rests on its dock. While the system's CPU and memory controller speeds remain constant in both orientations, the GPU speeds change severely between the two modes.

Will The Switch Be Less Powerful Than The PS4?

Furthermore, sources familiar with the system have revealed two different graphical processing modes for the Switch: an undocked profile that clocks the GPU at 307.2 MHz, and a docked profile that clocks the GPU at 768 MHz. These purported specifications suggest that the Switch will surpass the Wii U in terms of power, but the same can't be said if one pins it against its current-gen consoles Xbox One and PS4.

Additionally, the Nintendo Switch might not be able to utilize the full power of its processor, according to Polygon. The console reportedly houses a modified version of the Tegra X1, so while the chip is capable of clocking up to 1 GHz speeds, it can only clock as high as 768 MHz, as previously mentioned.

Keep in mind that these are still rumors at this point, but it's also worth considering that EuroGamer has been a very accurate source of all things related to the Switch, having been on-point regarding its prediction as far back as when the system was still codenamed "NX."

Nintendo is slated to offer more details about the console come Jan. 12, 2017, followed by a lengthy preview tour.

The Nintendo Switch comes out March.

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