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Nintendo Switch 2 chip leak hints at major performance gains

Published Nov 7th, 2023 4:20PM EST
Image: Nintendo

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Although a steady stream of leaks and rumors have painted a blurry picture of the Switch 2, we still have plenty of unanswered questions about Nintendo’s next console. The biggest questions concern its design and its performance. We still don’t know what the Nintendo Switch 2 will look like, but an extensive report from Digital Foundry about the console’s rumored chipset gives us an idea of what the Switch 2 might be able to run when it launches in 2024.

On June 10, 2021, Twitter (now X) user kopite7kimi shared a picture of Nvidia’s T234 processor. He claimed Nintendo would use a custom version of the chip dubbed T239. Over two years later, Digital Foundry is all but convinced this will be the chip that powers the Switch 2. If so, the next-gen console is shaping up to be a significant upgrade.

In the lengthy write-up, Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter explains that the T234 is a massive chip built for the automotive and robotics markets. As such, the T239 will likely be a significantly scaled-down version of the chip. Based on leaks, a hack of Nvidia, LinkedIn posts, and “common sense reasoning,” he suspects the T239 will feature 8 ARM A78C CPU cores, a 128-bit interface paired with LPDDR5 RAM, and a maximum memory bandwidth of 102GB/s.

Compare that to the Tegra X1 powering the Switch, which featured 4 Cortex-A57 CPU cores, 4 Cortex-A53 CPU cores, and 32-bit LPDDR4 RAM with a maximum bandwidth of just 25.6 GB/s. Plus, the Tegra X1 was built on TSMC’s 20nm process, while the T239 will likely be built on an 8nm process. These are all major leaps for the rumored Switch 2 processor.

Digital Foundry also notes that the T239 appears to contain a new File Decompression Engine (FDE), which is a component that could allow for similarly speedy decompression of assets as the PS5, leading to much faster load times on the Switch 2.

Whether or not any of that technical mumbo-jumbo went over your head, the next section of the report is the most exciting. Digital Foundry found a laptop that should come close to mimicking the performance of the Switch 2 based on its findings surrounding the T239. Dell’s Vostro 5640 is not an especially interesting laptop, but its RTX 2050 4GB GPU should perform somewhat similarly to the Switch 2’s GPU. And the results were fairly impressive.

Despite lacking decent memory bandwidth, CUDA cores, and clock speed, the laptop was able to deliver “convincing 1080p gameplay” for Control, Cyberpunk 2077, A Plague Tale: Requiem, and Death Stranding. Notably, the Switch 2 should ship with more than 4GB of RAM (possibly up to 12GB), and the games will be further optimized by developers for the console.

Obviously, none of this is confirmed yet. The Switch is still selling exceptionally well, and there are a few major first-party titles dropping in the coming months. We likely won’t hear anything official about the Nintendo Switch 2 until at least next spring, but the pieces are starting to come together ahead of the inevitable announcement.

Check out the video below to see the laptop mentioned above in action:

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.