Nintendo Switch GPU specs will run faster when docked to TV, says new report

Katharine Byrne
Nintendo Switch GPU specs will run faster when docked to TV, says new report

The Nintendo Switch's Tegra GPU will run at a higher clock speed when docked to a TV, potentially offering improved gameplay performance compared to using the console on the go, Eurogamer's Digital Foundry has today revealed.

According to its latest report on the Switch's internal specifications, which it says has been confirmed by multiple developer sources, the Switch's Nvidia Tegra GPU will run at 768MHz while docked but just 307.2MHz when used on the go – exactly 40 per cent of its docked counterpart.

Memory controller speeds will run at two different speeds as well, hitting 1,600MHz when docked and 1,331MHz undocked. However, Digital Foundry says developers will be able to retain full memory bandwidth if they wish.

Meanwhile, the console's CPU speed will remain at a constant 1,020MHz regardless of whether the console is docked or not, ensuring that games won't be fundamentally compromised when playing away from the TV.

The most intriguing piece of information to come out of the report, however, is the notion that developers will be able to choose which GPU clock their game runs at when the console is docked. While some developers will no doubt want to take advantage of the extra headroom available in its docked form, there will be the option to have the GPU running at the lower 307.2MHz clock, presumably to create a more uniform experience for those constantly switching between the console's two states.

With GPU clock speeds like this, Digital Foundry speculates the Switch should have enough horsepower to run games at 720p in mobile form and 1,080p when connected to a TV. However, if developers were to choose the lower GPU speed when docked, that could mean games might only run at 720p when plugged into a TV.

That might sound disappointing to some, but the upside is that even games running at the lower GPU clock should still be able to outpace current Wii U titles, says Digital Foundry. Indeed, the debut Switch demo of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild revealed on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon at the beginning of December looked wonderfully smooth compared to the Wii U E3 demo shown earlier this year, so there shouldn't be cause for concern just yet.

Nintendo is due to reveal more about the Switch at its hands-on event on January 13th. While it's unlikely the company will talk specific hardware stats, we should hopefully get a clearer idea of how the console works differently when used on the go.

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