The Switch OLED, Nintendo’s brand new console, has exactly the same processor as the classic Switch. The “brain” of these consoles is a 6 year old component. Proof that there is no need to race for new things to create quality gadgets.
While rumors of a Nintendo Switch “Pro” flooded the web for months, Nintendo was content to release an OLED Switch which, apart from its screen, hardly embeds any technical improvement compared to the previous model. The Joy-Con are the same, the autonomy is the same, and above all, the processor is the same.
A 6 year old chip
The Japanese manufacturer has not changed the brain of its console, maintaining consistency of performance across all its models. The OLED Switch like the classic Switch has the same chip: a Tegra X1. Released from the factories of Nvidia in 2015, this system has an extremely rare longevity in the field of mobile components.
Sold at the time as an overpowered chip capable of increasing to more than a teraflops in computing power, the Tegra X1 is not really what it is best in the sector today. This system, which takes care of both the raw calculations and the graphics part of the Switch, is based on a fineness of engraving in 20 nanometers – where current chips are today engraved in 5 or 7 nanometers. These technical advances make it possible to create more powerful processors, and more energy efficient, that manufacturers usually do not hesitate to adopt.
However, the Switch shows that it is possible to create an immensely popular device, with a rich and interesting catalog of games, without necessarily racing for technology. And Nintendo is proving that with time and resources, it is possible to keep a mobile operating system up to date on processors that are more than 5 years old. A feat that few manufacturers can boast of, except Apple.
The Switch is not the only device to still carry a Tegra X1. The Shield TV multimedia box from 2015 runs on the same chip, and is also always updated by Nvidia. Sign that the processor, released 6 years ago now, was ahead of its time. It is also a sign that it is not necessary to run after power, to create quality devices that will last over time.