Researchers Claim The Nintendo Switch Is 10 Times More Powerful Than An Ipad
(Last Updated On: March 23, 2017)

The research tech team over at MindTribe has dissected a Nintendo Switch to take a closer look at just how powerful the console really is, and to see what's really hidden away inside the case.

And I have to say, the MindTribe team is pretty thorough and goes into great detail about all the components inside the Nintendo Switch and how it works. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of new technology going on here, but more-so a really clever way of utilizing existing tech. The Switch uses the knowledge from Nintendo's past history, a bit of ingenuity, and adds a few key choices of hardware to bring everything together into a powerful gaming tablet that MindTribe describes as-

in reality, it’s around 10x more powerful than your average iPad, thanks to the Tegra.

That sounds pretty impressive, however, they don't give a specific iPad model, so we have to assume they are talking about an iPad at or around a similar price point. After searching what is currently on the market for eBay and Amazon, they help narrow things down to an Apple iPad Mini 2, an iPad Air or another older model that fits around the same price point. But we also have to take into consideration that iPads are multimedia devices used for a large range of tasks -- like drawing or browsing the internet, while the Nintendo Switch's primary focus is gaming.

So, let's go through what the MindTribe team covered to see how they came to the conclusion that the Switch is 10 times more powerful than your average iPad.

First off, Nintendo is utilizing a reference design created by Nvidia for its Tegra X1 processor architecture. In the past,
Nintendo stuck with its own special components for their own consoles. But it is because of the special Tegra X1 Processor that it gives the Nintendo Switch a huge edge over your standard tablets that are competing at a similar price range.

We then move on to the Switch's touch screen. In the past, Nintendo has used cheap resistive touch screens in their handheld devices, as well as for the Wii U, but the new touch screen for the Switch is Nintendo's first high quality capacitive multi-touch screen.

We then have the cooling system, because with gaming devices they will get hot and eventually start to overheat. MindTribe says that the heatsink inside was a thin squashed copper tube that is filled with coolant to keep the device cool. Furthermore, the Nintendo Switch also uses a small radiator and fan, as well as a vibration damping rubber mount to complete the cooling system. Another interesting tidbit the MindTribe team pointed out was that the heatsink didn't directly touch the Tegra chip, but instead goes through a metal shield and over the top of the processor and memory, as shown in the above picture.

The controller -- which we all know now as the Joy-Con, is simply using Nintendo's previous designs and concepts and taking it all to the next level in a smaller more compact design. As for the haptic feedback, I think most of us have heard quite a bit about Nintendo's new HD Rumble feature. Most handheld controllers use a basic eccentric rotating mass motor (ERM) that spins around inside the grips, and that is what produces the rumble. But instead, Nintendo is using a linear resonant actuator, which they describe as being similar to Apple’s own Taptic Engine, and it is through this HD Rumble design that allows the rolling marble feeling or the glass filling up with water sensation.

The Switch also has two speakers located in the corners of the console, along with a curled up flex cable.

The Switch uses a type C- USB connector for its charging port, which is a newer more universal USB design that you may recognize from your other mobile devices. The MindTribe team also took notice of the quality of the charging port and how much time Nintendo put into designing it so that it could withstand the test of time and the obvious abuse it would take, as it is soldered down onto the PCB at multiple points, with a cover that is spot welded on, then screwed into place, and is then pressed snuggly up against the metal chassis to prevent anything from wiggling or moving out of place. In simple terms, it seems to be thoroughly held together.

It is through the clever design and smart planning that makes the Switch special as a portable gaming device. The combination gives you a high-end portable gaming tablet that comes with a Nvidia Tegra chipset, is equipped with a well-thought-out cooling system to keep everything running smoothly, and is priced at a low $300 price tag. The only major flaw seems to be the cheap plastic docking station that occasionally scratches up the screen as you slide the Switch in and out, so Nintendo really needs to look into that.

Last but not least, The MindTribe team also noticed that there was a "stamped-in date" on the inside of the back plastic piece that had the manufacture date of "Nov. 15, 2016", which gives us a pretty good idea about when the first wave of Switch consoles went into production to be shipped out to the public.


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About

Helping provide news, previews, reviews and info on new and upcoming indie titles and mainstream games, Nick’s passion for gaming and eye for detail extends across various genres and styles. Need to contact this author? Use our Contact page.

  • sublimetalmsg

    Well bragging it’s more powerful than the iPad is sad anyway.

  • Bitterbear

    It’s ten times more powerful than an iPad, as in the first iPad model, bwahahaha.

  • Smug

    The Nvidia Tegra processor is cooled by a low-quality axial/radial fan that will degrade over the amount of time you carry and move it around. That means sooner or later the fan will get as loud as a gayming laptop or a PS4 (Pro), and one day, that fan will simply stop to work

    • Uncle

      These fan are loud for sure, but you talk like these fans are unproved when the fact is they been used for every single laptop since laptops started to use fans, they been used in most consoles and heavy duty tablets, they been used in cable boxes and media streamers etc etc…
      Basically they have years of R&D, its not some strange unused tech.

      The main issue is that this both this article and official Nintendo are BS people, nintendo said that its custom Tegra and the only Custom thing in this Tegra is the nintendo sticker.
      Also X1 is 50% faster than A8X, but the X1 tested was special development board, not low power batter ysaving X1 used in Switch.

      GreedyTendo ALWAYS trys to cut corners and create cheap products with horrible hardware that only sell because they white and have Nintendo sticker on them, I seen Switch and played with it, imagine what they could do if the dock was just like those cheap Chinese PS4/X1 3$ cooling stands had a bunch of fans inside of it and pushing air through Switch? They could of increase the CPU/GPU in docked mode.
      Imagine if Craptendo wasn’t cheap and really wanted to create a REAL portable/Home console?
      All they need to do is to add 4Gb of RAM into dock and additional Tegra X1 for SLI, it wouldn’t cost much, they Swicth would of been a 400$ machine but what a monster, maybe even pushing Checkerboarded 4K like PS4PRO in the docked mode.

      • Bitterbear

        The thing is, Nintendo could push a gaming beast and still the hardkore2kool4skool2dxtreem!!11!!!11! Serious Gamer crowd would sneer at it in the same way SJWs have done towards every progressive comic book Marvel Comics as aimed towards them.

        Microsoft and Sony have done a stellar job at conditioning an entire generation that gaems have to be grimdark in order to be good.

        • Uncle

          Your opinion makes no sense: Better hardware is ALWAYS good, tahts how you win.
          All these dark games you were talking about, would of got a Switch version and if nintendo was smart, and released a system better than PRO, these games would look better and people would choose Switch over the others, thats how PS4 won, they had very few exclusives but BEST looking multiplatforms.
          People that dont play nintendo game would of got a Switch if it was better than PRO or on par with Scorpio, just to play the best version of Multiplatform games and see what nintendo can do with such powerfull hardware, so far im disappointment with what they done on Switch, if Zelda is the best they can do 900p with drops down to 10fps, I wont be getting one.

          Im near my 40s and it has nothing to do with Sony or MS, i had my megadrive, my NES and my SNES and my 3DO before I had PS1.
          I just dont find nintendo games appealing to me.
          The easiest way to explain is by comparing to Fantasy movies, there is Fantasy for Children and Fantasy that appeals to adult people.
          I dont understand (my brain cant compute) fighting with cutesy character beating up animated flowers and pig looking doodes and simple stories like save the princess, I do understand Witcher, Dragon Age, ME, U, HZ:D etc.
          The most cutesy game I played was Fable, and it just looked cutesy, but had actual mature stories behind it.

          Take the latest Zelda for example, WiiU emulator was getting 5K in Patreon, when they showed that they can run zelda and need improvements they went to near 30K and latest build already runs the game with very few bugs.
          People want to play it in 4K, not 720p or that castrated 900p with framerate drops in the switch.
          People want PC resolutions, at least FHD and with 60FPS hack, Zelda will be doing FHD/60FPS and for people with 4K TVs 4K/60FPS.

          • Bitterbear

            Aside from this gen, usually the winner of each consoles tends to be the least powerful of the bunch.

            Also, what do you mean with Mature Stories? I’m curious because in this gen that theme has been pretty much a minefield.

  • FlamingoJet

    Then why can it only run BotW at 20-30fps and not hold 30fps static?

    Because you are lying or gimping the hardware.

    • Because you are lying or gimping the hardware.

      Based on the dev spec sheets they’ve most definitely gimped the hardware.

      Whether or not they’ll loosen it up in the future to allow people to take advantage of higher clock rates when docked remains to be seen. Microsoft did the same with the Xbox One, and freed up a couple dozen hertz to boost performance just before launch and again later on after launch.

      I don’t remember Nintendo ever doing that with their hardware, though, so it would likely require developer pressure for them to unlock more of the X1’s clockspeed.

      • FlamingoJet

        I put my money on gimped hardware as well because it’s Nintendo and they have scummy business practices.

    • mikebrand83

      Or BotW runs on a game engine built for the Wii U, which can’t be perfectly translated and optimised to Switch hardware.

      Meanwhile we also have the example of Fast RMX, an enhanced remake of Fast Racing Neo for the Wii U, and one of the few games that we know of that was actually built and optimised for the Switch from the ground up. Plays 4 player split-screen with double the frame rates while also outputting over double the pixel count, with enhanced graphical effects on top.

      • Uncle

        Guys, GUYSSSS, stop talking about Fast RMX, just stop.
        If you take a SECOND to actually look at it, from a technical standpoint youll see that in its heart its simple Mobile game and because its simple it can do FHD and AA so it looks smooth.
        The biggest special effect it does is Blur.
        There is nothing to be proud of, Wipeout on Vita looked no worse.
        BTW, so far Uncharted and Killzone on Vita looks no worse than most Switch games.

        • mikebrand83

          So you would rather everybody speculate based entirely on subjective perception of “looks” and unknown factors in optimisation, rather than objective comparisons between known factors?

          P.S.
          I’ve got a Vita (not to mention a PS3 and a PS4 Pro). You’re full of shit.

          Besides the fact that Fast RMX runs at more than double the frame rates and pushes more than 4 times the pixels (during 4 player split screen at that, when docked), Wipeout, Uncharted and Killzone got their “looks” thanks to assets and optimisations backed by AA (or possibly even AAA) budgets and development in conjunction with the Vita hardware. No surprise that they still represent the peaks of Vita games in terms of “looks”.

          • Uncle

            What subjective factors? You speculate based on perceived performance and totally ignoring that performance is variable, you can animate 2D sprite in 4K/60 on the wii if you wanted, its just what you throw at it.

            What maters is the actual technology used, RMX looks like simple iOS game, in FHD/60fps thats it, it brings nothing unique, its not a proper real switch game.

            During Split screen aka playing on the SAME TV, if its 4 identical quarters than its quarter resolution for each. But if it keeps running at 60fps it just proves my point, that the game is simple mobile game and has huge untapped CPU/GPU resource.

            There is old mobile game Riptide GP, it has an “HD” version with better special effect, it has the same full screen blur that you see in RMX and even water motion and would look close to RMX if it was ported to Switch and played at FHD (actually there is a PC version, so you can see how it looks at any resolution)

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5e9c29cabb05812199cd65551d1c8be305bccb509a9428707ba7979ef3a6d772.jpg

          • mikebrand83

            you can animate 2D sprite in 4K/60 on the wii if you wanted, its just what you throw at it.

            Good point.

            Because that’s comparable what we get in Riptide GP, Riptide GP2, and somewhat in even the latest Riptide GP Renegade: Lots of textures with artificial depth to make them look more complex than they actually are, on what is mostly very simple polygon backgrounds.

            EDIT:
            Anyway, you’re veering away from the point.

            BotW is on Wii U and the Switch. Fast Racing is also on the Wii U and the Switch. One game was ported over to the Switch fairly late in development and give us plenty of unknown factors in optimisation, while the other was rebuilt from the ground up for the Switch. The port shows only marginal improvements over the Wii U version, while the other objectively demonstrates the leap the Switch has over the Wii U, when optimisation was removed as an issue.

          • Bitterbear

            Something to take into account is that Shin’en has its roots in the Demoscene, and they do have a history of making hardware sing. That also would explain why their games have very good visuals and yet they have a relatively small storage footprint.

        • mikebrand83

          So you would rather everybody speculate based entirely on subjective perception of “looks” and unknown factors in optimisation, rather than objective comparisons between known factors?

          P.S.
          I’ve got a Vita (not to mention a PS3 and a PS4 Pro). You’re full of shit.

          Besides the fact that Fast RMX runs at more than double the frame rates and pushes more than 4 times the pixels (during 4 player split screen at that, when docked), Wipeout, Uncharted and Killzone got their “looks” thanks to assets and optimisations backed by AA (or possibly even AAA) budgets and development in conjunction with the Vita hardware. No surprise that they still represent the peaks of Vita games in terms of “looks”.

  • Blake

    If Nintendo is smart the’ll use the fact that every 2 year old and 85 year old has a tablet and start making touch screen games. It’s still $300 less than an Ipad