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.