IBM Chips to Power Nintendo's New Wii U System

Already a powerhouse as the provider of custom chips to power popular game systems, IBM announces that its chips will be at the heart of the upcoming Wii U System from Nintendo.

Further strengthening its position as the key producer of high-powered chips to power today's most popular game systems, IBM recently announced that IBM microprocessors will serve as the engine of the new Wii U system from Nintendo.

Nintendo unveiled the Wii U system at the E3 trade show on June 7 when IBM and Nintendo announced that IBM's chips would power the unit. Nintendo plans for its new console to hit store shelves in 2012.

IBM chips have powered previous versions of the Nintendo Wii, and Big Blue's microprocessors also lie at the heart of Microsoft's Xbox and Sony Playstation game consoles.

Meanwhile, the all-new, Power-based microprocessor will pack some of IBM's most advanced technology into an energy-saving silicon package that will power Nintendo's brand new entertainment experience for consumers worldwide. IBM's embedded DRAM, for example, is capable of feeding the multi-core processor large chunks of data to make for a smooth entertainment experience, the company said.

Indeed, IBM plans to produce millions of chips for Nintendo featuring IBM Silicon on Insulator (SOI) technology at 45 nanometers (45 billionths of a meter). The custom-designed chips will be made at IBM's state-of-the-art 300mm semiconductor development and manufacturing facility in East Fishkill, N.Y.

The relationship between IBM and Nintendo dates to May 1999, when IBM was selected to design and manufacture the central microprocessor for the Nintendo GameCube system. Since 2006, IBM has shipped more than 90 million chips for Nintendo Wii systems, IBM officials said.

"IBM has been a terrific partner for many years. We truly value IBM's commitment to support Nintendo in delivering an entirely new kind of gaming and entertainment experience for consumers around the world," said Genyo Takeda, senior managing director of Integrated Research and Development at Nintendo Co., in a statement.

"We're very proud to have delivered to Nintendo consistent technology advancements for three generations of entertainment consoles," said Elmer Corbin, director of IBM's custom chip business, also in a statement. "Our relationship with Nintendo underscores our unique position in the industry -- how we work together with clients to help them leverage IBM technology, intellectual property and research to drive innovation into their own core products."

Built on the open, scalable Power Architecture base, IBM custom processors exploit the performance and power advantages of proven silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology, IBM officials said. The inherent advantages of the technology make it a superior choice for performance-driven applications that demand exceptional, power-efficient processing capability - from entertainment consoles to supercomputers, IBM said.