Nintendo Switch Announced, Powered By NVIDIA Tegra

Written by Michael Larabel in Multimedia on 20 October 2016 at 10:28 AM EDT. 51 Comments
Nintendo announced their new "NX" portable console today as the Nintendo Switch. While we don't focus on game consoles at Phoronix, hardware and talk of graphics APIs do excite us.

The Nintendo Switch was publicly announced a few minutes ago at a Nintendo press conference. The Switch is expected to ship in March. NVIDIA has already confirmed this new console is using a custom Tegra SoC. This does conflict with earlier rumors that the Nintendo NX would make use of a modified Polaris GPU...

The NVIDIA blog post explained, "Nintendo Switch is powered by the performance of the custom Tegra processor. The high-efficiency scalable processor includes an NVIDIA GPU based on the same architecture as the world’s top-performing GeForce gaming graphics cards...Nintendo SwitchThe Nintendo Switch’s gaming experience is also supported by fully custom software, including a revamped physics engine, new libraries, advanced game tools and libraries. NVIDIA additionally created new gaming APIs to fully harness this performance. The newest API, NVN, was built specifically to bring lightweight, fast gaming to the masses...We’ve optimized the full suite of hardware and software for gaming and mobile use cases. This includes custom operating system integration with the GPU to increase both performance and efficiency."

What I haven't seen publicly confirmed yet is whether the Nintendo Switch is using the Vulkan API, which is expected going back to the rumors when the console's codename was NX. Back in 2015 Nintendo joined the Khronos Group and there have been references of Nintendo and Vulkan together, but just no official confirmation this morning yet if Vulkan is the dominant graphics API of this next-generation device. Hopefully! I anticipate hearing more Switch hardware details and developer information soon. The product site is

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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