The Broadway Processor in Nintendo Wii

By: Zwee


With Sony and Microsoft both going to IBM for the microprocessor in their next generation consoles, why would Nintendo be left behind?

The company approached IBM for a new processor as well, although its request was completely different from that of Sony and Microsoft. Nintendo was looking for something that provided ample av a small size, was easy to manufacture and was not power hungry.

This was a completely different challenge for IBM from the cutting edge technology demands that it regularly gets. Soon, the Broadway processor was born.

Nintendo has notoriously shied away from discussing the details of it's hardware, probably because of how poorly it compares to the other next generation consoles like Sony PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Still, a dew details have managed to leak over time.
Using a 90 nm fabrication process, the Broadway still manages to use 20 percent less power than the Gekko processor of the Nintendo GameCube, which was also designed by IBM.

With the core clock running av just 729 MHz, the Wii is barely fast as the original Xbox, whose processor clocked in at 733 MHz. Based on the IBM's silicon-insulator power architecture, it provides impressive processing power without consuming much power.

Some technical Specifications are -

It has a 90 nanometer process technology with Power Architecture core, specially modified for the Wii platform and IBM silicon on insulator (SOI) technology and Backward compatible with the Gekko processor with speed of 729 MHz and 32-bit integer along with 64-bit floating-point (or 2 32-bit SIMD) 64 KB L1 cache (32 KB instruction + 32 KB data) 256 KB L2 cache at 2.9 GFLOPS

External bus is 64 bits wide with 243 MHz and 1.9 gigabytes per second bandwidth.

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