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Marvell hints at Wii 2 chip win

HardwareNews
by Staff Writer
, 01 Oct 2010News

Comments made by Marvell's Jack Kang at the Mobilize 2010 conference suggest that his company's latest quad-core chips may form the heart of the next-generation Wii 2.

According to a report on Engadget, Kang was cornered at the conference and quizzed about his company's quad-core ARM-based Armada processor - designed to offer a more powerful alternative to the innovative mobile-oriented triple-core Armada 628 the company recently announced.

Describing the chip as being too "power-hungry" for use in mobile devices - although, as this is an ARM-based processor he's talking about, that's a relative to the hundred-watt-plus that traditional x86 chips consume - Kang commented that it would be finding its way into a next-generation games console in the near future instead.

Given that Kang discounted the chip's use in mobile devices, we can rule out the upcoming Nintendo 3DS and Sony PlayStation Portable 2 consoles - both being battery powered, portable devices - which leaves a next-generation home console.

The replacements for Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3 can both be discounted for reasons of architectural differences - neither console currently features an ARM processor, making the use of same in a future generation exceedingly unlikely.

Discounting bit-players in the industry, that only really leaves us with one possibility - Nintendo, and a successor to its hugely successful but rapidly aging Wii.

The current Wii features three processors: Broadway, the main PowerPC-based central processor; Hollywood, the AMD manufactured graphics processor; and Starlet, an NEC-made ARM9-based chip.

Given that the current generation Wii already features an ARM processor, it's not hard to imagine that the Wii 2 will include the same - and with the console's unique selling point of motion control rapidly disappearing as its competitors adopt similar strategies, increased performance is going to be a requirement from Nintendo's next-generation effort.

Sadly, Nintendo is keeping its lips sealed tight on this one - but if Marvell is willing to hint at the deal in what seems an obvious manner, could a Wii 2 launch be just over the horizon?

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