By Don Reisinger
March 14, 2017

The Nintendo Switch has been torn apart to reveal what’s hiding inside.

Engineering and product development consultancy Mindtribe on Tuesday released the findings of its recent Nintendo Switch teardown. One of the company’s most important revelations was that Nintendo appears to be utilizing Nvidia’s reference design for its Tegra X1 processor architecture. Historically, Nintendo has designed its own console components. But with the Switch, the company has moved to industry-standard technology from Nvidia, making it easier for third-party developers and especially independent developers to port their video games to its console, according to Mindtribe.

Relying on Nvidia (NVDA) technology also ensures the console, which was released on March 3 for $300, delivers impressive power. In fact, after tearing down the Switch, Mindtribe discovered that the console’s processor is “around 10 times more powerful than your average iPad.”

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The power advantage could be important for Nintendo (NTDOY) as it looks to compete with the growing popularity of mobile gaming on smartphones and tablets.

Nintendo’s Switch can be played on the television, but it can also be removed from its dock and players can continue playing titles on the go with its built-in display. The Switch, in other words, is as much a home console as a portable gaming device that would compete with smartphones and tablets. By delivering more power, the system can thus generally offer better graphical quality in its games than strictly mobile devices.

Beyond the Nvidia integration and power, Mindtribe discovered that production of the Switch has been ongoing for quite some time. The company said that the system it disassembled had a “stamped-in date” inside of Nov. 15, 2016, suggesting Nintendo has been manufacturing the console for several months.

Additionally, Mindtribe discovered that the Switch uses a “squashed copper tube filled with coolant,” coupled with a small radiator and fan, to prevent the device from overheating. The Mindtribe folks were also impressed by how well Nintendo crammed its device’s processor, logic board, and other critical components inside such a small footprint.

Mindtribe has torn down the Nintendo Switch and revealed some interesting things inside.
Mindtribe

To avoid troubles with the Switch that could ultimately cause it to fail, Nintendo has bolstered the device’s USB-C connector, which acts as the port for charging and data transfers. The connector is soldered in several areas to other components and its cover is “spot-welded on.” It’s even screwed down.

Ultimately, Mindtribe applauded Nintendo for the Switch’s design and component choices, and believes the decision to rely on Nvidia was a good move.

“The Switch marks a huge success not only as a desirable product but also realizing they should focus on what they do best, marrying innovative interfaces with tried and true game control design,” Mindtribe wrote in a statement on Tuesday.

The teardown comes several days after Nintendo released the Switch to major fanfare. The Switch is the bestselling Nintendo console in the company’s history and even now, is nearly impossible to find on store shelves.

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