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by Mike Zazaian September 8, 2006 - 1:30pm, 6 Comments

Nintendo's Broadway Chip

IBM has made the first shipment of its “Broadway” processors designed specifically for Nintendo’s Wii, but both companies are keeping exact details under wraps.

Nintendo has received the first batch of processors for its upcoming gaming console Wii. “Broadway” is a custom design based on IBM’s Power architecture, and uses a 90nm manufacturing process using Silicon on Insulator (SoI) technology. The processors are being manufactured by IBM Technology at their fabricating facility in East Fishkill, New York, the same plant that makes the Cell processors for Sony’s upcoming console, the Playstation 3. Ron Martino, a director for IBM’s Technology Collaboration Solutions at the East Fiskhill compound says that IBM has already, “Shipped a significant volume [of the Broadway chips] in this quarter.”

Whereas both Sony and Microsoft took every possible advantage to distribute specs on how powerful the chips of their Playstation 3 and Xbox 360 were, Nintendo hasn’t made a peep regarding the processor for its upcoming gaming console, the Wii (formerly Revolution). The only news being released about the chip is that the chips will use a new technology to substantially boost the processing power over its previous G3-based “Gekko” chip that powered Nintendo’s previous console, the Gamecube. As you may recall, the Gekko processor boasted a modest 450 Mhz throughput, not bad in comparison to the PS2’s 233 Mhz Imagine chip, or even the Xbox’s 600 Mhz Pentium III. But to be sure, it’s nothing that can compete with the PS3’s Cell, or the Xbox 360’s triple 3.2 Ghz solution.

Power, however, isn’t the approach that Nintendo is taking to their next generation console. Genyo Takeda, Senior Managing Director of the Integrated Research and Development Division for Nintendo remarked on the company’s aim for the Wii:

Today’s milestone marks the final stage of our drive to reach both core and nontraditional gamers with an inviting, inclusive, and remarkable gaming experience.

While no details have been released about the release date of the Wii, a price point has been set at between $170 and $199 US dollars, ensuring it a leg-up over its opponents, the $299-$399 Xbox360 and speculatively $600 Playstation 3.

[via Ars Technica]