The new Nintendo Switch with Nvidia Mariko processor has been analyzed by Digital Foundry, experts in video game hardware. The result is indisputable: this console is clearly better.
Recently, Nintendo unveiled its new Nintendo Switch Lite for handheld systems only. At the same time, a silent revision of the original Nintendo Switch was released. But how?
With a new chip, as rumour has it. But this one isn’t as big a step forward as the integration of the Tegra X2 might be: it’s a revision of the Tegra X1, which was originally called Logan and is now called Mariko. Enough to boost performance? Digital Foundry, a great authority in this field, has done its tests and gives us its conclusions.
The new nintendo switch is becoming much more efficient.
Although Nintendo and Nvidia didn’t reveal anything, it appears that the new Tegra X1 chip is well engraved in 16nm. And it shows: on a game like The Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild, the console originally consumed 13.3W… against 7W now, almost half of it.
Naturally, this can be seen in the console’s battery life. The new Nintendo Switch lasts 5 hours on Zelda at 50% brightness, compared to 3 hours on the Switch at launch. At 100% you get 4 hours and 18 minutes compared to 2 hours and 25 minutes. All this was expected and corresponds to the figures offered by Nintendo, but it’s good to have confirmation.
Above all, other surprises are on the agenda. The new Nintendo Switch heats up less than the previous model, especially in its dock where it loses 4°C at maximum load. It’s not massive, but more importantly, it allows the fan to turn on much less than the previous model in portable mode, resulting in a more comfortable gaming experience.
And finally, there’s one thing we weren’t necessarily expecting this new model to be, and that should also apply to the Nintendo Switch Lite: the screen. Rumour had it that Sharp had offered Nintendo new screens, and it seems that’s the case.
The new Nintendo Switch being tested by Digital Foundry shows a higher-contrast screen, tending a little more towards red rather than blue. The team feels that the new screen is part of what helps the system have a longer battery life… but that’s not necessarily the only thing.
American video maker Kevin Kenson has also made his own comparisons, and is going in the same direction as Digital Foundry. However, on the screen, he went a little further by using a probe.
According to his measurements, the 2019 Nintendo Switch has a brighter screen (318 nits compared to 291 nits on the old model) and better calibrated (6757K compared to 7200K on the old model). This means better readability in direct sunlight, and colours that are much closer to reality.
Digital Foundry points out, however, that the Nintendo Switch has undergone some very slight incremental improvements since its release. Also, it’s possible that this drastic change only appears when comparing a launch model (as it is the case on these two tests) against the latest available model.
Is it necessary to exchange for all that?
So this is a great little upgrade to an already successful Nintendo Switch. But does that mean that our Switches purchased at launch need to be exchanged? Actually, not really.
Unless you really care about battery life, these hardware changes are not accompanied by any cosmetic changes, and the original Nintendo Switch hasn’t really lost any of its great looks. In the absence of a processor impacting the games themselves, which is not the case here, or a drastic design change, there’s no need to pay to exchange the Switch for a new model again.
If, however, as Kevin Kenson has experienced, your original switch is starting to take a little bit of a battering in the wing, that’s a good excuse to change. But in reality, it’s better to wait for a real overhaul – like a real Nintendo Switch Pro, for example.