Why it matters to you
Developers can potentially access more GPU power, but at the cost of battery life.
More: Nintendo’s Switch is one console you can take everywhere — here’s what you need to know
All the processing power is in the Switch itself, and not the dock. While in docked mode, the Switch’s internal processor clocks at a higher speed, about 40 percent more, to output gameplay between a 900p and 1080p resolution. Because the Switch’s screen is 720p, the processing unit clocks down to preserve battery. It was assumed this was locked for developers to ensure an acceptable battery life.
But with a new update, it seems Nintendo has added additional performance modes to be used at the developer’s behest.
At default, the Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) is set to 307.2MHz. With the inclusion of the boost mode, handheld performance can go up to 384MHz.
Even with the 25-percent bump, it won’t amount to drastically better visuals while in mobile mode. Assuming a developer decides to run a game at full performance when on the go, things may look slightly crisper, but it would be hard to tell on a 6.2-inch 720p screen.
Beyond clock-speed leaks, Chinese website Taobao was able to tear apart the Nintendo Switch to reveal its innards. What it showed was a cleanly designed system with a good chunk of the inside taken up by the 4,310mAh, 16Whr battery. Interestingly, some of the parts are not soldered on, but are instead held in by screws. For example, the 32GB of eMMC NAND storage is on its own mini-daughterboard. This could allow Nintendo to easily release a “pro” or “elite” version of the Switch in the future with more hard drive space by simply swapping out the part.
The Nintendo Switch is set to launch on March 3 for $299.