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Nyren's Corner: Laura Kate Dale Suggests the Nintendo Switch Can Run at Full Power While Undocked

Originally this was part of a larger article where I summarized everything that she said, but after thinking about it, I decided to just condense it to this and give you the link to the AMA to read the rest of the comments yourselves. Not because I don’t want too, but just because I feel this is the only real noteworthy thing that came out of the AMA. The rest is either stuff we already knew, already guessed, or was just really small by comparison. So here’s the link:


So in her AMA, LKD started talking about the battery life of the system. At first she said that she had heard the maximum life was 3 hours, but that she’s also heard conflicting rumors that put the maximum battery life much higher than that and that 3 hours is actually the minimum for when the Switch is running at full power without a contstant stream of power. Full power, without the dock. That’s interesting because previous rumors stated that the Switch downclocks heavily, something like 40%, when undocked. The recent Unreal Engine 4 presets suggested that UE4 games drop from high settings to medium settings. But this suggests that that isn’t REALLY necessary, just a recommendation. Lowering the settings preserves battery life, and obviously handheld players value battery life for those long trips. A lot of people were worried about the 3 hour battery life. I never minded, but I can understand why some did, but her comments suggest that 3 hours is only for full power, so that should add a bit of comfort that some games will let the system last longer.

The other part she mentioned regarding this is that the players CANNOT toggle this. It’s a developer toggle. Games will always run at maximum when docked, but its up to the developers if they want to scale the game down in portable mode or leave it as is and sacrifice battery life to maintain a level of quality that they’re happy with. Now to be clear, nothing suggests that it will surpass Xbox One at full power. LKD agrees with that with regards to the specs she’s heard, but she did make it a point to mention certain factors could actually push the Switch above something like the Xbox One even if the numbers are lower.

Which, that actually leads me to something else I wanted to bring up:


This rumor comes from the same website(Baidu) that the Foxconn leaks I reported on either earlier this month or late last month came from. It’s very brief, and the post it originated from was taken down. I don’t even have to summarize it because it’s basically already summarized: Pascal GPU, 4GB of RAM, A73 ARM Processor, and a 4319mAh battery. And pulling from LKD, 32GB of storage in the base model with a maximum expansion of 128GB(Though there’s no reason why bigger storage wouldn’t work.). Those could potentially be your final specs for the Nintendo Switch. I’ve talked at length about how much 4GB of RAM might not matter to the Switch due to its nature as a handheld with solid state-like memory, and the battery life was addressed earlier. The GPU has been discussed to death and at this point there’s no reason to continue arguing about whether it’s Maxwell or Pascal because there are many rumors for both and it just goes back and forth. NVIDIA hinted it was Pascal, but we might as well wait for word of god to set the record straight. What I am interested in talking about though is the processor supposedly being used here: The ARM A73.


The ARM A73 chip was unveiled in May 2016, so right off the bat you can see that this is brand new tech. This write-up on the A73 goes into detail and makes mention of the fact that this chip has no relation to the A72. The A72 was old architecture, the A73 is entirely new and is 64bit. It’s also 30% more power efficient, and offers 30% higher performance compared to the A72. I don’t think I need to tell you how having a processor that’s more power efficient is beneficial to mobile devices. Pairing this thing with a state of the art Pascal GPU would mean that the Nintendo Switch is at the cutting edge of handheld technology. It couldn’t go any higher than that. The latest processor on the market and the latest GPU chip on the market. And this isn’t even the first time the A73, which uses the latest ARMv8-A architecture, has been mentioned in a Switch rumor. In fact, it was the previous Foxconn leak on Baidu that stated that the Switch was using ARMv8, which the leaker then speculated was the A73 because it couldn’t have been the A72.


If this is all true, I’m surprised that Nintendo was able to fit all of this into a USD$249.99 package and not be taking a loss on it. But LKD insists she has heard USD$249.99 just like some retailers have prematurely outed, and Nintendo’s president Tatsumi Kimishima has stated that they will not take a loss on the Nintendo Switch, and even going os far as to say that the price is flexible within reason. My mind is going crazy with all this information and exactly what it means. Why can’t it be January 12th yet?

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