Gear & Gadgets


We just published our review of the Wii U, but we didn't crack the console open to peer under the hood. iFixit did, though, and it has published a look at its usual stellar job of disassembling the console down to its component pieces and explaining what they do.

The most interesting part of the teardown, frankly, is the look inside the Wii U's GamePad. The controller is essentially its own console packed with components. In addition to a gyroscope and a touchscreen, the controller also houses an NFC module and antenna, though its functionality doesn't appear to be used by any of the launch titles. iFixit speculates that NFC could be used in the future to facilitate saved-game and character loading.

Enlarge / Inside the Wii U GamePad.

The Wii U itself sports a trio of wireless modules, including a Broadcom Bluetooth chip. One of the modules is used exclusively to communicate with the GamePad, enabling the smooth and lag-free screen mirroring observed by our gaming editor Kyle Orland. The teardown also exposes the system's AMD Radeon GPU and IBM Power-based multicore processor, both of which are marked improvements over the older Wii's downright anemic CPU and GPU.

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Whatever it ends up costing, don't forget you're also getting a TV remote control for your money!

Amidst all the talk of the Wii U and its unique, touchscreen-equipped GamePad at this year's E3, one of the major specifications missing from the discussion was the massive controller's price. The mystery surrounding that pricing remains a major concern for those considering a purchase of the system, and according to Nintendo President Satoru Iwata, it was also a major concern for the company while the system was still in the design phase.

"Sometime during that final discussion [of the system's design], we almost gave up on the idea of the additional screen," Iwata said in an interview with London's Telegraph newspaper. "This was due to our concern over the expected high cost; it may not have been feasible to create this and sell it at a reasonable price point for the consumers."

The Telegraph interview goes on to suggest that Nintendo eventually figured the cost situation out, suggesting that it will be able to offer the controller for that "reasonable price point" at launch (for Nintendo's definition of reasonable, at least). That price could be more important than ever, as Nintendo announced at E3 that the Wii U would be able to support games that use two GamePads at once, though no such games will be available at launch.

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