Xbox 360


An image from a Nintendo teardown shows the heart of the Wii U.

Remember the days when your idiot friends would argue with you in the schoolyard about how "blast processing" made the Sega Genesis a better system than the Super Nintendo? Or how the Nintendo 64 was twice as good as the Sony PlayStation because it had twice as many "bits"? Or how the Wii's processor was no better than "two GameCubes stuck together"? Here in our new, enlightened age, I thought we had left such context-free numbers games behind like so many other childish arguments.

But no, in 2012 people are apparently still obsessing over how a single spec number makes one console wholly better or worse than another. Today's bit of myopic number-crunching is based on the findings of Wii hacker (and now purported Wii U hacker) Hector Martin, who last night tweeted claims that he had discovered the previously unknown clock speeds for the Wii U's tri-core PowerPC 750 processor (about 1.24GHz) and the AMD Radeon-based GPU (about 550MHz).

The Wii U's CPU clock speed number is indeed lower than the Xbox 360's 3.2GHz clock (although the 360's gets halved to a functional 1.6GHz when multithreading) or the PS3's 4GHz clock. The GPU clock speeds are more comparable across the PS3, the Xbox 360, and the Wii U. Still, plenty of reporters jumped on that fact as undeniable evidence that the Wii U hardware is actually inferior to that of consoles that came out years ago.

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Nintendo today announced first-week sales of 400,000 Wii U systems in North America, falling short of the mark set by the first Wii, but surpassing early sales of previous high-definition systems.

American corporate president Reggie Fils-Aime told CNet sales of the new system have been limited only by Nintendo's ability to get product to stores. "Retailers are also doing their best to get the product to store shelves, but as soon as product hits retail, they're selling out immediately," Fils-Aime said, gelling with reports from retailers like GameStop that explicitly noted in Black Friday ads that they had no hardware stock to sell.

The original Wii sold over 600,000  units in the Americas in the eight days following its November 2006 launch, which also overlapped with Black Friday. Indeed, the Wii was nearly impossible to find on store shelves for months following launch, selling millions of systems in that time.

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