Switch Hacker Offers More Info About The Console’s Upcoming Refresh

Switch Hacker Offers More Info About The Console’s Upcoming Refresh
Image: Kotaku

We got more details this week that the original Switch was getting a hardware refresh, alongside the announcement of the Switch Lite. But rather than having to wait for the arrival of the Switch Lite, the homebrew community has offered some key details of what everyone can expected from the updated base Switch models.

Mike Heskin is a British-based security researcher and a long-time member of the Switch and Vita homebrew communities. Because of their heavy programming and infosec background, a lot of what they post isn’t that interesting to the average gamer. But with the recent Switch Lite announcement, and dataminers having already discovered support for revisions to the Tegra SoC within the original Switch in firmware updates, Heskin’s feed got a little more interesting this morning.

Nintendo’s letter this month to the Federal Communications Commission confirmed that the SoC and NAND memory were getting updated, but Heskin offered some extra detail that should help outline what people can expect from a refreshed Switch.

The Original Switch Is Getting A Hardware Refresh

So the Switch Lite has been announced. But it seems like the original Switch is getting a hardware refresh as well, according to documents filed by Nintendo with the Federal Communication Commission.

Read more

What Heskin mentions about the updated RAM explains why the Switch Lite offers extra battery life (depending on the game) compared to the original Switch, even though the actual battery in the Lite has less capacity. The memory modules don’t require as much voltage, which means the unit uses less power.

The new hardware will also have a slightly upgraded GPU with improved GPU clock speeds, but again, this is just a minor revision of largely the same hardware. It’s not the significant bump in CPU and GPU that the Switch would get if, for instance, it swapped out the Tegra X1 for the Tegra X2 chip that’s in the Magic Leap Pro.

But it’s worth remembering that the Switch deliberately downclocks the hardware in portable mode. That’ll still be the case with the new hardware, but as mentioned before, the improved power efficiencies should mean the fans won’t have to work as hard. (The cooling vents at the top of the system should also be smaller, as you can see at the top of the Switch Lite.) So where you might see the extra performance gain will be when docked.

The downcast element of all of this is, as far as Heskin is concerned, is that there’s no evidence of the rumoured Switch Pro that has been floating around earlier this year. The Wall Street Journal and Nikkei both reported that Nintendo was working on two new models of the Switch, which was partially corroborated with the official reveal of the Switch Lite this week. The WSJ reconfirmed their reporting this week that Nintendo is still planning to release “an enhanced version of the Switch”, but the homebrew community hasn’t seen any references in the Switch firmware that would support a wholly different SoC.

“There’s absolutely no evidence of an actual “Pro” version … at least not in the sense that it would be based off of the Tegra X2 or have massive performance and/or memory improvements,” Heskin wrote.