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Ben Heck tears the Nintendo Switch apart

Ben heck tears into the Nintendo Switch. (Source: The Ben Heck Show)
Ben heck tears into the Nintendo Switch. (Source: The Ben Heck Show)
Ben Heck, known for poking around in modern and retro electronics, tore into the Nintendo Switch to see what was inside. The console seems to be fairly accessible and serviceable.

While some people are still hunting for a Nintendo Switch, electrical engineer Ben Heck has been busy tearing one apart.

Ben Heck is the host of the appropriately named Ben Heck Show, where he and his team disassemble, build, and modify electronic devices. The show is quite entertaining, and this week’s was especially of interest for Nintendo fans. His team tore into Nintendo’s new Switch console and Joy Con controllers to see what makes them tick. Once inside, they found some interesting things.

First off, the console itself is powered by an Nvidia SoC based on the Maxwell architecture. Many think this is the same Tegra X1 found in Nvidia's Sheild TV console. The SoC still bears Nvidia’s branding. This is odd, as most console manufacturers rebrand their processors in shipped units. Ben also found that the eMMC flash storage is connected via a separate board that makes it easy to swap out. This is quite interesting, as it hints that Nintendo may sell Switch units with higher storage capacities in the future. It also means that there may be a way for consumers to upgrade the storage with after-market modification. The Switch is currently available with only a paltry 32 GB of storage; 25 GB are available to the end user after formatting.

Overall, the Switch looks fairly serviceable. Most screws holding the console together are either Phillips head or tri-wing, but nothing looks glued into place. The SoC and RAM are held underneath a heat sink secured with nothing more than screws and thermal paste. Most chips are soldered onto the main board, as is the case with most modern mobile electronics, but everything is easy to access.

The full teardown can be viewed on Ben Heck’s YouTube channel here or via the video below.


The Ben Heck Show

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Sam Medley, 2017-03-20 (Update: 2017-03-20)