Controversial Nintendo Switch 2 chip manufacturing process claimed by reputable leaker in T239 reaffirmation
Recent reports about the Nintendo Switch 2 have focused on its exciting potential due to claims being made that it could give the PS5 and the Xbox Series X a run for their money at least in terms of visual output. However, a combination of new claims made by a couple of respected tipsters has seemingly tempered some expectations, although the Switch 2 would still be a considerable upgrade over the OG Switch even if these latest statements are true. While Kepler has found more evidence of the Switch successor relying on Ampere microarchitecture (not Ada Lovelace) for its graphics processing, fellow leaker kopite7kimi has reminded all that the T239 is the chip for the Switch 2 while mentioning the process node as “SEC8N” (Samsung 8 nm).
From a logical point of view, this all ties in neatly, as the T239 (also known by its codename “Drake”) is expected to be a custom offshoot from Nvidia’s Orin family, which is based on the Samsung 8 nm process and utilizes Ampere knowhow for the GPU. This is a major step up from the OG Switch’s Tegra X1, which was originally based on a 20 nm process and with an older Maxwell GPU that sported 256 shaders (Switch 2: 1,536?) and 0.4 TFLOPs performance output (Switch 2: around 4 TFLOPs?).
But the news has been met with some dismay from those expecting a Nintendo Switch 2 with either a 5 nm or 4 nm SoC. In fact, there is some belief that kopite7kimi, who appears to have good insider knowledge of Nvidia, may actually be restating dated information that may have pertained to a cancelled Switch Pro console rather than the potential 2024 model.
There are some signposts that Nintendo might prefer to use an 8 nm chip in its Switch successor, with cost and battery life certainly being of vital importance during the decision-making process. Using an 8 nm T239 chip in the Switch 2 could keep the final unit price down, and it could even potentially leave the door open for Nintendo to introduce additional SKUs down the line with improved chips, with a potential Switch 2 Pro or Switch 2 Lite enjoying the efficiency and performance benefits of a die shrink. Even with an 8 nm SoC, the oft-reported performance comparison of a next-generation Switch hitting PS4 heights could still be taken seriously, if the hybrid console is in docked mode.
Of course, even though it has been rumored that the Nintendo Switch 2 will be a hybrid console, there is always the chance a home console is in the works, which would give the company more space to work with. A larger process node would likely mean more heat generation during load, which is certainly not ideal for a handheld gaming unit but is straightforward to deal with in a larger home console akin the PS5 and XSX.
There is also an argument that Nintendo and Nvidia have simply created an enhanced custom 8 nm chip that can still perform to the levels that have been recently claimed while being cheaper for the Big N to get hold of in large quantities. As alluded to above, even with an 8-nanometer T239 chip the Switch 2 would still be vastly superior to the OG Switch, so anything more advanced than that should be seen as a welcome bonus.
SEC8N.— kopite7kimi (@kopite7kimi) September 14, 2023