Switch Pro chip's supposed 8 nm fabrication process promises marvelous efficiency gains over the revised Nintendo Switch console
Recently, we reported on the alleged codename for the Nintendo Switch successor’s chip, which was detailed as “Black Knight”. However, according to well-known tipster kopite7kimi, “Black Knight” was the “codename’s codename” and that the custom processor in question actually has the codename “Dane”. Marvel Comics fans will already see the association, as Dane Whitman is the real name of the Black Knight superhero. Nvidia followers will also see a connection, as Team Green has a habit of codenaming its mobile chips after Marvel characters: Tegra X2 “Parker” and the Tegra Xavier being examples.
Along with that useful snippet of information, kopite7kimi also made this interesting response to a question about the potential Switch Pro chip’s manufacturing process, “Dane is based on 8 nm”. If this is the chip for the Switch console’s successor (Switch Pro, Switch 2, Nintendo Aula, etc.) then it promises some serious advantages over both the 2017 Nintendo Switch and the 2019 revision model. Those consoles came with the 20 nm Tegra X1 and its 16 nm variant, respectively, with TSMC being responsible for semiconductor fabrication.
Processing sizes are often used simply as marketing tools; however, TSMC’s 16 nm process node produced a transistor density of 28.88 MTr/mm2 while Samsung’s 8 nm node, which is apparently being used for this particular custom Nvidia chip for the Switch Pro, can offer 61.18 MTr/mm2. In terms of Switch Pro versus the Switch, this translates into longer battery life during equivalent performance or higher performance with the same power usage for the former over the latter. Of course, the expected improved display capabilities of the Nintendo Switch Pro have to be taken into account, as more power will be required here.
Redditors have been speculating on what kind of GPU performance such a chip could offer inside the Nintendo Switch Pro, which is looking more and more likely a 2022 release rather than a 2021 one. Reddit user “toddhowardreal” has guessed at somewhere around the level of between an Nvidia GeForce GTX 1060 and GTX 1070, which would be decent considering the Switch Pro’s likely portable form (limited power draw) and how a GeForce GTX 1060 can destroy the original Switch’s Tegra X1 in synthetic benchmark comparisons.
Of course, Dane is based on 8nm.— kopite7kimi (@kopite7kimi) June 28, 2021