Enlarge /. An artist's assessment of what a new DLSS powered Nintendo Switch dock might look like.
Getty Images / Sam Machkovech
As the number of leaks on a new Nintendo Switch revision, colloquially known as "Switch Pro", increases, enthusiasts have recently scratched their heads: 4K support. How exactly would a dockable console like Switch, built for portability and reasonable battery life, muster the teraflops to run games at 4K resolution?
Bloomberg Japan, who previously reported on Nintendo's upcoming manufacturing plans, now has an answer: A new chipset courtesy of Nvidia, which according to "people familiar with the matter" will use the GPU maker's proprietary upscaling system. This system, known as Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS), was previously only available on Nvidia's RTX graphics card series and is based on "Tensor" GPU processor cores. Their machine learning calculations, trained on thousands of hours of existing game material, interpret the signal from a game at lower resolution and then scale the image to resolutions up to 4K (or up to 8K in the case of the $ 1,499 RTX 3090 ) high. .
If you're not familiar with DLSS, check out my most recent review of the RTX 3060 where I discussed Nvidia's advances with DLSS since its retail debut in late 2018. It's advanced enough to achieve native resolutions as low as 1080p and Boost they're closer to 4K, often with fewer visual artifacts than image smoothing methods like temporal anti-aliasing (TAA).
Where's the new chip, doc? The dock?
That prediction is not entirely outside the left box considering that Nvidia's Tegra X1 chip powers existing Switch and Switch Lite consoles. How exactly an additional DLSS-capable chip will be implemented in the next switch revision, however, remains unclear. Bloomberg Japan's Tuesday report only states that this DLSS-equipped switch "reproduces game visualizations in 4K quality when plugged into a TV," as opposed to the system's portable mode – Bloomberg insists that it be a 720p -Panel remains, although it is a bit larger at 7 "Compared to the 6.2-inch panel on the current Switch. This Nvidia chipset is combined with" a better CPU and more memory "compared to the existing Switch, reports Bloomberg .
This does not make it clear whether new or updated components will be installed in the TV dock of the next switch or whether additional processing power in the switch itself remains inactive until it is securely connected to a dock – and thus, for example, can benefit from a more robust cooling system. or ventilation system. (If you're wondering, Nintendo certainly isn't saying this, as the company didn't offer Bloomberg a comment on Tuesday.)
We didn't necessarily expect higher performance from Switch Pro to work retrospectively on existing hardware, but the Bloomberg report confirms that pessimism: Switch Pro features like DLSS require "new code". Whether that means we'll have to expect Switch Pro-exclusive games or more backward compatibility when jumping from Xbox One S to Xbox One X (or PlayStation 4 to PS4 Pro) remains to be seen.
Bloomberg's report predicts the next switch will go up in price, but those claims are not supported by the unnamed sources, which provide details on the tech set-up of the upcoming system. That being said, predicting how much a new mass-produced gaming device will cost, or whether someone can buy one, feels like a dark comedy at this point in 2021.
Nintendo hasn't announced a formal mid-generation Switch update or anything that resembles an entirely new console. Previous company statements only went so far that new switch models were "not coming soon" and that the switch was recently "mid-life". But years of rumors of an updated, higher-powered Switch model finally intensified earlier this month when Bloomberg reported on manufacturing plans for the new model – and the jump from LCD to OLED technology, as well as a jump in screen size.
While Nintendo fans continue to wait for previously announced software like a sequel to Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, it's easy to wonder if Nintendo is waiting to announce Switch Pro along with a healthy array of new games, all prepared for it to take advantage of increased utility specifications.