Alshain

Nintendo Switch

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)

@richfiles I think Zelda and 1-2 Switch was it from Nintendo.  There were a few quickly released digital games though.

I picked up Legend of Zelda as well, though the Wii U version, and I'm absolutely loving it.  After hearing about all the Switch problems, I'm glad I waited.

 

As for it being out and about.  It depends on where you live.  If you are in Japan, count on it.  Otherwise, don't.  Nobody in the rest of the world carries their 3DS units around on the street.  It's just a different culture.

Edited by Alshain

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richfiles    627

No, there were four launch titles as cartridges, and either 7 or 9 downloadable (I can't recall), but there was also overlap with the carts.

I've had no problems with the switch. "Widespread" problems are not actually widespread. People who have problems are vocal. All consoles have always had a small percentage of units that fail. PS2 had drive mechanism problems. PS3s had the yellow light of death, and the Xbox 360 was notorious for it's red ring of death. The thing is, this is usually a very small percent, and covered by warranty. People with problems and youtube channels quickly cry "disaster", and it gets views. Chances are that less than 1-2% of units had any problems. That's just manufacturing. Buying a new device can sometimes result int he initial batch having a higher failure rate, but usually only by a couple percent. My buddy's Switch is problem free too.

It is true the screen is plastic, not glass, and can be scratched. I've never scratched mine putting it into the dock, and a screen protector can save that from happening. I am simply careful not to slam it into the dock at odd angles.

I'm glad I didn't wait. I have a Wii U, but I went for the smoother, higher res Zelda experience, plus the investment in the future of Nintendo. Zelda for Wii U is still a top tier game, and nearly on par with the Switch version... It was ported from the Wii U after all. I'd seriously suggest considering one later on. It'd make a great purchase at the end of the year, if nintendo packs a game that interests you in with it.

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, richfiles said:

I'm glad I didn't wait. I have a Wii U, but I went for the smoother, higher res Zelda experience, plus the investment in the future of Nintendo. Zelda for Wii U is still a top tier game, and nearly on par with the Switch version... It was ported from the Wii U after all. I'd seriously suggest considering one later on. It'd make a great purchase at the end of the year, if nintendo packs a game that interests you in with it.

On the contrary, it's not any smoother, and the resolution differences are negligible.  They both have framerate drops, just in different places.

That doesn't mean Switch isn't more capable, as you said it is a Wii U port.

 

Never the less, I didn't feel like paying $360 for Zelda when I could just pay $60 for pretty much the same thing.

Oh and no there were only 2 Nintendo title at launch.  There were others (Just Dance I think), but not first party.

Edited by Alshain

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pxi    461
7 hours ago, richfiles said:

I picked up a Switch at launch, and I'm loving Breath of the Wild... I still think Nintendo was kinda dumb selling 1 2 Switch as a separate title, rather than a pack in, but I think they have fair reasons...

A March launch is weird for such a big product launch, and not having a pack in game hurts initial sales. I think Nintendo is playing the long game here, though. Hardcore Nintendo gamers who KNOW they want the switch... Those are the ones who will show up and buy at or near launch. I know I bundled up in my thicket, most well lined leather trench coat and stood in 18°F (-9°C) weather for hours to wait in line in front of a Walmart to get mine. Those hardcore fans... They couldn't care less about not-Zelda... I honestly don't know what the other two launch games were besides Zelda and 1 2 Switch. Us hardcore nintendo fans will buy the first run and be happy with it cause ZELDA YEAH!!!1one :cool:

Even a pre-loaded 'nostalgia pack' of NES titles along the lines of the NES Classic Edition would have been a pretty compelling pack-in for a cost of relatively nothing to Nintendo's bottom-line.  Later down the line if they were decide to bundle Ultra Street Fighter 2 - aping the SNES bundle of old - I couldn't guarantee they'd get a sale out of me, but that would be something that would hit my nostalgia as hard as possible.

The March launch does seem a little odd, but then when you look at the number of games that have release dates this month, there's clearly some logic to it.  Common consensus seems to be companies eyeing the end of their tax-year, and I'd tend to go along with that.

 

7 hours ago, richfiles said:

Nintendo actually produced quite a few more units than just what was pre-ordered. Pre-orders sold out pretty fast, and I wasn't able to get a pre-order. I got my Switch as a day one walk in, and as previously stated, stood in line for it. A lot of the people who really wanted one from the start... Got theirs! That's good!

It genuinely does seem like a decent launch for the Switch, but it's hard to tell if the availability of the console is down to Nintendo finally deciding to produce sane numbers of their hardware or selling less-than-expected.  I'd like to think it's the former.  The NES Classic was something I actually did want to buy as a functional ornament, but the hype period has more-or-less passed, and it's not like I or anyone else doesn't have a multitude of options for playing those games in one form or another.

If I had waited in line to buy a Switch only to find it was unavailable, there's a better than zero chance I'd be thinking that after all that effort, I'm going home with something that plays games, even if it's not my first choice.  Nintendo do have legions of loyal fans, but there's also a huge segment of the market who have a more passing interest in their stuff, who aren't necessarily going to be interested in pre-ordering, and if they can't get hold of the product when they want it are likely lost customers forever.

 

4 hours ago, richfiles said:

No, there were four launch titles as cartridges, and either 7 or 9 downloadable (I can't recall), but there was also overlap with the carts.

The only other title I'm aware of is Bomberman R.  But with coverage of the Switch being what it is, it's very easy to have the impression that Zelda was the only launch title.

 

4 hours ago, richfiles said:

I've had no problems with the switch. "Widespread" problems are not actually widespread. People who have problems are vocal. All consoles have always had a small percentage of units that fail. PS2 had drive mechanism problems. PS3s had the yellow light of death, and the Xbox 360 was notorious for it's red ring of death. The thing is, this is usually a very small percent, and covered by warranty. People with problems and youtube channels quickly cry "disaster", and it gets views. Chances are that less than 1-2% of units had any problems. That's just manufacturing. Buying a new device can sometimes result int he initial batch having a higher failure rate, but usually only by a couple percent. My buddy's Switch is problem free too.

Most of the failures are covered by the warranty, but in terms of units with a few defective pixels, Nintendo seem to be sticking to their guns and maintaining that this is 'acceptable'.  Now, when you talk about LCD monitors, it's entirely true that the industry does have a set standard for the number of bad pixels in a display to be considered 'defective', so I can somewhat see where they are coming from, but this is a situation I've never seen happen with any of Nintendo's handhelds before.  Up till now it's seemed to me at least that Nintendo generally have a reputation for nigh-on rock-solid hardware design.  It surprises me greatly that a few defective screens are the hill they are potentially prepared to let that reputation die on.

 

4 hours ago, richfiles said:

It is true the screen is plastic, not glass, and can be scratched. I've never scratched mine putting it into the dock, and a screen protector can save that from happening. I am simply careful not to slam it into the dock at odd angles.

The people I've seen putting strips of fabric into the dock seem like a half-decent workaround.  You would think that they'd have engineered the dock in such a way as to not have this issue though.  But then, you'd also think they'd have made the Joycon Grips more foolproof too.

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, pxi said:

It genuinely does seem like a decent launch for the Switch, but it's hard to tell if the availability of the console is down to Nintendo finally deciding to produce sane numbers of their hardware or selling less-than-expected.  I'd like to think it's the former.  The NES Classic was something I actually did want to buy as a functional ornament, but the hype period has more-or-less passed, and it's not like I or anyone else doesn't have a multitude of options for playing those games in one form or another.

If I had waited in line to buy a Switch only to find it was unavailable, there's a better than zero chance I'd be thinking that after all that effort, I'm going home with something that plays games, even if it's not my first choice.  Nintendo do have legions of loyal fans, but there's also a huge segment of the market who have a more passing interest in their stuff, who aren't necessarily going to be interested in pre-ordering, and if they can't get hold of the product when they want it are likely lost customers forever.

This is exactly why I am reserving judgement on sales numbers.  They claim a 'record first weekend' but I think this is the first time they produced enough units to get a record first weekend.  I don't think this claim is a good indicator that this will not be another Wii U.  I bought my Wii U early, lesson learned... Switch is going to have to prove itself first. Especially since it has no special features I'm interested in and is more expensive and less powerful than a PS4.

Edited by Alshain

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StrandedonEarth    1996
3 hours ago, pxi said:

Up till now it's seemed to me at least that Nintendo generally have a reputation for nigh-on rock-solid hardware design.

The issue we (and many others) had with the original Wii was that it would put ring scratches on the game discs, as if something hard was dragging on the disc as it spun. Even after sending it back several times to be fixed or replaced, that issue never went away. And some of the discs it ruined turned out to be irreplaceable. It seemed the only solution was to take the disc out before powering down the unit, which was a minor hassle when only one game was being played. I've never heard of that issue with another console.

With PC's, Ipads, XB1 and a Wii U in the house, I hope one of the kids doesn't decide they want a Switch. Don't we have enough gamecrap in the house already? Sheesh! Yeah I know, we don't have a PS3/4, but don't think they haven't thought/asked about it!

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pxi    461
9 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

The issue we (and many others) had with the original Wii was that it would put ring scratches on the game discs, as if something hard was dragging on the disc as it spun. Even after sending it back several times to be fixed or replaced, that issue never went away. And some of the discs it ruined turned out to be irreplaceable. It seemed the only solution was to take the disc out before powering down the unit, which was a minor hassle when only one game was being played. I've never heard of that issue with another console.

I believe that's been an issue with other consoles as well, the PS2 and 360 being two that spring to mind.  Anecdotally this seemed to be more common with consoles that were used in a vertical configuration, but I can't speak to the validity of that claim.

Point taken though.

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StrandedonEarth    1996
1 minute ago, pxi said:

I believe that's been an issue with other consoles as well, the PS2 and 360 being two that spring to mind.  Anecdotally this seemed to be more common with consoles that were used in a vertical configuration, but I can't speak to the validity of that claim.

We never had that issue with the PS2 when we had one, and it was a well-traveled workhorse. Our 360 (2nd gen, think it was an S, if that matters) never had an issue during its career either. And we tried switching the Wii between vertical and horizontal after servicing/replacing (i.e. it  was vertical before we sent it out, tried horizontal when we got it back) and it never made a difference. /shrug

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luizopiloto    1569

If I get one of those switches... I'll rarely connect it to a TV... :P

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pxi    461
34 minutes ago, StrandedonEarth said:

We never had that issue with the PS2 when we had one, and it was a well-traveled workhorse. Our 360 (2nd gen, think it was an S, if that matters) never had an issue during its career either. And we tried switching the Wii between vertical and horizontal after servicing/replacing (i.e. it  was vertical before we sent it out, tried horizontal when we got it back) and it never made a difference. /shrug

It wasn't to imply that it was a common or expected fault in any of the consoles.

Going back to my original point though, I'd hardly expect that Nintendo's first reaction to reports of the Wii scratching disks would ever have been "yeah that's normal."  That seems to be where the small minority of customers with imperfect screens are.

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Alshain    4728

Nintendo responds to issues, thats a fact.  They already said they are requesting anyone with the scratch or joycon disconnects contact them directly.  Nevertheless, I'm glad I decided to wait till they iron them out.

 

The only issue I remember with the Wii was that the wrist straps werent strong enough.

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)

I just found this video.  That's a lot of people recording video evidence of the problems.  Imagine how many aren't. (warning: Language in video)

 

Edited by Alshain

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richfiles    627
Posted (edited)

I worked at a Gamestop from 2009 to 2015 as a side job (for the discount, LOL). My main job from 2000 to 2012 had been in manufacturing and repair, and from 2012 to present, as a side job as well, to my current main job of lab work.

23 hours ago, StrandedonEarth said:

The issue we (and many others) had with the original Wii was that it would put ring scratches on the game discs, as if something hard was dragging on the disc as it spun. Even after sending it back several times to be fixed or replaced, that issue never went away. And some of the discs it ruined turned out to be irreplaceable. It seemed the only solution was to take the disc out before powering down the unit, which was a minor hassle when only one game was being played. I've never heard of that issue with another console.

When I was at Gamstop, I saw anywhere from several dozen to hundreds of discs come through each day. It was the Xbox 360s that had the absolute highest prevalence of ring scratches and hardware failures. Their discs were just simply noticeably lighter and thinner than Wii, PS2 or PS3 discs were. (we were astounded by the exceptional durability of the PS3, and Blu Ray discs in general). On the 360, ring scratches were very common, and were usually caused by disc wobble when the unit encountered vibration. The wobbling thin disc would come into contact with parts of the drive mechanism chassis.

The Wii causing ring scratches was more rare, but not unheard of. it happened. The most common mechanical problem we saw in the Wii was the result of an attempt at trying to force a disc in while one was already in place. The Wii had these small metal fingers that flipped in place to cover the drive slot, preventing you from inserting a disc when one is already in the machine. If those fingers were bent, they could make contact with the disc, sometime when it's spinning. The Wii loading mechanism also had a lot of thin stamped steel parts with a wide range of motion, to make it's slot loading mechanism compatible with the smaller Gamecube discs. It's much more likely that one of those long thin metal parts got slightly warped. If one of those long parts were bent just a little closer to the disc, any small vibration could cause the disc to contact such a bent part. Sadly, either the employees who serviced your Wii were not properly skilled in the repair, or another, more subtle mechanical fault was in play here. It sounds like you had a unit with a genuine fault, but it also seems like a rare or hard to diagnose fault.

Though it was against Gamestop policy to offer any form of repairs, I personally DID offer repair services on the side. The fingers thing... That almost always resulted in discs not inserting or ejecting, or it kept the disc from spinning at all. It would require an amazing degree of force to get the fingers under the disc surface, which makes me think you had another problem, like bent disc guides, or something similar. Usually the fingers would only touch the edge of the disc, when bent. That's why I'm certain you had a different problem, and it just wasn't being found and fixed properly. That is most definitely unfortunate. None of my Wii discs have any scratches at all.

This is also why I'd like to point out that the reactions to the Switch faults are more than overexagerated... Your experience tainted your view of the Wii, of Nintendo, in general... You're convinced Wiis were highly prone to ring scratches, and you're vocal about it, even years after the fact... At Gamestop, we had hundreds of games come in and go out the door each day. Of that generation, PS3 was most reliable, then Wii, then 360 at the bottom. That was just our numbers. Most 360 discs had ring scratches and cracks at the spindle hole. Wii discs most often came in with child induced mishandling damage, random scratches (as opposed to ring scratches), and cracks. PS3 discs... Well... I was two years into that job before I needed two hands to count defective PS3 discs. :o That's not a joke. I remember all the employees at the store once asking a guy who came in with the first bad PS3 disc we ever saw, how it happened, like it was gonna be some epic tale of a soldier falling in battle, or something! :D

As for the screen scratches, well, it's unfortunate, but the explanation is rather simple...  I too would have loved to see a glass screen cover vs a plastic one, but Nintendo knows kids will use this, and wanted the safer option. If a kid drops it, it might scratch the plastic panel, but it won't shatter. If you drop your glass covered phone, I'm sure you know it's possible for it to shatter. Nintendo just didn't want a device a kid could drop, then cut themselves on trying to keep using it.

As a side note (**warning: rant incoming**), a LOT of the electronic UN-reliability in the past decade is the direct result of the very UN-fortunate switch to lead-free solder.

Lead-free solder is bad for electronics, bad for manufacturers, bad for consumers... and yes, bad for the environment!

Yeah, yeah, environmentalists would probably wanna hang me by my "radially mounted RCS tanks" for saying the facts... :blush: but the electronics market and lead usage were WAY different in the days when the RoHS (Restriction on Hazardous Substances) initiative was originally conceived and when it was put into place, vs now. RoHS was put into place by bureaucrats who are more likely to understand "green buzzwords" rather than legitimate technical and scientific evidence and research. There are those who say it was done as an appeasement to the almighty color green and to boost the Euro. That last one is pure speculation, but the facts are as follows...

The largest consumer of lead in the electronic industry, is the lead-acid battery. There is already (and has been for years) an established recycling program in place that recycles the majority of bad lead acid batteries. These are the batteries used mostly in cars and trucks. Any place that sells lead acid batteries will take them as well. There's even a monetary incentive to recycle, as if you bring in your old battery, you typically get a discount or refund of the sale price of the new battery. Truth is, controlling lead waste in battery manufacturing is... Already well established.

The second largest consumer of lead in the electronics industry is (or should I say was) the CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)... Easily 2 pounds (nearly a kilogram) of lead was used in the average TV tube. So then... Where are all the CRTs? Truth is, LCDs replaced the technology. CRTs are obsolete, done, finished! No more CRTs are being manufactured, and as such, as long as old CRTs are properly recycled, that entire segment of lead usage is no longer even a factor.

The remaining 2% of lead usage (against CRTs and Lead Acid batteries) was in solder. If the idea of reducing lead in waste was such a big deal, they certainly never even considered actually reducing e-waste overall... Lead-free solder has several flaws. Unlike lead based solder, it forms "tin whiskers", tiny crystalline like growths of tin that jut out of the solder like needles. As these crystals grow, they can short out electronics. While still debated, some believe the Toyota uncontrolled acceleration incidents from several years back may have been caused by tin whiskers in the throttle position sensor assembly.

Lead-free solder is also more brittle, and requires a much higher melting point than leaded solder. The result is that as circuit boards are heated to higher temperatures (to melt the lead-free solder), they and their components expand more, due to increased thermal expansion. Because the lead free solder is more brittle than leaded solder, and it solidifies while the part is hotter, and thus more expanded thermally, once the temperatures are back down to normal temps, the parts are all left under mechanical stresses due to the thermal contraction. So with lead-free solder, you get parts that have more brittle joints, under more mechanical tension... Every time you turn on or turn off a device, it heats up and cool down. That causes the device to subtlety expand and contract, due to the rate of thermal expansion. Try bending a paperclip back and forth sometime. Though you can never just pull a paperclip apart by hand with just brute force, you can easily break it in two by flexing it at the same point, over and over. Eventually, this happens to your electronic devices, and they break.  It's made even worse by the fact that BGA (Ball Grid Array) chips really started to see heavy use at the same period of time that the industry made the switch to lead-free solder. BGA parts are notoriously difficult to repair without specialized tools, and have an exceptionally large number of solder points over the majority of the underside of the chip's surface. It's a literal recipe for thermal stress fractures of the solder... Or worse, the silicon! Since the lead-free solder is hard, but brittle, those mechanical stresses can fracture the silicon as well. Leaded solder is more ductile, and will give more when mechanically stressed. This serves to prevent not only the solder from cracking, but also the part it's attached to, in the case of BGA chips, especially when there are contacts on silicon (such as with a "flip chip" style package).

The BGA switch, and overall the switch to tinier and tinier components also means the tin whisker threat is even more prevalent than ever before. All the stories you hear about people "fixing" their Xbox 360s and PS3s with RRoD and YLoD failures... it's all bull. The ovens these people use are quite simply NOT HOT ENOUGH to re-flow the solder. What's generally happening, is they are forcing a massive thermal expansion that may anneal the solder, relieving some of the mechanical stresses, reseating cracked solder joints (or worse, cracked silicon), and causing enough flexion to crack tin whiskers away. An ultrasonic bath will likely clear away all tin whiskers, and the debris left when they break off, and leave the board temporarily operable again. If a chip is indeed intact, and the fault lies in cracked BGA balls, then a proper re-balling is suggested as the fix. If the chips are not re-balled, or the crack is in the silicon, or if the solder is generating tin whiskers... The fix is only guaranteed to be temporary... Back up your data and replace the device at that point. It's a lost cause.

If I had the option... I'd pay a premium to buy my consumer devices made with LEADED solder. The irony, is leaded solder is significantly cheaper than lead-free solder as well! I'd still pay a premium, even knowing that. I'd know my devices would last decades, instead of years. It's why I can still turn on my old 1965 SCM Cogito 240SR (that's a mouthful :confused: ) calculator I have in my vintage electronics collection, or the 1976 Hewlett Packard HP 9825 computer I own... It's why my Apple IIe and my Commodore 128 and my Twentieth Anniversary Mac all still work... But I worry if my Xbox 360 or my PS3 will up and die on my any moment. I have another two PS3's that came from friend sand family... Both are dead. My Acer A500 Android tablet is dead. I just had to send my 3.5 year old motherboard in for repairs, cause forbid a $212 motherboard actually last more than a couple years.

That's the price we pay for some hippy environmentalist to feel smug. They think they're doing the world good by getting rid of lead from landfills... They don't even realize that metallic lead is insoluble in water, and that only lead oxide gets into the water table or is soluble in organic matter. Old canned foods with soldered lids (from WAY back int he old days) were contaminated because hot molten lead could chemically react with the contents of the can during the soldering process. Basically, contamination at the cannery. Lead paint was a threat due to the use of fine lead oxide, which became airborne and was breathed, or settled as dust, and was consumed by children who then put their fingers in their mouths. Lead in gasoline was a risk because it was aerosolized in exhaust. Metallic lead, in solder is actually incredibly stable. We wouldn't have used it in electronics for over a century if it wasn't! Except electronics are supposed to be recycled anyway! We already eliminated CRT manufacturing, and the lead-acid battery industry was a pioneer in recycling! It was a worldwide effort that cost billions of dollars, and just WRECKED the reliability of the devices we use!

The only thing lead-free solder has ever done for the environment is make things worse by creating a massive UP-tick in the generation of e-waste. Proper recycling can deal with the e-waste problem, and making more devices fail prematurely, at the cost of the consumer's hard earned money, is a load of garbage.

All manufactured electronic devices have failure rates... Nothing gets out 100% good. Sometimes failure rates are higher at launch, but that's typically due to working out bugs in a new process. Generally, things quickly settle, once the initial units are out, and everyone's had time to evaluate if any new bugs popped up. Aside from some people managing to scratch their screens and Nintendo opting for a grade of LCD that permits a couple dead pixels (really Nintendo? Leave those for the cheap Chinese tablets), I'd say their launch looks exceptionally solid!

Meanwhile, manufacturers the world over have a harder time making their devices last, and the prevalance of online video and social media in the last decade has made it easier for people to voice their opinions. Because the loudest opinions are the voices of those who feel wronged... It's people with RARE faulty systems that make the most vocal statements. In reality, the Switch launch does not appear to have had any more or fewer faulty units than any typical launch... It's just easier to hear the voices of those who got a bum system.

Edited by richfiles

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cantab    2866
On 11/03/2017 at 7:25 AM, richfiles said:

It is true the screen is plastic, not glass, and can be scratched.

300 quid and they don't even put a gorilla glass screen on. I understand they might have toy safety like concerns, but still, that's yet another real put-off for me.

I may get a Switch some day, if the price drops and if there are good games, but I remain sceptical. (To be honest I'll probably end up getting it if and when a worthwhile Pokemon game is on it.)

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0111narwhalz    1850
2 hours ago, cantab said:

a worthwhile Pokemon game

still playing Red with the cartridge sticking out the bottom of my Gameboy

Huh?

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richfiles    627
2 hours ago, cantab said:

300 quid and they don't even put a gorilla glass screen on.

I've ordered a tempered glass screen protector for mine. I've not put any scratches in mine, and it's been in and out of the dock countless times. Of course, I'm also very gentle putting it in and taking it out, making sure to line it up carefully... Damn it Nintendo... That sounds horrible! :rolleyes:

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Alshain    4728
8 hours ago, cantab said:

300 quid and they don't even put a gorilla glass screen on. I understand they might have toy safety like concerns, but still, that's yet another real put-off for me.

I may get a Switch some day, if the price drops and if there are good games, but I remain sceptical. (To be honest I'll probably end up getting it if and when a worthwhile Pokemon game is on it.)

Honestly, what it has in it is worth it's price... if  you think you will use it all, which I won't use mobile so it's just overpriced for me.  They skimped on the screen, but that was to keep the price down.

In the primary unit (whats in the box) you have:
Second Screen*
Battery*
Tegra CPU*
2nd Tegra CPU (in the dock, that's why Zelda is 900p docked and 720p undocked, but you don't need 900 or 1080p on that little screen anyway)
Bluetooth Radios**
NFC reader**
HD Rumble devices (I still don't know what that means "HD" rumble)**
Wifi*
HDMI
2 Card slots, one proprietary one microSD*
USB-C connector (these are relatively new and not as cheap as USB-A/B yet)*
Accelerometer**
Gyroscope**

*Has to fit in the six inch tablet, reducing size increases cost.
**Has to fit in the Joycon

 

Ultimately you can see this is a pretty big list of rather expensive hardware.  Making it a mobile device made it more expensive that it would be as a micro console. Gorilla glass is quite expensive, it's proprietary and patented by Corning so there are royalties.  Adding that glass alone would have added $50 to the tablet.

So, viewing it objectively, if you are actually in the market for a high powered handheld, it seems like a good device despite initial concerns (again, Nintendo always fixes their early issues).  However if you want a console it's nothing but an underpowered, over priced piece of junk.

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pxi    461
7 minutes ago, Alshain said:

Second Screen*

Is there a configuration in which the switch can be used in a manner similar to the Wii U?  I've yet to see any reference to it.

9 minutes ago, Alshain said:

2nd Tegra CPU (in the dock, that's why Zelda is 900p docked and 720p undocked, but you don't need 900 or 1080p on that little screen anyway)

I've watched two teardowns on the switch.  Neither have identified a second tegra in the dock, but again, I stand to be corrected.

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, pxi said:

Is there a configuration in which the switch can be used in a manner similar to the Wii U?  I've yet to see any reference to it.

No, there isn't.  That's the big difference between the Wii U and the Switch for me.  With the Wii U I paid for a second screen and battery I would use.  With the Switch I would be paying for the same, but not usable.  This is the very thing that makes the Switch under powered and over priced for what it does as a console.  Discounting mobile abilities, it can't do anything unique that the PS4 can't do... but it's more expensive than the PS4 and it's weaker in technology than the PS4.  It's just awful as a console alone.

 

11 minutes ago, pxi said:

I've watched two teardowns on the switch.  Neither have identified a second tegra in the dock, but again, I stand to be corrected.

I thought I read there was, but it may have been a mistake.  I know there is something it the dock to give it the boost, it could just be more RAM.

Edited by Alshain

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pxi    461
Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, Alshain said:

I thought I read there was, but it may have been a mistake.  I know there is something it the dock to give it the boost, it could just be more RAM.

It was speculated prior to launch.  There doesn't seem to be any more RAM either.  I'd have assumed that the onboard tegra is throttled down when it's on battery, though things like Zelda performing better when undocked suggest that that isn't even the case.

In terms of what's on the board in the dock, the most sophisticated bit of kit appears to be a USB3 to HDMI converter chip.  Other than that it's just a couple of chips to deal with the USB2 and USB3 ports and the ports themselves.

iFixitDockPCB.jpg

Edited by pxi

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cantab    2866
41 minutes ago, Alshain said:

I thought I read there was, but it may have been a mistake.  I know there is something it the dock to give it the boost, it could just be more RAM.

More power is my assumption, simple as that. When undocked it radically throttles the GPU and memory back and I can only think that's to save battery.

The way the console ends up with two specifications is one of my many concerns. A good game developer will write their game to run smoothly undocked and take advantage of the extra performance when docked. But a bad game developer will not bother using that extra performance. And we know that Nintendo are allowing "Portable Mode only" games that won't even display on TV; if they also allow "Docked Mode only" games then a bad developers will be tempted by that.

As a handheld, the Switch repeats the mistakes pretty much everyone except Nintendo made in the past - it's too expensive and the battery life is bad. That said the 3DS was also expensive at launch only to then get a dramatic cut from $250 to $170 about 6 months after.

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Alshain    4728
Posted (edited)
34 minutes ago, cantab said:

More power is my assumption, simple as that. When undocked it radically throttles the GPU and memory back and I can only think that's to save battery.

That actually does make some sense as well.

 

34 minutes ago, cantab said:

And we know that Nintendo are allowing "Portable Mode only" games that won't even display on TV; if they also allow "Docked Mode only" games then a bad developers will be tempted by that.

That's because there is no touchscreen in TV mode.  VOEZ is a game that is dependent on touchscreen, because it is a phone app, so it must be handheld only (I haven't played it but it looks like a touch version of DDR/Guitar Hero).  There is not really much reason to make a TV mode only game mode if, like Zelda, you can just throttle it back for power.  Handheld mode as all the same controls as TV mode, so while handheld only makes sense for the touchscreen, TV mode only would just be stupid.  You would almost have to do that deliberately to gimp your game.

Edited by Alshain

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Alshain    4728
35 minutes ago, cantab said:

As a handheld, the Switch repeats the mistakes pretty much everyone except Nintendo made in the past - it's too expensive and the battery life is bad. That said the 3DS was also expensive at launch only to then get a dramatic cut from $250 to $170 about 6 months after.

True, so it's got problems in both sell points. If only there was some kind of common every day figure of speech that Nintendo could have heeded in order to not make such mistakes.

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richfiles    627
Posted (edited)
On 3/11/2017 at 6:25 AM, pxi said:

It genuinely does seem like a decent launch for the Switch, but it's hard to tell if the availability of the console is down to Nintendo finally deciding to produce sane numbers of their hardware or selling less-than-expected.  I'd like to think it's the former.

Again, retailers like Gamestop have stated the Switch launch was solid. recent numbers are suggesting that about 1.5 million units have been moved so far. It's true that Nintendo pushed production. Rumor has it, at the expense of the NES Classic Mini. I... don't know if they'd even share the same facilities, so that's pure speculation. It does mean it has a solid first week user base.

As for the specs, there is NO CPU/GPU hardware in the Dock. The Dock provides nothing more than a USB-C to HDMI interface, a USB 2/3 hub (3.0 will be enabled with a firmware update), and more power... Literally electrical power. The mobile unit's Tegra processor under clocks the GPU when in mobile mode to save battery power. Since the LCD is only 720p, the Tegra has fewer pixels to drive, vs 1080p. 720p is only 44% of the pixels of 1080p. The four core ARM CPU of the switch clocks in at 1020 MHz, and runs full speed docked and undocked, to maintain equal background processes, AI, etc, regardless of mode. LPDDR4 memory speeds can optionally under clock from 1600 MHz to 1333 Mhz in portable mode, but some games can opt to run full speed.

The major under clock that occurs, however, is the GPU. the standard GPU is 256 CUDA cores running at 786 Mhz. When undocked, the minimum clock speed can be set to only 307 MHz... Thing is, this is within 5% of the ratio of 1080p to 720p. 1080p is 2073600 pixels and 720p is 921600 pixels. 720p is 44% the pixels of 1080p. 307 MHz is 39% of 786 MHz.

Basically... the under clock makes complete sense. It's only a 5% difference is processing capacity between docked and undocked! 

  resolution GPU clock pixels
  720p 307.2 MHz 921600
  1080p 786 MHz 2073600
percent -- 39% 44%

 




Let me repeat... It's a 5% difference in GPU performance between docked and undocked, despite the massive under clock, thanks to the difference in resolution.  You might see a considerable performance gain (FPS) running docked on a 720p TV, but how many people even still run a 720p TV these days.

Being a hardware guy, power usage goes up at a non linear rate... You don't get double processing power for double the electrical power. by under clocking, you save an incredibly decent amount of energy, so if you are going from 1080p to 720p, you can get an exceptional savings on battery draw by underclocking the GPU. Remember, the CPU remains the same clock speed, so as to not compromise the AI and underlying program execution. RAM speed is selectable based on application, as is under control by the devs.

Now, this is 100% speculation, but one of the Nintendo patents shows a system that is obviously the Switch being docked into an HMD for VR and AR applications, Google Gear style. Presumably, if the HMD has it's own onboard battery power, Nintendo could theoretically run the Switch with sufficiently extra electrical power to run it at docked GPU speeds (786 MHz GPU / 1600 MHz RAM), allowing exceptional frame rates on the 720p LCD. For VR, framerate is king. The unit altrady comes with a pair of detatchable hand held motion controllers with both analog sticks and buttons. furthermore, the HD Rumble has a leg up on Occulus, Vive, and PS VR, as it provides high enough fidelity of tactile response to say, count the number of balls rolling around inside a virtual box, as demonstrated by one of the mini games featured in their party title "1-2-Switch". I'm not sure how their high fidelity haptic response actually works, but if I were betting, I'd presume linear actuation on multiple axes. Nintendo has used a 1 axis linear actuator before for mobile rumble for a metroid game, using a rumble pack that plugged into the Gameboy Advance slot of DS/DS Lite systems.All I know, is I'd buy a Nintendo VR/AR HMD.

It should also be stated that the ARM processors used in the Switch are RISC processors, so they are a bit more code efficient than say, and x64 based chipset. Nintendo (and in fact most consoles) have used RISC processors since the says of the N64. The exceptions have been the Xbox and the PS4 and Xbox One. When coding for fixed hardware, there tend to be benefits from a RISC architecture, in terms of coding efficiency.

I don't know if the GPU speeds are restricted to only 786 or 307 MHz, or if there are scalable options between. If there are more scalable speed options, that could offer devs some flexibility, but I don't think that's yet known.

Edited by richfiles

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TopHeavy11    546

Well, not only have our early fear of no touchscreen and no motion controls been quenched, but it appears that Nintendo may have a step up over the competition with a possible AR attachment. Looks like the fans of Sony and Microsoft are going to "switch" over to Nintendo. ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

 

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