Nintendo GameCube specs

— 4:13 AM on May 18, 2001

Nintendo is using E3 to create some buzz for their own brand of 'BIST' where interesting design details are emerging. EETimes covers this gaming phenomenon.

Another difference between GameCube and Playstation 2 is that the graphics device has a direct link to main memory, not the CPU. The idea was to keep the graphics processor crunching as many bits as it could continuously. "Graphics is fundamentally a memory bandwidth problem. The CPU is the next largest consumer of memory," Buchner said.

To improve the internal data flow, IBM tried to eliminate "cache trashing," or wasting cache space on transient data. The 256-Kbit Level-2 cache can be locked down so that it retains only the data that needs to be reused. There's also an internal direct memory access that moves data from the cache while allowing the device to process a different set of data. This mechanism helps mitigate the incremental latency associated with compressing and decompressing the data.

Greater memory bandwidth and lower latencies seem to be the name of the game. It sounds like evolution and not revolution, and there is plenty of good technical detail in the article. Whatever you may think about consoles, some of these design decisions may find their way into the next generation video cards and chipsets for your PC.
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