Nintendo 3DS uses new graphics tech

For new portable game machine, Nintendo will use technology from Japan's DMP--not more standard technology from graphics chip suppliers such as Nvidia and ATI.

Nintendo has selected new graphics technology from Japan-based DMP in its highly anticipated Nintendo 3DS portable game machine.

Nintendo 3DS will use PICA200 graphics technology from Japan-based DMP. Nintendo

The Nintendo 3DS, due next year, can produce 3D effects without the need for special glasses--what DMP describes as "naked-eye 3D stereovision"--and was a big hit at E3 2010 last week . It will succeed the Nintendo DS.

Nintendo explored other graphics chip options from suppliers such as Advanced Micro Devices' ATI unit, ARM, Imagination Technologies, and Nvidia, according to Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie research, writing in a blog.

Founded in 2002, DMP has had a goal to develop a high-performance graphics chip that is relatively power efficient, according to Peddie. Peddie describes the technology as "real-time photo realistic rendering with physically correct lighting and shadowing." Certain techniques that DMP uses allow it to quickly render clouds, smoke, gas, and other fuzzy objects, according to Peddie.

DMP described its PICA200 graphics core in a press release as follows: "DMP's PICA200 graphics core features proprietary DMP 3D graphics extensions 'Maestro technology.' By hardware implementation of complex shader functionality, these extensions allow the high-performance graphics rendering found on existing high-end products to be realized on mobile devices with low power consumption requirements, such as portable game machines."

"So the bottom line is that amazing high-end graphics functions in a low-cost handheld device with stereovision is not only possible, it has arrived," Peddie wrote.

More information on the PICA200 graphics engine is here (PDF).

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.


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