The Nintendo Switch 2 is almost confirmed to be using a modified, shrunken version of Nvidia’s T234 processor in the form of T239. With this in mind, could the next-gen Nintendo Switch run games such as Cyberpunk better than last-gen consoles?
In a video by Digital Foundry, expert knowledge and rigorous testing reveal the new SoC could be a very powerful contender in the console market. Based off a “monster” chip used primarily for vehicles, the Nvidia hardware will be modified for gaming in a way that the Xbox Series and PS5 chips couldn’t.
Digital Foundry’s Richard Leadbetter reports that the final Nintendo Switch 2 processor will be “quite different” than the current version of the technology. For example, it will be smaller to fit in the handheld, and multiple sacrifices will have to be made to run cool and efficiently in portable mode.
The report claims that the absolute maximum memory bandwidth of the Nintendo Switch 2 will be around 102.4GB/s, less than half of the Xbox Series S at 224GB/s which is still the biggest bottleneck of the cheaper machine. The chip is also expected to have an 8-core ARM CPU as well as support for HDMI 2.1 which would be able to support 4K output at high framerates.
The Digital Foundry report also explains why the Nintendo Switch 2 may support DLSS 3.5 ray reconstruction but not frame generation. While the Nintendo Switch 2 T239 processor supports the optical flow accelerator and tensor technology used by the software, it uses last-gen Ampere tech to do so, which Nvidia couldn’t use to create effective frame-gen technology.
Furthermore, the new processor includes a brand-new file decompression engine that will be used to more effectively decompress files during gameplay. This could be used to effectively keep Switch 2 games on the same sized cartridges currently utilised by Nintendo. The chip also supports “super-fast loading” if the console’s internal storage can handle it.
Through multiple game testing, it seems that the next-gen Nintendo console is on-par with a PS4 Pro, albeit with support for modern rendering features such as hardware accelerated ray-tracing and Nvidia DLSS image reconstruction.
With this in mind, games such as Death Stranding, Cyberpunk 2077 are not just possible, but entirely playable. With the use of DLSS, Digital Foundry shows using approximate hardware that Cyberpunk 2077 could be playable at 1080p in docked mode, something that would be more than laughable on the current-gen Switch. There are some performance issues, but compared to the hideousness of some versions, that’s not too surprising.
As Digital Foundry explains in its video, the use of Nvidia’s APIs and bespoke optimisations for individual games, the next-gen console could hold its own very well.
“There’s promise here for sure,” says DF founder Richard Leadbetter. “But really the magic is gonna be coming from the developers themselves. Take a look back to when Doom 2016 first appeared on Switch, [we] didn't even believe it could be possible. And that trend continued with ports like The Witcher 3. These games defied the technological limits of the Tegra X1, and regardless of the T239 specs… I expect to see the same magic the next time around.”
With games already being optimised for Microsoft’s Xbox Series S specs, there’s no reason why some titles couldn’t be cut down some more for Nintendo’s portable machine. After all, with the help of DLSS, we could expect some decent image quality on the handheld as well.
The Nintendo Switch 2 is expected to release next year, according to multiple leaks. With the current Nintendo Switch currently experiencing a swansong year of exclusives, it is time for something new.