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Undocked Nintendo Switch may see much lower GPU speeds

The eagerly anticipated Nintendo Switch console will offer tiered performance, depending on whether the console is docked or used on the go, reports claimed on Monday.

According to documentation spied by Eurogamer, the GPU clock speed on the hybrid console will be much higher when the device is plugged in than when used on the go.

The sources say the GPU will run at 768MHz when plugged in and 307.2MHz when used as a portable device. That’s only 40% of the potential GPU speed.

The CPU speed will be 1020MHz regardless, the report claimed.

nintendo switch

The document reportedly states: “The information … is the final specification for the combinations of performance configurations and performance modes that applications will be able to use at launch.”

Given the Switch itself is rumoured to have a 720p display it is likely to account for the speeds needed to run a game at 1080p when docked to a living room screen.

Although it will also help to protect battery life on the Switch console, it may not bode well for game performance, even when the console is docked.

According to the report “developers can choose to hobble Switch performance when plugged in to match the handheld profile should they so choose.”

Why would they do this? Well one developer speaking to Eurogamer likened it to having to create two different versions of the same game, akin to the PS4 and PS4 Pro variants.

Related: Is Nintendo Switch a VR console in disguise?

Even with these potential sacrifices it is still thought the Switch’s hardware configurations will still greatly outperform the current Wii U offering.

We’re certainly reserving any definitive judgement on performance until we’ve got the console in our hands.

The next big update from Nintendo is coming at an event on January 13, ahead of the anticipated release date by the end of March.

Nintendo Switch: First Look

Does it matter to you that the Nintendo Switch may not be as powerful as the PS4 or Xbox One? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.