The Nintendo GameCube (Japanese:ゲームキューブ) is a video game console by Nintendo belonging to the same generation as Sega's Dreamcast, Sony's PlayStation 2, and Microsoft's Xbox.

Table of contents
1 Overview
2 New Approach
3 Hardware Specs
4 External Links


The Nintendo GameCube was released on September 14, 2001 in Japan; November 18, 2001 in North America; and Spring 2002 across Europe. The Nintendo GameCube, or GCN, was widely anticipated by many who were shocked by Nintendo's decision to design the Nintendo 64 as a cartridge-based system. Physically shaped similar to geometric cube, the Nintendo GameCube uses a unique storage medium, a proprietary format based on Matsushita's optical-disc technology; the discs are approximately three inches in diameter (considerably smaller than a standard CD or DVD), and the discs have a capacity of approximately 1.5 gigabytes. The outside casing of the Nintendo GameCube is most often Indigo, but the system is also available in other colors, such as Platinum (a silver color) and Jet (a very dark gray color or black). In Japan, the system is also available in Spice (an orange color).

The Nintendo GameCube software library contains such traditional Nintendo series as Super Mario, Star Fox, The Legend of Zelda, and Metroid. The Nintendo GameCube does not have any DVD-movie support, but a Nintendo GameCube hybrid product containing movie functionality has been released by Panasonic in Japan, named "DVD/GAME Player Q." Some popular titles for Nintendo GameCube include Super Smash Bros. Melee, Luigi's Mansion, Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader, Wave Race: Blue Storm, and Super Mario Sunshine.

New Approach

One of the defining aspects of the Nintendo GameCube is the rejuvenated relationship between Nintendo and its licencees. Unlike previous generations in which Nintendo was seen by some as bullying its third-party game developers, Nintendo openly sought game-development aid on Nintendo GameCube. Sometimes, Nintendo would merely request that a third-party developer produce a game based on the third-party's own game franchises; other times, Nintendo would request that the third-party developer produce a game based on Nintendo's own game franchises. This effort from Nintendo resulted in many exclusive third-party games for the Nintendo GameCube. The following is a list of examples:

  • Most of the Resident Evil series (from Capcom, based on Capcom's own game properties)
  • Tales of Symphonia (from Namco, based on Namco's own game properties)
  • Baten Kaitos (from Namco, based on Namco's own game properties)
  • Final Fantasy: Crystal Chronicles (from Square Enix, based on Square Enix's own game properties)
  • F-Zero GX (from Sega, based on Nintendo's game properties)

Hardware Specs

The following are hardware specifications provided by Nintendo of America. Some benchmarks provided by third-party testing facilities do indicate, however, that some of these specifications -- especially those relating to performance -- may be conservative.

Central Processing Unit

  • Name: "Gekko"
  • Producer: IBM
  • Core Base: Power PC 705CXe
  • Manufacturing Process: 0.18-micron IBM copper-wire technology
  • Clock Frequency: 485 MHz
  • CPU Capacity: 1125 Dmips (Dhrystone 2.1)
  • Internal Data Precision:
    • 32-bit Integer
    • 64-bit Floating-point
    • 128-bit SIMD
  • External Bus:
    • 1.3 gigabyte/second peak bandwidth
    • 32-bit address space
    • 64-bit data bus; 162 MHz clock
  • Internal Cache:
    • L1: instruction 32KB, data 32KB (8 way)
    • L2: 256KB (2 way)

System LSI

  • Name: "Flipper"
  • Producer: ArtX/Nintendo
  • Manufacturing Process: 0.18-micron NEC embedded DRAM process
  • Clock Frequency: 162 MHz
  • Embedded Frame Buffer:
    • Approximately 2 megabytes in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 6.2 nanoseconds
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Embedded Texture Cache:
    • Approximately 1 megabyte in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 6.2 nanoseconds
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Texture Read Bandwidth: 10.4 gigabytes/second (at peak)
  • Main Memory Bandwidth: 2.6 gigabytes/second (at peak)
  • Pixel Depth:
    • 24-bit RGB / RGBA
    • 24-bit Z-buffer
  • Image Processing Functions:
    • Fog
    • Subpixel anti-aliasing
    • 8 hardware lights
    • Alpha blending
    • Virtual texture design
    • Multi-texturing, bump mapping
    • Environment mapping
    • MIP mapping
    • Bilinear filtering
    • Trilinear filtering
    • Anisotropic filtering
    • Real-time hardware texture decompression (S3TC)
    • Real-time decompression of display list
    • Hardware 3-line deflickering filter

Aural Functionality

  • Producer: Macronix
  • Clock Frequency: 81 MHz
  • Instruction Memory:
    • 8 kilobytes of RAM
    • 8 kilobytes of ROM
  • Data Memory:
    • 8 kilobytes of RAM
    • 4 kilobytes of ROM
  • Simultaneous Channels: 64 channels
  • Encoding: ADPCM
  • Sampling Frequency: 48 KHz

Other System Specifications

  • System Floating-point Arithmetic Capability: 10.5 GFLOPS (at peak) (MPU, Geometry Engine, HW Lighting Total)
  • Real-world Polygon Performance: 6 million to 12 million polygons/second (at peak) (assuming actual game conditions with complex models, fully textured, fully lit, etc.}*
  • Main RAM:
    • Approximately 24 megabytes in capacity
    • Sustainable latency of 10 nanoseconds
    • RAM type is 1T-SRAM
  • Auxiliary RAM:
    • Approximately 16 megabytes in capacity
    • 81 MHz in speed
    • RAM type is DRAM
  • Disc Drive:
    • Drive type is Constant Angular Velocity (CAV)
    • Average access time is 128 milliseconds
    • Data transfer speed is between 2 megabytes per second and 3.125 megabytes per second
  • Disc Media:
    • Based on DVD technology
    • Diameter is 3 inches in length
    • Producer is Matsushita
    • Approximately 1.5 gigabytes in capacity
  • Controller Ports: 4
  • Memory Card Slots: 2
  • Analog Audio/Video Outputs: 1
  • Digital Audio/Video Outputs: 1
  • High-speed Serial Ports: 2
  • High-speed Parallel Ports: 1
  • Power Supply: AC Adapter DC12 volts x 3.25 amperes
  • Physical Measurements of Entire System: 4.3"(H) x 5.9"(W) x 6.3"(D)

External Links