Nintendo may have revealed some juicy details about the next-generation Nintedo Switch Pro (or maybe just Switch 2). There has been much speculation as to whether the next console will get 4K support, but a tweet suggests that the code has started appearing in updates which confirms some details.
In firmware version 12, there are two clues that indicate that the Switch Pro has received some exciting technology. The first line is related to the new Cradle Aula (obviously the code name of the new dock) and its ability to update the firmware. This would mean that the new Switch dock will perform some form of advanced processing, instead of just being a stand with connectors, which is also the current dock.
WinFuture points out that the second line is also interesting, namely: “4kdp_preferred_over_usb30” which the internet characters understood to mean 4K DisplayPort via USB 3.0. Why Nintendo will use DisplayPort instead of HDMI remains to be seen, but DP could equally mean something completely different.
[Nintendo Switch Firmware Update]About my earlier tweet about update 12.0.0 so I could upgrade the dock firmware … There is also this setting: “is_crda_fw_update_supported” “CrdA” = Cradle (Dock) for Aula. Aula is the code name for the new model. (Thanks @hexkyz!) Https://t.co/USSPCbG20q pic.twitter.com/gwsOZdmg6bApril 6, 2021
It seems that the Switch Pro could end up being quite similar to the original device in its operation. Outside the dock it could be a 720p game console with an enhanced OLED display. Once anchored, it seems likely to offer some sort of 4K option, although it may be upgraded.
The two options could be that the docking station itself contains either a more powerful GPU, which the Switch uses when connected to a TV, or, more likely, that Nvidia offers some sort of custom hardware that can run the dock. its DLSS technology. Given Nvidia’s involvement with the first Switch, it is very likely that the new model will follow a similar route.
Deep Learning Super Sampling or DLSS takes a lower resolution signal and applies machine learning to the output to make it look like it is shown in 4K. The results on the best gaming computers with Nvidia’s graphics processors give impressive results using DLSS, but the technology must be built into games and cannot simply be applied to anything.
An additional complication is that DLSS occurs in the GPU, using Tensor cores. It happens in the graphics pipeline, not after it, so increasing the results from DisplayPort would not give the same results. So, the Switch Pro should have a fairly powerful GPU built in or a secondary GPU on the dock, which would be active when the console is plugged in. It would become expensive, and there is no suggestion that the Thunderbolt, which would be needed, is part of the specification.
Given that Nintendo has a long history of preferring games, especially first-page titles, at 60 fps, the likelihood that the portable console will be able to achieve this without additional help is pretty small.