Another day, another Switch “Pro” rumor. The mysterious alleged new family member of the Nintendo Switch platform has been talked about heavily from leakers and hackers, and now a new nugget of info has apparently been dug up. This new detail comes from dataminer Mike Heskin, who has a track record with these sorts of things. It was he who apparently was the first to discover mentions of a new Switch model by means of the system’s own firmware; specifically uncovering it back when the firmware was updated to version 10.0. Now, Heskin mentions that the alleged new Switch model will indeed feature 4K, however, it is apparently going to do so by means of upscaling.
Considering the information we’ve extracted and observed, we speculate this new dp2hdmi chip is designed for upscaling HDMI output to 4K. This is further corroborated by changes in the HDCP DRM (“nvhost_tsec” firmware inside “nvservices”) and by looking at RTD2173 as example.
— Mike Heskin (@hexkyz) January 9, 2021
Heskin mentioned this detail in a thread of tweets that he claims is meant to clear up some “misinterpretations” of the alleged new Switch model. He once again says that the codename for this new model is “Aula”, as has been previously reported. And he also mentions that it will feature “an improved display of some sort” with a chip from Realtek. He points to this alleged new display being either OLED or MiniLED technology, all of which have been reported before.
What stands out with Heskin’s thread is that he also mentions that the new Switch’s SoC is still going to be the Mariko edition of the Tegra X1; the same that’s found in the revised flagship Switch from 2019 and the Switch Lite. Heskin also mentions that the DRAM has been shrunken to a more efficient 10nm process, though the system RAM is still limited to 4GB, just like all of the existing Switch models.
Minor new machine?
If the 4K capabilities of the alleged new Switch really is upscale-only, then it remains to be seen how big of a performance difference it will have over the existing flagship Switch. In fact, all Switch models right now have the capability to output in 4K, but the way Nintendo and Nvidia have them setup keeps things limited to 1080p. So, perhaps this alleged new model, despite using the same Tegra X1 chipset, has some further modifications to allow for this capability. Or perhaps, all of the “magic” may be in the supposed new Dock that may accompany it.
Heskin’s full thread has a lot of technical info that will certainly go over the heads of the average Joe. But, in layman’s terms, it appears that the alleged new Switch model isn’t going to be some massive upgrade over what we have today.
Going by the way he describes it, it seems that this will be more of a soft upgrade than a wildly new machine. As a recent example, think of the minor improvements with systems like the PS4 Slim and Xbox One S over their original counterparts, rather than big new upgrades like the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X.
Again, as we’ve mentioned since the first rumor of a “Switch Pro” until Nintendo formally says something this is all hearsay and speculation. Even if Heskin did pull his details from the Switch’s own firmware, we have no way of truly knowing what this alleged new Switch model will be until Nintendo finally shows it to all of us.
If this “upgrade” really is so simple, however, then perhaps existing Switch owners won’t feel too bad/jealous if and when the new model is shown off.