- The upcoming Nintendo Switch 2 may not be able to efficiently support Nvidia’s DLSS graphics upscaling technology.
- A newly emerged report suggests Nvidia’s T239 chip expected to power the Switch 2 will lack a Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA) that would facilitate AI computations that DLSS hinges on.
- The Switch 2 should still support DLSS upscaling even without a DLA, but likely not beyond 1440p.
Nintendo‘s Switch successor, tentatively dubbed the Switch 2, might not offer efficient support for Nvidia’s Deep Learning Super Sampling (DLSS) technology, a well-known industry insider has said. This claim casts some doubt on a number of past reports suggesting the Switch 2 could offer a significant generational graphics upgrade thanks to DLSS.
The history of Switch 2 rumors pointing to DLSS support is largely rooted in the widespread—and somewhat substantiated—belief that the upcoming console will use a system-on-chip based on Nvidia’s T234 SoC. Specifically, the silicon powering the Switch 2 is believed to be the Nvidia T239, whose existence was previously confirmed by an update to one of the GPU maker’s open-source kernels. Since the T234 comes equipped with a Deep Learning Accelerator (DLA), a piece of specialized hardware dedicated to handling various AI computations, the expectation was that the T239 would offer such a unit as well.
Nintendo Switch 2 Chip Reportedly Won’t Have a Deep Learning Accelerator
Yet Eurogamer Technology Editor Richard Leadbetter now reports that the T239 won’t have a DLA, having said as much during the November 20 episode of the Digital Foundry Direct podcast. The episode saw the Digital Foundry cast field a question about the chances of the Switch 2 being a powerful traditional home console instead of a hybrid device similar to its predecessor. While everyone agreed that scenario is “unlikely,” Leadbetter elaborated on that point by stating multiple sources he recently consulted claimed the next Nintendo console won’t have a DLA-equipped chip.
That omission would significantly inhibit the console’s ability to make use of modern graphics technologies like DLSS, which tend to rely on artificial intelligence. It still wouldn’t make such solutions impossible, as underlined by the widespread reports that Nintendo showcased the Switch 2 running Breath of the Wild at 60fps in 4K behind closed doors at Gamescom 2023, largely thanks to DLSS support. However, by omitting a specialized unit dedicated to AI calculations from its next console, the company would make technology like DLSS much more “computationally expensive,” Leadbetter said.
A DLA-Free Switch 2 Likely Wouldn’t Support DLSS Beyond 1440p, At Best
Elaborating on the concrete implications of such a move, the insider said that a DLA-free chip wouldn’t be suitable for handling DLSS to upscale graphics beyond 1080p or “possibly 1440p,” depending on a given game’s overall level of graphical fidelity. Without a specialized unit dedicated to AI computations, DLSS processing would have to be handled by the console’s CPU instead of being effectively “free,” as Leadbetter put it.
AI technologies like DLSS and AMD’s FidelityFX Super Resolution (FSR) have been at the forefront of recent inroads in video game graphics by allowing for high-res visuals while having a smaller performance footprint than rendering those resolutions natively. However, their best implementations—which are also habitually bundled with features like AI frame generation—tend to depend on specialized hardware that the next Nintendo console will supposedly lack. So, even though the Switch 2 has long been Nintendo’s worst-kept secret, this new report serves as a reminder that there are still many question marks regarding the system’s overall capabilities.
Nintendo is a Japanese video game company headquartered in Kyoto, Japan. While producing highly popular hardware consoles like the Switch, the company is known for its many first party video game franchises like Super Mario, The Legend of Zelda, Fire Emblem, Pokemon, and many more.