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Project Dolphin: Nintendo 2000

Project Dolphin: Nintendo 2000

With Sega's Dreamcast and Sony's Playstation 2, what's going on at Nintendo. They are working on a new system that will change video games forever.

Nintendo and IBM announced a multi-year $1 billion technology agreement to support Nintendo's next home video game console, code named "Dolphin". In essence, IBM will design and manufacture a unique 400 MHz (megahurtz) processor, dubbed the "Gecko" processor.

The Gecko CPU will be an extension of IBM's PowerPC computer architecture and will feature its 0.18 micron copper technology. The PowerPC, you may recall, was built through a technological alliance of IBM, Apple Computer, and Motorola. However, it's the "0.18 micron copper technology" stuff that's really pretty cool- in more ways than one.

Nintendo predicts that this and other yet-to-be-disclosed tricks will give it a major game against Sony's Emotion Engine processor for the Playstation 2. To bould up the case even more, Nintendo has also revealed that its new system will use a companion graphics chip running at 200 MHz. The graphics subsystem has been created by ArtX, a 3D graphics technology design outfit, and built by NEC.

Nintendo will say "good-bye" to cartridges, too. Dolphin will support a DVD drive built by Matsushita Electric (of Panasonic fame). The drive's proprietary DVD  format will be built to support movies and music. Nintendo has also revealed that it will allow Matsushita to feature Dolphin technology in other "home appliances".

With Nintendo making waves with the Dolphin, the world of video games is set for the near future. That's good news for gaming and great news for gamers. The Dolphin is expected to be released the 2000 holiday season.

Source:GamePro Magazine, #132, Sept. '99