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New 3DS Hardware Revision to Double RAM, Increase VRAM

Harder, better, faster, stronger.

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Nintendo’s announcement of a new 3DS revision took many by surprise this morning. In a way, it’s similar move to the introduction of late-generation models of previous Nintendo handhelds, improving on weaknesses and introducing some exclusive games to take advantage of the new features. But actually, when you dig deeper, you find that this is definitely the most radical evolution for a Nintendo handheld in history.

3D Brew has investigated the latest 3DS firmware information, and has found the following information, which was previously unknown:

  • They [Nintendo] extended FCRAM from 128MB to 256MB.
  • They [Nintendo] added another VRAM of 4MB.

If this makes it into the final build, this would make the new revisions a much more significant upgrade than initially thought. Increasing RAM and VRAM would undoubtedly have a major impact on game performance, even allowing game developers to push game graphics further than before. It’s no wonder Xenoblade Chronicies has been announced as exclusive to the new models.

To this point, below are the improvements and additions confirmed by Nintendo

  • Better quality 3D.
  • Second analog stick.
  • NFC built-in.
  • Gyro sensor.
  • Two new bumper buttons.
  • 7 hour battery life.
  • microSD support.
  • Wireless PC backup support.
  • HTML5 browser.
  • CPU clock increase.

Also See: Nintendo Announces New 3DS and 3DS XL Models

Although the 3DS has performed admirably on sales charts, it’s always had underwhelming specs. Even though I’m a fan of its 3D implementation, I’ve deferred to disabling it for many games including Pokemon X where framerate during battles is extremely choppy with 3D enabled. The combination of more RAM, VRAM, and a faster CPU should address that.

The new revision will be introduced with two options, a “regular” 3DS and a 3DS XL, similar to the current offerings. The XL will cost a little more, but will have a larger screen. However, both will feature the improvements highlighted above, in addition to coming in an assortment of colorways.