Nintendo 3DS Teardown

The Nintendo 3DS has been out for a couple days now (in japan) and the folks over at [tech on] were nice enough to do a teardown. Besides all the regular teardown goodies you can also get a good look at the 3DS’ 3D screen with a microscope. Turns out its a parallax barrier display which means that there are slits on top of the LED array to create a 3D effect without the use of special glasses. The rest of the hardware seems pretty standard, running an ARM based processor with some DRAM and NAND flash. Apparently the 3DS didn’t get much of an upgrade (downgrade?) as far as DRM is concerned because there are already examples of the 3DS running pirated games using a R4 card on youtube.

[via engaget]

Comments

  1. alan says:

    I would rather have nintendo use a better chipset and spike the price ~$75 than have a crappy system. Sony knows the way the market should go with their NGP.

  2. arfink says:

    I figure Nintendo knows what they’re doing with the chipset, as they proved by producing the Wii, which succeeded on the weight of its other innovations rather than brute force processing power. The 3d in 3DS may be a gimmick, but a powerful selling point nonetheless, and one which many developers will want to leverage.

    Back on topic for the hack: The display tech is very interesting to me, and I’m currently going nuts oggling their loupe photos. Really fascinating stuff. If I understand correctly, the parallax layer is designed to selectively alter the usable viewing angle of the display, essentially rendering 1/2 of the display’s vertical lines un-viewable to one eye or the other at any given time, while the top panel need not cycle, but simply displays both eye’s information simultaneously. Imagine looking at an LCB panel from a sharp angle- it gets very hard to see. Probably they are intentionally generating that effect with the parallax layer.

  3. Harley says:

    alan: Nintendo’s DS sold roughly twice as many units when compared to the more powerful PSP. Similarly with what arfink said about the Wii.

  4. Stevie says:

    I’m in Japan now, on vacation. The 3DS is being sold for 25,000 yen($305). I tested 4 different games and must say the graphics are AMAZING (regardless of the 3D).

    The 3D is good for depth but it’s not like things come out of the screen like when you’re watching an imax film.

    Took a pic of street fighter but with 3D turned off since the camera wont pick it up anyway – http://a1.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/189230_10150096814410940_723105939_6788293_4315296_n.jpg

    The ‘sweet spot’ really is quite limited. Up and down movement is fine but move the DS to the left or right more than 1cm and it gives a very blurry/painful image.

  5. asdf says:

    The R4 examples are running DS games in DS backwwards compatibility mode. Neither the 3DS nor the DSi have been hacked yet.

  6. arfink says:

    “The ‘sweet spot’ really is quite limited. Up and down movement is fine but move the DS to the left or right more than 1cm and it gives a very blurry/painful image.”

    This makes sense when you realize that the 3d effect is being produced by manipulating the viewing angle with the underlying LCD.

  7. Nitori says:

    I think Nintendo could have done a lot better on the chipset esp considering there are SOCs like those offered by Nvidia.
    For the price they certainly could have offered something based off Tegra 2 which would have put it ahead of the NGP.

  8. Pilotgeek says:

    I love how they had trouble finding the main CPU of the 3DS. The whole time I was screaming at the article to “look under the card slot”. The older Nintendo DS models all had it under there… worked as sort of a heatsink.

  9. Jordan says:

    “Turns out its a parallax barrier display….” Doesn’t everyone know that by now? I mean seriously, as a geek/maker/modder/hacker, that was the first thing I found out about the 3DS.

  10. octel says:

    @asdf
    There are plenty of DSi flash cards out there. AceKard 2i, EZFlash Vi, etc. Do your research.

  11. MrTaco says:

    @octel
    I was under the impression that most of those cards were just “faking it”, running in DS mode rather than DSi mode. As asdf said.

    From what I’ve been able to find through a bit of brief researching just now, it seems that the CycloDS iEvolution is one of the only cards to run properly in DSi mode, and it is only a very recent development.

  12. Nomad says:

    I can’t wait for the Chinese replacement 3ds screens. Even if they are low quality it will be nice to play around with the tech. Though they will probably be expensive at first.

  13. bostonblah says:

    i played this thing today and i must say the 3d looks good ,most images seemed to go in ,like depth inside the screen but there was one image that seemed to pop out of the screen,the icon for the log menu there are little pencil icons that orbit arround and seem to be in front of the screen,every other image seemed to go in the screen even the 3d camera pics u can take,it should have more graphics that jump out instead of in,also must say the shiny screen has a horrific problem with glare,it should have been given a matte finish,the glossy screen is just awful,i cant see being able to play this thing anywhere but a dimmly lit or dark room,i cant even play my ds lite in the car due to its lack of brightness,this has even less brightness and an inexcusable ammount of glare,glossy screen was a huge mistake,as was not including a 2nd analog control on the right for possible future GC ports,like LOZ WW

  14. bostonblah says:

    i cant wait for a 3ds mode flashcard,i have a dstwo that will work in ds mode only already,i hope that the fw updates bricking 3ds’ that used a flashcart are not true,i have a feeling we will see cards for this in the not so distant future,i did forget to chech the made in label,i know my ds lite is made in china,im guessing this is too,if it is it will be a huge security risk for ninty,its almost a gaurentee it will be cracked by the chinese flashcard makers,i think the profit potential is much too great for theis not to be hacked ,and soon,then there are also the real hackers that will try and crack it for the homebrew and not for profit ,like marcan and tam twiizers,if they are able to crack it we might even get a softmod via the sd slot,no flashcard required that would be awesome,they did it with the dsi and the sudoku exploit ,but it was patched really quickly,i dont think there is much incentive to hack dsi mode,although they tried,although a dsi mode hack could help lead to a 3ds mode hack,god forbid its a solder in mod chip hack,which it will be at first,lets hope if that sort of exploit is found it could be ported to a sd softmod or flashcard hack

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