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Nvidia's Shield Android games console uses a fan to keep cool

Not a great sign for Tegra 4
Thu Aug 01 2013, 17:17

TEARDOWN OUTFIT iFixit has torn apart Nvidia's Shield handheld Android games console and found that it uses a fan for cooling and has a battery that's hard to replace.

Nvidia's Shield games console generated headaches for the firm as it announced a delay just a day before its launch citing quality control issues. Finally Nvidia managed to ship the games console within its revised deadline and according to iFixit the firm's packaging of the hardware is impressive, with a durable modular design but a battery that is difficult to replace.

In its teardown iFixit found that the Shield has 2GB of RAM from SK Hynix, the firm's preferred DRAM vendor. Nvidia provided the Tegra 4 processor, of course, and Samsung supplied the embedded MMC memory for the internal storage, while audio support is provided by a Realtek chip.

With Nvidia using the Shield to showcase its Tegra 4 system on chip (SoC) processor, the internals of the games console, which is essentially a games controller with a fold-up screen, came into sharp focus when Nvidia announced a delay. What iFixit's teardown seemed to reveal was that Nvidia did a pretty good job of designing and building the Shield, using materials like magnesium.

However iFixit found that the three Sanyo battery cells were hard to access, which could be a problem for gamers down the line. But perhaps of more concern is Nvidia's decision to include a fan to actively cool the Shield, which given the relatively bulky dimensions of the device compared to a thin tablet, doesn't look good for the heat generation potential of the integrated Tegra 4 SoC processor.

Nvidia's decision to actively cool the Shield is surprising not least because the Tegra 4 SoC processor and memory modules are designed to be used in passively cooled tablets. It is likely that the firm is covering potential overheating issues simply because it expects the chip to be running computationally heavy games most of the time.

Nvidia's Shield games console is presently available only in the US and the firm hasn't revealed whether it plans to take it to other markets. µ


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