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A cube shaped bundle of fun
GameCube in General
Member Name: Jonathan100
GameCube in General
Date: 06/07/02, updated on 06/07/02 (299 review reads)
Advantages: Good set of games, Cheap, Comfortable controllers
Disadvantages: Not as many games as the PS2
The gamecube has been built as a dedicated gaming console, the standard cube will not have built in DVD player or CD player because this inflates the price and its not what gamers want according to Nintendo. The big N have, however, delivered a stunning console at an extremely desirable price.
CPU 485MHz "gekko" chip
GPU 162MHz "flipper" chip
RAM 24MB 1T-RAM (2.6GB/s)
Audio 64 channels 48KHz sample rate
The gamecube runs on 3" (8cm)mini DVDs, these disks are similar to a DVD or CD except that they are tiny and hold about twice as much as a CD. The disks are a propreity format developed by nintendo to try and combat piracy, it would be cost thousands of dollars to buy the hardware to copy a gamecube DVD. One of the gamecubes strengths is its loading time. Many people worried about this when they announced that they would be switching from cartridges to disks however you can put this fear behind you. Conventional CD player or DVD players (incuding the PS2 and Xbox) read the data by spiralling from the inside to the outside. The Gamecube however starts at the outside and spirals in making loading much faster. Compare this to being on a roundabout, sit near the middle and it goes quite slowly but hang off the edge and you could be going several times faster. The same is true of CDs/DVDs, the edge is read much faster than the center.
The gamecube is a tiny little machine in comparison to previous consoles but it packs quite some kick. The gekko chip is a custom designed 128-bit CPU which powers the console, also in the box is the 162MHz flipper chip which is dedicated to graphics rendering. Nintendo have decided on 1T-RAM, this is very expensive but is much faster than other types of RAM used previously and in other consoles. This additional RAM throughput really help the grahical rendering in games.
The gamecube controllers are the result of extensive testing to find out what i
s really comfortable, although they look strange they mould into your hands perfectly. Nintendo have done away with the three prong controller in favor of the 2 prong, slightly more like the PS2, on the left at the top you have the analogue stick which is similar to that of the N64 but more robust and smoother. Below that is the D-pad, again, similar to the N64. Now for the changes, at the top right there is a big A button which is analogue this time round. This means that the game can detect how hard you are pushing. Below A is a smaller B button, above and to the right are 2 new button, a Y and a Z button for more ingame control. The familiar L and R shoulder buttons are still there but they too are now analogue. Below the A and B buttons is a revised set of C-buttons, rather than buttons it is now an analogue stick too allowing more in game camera control. Z is there too under the left hand prong just where its needed for fast trigger action. The standard controller has built in rumble so theres no need for extra packs or batteries. Nintendo have also announced the "wavebird controller" which is a wireless controller which, although bulkier than the standard one, works for up to 10M from the console. The gamecube controller is the fruit of 5 years development since 1997 so it follows that they gamecube controller is the most comfortable to date.
The gamecube is graphically superb, capable of rendering 6-12M polygons/s, fully textured with advanced lighting effects. Its built in hardware functions such as fog and anti-aliasing which provide such realistic graphics on our screen. Games like waverace really show the power of the gamecube and these are just launch titles, in the future we may see much more stunning games as developers get more accustomed to the cubes hardware and programming language.
Nintendo have always left room for expansion in their consoles and the gamecube is no exception, theres one large serial port which it has
been announced will house a 56K modem or broadband adaptor. Theres also a smaller second serial port and a high speed port. What these will be used for has not been announced yet but no doubt the big N will think of something.
Overall the gamecube is a very powerful console with the reliability and comfort we have come to expect from Nintendo. Of course its the games that sells a console not just the hardware but you are in for some treats there too. At the asking price of £130 it is the cheapest console of its generation on the market.