Switch Lite is coming – but what’s happening with the Pro model?


With this week’s impromptu reveal of the Switch Lite, Nintendo’s strategy for refreshing its hybrid console hardware is finally coming into focus. Initially discussed back in a March 2019 story by The Wall Street Journal, the launch Switch model was allegedly set to be replaced by two new machines. The WSJ talked about a cheaper model – now realised in the form of Switch Lite – but what about the so-called Switch Pro, with “enhanced features targeted at avid video gamers”?

If a Switch Pro – or Power Switch as I prefer to call it – is en route, it’s likely a long way off. Improbably named Nintendo chief Doug Bowser has ruled out further hardware launches this year, but it may well be the case that a revised version of the original machine does appear – it just won’t be especially visible to the typical customer and certainly won’t have any specific marketing push behind it: a more simple refresh as opposed to an all-singing, all-dancing console launch.

What makes the concept of both Lite and Power models possible is a new revision of the Switch’s Tegra X1 processor, codenamed ‘Mariko’ – a smaller, cooler, more power-efficient rendition of the original ‘Logan’ chip. First launched way back in 2015, Tegra X1 was a 121mm2 chip using TSMC’s barely used, now obsolete 20nm fabrication process. Mariko is likely to be a 16nm FinFET ‘shrink’ of the older chip – the same kind of silicon revision that made Xbox One S and the PS4 Slim possible.

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