A Closer Look at the Nintendo Wii

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More Wii Specs

Side view of the Nintendo Wii.
Photograph: Chris Manners
I've already discussed the Wii's design, but let's take a closer look at its specs. The console uses a PowerPC processor jointly developed by Nintendo and IBM and manufactured by IBM. The Wii also has an ATI graphics chip, dubbed "Hollywood."

The console comes with 512MB of built-in flash memory for storage, plus an SD card reader. GameCube fans will appreciate that the unit also has four ports for GameCube controllers and two GameCube memory card ports. Two USB 2.0 ports are available for optional accessories such as the Wii LAN (Ethernet) adapter.

The Wii's built-in DVD slot drive emits a blue light when you turn the console on or insert a disc, but the Wii currently can't play back music CDs or DVD movies. Nintendo and Sonic Solutions are working on introducing DVD playback functionality, which they hope to make available via a future software download.

Living in a Wii World

Impressively, the responsive Wii controller remains satisfying to use even after the gimmick factor wears off. Your movements can become more subtle (and less energy consuming) as you learn how various games work. There's also the classic controller option, and the promise of myriad forthcoming controller shells.

The Wii's ridiculously enjoyable titles and innovative, motion-sensitive controllers help make it feel more like a toy you'll want to share with a group of players than a console you'd use strictly on your own for hours on end.

At $250, the affordable Wii is half or less of the price of the $500 and $600 versions of the PlayStation 3. True, the PS3 has superior graphics and a SixAxis motion-sensitive controller, but for casual gamers these features may be overkill--and for many more the PS3 package may be too expensive. If you have $250 and a group of friends at the ready, or if you're looking to buy an affordable, fun console for yourself or your kids, get a Wii.

Go to GamePro, our sister publication, for reviews of PlayStation 3 and Wii games.

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