As we reach the end of our journey, let’s take a moment to look a little closer at the real brains of the N64—its “Reality Engine” CPU (labeled CPU-NUS, the big black square in the upper-center of the image), its “Reality Co-Processor” graphics chip (labeled RCP-NUS, down and to the right of the CPU), and the two RAM chips to the left of the graphics chip.
The CPU is a 64-bit R4300 running at 93.75MHz—a RISC CPU fabricated by NEC. Once-mighty graphics workstation manufacturer Silicon Graphics designed the graphics chip, which was the most capable 3D graphics chip in a game console until the Dreamcast in 1999.
But as with all Nintendo consoles, the specs of the N64 were but a tool to enable the creativity of game designers—especially those at Nintendo—to craft cultural works with widespread influence that have had a lasting effect. To that, I tip my hat and wish the N64 a very happy 20th birthday.