Early rumors claimed Nintendo's 3DS handheld console would use NVIDIA's Tegra SoC, but today DMP announced that Nintendo has adopted its PICA200 for the 3DS.
The company has been investigating various semiconductor and IP suppliers since 2006 having looked at their partner ATI (Wii), ARM (DS), Imagination Technologies, Nvidia, and others. The decision to use DMP’s PICA200 design was made over a year ago and testing and development have been going on for some time; it’s not as easy as it may seem to license a core and integrate it into an SoC and get the costs (die size), power consumption (has to run forever on small batteries), and performance (clocks and memory management) balance. So as you learn more about this device if you wonder why it took them so long, keep all that in mind.
Founded in 2002, DMP, a graphics IP core supplier in Japan, has adopted a business strategy of focusing on the digital consumer market.
DMP first told me about the PICA architecture in early 2005 which was their first IP core based on Ultray architecture. The president and CEO of DMP, Tatsuo Yamamoto, told me then the Ultray allows real-time photo realistic rendering with physically correct lighting and shadowing such as soft shadow casting and position dependent environmental mapping.
Ultray is unique in that it uses hardware parametric engines for certain graphics features rather than shaders. With this approach, clouds, smoke, gas and other fuzzy objects can be shaded and rendered at an interactive rate.