While we won't know everything about the internal workings of the Wii U until tech geeks get ahold of one and disassemble it, we know a fair amount. Here's what Nintendo has told us about the Wii U's specs.
Black or white.
A little larger than a hardcover textbook: 1.8 inches high, 10.5 inches deep and 6.8 inches long. It weighs 3 ½ pounds.
CPU (central processing unit)
Nintendo describes the CPU as an IBM Power-based multi-core processor. It is rumored that the CPU is named "espresso" and is made up of three Wii CPUs working together. Developers have said that the CPU is not quite as powerful as the ones in the PS3 and 360.
GPU (graphics processing unit)
Nintendo says the Wii U contains an AMD Radeon-based High Definition GPU. Rumor has it that is a GPU7 AMD Radeon that is more powerful than the GPUs of the 360 or PS3. Developers say the GPU is more powerful than that of the 360 and PS3.
The Wii U has 2GB of memory, 1GB devoted to system necessities and the other reserved for software use. This gives it the most memory of any existing game console.
Will run both Wii U and Wii game disks. The Wii U disks will have a capacity of 25 gigabytes and the Wii U disk speed is reportedly 22.5 MB/s, over twice that of the PS3 and about a third again that of the 360, meaning games should load much faster. The Wii U not play DVD or Blu-Ray disks, (although the console will support some streaming video services).
The console will come in two versions, a "basic" with 8GB of internal flash storage and a "deluxe" with 32GB. It does not contain a hard drive, but will support SD cards and external, USB hard drives of pretty much any size. The console will have 4 USB ports, two in the front and two in the rear
The Wii U can be connected to the TV via HDMI, D-Terminal, Component Video, RGB, S-Video and AV cables.
Supports 1080p, 1080i, 720p, 480p, 480i (Read about video resolutions here
Uses six-channel PCM linear output via HDMI connector, or analog output via the AV Multi Out connector.
Backwards compatible with Wii games, but not with GameCube games, as it doesn’t support the GameCube controller.
(IEEE 802.11b/g/n) connection.
The Wii U needs 75 watts of power when operating (the Wii needed 14) and 45 in power save mode.
The Wii U can be played with the Wii U gamepad, the Wii remote or remote plus with or without the nunchuk, the Wii U Pro Controller, the classic controller and the balance board.
The Wii U can allow at least five-person multiplayer, with one person using a gamepad and four using Wii remotes. The Wii U can support two gamepads, however, running two will halve the framerate from 60 fps to 30 fps. It is unknown whether running a second gamepad would mean you had to use less Wii remotes or whether you could run two gamepads and four remotes all at once.
Wii U Gamepad details:
It has a 6.2-inch, 16:9 aspect ratio touchscreen in the center that can be used with a stylus or your finger. It has standard A/B/X/Y buttons, L/R bumpers, ZL/ZR triggers, a direction pad, and two clickable analog sticks. It contains a camera and a microphone, stereo speakers with a volume control, a sensor bar, and an NFC reader/writer. In terms of motion control it contains an accelerometer, gyroscope, and geomagnetic sensor. Its rechargeable lithium-ion battery can be charged by plugging an AC adapter into the gamepad. According to Nintendo’s Japanese website the battery life will only be around 3 to 5 hours, but you can use it while it is recharging. While it will be possible to play games on it with the television turned off, it is not a portable device and will only work if the Wii U console is turned on. The gamepad weighs about a pound.
Wii U Pro Controller details:
This is a standard controller similar to the PS3/360 controllers, with the same basic buttons and triggers as the Wii U gamepad, but without the fancy extras like speakers and motion control. It is wireless and has a rechargeable battery. No word on battery life, but presumably it would last much longer than the gamepad without that energy-sucking screen. Reports have been coming out that the Pro Controller has no rumble feature, but hopefully Nintendo won’t make that mistake.
The gamepad can be used as a television remote. It will also support Nintendo TVii, which offers a way to integrate various online viewing options.
The Wii U will include an internet browser.
It will be possible to use the Wii U for video chat, thanks to the camera in the gamepad.
The Wii U will support Netflix, Hulu, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video, but Nintendo has offered no further details so far.