How GameCube Works

Inside the Cube

The limited edition platinum GameCube
The limited edition platinum GameCube
Photo courtesy Nintendo

The GameCube is not actually a cube; at 6 inches long, 6 inches wide and 4.3 inches tall (15 x 15 x 11 cm), it is a very compact rectangular block. Like its predecessor, the Nintendo 64, the GameCube comes in a variety of colors. A handle on the back of the machine makes it easy to transport.

While Nintendo didn't spend a lot of time on the aesthetics of the console, the insides are pretty impressive. Let's take a look at the components inside the GameCube and see what they can do. (If you want to compare the GameCube to the PlayStation 2 or the Microsoft Xbox, be sure to check out this comparison page.)

  • The GameCube is powered by a 485-megahertz (MHz) IBM microprocessor, an extension of the IBM PowerPC architecture. It has a maximum bus transfer rate of 2.6 GB per second. The Gekko also features a whopping 256 kilobytes (KB) of level 2 (L2) cache memory.
  • An ATI 162-MHz graphics chip, called "Flipper," allows the GameCube to produce about 12 million polygons per second. Polygons are the building blocks of 3-D graphics. Increasing the number of polygons results in sharper, more detailed images. In comparison, the Nintendo 64 produces 150,000 polygons per second.
  • A special 16-bit digital signal processor supports 64 audio channels.
  • The GameCube has 40 MB of RAM (24 MB 1T-SRAM, 16 MB of 100-MHz DRAM).
  • Gamers can now attach a modem to the GameCube. The modem fits into a serial port on the underside of the console. It allow users to connect to an online network, where they can trade data and play games over the Internet. For more information, check out Before you buy a Modem Adapter and Before you buy a Broadband Adapter on Nintendo's official site.
56K modem 56K modem
56K modem
Broadband modem Broadband modem
Broadband modem

One thing that you won't find in Nintendo's GameCube is a DVD player, which the PS2 and Xbox both have. Nintendo says it's sticking to the basics and what it knows best -- video games.