Nintendo 3DS & Sony PSP Specs Compared


If the hype is to be believed Nintendo’s 3DS will utterly destroy all flimsy PSP opposition and be crowned undisputed king of handhelds come release, but the release of the GPU used in the device and a subsequent comparison to its PSP nemesis seems to put this in doubt, at least going by the paper specification…

The comparison shows the 3DS trailing slightly in polygon output and leading strongly in fill rate (although it is not yet clear whether the lower screen draws on this fill rate as well or not):


This comparison has been interpreted as showing a slight to moderate lead on the part of the 3DS, although the screenshots thus far shown seem significantly superior to the PSP’s current level (as crudely demonstrated by 2ch below), and it would be quite surprising if the 3DS were to be released at a significantly higher price than a 6-year-old console whilst only sporting comparable graphics.


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  • Anonymous says:

    awesome but what do you expect psp is hella old, it still sony’s first handheld no?
    how many times did nintendo have to try to finaly just barely pass sony’s psp in terms of hardware.
    but hey love both my psp and dsi. can’t wait to see the 3DS in action though.

  • It’s comparing apples to oranges. There are pros and cons to both systems. What matters is they both produce impressive results for handhelds.

    The GPU in the 3DS is special, even though it lags behind in certain aspects it takes very, very little power, which will help the battery life. It is also extremely easy to program for.

  • Anonymous says:

    Obviously it would have higher specs then the PSP, otherwise it would totally fail. However, by the small margin of it it’s really not much to brag about.

    I would imagine a psp2 or similar product to show up about a year after the 3ds.

  • Anonymous says:

    I found an error in your logic.

    “(3DS is) leading strongly in fill rate”

    3DS: 500 million
    PSP: 664 million

    Is a larger fill rate supposed to be a bad thing for the PSP? I thought that it was a good thing, especially if the screen is slightly smaller.

  • Anonymous says:

    Like they said, the gamecube pulls out some better visuals than the ps2 like for example resident evil, and who is acustumed by nintendo knows that they can always push the hardware to the core, i mean look at super mario galaxy, metroid and even monster hunter thats from capcom.

    I honestly belive that’s up to the developer to work it around the hardware.

    oh yeah KH on the ds looked fucking bad ass even if you cant compare it xD

    and fuck the iphone, steve jobs get out of the gaming business

  • Anonymous says:

    3DS can filtrate more pixels , even if the vertex perfomance is less than PSP , 3DS give more quality and clean detail.

    we need consider the fact the vertex perfomance is not superior ‘cuz the gpu is processing two screens , so if the 3DS only had one screen the vertex perfomance and filtrate can be more superior.

  • Anonymous says:

    I prefer my DS way more to my PSP; I barely touch the PSP. But isn’t it odd/biased to be comparing the incoming 3DS with the PSP specs? I don’t one could find an example of gaming hardware from a competitor that isn’t better than its 5 year old rival in any area. Even the Wii was more powerful than a PS2, if just barely.

  • Anonymous says:

    There isn’t much significant difference between the specs of 3DS and the PSP. But I play my PSP more because of the good line-up of games on it. If the 3DS gets good game releases (from the looks of it, it does) then I’ll definitely get one.

  • I play my PSP much more than my DS (I’ve practically abandoned it now) because I much prefer the controls, there’s better games and it’s more comfortable to hold.
    I don’t really need absolutely fantastic graphics in anything other than cut scenes.

    • Anonymous says:

      It beats the iphone 3gs!
      I bet the iphone 4 together with the ipad beats all of them!

      And this is a good thing!
      If Apple pushes the envelope in gaming hardware it will make nintendo and sony give up long release cycles( 10 years for the psp) and also play the hardware game.

      Competition is good!

  • The screenshot comparison isn’t a fair test. The 3DS one is from a tech demo optimised to look as good as possible, while the PSP shot from Peace Walker is in-game graphics optimised for a full game.

    Lets wait until this MGS3 remake actually comes out for the 3DS before we jump the gun, shall we?

  • Deibi_Manabu says:

    If they sell a 2D game like Chrono Trigger, I am there! I am not a 3D lover, but some of them are nice. That said, I am absolutely enamoured by the 2D games, as I find them cute and fun. I don’t want ultra-realism, unless it’s Miku! @__@

  • Here’s some industry insider enlightening:


    1) PSP Vertex processor sucks major ass, it lacks clipping (which even the Nintendo DS supports) which requieres expensive hacks (software clipping in games)
    2) PSP polyfiller also sucks ass, large triangles slow down the rendering enormously, which requieres either software tesselation or modifying the models
    3) PSP CPU->GPU bus transfer bandwidth is also pretty horrible, (but this is normal in this kind of embedded devices, should see how this goes in the 3DS)
    4) Hardware skinning/animation for models support in the PSP is very primitive and pretty unusable, so it’s usually done using software..


    1) PSP fillrate is really good, however..
    2) It does not support multitexturing/shaders
    3) 3DS likely does, which explains the nice lighting in the screenshots (probably per pixel lighting/normalmapping/etc).
    4) PSP video RAM isn’t very useful to store information, even the DS has dedicated video ram..


    Pretty much, these numbers don’t really matter. It’s the same as the PS2 vs the Gamecube, PS2 had much better fill/triangle rate, but the Gamecube had 16x multitexturing, 2XAA, texture compression, more video ram, support for indices, etc so it destroyed the PS2 visually.

    So in the end, PSP has high vertex/pixel throughput, but the graphics processor capabilities are even very sightly better than a Nintendo DS…

  • PoisonFacecamo says:

    I’m sick and tired of people using the MGS TRAILER! as an example.. it was a pre-rendered, it wasn’t running real time, and when they show an actual gameplay video you’ll see that its not that pretty…

    • Zankanken says:

      I’m not really sure what you’re citing. There hasn’t been a trailer for MGS on 3DS, only screenshots and a couple vids captured from cheap cams. Somewhat hard to judge from, but the game looked nice in those. It wasn’t pre-rendered either, because they had full camera control. Last I checked, Kojima does not use pre-rendered graphics.

  • Azure Xuchilbara says:

    I wonder if they’ll re-release Tales of Symphonia or any of the GameCube/N64 classics…

    I’d love to play Pilot Wings 64 again…Spent plenty o’ time watching those pilots die from such a bloody height…

  • Firetribe says:

    The 3DS screen shot looks like it was ripped from a cut scene, while the PSP one looks like actual gameplay.

    Having said that, I’m not going to judge until I actually hold the damn thing, but next I would like to have a comparison of battery life.

    • look at the background of the 3ds

      the jaggies, the bad background textures, and look at snake pollys are easily visible.

      and the tree, holy shit.

      sure this may be a cutsceen, but this is an in engine cutsceen, and i would say defiantly not video. consider the 2gb of the game for now, the fact that its not 1 video but 2 the would have to have, how long the cutsceens in those games typically are, its hard to fit them on a 8gb dvd much less a 2gb hand held.

  • I have to say, I personally am relieved that it is possible that it is slightly more powerful than the PSP, because Nintendo has been pretty stingy in that department for the entire history of their handhelds and now again on the console side with the Wii. I am sooo excited for this machine, but I want it to be clear that it really is a serious successor to the DS. I had this annoying feeling that when they said it has “improved graphics” at E3 that it’d turn out to still be clearly inferior to the PSP, thus sticking to their simple graphics and simple controls policy on handhelds that they’ve maintained for so many years. Sure it’s a waste that it’s not a clear step past the PSP’s processing power, but this is Nintendo, so I’m feeling lucky. I am so excited!

    • RunnerRed says:

      nintendo akso has a loooong record in the use of cheap screens, not to mention the reamining hardware… i’m not eager to see that machine, but i admit a litte curious.

      Adding the touchscreen – which will probably used only as decorated touchpad – to “effective” (ie not-seen-as) resolution is a tad laughable… isn’t it like adding cow with chicken and express the sum in ..say…bra cup ?

      • thats true.

        look at the p4 3ghz and the atom 1.8

        the atom i believe is = if not better than the p4 with hyperthreading.

        plus, we have seen the peak of psp graphics. we have only seen the first gen of 3ds graphics

  • PrinceHeir says:

    wow big boss looks awesome on the 3DS 🙂 still i don’t get it why kojima did not made the peace walker for the wii in the first place? it’s been a long time since nintendo had a metal gear game(twin snakes the last)seriously that would have been the best wii game right after no more heroes 2.

    imagine this co-op split screen,the comic art on a widescreen, codec conversations through the wii mote(my favorite part) classic controller support the only reason i said this would have been on the wii(instead of ps3) since it’s the cheaper console out there and it would have been better than the psp though the psp is also fine ^^

    • exactly. psp has great processing power and graphics, but that came with a higher cost and battery life.

      Also, the umd holds around 1.8GB of storage, while the nintendo 3ds has 2GB, which will no doubt expand as time moves on. this means that higher resolution textures can be stored so the games should and could have better looking textures than the psp.

  • “as crudely demonstrated by 2ch below)”

    No shit eh? Who’s the dimwit that thought comparing different games was a good idea?

    Yeah the 3DS has more horsepower it would be a poor move by Nintendo if it didn’t.

  • shoranhimura says:

    the problem with looking at the specs is that it is hugely dependent on the developers…

    kid icarus and msg were shown and the difference in graphics at least is HUGE…

    now all that remains is to wait and see the real thing…

    • Anonymous says:

      No…the gamecube clocked in at ~700 Mhz.

      This barely clocks in at 400 mhz. Which certainly beats out the psp’s 300-333 mhz.

      Sure, Nintendo carts won’t have load times. They also won’t have the space to use texture rich cg.

      Not that this is a problem on a system that can’t perform HD. I’ll probably be buying one. BUT… it better have more than 3 hours of play time.

      I will be looking forward to sony’s new psp. I hope it will have a 1+ Ghz processor that allows decent ps2 emulation. And at LEAST 480P resolution.

    • gamecube is more powerful then PSP it’s more a small dreamcast fucked a virtual boy. And i mean that in the best way i’m buying it. I love my PSP but I’m gonna love this as well. Why they never put DOA on PSP and put it on 3DS I’ll never know.

      • Anonymous says:

        It helps to know that the fill rate is far more important than the polycount for modern games. The trick is that most of the things we expect from a modern game aren’t accomplished through sheer polycount, but are achieved with special effects – pixel shaders, texture effects, distortions, and so on.

        For a good example, check out Mirrors Edge. The models for the environment aren’t spectacularly high on polycount in the first place, and are identical between the PS3 and the PC version. Yet, despite this the PC version looks noticeably better than the PS3 version. simply due to improved textures.

        you can see this with old games that still have community support as well – there are numerous texture updates for the original Quake and Deus Ex that make the games look almost modern, despite doing nothing to the models themselves.

        A 250% jump in fill rates is a pretty serious upgrade on its own merit – it could be dangerous for Sony to underestimate this one.

      • I don’t get it though, what are people expecting, HD gaming in a portable?

        Sincerely, holding a PS2 in my hands is more than enough, if you think the reason I already like DS better than PSP is hardware…

        It’s all about graphics, not about the games and the controls, right?


        • Phantasmic Fantasy says:

          @obro you’re lucky microsoft doesn’t make portable handhelds 🙂

          @anon 23:45 well it is higher-end graphics portable handheld. Chances are it IS going to be expensive when it’s released. No doubt 😐

          Otherwise, I think the market will def pick up the 3Ds but I’d have to see the games first. See if devs will really put the effort in to make video games that will attract and have a lot of appeal to it. Showcase at E3 however did show that there are going to be good titles coming out for the 3DS port like Star Fox 64, Zelda Ocarina Of Time, and Mario Cart, so it does look promising. But as always, better graphics means nothing without all the other traits that make a good game.

        • for 300$ with the ability to backwords compatibility with the ds line of games

          for the 3d movie option, i love 3d movies but cant see me dropping 2000+ on a good tv for it yet

          and for all the announced titles alone, it is so fucking worth it for me.

          now the thing has 3 cameras on it so i doubt those will get upgraded to anything decent,

          the 3d screen is i believe, a technique that uses 2 lcds and a filter layer, so there wont be a major 2x the size upgrade for years, as i could give a flying fuck about a slimmer version.

          basically to me, the moment that starfox or zelda come out is when ill drop the money on it.

        • Ghost Dog says:

          I doubt any core gamers will buy the 3DS without plenty of extra money. Anyone with a 360 or PS3 will have plenty of great games to look forward to, and they can get several of them for the price of a 3DS.

          Also, I’m surprised the 3DS is getting a remake of MGS Snake Eater. They should’ve started with MGS1. Well, I have 1-4 either way.

        • its not all about the graphics but here is my take on them.

          better graphics open more game options.

          look at the ds and tell me that a large open world area is a likely setting for the games?

          and also, hd gaming is very possible on hand held, its just to costly at this time to release a 4-500$ hand held.

          and personally, when jaggis aren’t to noticeable in gameplay without aa, is when graphics are good enough for me.