Gamecube

Nintendo Gamecube

5th Generation Competitors
Dreamcast Playstation 2 XBox
Region Release Date Discontinued Lifetime Sales
Japan 14th Sep 2001 2007  4.04M
North America 18th Nov 2001 2007  21.74M
Europe 3rd May 2002 2007  4.77M

Nintendo followed the 64 with their first optical disc based console.  The Gamecube used mini DVD discs, they held less than a full sized DVD but were also (slightly) harder to reproduce.

Obviously using the smaller discs also meant that the Gamecube had no chance of playing DVD movies – although Panasonic did release a licensed version called the Q that could.  The Q was the result of a similar deal to the Sharp deal that Nintendo struck with the Famicom.  Panasonic’s parent company, Matsushita, created the miniDVD drives and Panasonic were allowed to release the Q.

The graphics chip for the Gamecube was created by a startup called ArtX.  ArtX was started by ex SGI employees, who had previously created the Graphics processor for the Nintendo 64.  Although ArtX were purchased by ATI before it was finally delivered.

The CPU was created by IBM and based on the PowerPC technology mostly used by Apple’s PowerMac computers.

The Gamecube did not sell great compared to it’s main rivals, but it did outsell the XBox in it’s home territory of Japan.  It did manage to outsell the early cancelled Dreamcast.

Specs

Processor IBM PowerPC Gekko @ 486MHz
RAM 43MB
ROM 8MB
Custom Chips ATI Flipper @ 162MHz
Video 24 bit RGB 16.8M Colours
Audio 16 bit DSP Dolby ProLogic II
Removable storage

Gamecube
Panasonic Q
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