Is A 3DS More Powerful Than A Gamecube?

The 3DS was launched in 2011, nearly 10 years after GameCube. It brought significant advances in graphical technology and featured a stereoscopic 3D display. Gamers wondered if the 3DS was more powerful than an old Nintendo console because its games looked so good in comparison.

Is a 3DS more powerful than a GameCube? Its processor is certainly more capable, but making a direct comparison is impossible due to architectural differences between the two consoles. The 3DS also has more memory and a slightly faster GPU, if we look at theoretical maximum pixel and vertex fill rates.

If you compare how games look on the 3DS vs GameCube, you’ll end up with a mixed bag. Some 3DS games look better than some GameCube games, and in other cases, it’s the opposite. Plus, you have to remember that the GameCube renders at a higher native resolution compared to the 3DS (640×480 vs 400×240).

Is A 3DS More Powerful Than A Gamecube?

If you compare the hardware in these two consoles, it’s apples to oranges. GameCube uses a PowerPC 750CXe single-core processor, while 3DS uses an ARM11 dual-core processor. The ARM11 has a slightly newer architecture, but it also runs a totally different instruction set.

Speed comparisons are also hard to make. Because the GameCube CPU is clocked at 486MHz, while the dual-core ARM11 in the 3DS is clocked at 268MHz. And one of the two cores in the 3DS CPU is dedicated to system tasks, like running the OS and background processes.

So it only has one core that’s dedicated to games. GPU comparisons are also tough to make. The GameCube uses an ATI GPU based on the Rage 5 architecture, while the 3DS GPU is a custom design by Digital Media Professionals.

However, the 3DS GPU does have higher pixel and vertex fill rates. It also has access to twice the VRAM and has a more advanced render pipeline. As a result, the 3DS GPU can pump out some impressive visuals despite being clocked lower than the GameCube GPU.

Overall, the 3DS can be considered just as powerful as the GameCube. Or more, depending on which games you run. Certain games like Luigi’s Mansion have both GameCube and 3DS versions, so you can compare the graphics to get an idea of which looks better.

The 3DS runs ports of GameCube games just fine, but direct emulation is not possible due to hardware limitations. Certain people have managed to get N64 games running on modded versions of the 3DS, using custom firmware. But there are still lots of FPS drops and glitches.

Which Is More Powerful, 3DS Or Wii?

Definitely, the Wii. It is often referred to as a GameCube on steroids because Wii’s processor is an improved version of the IBM PowerPC 750CXe in GameCube. It uses the exact same PowerPC G3 architecture but is built on a 90nm node.

This allows Broadway (the Wii CPU) to clock up to 729MHz, which is 50% more than the Gekko (GameCube CPU). Since the GameCube CPU is considered to be on par or slightly faster than the 3DS CPU, the Wii CPU is definitely faster than the 3DS CPU. Wii also has a much more powerful GPU compared to the 3DS.

But this is offset by the fact that it has to render at a higher resolution (480p vs 240p). So Wii needs more graphical horsepower to look as good as 3DS. For the average gamer, none of this matters since they are happy to get Wii-level graphics in a console that fits into their pocket.

Which 3DS Is The Most Powerful?

The New Nintendo 3DS is the most powerful in its family, with an 804MHz ARM11 processor. This is the same CPU as the regular 3DS but clocked much faster at 804MHz. In comparison, the regular 3DS version is clocked at just 268MHz.

On top of the CPU speed boost, Nintendo gave the New 3DS twice as much RAM as the regular 3DS (256MB vs 128MB). Its GPU memory was also bumped up from 6MB to 10MB. With all this extra muscle under the hood, the New 3DS can play exclusive games that aren’t available on the regular 3DS.

Some of these exclusives include Fire Emblem Warriors, Xenoblade Chronicles, Binding of Isaac: Rebirth, and Pixel Hunter. The New 3DS can also run regular 3DS games in enhanced mode. The enhanced mode can improve loading times, textures, and framerates.

How Much GB Is Good For 3DS?

The 3DS can accept SD cards, and the New 3DS can even take microSD. However, you don’t need a lot of storage space on these Nintendo consoles. That’s because they don’t download games to the SD card.

Instead, the SD slot is used to store things like apps, photos, videos, etc. You can run games off an SD card by jailbreaking your 3DS, but that’s beyond the scope of this article. Plus, it’s kind of illegal.

So even if you have a 2GB SD card, it should be more than enough. But remember that you can’t just pop in the highest capacity SD card you have. The 3DS needs to support that particular SD card.

Officially, capacities up to 32GB are supported (SDHC). Regular 3DS units come with SDHC cards, and New 3DS units come with microSDHC.

How Big Are Most 3DS Games?

Nintendo 3DS cartridges come in capacities ranging from 1 GB to 8 GB. One of the largest 3DS games ever made is Pokémon Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon, at 3.6GB. Dragon Quest VIII is also massive and takes up the same amount of space as Ultra Sun & Ultra Moon.

Can 3DS Run GBA Games?

The regular DS and DS Lite can run GBA games because they have a 33MHz ARM7TDMI coprocessor that can emulate GBA. However, the DSi and all later DS models (including the 3DS) lack this part. So they can only run DS and DSi games, not GBA games.


I hope this article helped you understand the performance differences between a 3DS and GameCube. If we’re talking about the New Nintendo 3DS, it’s definitely faster than a GameCube. But the regular 3DS is more difficult to nail down in terms of how much faster or slower it is.

Simple because of how different its hardware is from that of a GameCube. But for the most part, games on 3DS look as good or even better than GameCube games. And, you can carry a 3DS in your pocket- unlike the GameCube.


As long as I can remember myself I always enjoyed video games. I had amazing moments playing them and that's why I became a game developer, to create amazing experiences for the players. Read More About Me

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