Nintendo 3DS: Teardown
The Nintendo 3DS doesn't have the fastest processor among mobile gaming devices. Nor does it have the highest resolution screen, most storage capacity, or longest battery life. But what it lacks in hardware muscle, it makes up for with an innovative glasses-free 3D gaming experience.
Follow along as I crack open the Nintendo 3DS.
Photo by: Bill Detwiler / TechRepublic
Caption by: Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler has nothing to disclose. He doesn't hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. He was most recently Managing Editor for TechRepublic Pro. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop support specialist in the social research and energy industries. He has bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Louisville, where he has also lectured on computer crime and crime prevention.
I've fixed dozens of the DS Lite and DSi models. The good news is that there are some common failure issues that Nintendo seems to be making improvements on. For example, the shoulder buttons on the DSi and 3DS are no longer soldered to the main board, they are on a separate ribbon cable. This makes it easier to replace shoulder buttons without risk to the main board. Also, there appear to be some changes to the connectors for the upper and lower displays. These ribbon cables tend to get partly unplugged, causing the unit not to boot, or making the video go haywire. By the way, the only tricky part in taking these things apart is that each little wire, such as the wifi antenna or the microphone wire, has to go back Exactly where it was originally, and you have to make sure the ribbon connectors are FULLY seated in their connectors. Also, there are some wires, like the battery connection, that you will tear off the motherboard, if you're not careful.
Having gotten a chance to play my brothers 3DS I am in love with it. The 3D works so well and effortlessly it solves my biggest gripe with "3D" in general, the glasses. If you haven't played one yet give it a try. The magic eye effect is easy and automatic. The breakdown was helpful, thanks Bill.
What knowledge does a person gain by this 'tear down' thing? It's too much of a stupidity to publish such stuff. - Mike
R is for Right. The L button, on the left side, stands for Left. The DS games have different uses for the R and L buttons (for instance, to rotate the point of view shown).
It's only March, but that doesn't mean you can't start preparing your geek gift list. Will the Nintendo 3DS be on yours?
What's under the hood? One way to find out! Bill saves us the time, effort, and expense of trying this at home and possibly not getting it put back together again. He has a lot more experience at this than most of us, and a comprehensive tool kit. And often some interesting insight into the silicon that makes these things tick. So what knowledge do we get from this example? Well, for one, Nintendo could have saved some expense and trouble if they would integrated more of the parts and pieces directly onto the motherboard. Or perhaps use metal spring contacts instead of so many ribbon cables. Take a look at modern hard drives, for example. The logic board often unscrews from the case, with only a dozen points of contact to communicate with the motor and head mechanism. The only advantage to this modular architecture that I see is easy replacement of faulty components, so maybe warranty service of broken knobs and buttons is the trade-off. I assume they've probably done a proper cost / benefit analysis.
Geeks, nerds, techies, whatever you wanna call them, learn a lot about something by looking at the guts.
great question i am also searching this and now i get the answer thanks jgeorge. online certificate | undergraduates certificates | university highschools Programs
While obviously an iPod cannot do 3D, there are lots more game titles for the iPod, it has a very good web browser, an excellent camera, and very good sound. The 3DS can play Nintendo cartridges, obviously, but Nintendo has effectively locked out any third-party content and even their cartridges are region-locked. Their web browser is terrible and there are very few options for web-based apps, so the 'ebay app' or amazon app are simply not an option. The 320 x 240 screen is great, but it's no Apple Retina display by a long shot. The sound on any of the DS systems is not great, either. The Nintendo product is clearly more rugged, however, but it's battery life is much less. For parents, the problem is that it's too expensive. By the time you get the console with all the accessories and some games at $40 each, you're into the $400+ price range. The original DS Lite sold for around $130, the DSi for around $140, and now suddenly the new model goes for $250? You can get an iPod touch, have access to thousands of games, most of them costing 99 cents each, and there are LOTS of free titles.
Ok Guys, understood. Just tired of seeing so many 'tear down' articles and pics on the net. Yeah, must be important for an other bunch of guys who gains from it.