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Nintendo DSi teardown

Our friends at nabbed a brand-new DSi as soon as it went on sale, and as they are wont to do, they immediately field stripped it down to its nuts and ribbon cables. Here are some of the deets they discovered.


* The DSi’s new matte black skin feels rougher than the DS Lite.
The roughness allows for better grip of the system and should be
far more scratch-resistant.

* The overall size and shape are quite similar to the DS Lite.
It’s 3 mm thinner but 4 mm longer and 1 mm wider.

* Battery capacity is substantially less than the DS Lite. The
DSi uses an 840 mAh battery compared to the DS Lite’s 1000 mAh

* The Game Boy Advance port is no more. In its place is a new SD
slot and the ability to download DSiWare through Nintendo’s
online download library.

* The DSi now includes two integrated cameras. Unfortunately,
each one only boasts VGA resolution (0.3 megapixels). This is
certainly a bit underwhelming considering most mainstream phones
have cameras of at least 1.3 megapixels.

* An experienced hand can completely disassemble the DSi in less
than ten minutes using standard tools. This is the first Nintendo
system we’ve taken apart that does not require a tri-wing
screwdriver. This should make repairing and tinkering with the
DSi substantially easier. The DSi is definitely not as complex as
an iPhone!

* Nintendo is using Samsung MoviNAND integrated 256 MB Flash
memory and MMC controller. The custom ARM CPU + GPU is stamped
with the revision code ‘TWL’.

* Our DSi’s components all had manufacture dates around September
2008, indicating that Nintendo has been stockpiling these devices
for quite a while prior to the big North American release.

Nintendo DSi First Look


Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

View more articles by Gareth Branwyn