Nintendo DSi teardown

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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

14 thoughts on “Nintendo DSi teardown

  1. says:

    I know, I know… you will be thinking ‘chill grammar nazi’… but it’s “as they are wont to do”.

    1. Kieran says:

      What was it before?, because to me “as they are wont to do” doesn’t make sense at all. Either the word “wont” should be “won’t” (short for “will not”) or “want” (maybe “wont” is some American bastardisation of the word). Either way it still doesn’t make sense, I can only assume that the correct statement should be “as they are known to do”.

  2. Gareth Branwyn says:

    Grammar/typo alerts are always welcome, especially when they’re not delivered in a mean, sarcastic, condescending way. So, thanks for that.

    (Strange thing is, I’m actually known for being a good editor — of other people’s work. I just have a really hard time seeing mistakes in my own.)

  3. Simon says:

    Not to turn this into a grammar discussion but I was going to comment on “Here are some of the deets they discovered”.


    I always think of Make as a kind of educational site and it is nice it isn’t usually full of slang. Maybe I am just old but I would prefer that it did maintain a certain level of correctness :)

    1. Gareth Branwyn says:

      Well, Simon, as the jargon and slang editor of Wired for 12 years and a long-time member of the American Dialect Society, I can tell you that “correctness” is extraordinarily relative, here the laboratory of language, But we will try and keep the fast and loose coinages and stunt words to a minimum.

      1. Simon says:

        Oh, absolutely. And I understand language is always evolving too. I just found that one particularly jarring for some reason. A bit like if your retired parents are talking to you and they suddenly throw in a slang term to be “hip and cool just like the young people these days”!

        Oh, I am not suggesting you’re retiree age here of course :)

        It reminded me of when the New Zealand Qualifications Authority here suddenly announced they were thinking of allowing txt speak in High School exams here. That didn’t last long.

        1. Gareth Branwyn says:

          And I agree, when slang is used as a posture, to sound cool or hip or is used out of context, it does seem… jarring.

          I’ve actually spoken at conferences on this very subject — companies using slang to ill-effect in their marketing (witness the horrific failure of Microsoft’s “Welcome to the social”). That’s not even slang in usage, but some forced application that rang as phony and false as it was.

          And maybe my use here was a stumble too. But I have been using “deets” a lot recently, as have others in my social circles. I try to be relaxed and conversational in my posts, friendly, as is my nature. So it just sort of came out.

          My friend Erin McKean, from Oxford University Press, who’s like THE lexicography/dictionary lady here in the states — she does workshops on language where she says that, largely her entire role in these gathering, as dictionary lady, is to give people permission to have fun with their language. Because she works for OUP, people expect that she’s there to judge and weigh and decide on linguistic correctness. But she thinks people should be given permission to have fun with language, experiment, enjoy. And so do I.

          (And I’m not suggesting you’re saying the opposite. I appreciate your comments. I’m just sayin…)

          Oh, and I’m not of retirement age, but I’m not THAT far off. But then, I think of myself as anything but old.

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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. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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