We've already had word that the Wii U will support Crytek's visually-intensive CryEngine 3, suggesting it's at least matching, if not exceeding the current power of the Xbox 360 and PS3. But Nintendo have remained characteristically quiet over exact specs, so the internet is - naturally - running wild with rumors and speculation.
And the latest chunk of tasty gossip comes straight from savvy tech gurus, Engadget. They claim the diminutive Wii U base unit - which wasn't even noticed, let alone mentioned initially - is packing a Radeon R770. That's a last-generation GPU, apparently; but regardless, it's still potentially more powerful than both the Xbox 360 and PS3's counterpart chips.
The R770 supports DirectX 10, a step up from the 360's DirectX 9, and its multi-core layout allows for four simultaneous SD feeds; perfect for the Wii U's iPad-esque controller. That said, Nintendo won't be throwing fully-specced R770's into the Wii U just yet. It's be a custom chip, with some of the more expensive parts omitted to keep production costs low and retail prices even lower. That controller is packing a lot of tech, so Nintendo can't risk console manufacturing being too expensive, as well.
It sounds like pretty convincing stuff, and Engadget are a reliable bunch. With supposed IBM multi-cores and an ATI card, cross-platform parity with Xbox 360 titles should be a cinch for developers, and with the PS3's tech all but mastered now, I think Nintendo's promise of full third-party support will easily be fulfilled. [Engadget]