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PSP emulator slow on your phone? New update brings big gains

Fancy playing your old PSP games but don’t want to lug the actual console around? Fortunately, the PPSSPP emulator has been around for a while on Android, being one of the more popular emulators on the platform.

PPSSPP doesn’t have stringent requirements, as even mid-range smartphones are capable of delivering playable performance in many games.

Nevertheless, the team has announced a major update to the emulator this week (as spotted by r/games), bringing support for the Vulkan graphics API.

For the uninitiated, the Vulkan API aims to squeeze more performance out of graphics hardware than other APIs, like OpenGL. In other words, applications supporting Vulkan should run much faster — the graphics hardware needs to support Vulkan, however.

“(PPSSPP) 1.5 has support for Vulkan, the new faster way to draw graphics. Supported on many modern Android devices, and if enabled (change ‘Backend’ in ‘Graphics’ settings) you will see a massive speed boost,” the emulator’s team writes.

Vulkan has also been implemented in the Dolphin emulator for GameCube and Wii

So on paper, this means that smartphones which previously struggled to run PSP titles should see a notable speed boost — if they support Vulkan.

As for specific phones that benefit from the update? A redditor in the thread noted that playing Wipeout Pulse on their Redmi Note 4X (with a Snapdragon 625) felt twice as fast. Meanwhile, a user on the PPSSPP forums claimed “wicked performance gains” when using the emulator on their Galaxy S6.

Preliminary testing also found performance gains when using the Google Pixel, Nexus 5X and Galaxy S8 (Exynos).

Of course, you’ll want to own the games you’re emulating, for legal reasons and all that. It’s also worth mentioning that Vulkan support is available in the Windows version.

Featured image: PPSSPP website

Author Bio

Hadlee Simons
Terrible puns make Hadlee Simons difficult to work with, but he brings over seven years of tech journalism experience to the table. When he's not at work or watching motorsport, he's in the foetal position on a jiu jitsu mat. More