Yuzu Switch Emulator Receives Performance Update: RAM Usage Cut in Half With New VMM Code

Emulators, although not very legal at times, are a godsend. Not only do they let you experience the pleasure of different games and consoles which you do not have, but they are truly a good way to enjoy retro titles as well, such as those from NES and SNES. The thing with emulators though is the integration and smooth running. Although the systems we run the emulators are much powerful than the ones those games actually run on, the idea of integration plays a big role in this. RAM and CPU management is key.

Yuzu, the Nintendo Switch emulator for PC users (sorry macOS boys, you’re always late to the party), recently received an update for it. The news was reported a couple of hours ago on WCCFTECH.com, which they reported to have come out a while ago too. Okay, so the main headlining feature of this update is perhaps the new RAM management system. The developers have tweaked their code in such a way that the titles take up almost half the RAM than they used to.

How did they do it?

Okay, so not really diving into a heap load of jargon, the developers rewrote the VMM (virtual memory manager). The VMM is responsible for taking care of how maps render, how to free up space where it is needed. According to the article, the issue was that the previous, simplified VMM wasn’t cutting it. This is because it was based on the one found in Citra. The difference is that Citra is for 3DS titles. 3DS titles were never a very open world. Compared to that, titles like Super Mario Odessy are huge. Not to mention, Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.

Quoting the original article on Patreon.com:

In short, this old implementation would arbitrarily allocate and map host (your PC) memory on the fly, without respecting the guest (Nintendo Switch) memory layout. This could result in run-away host memory allocations that were never actually possible on a real Switch.

In terms of numbers, what does this mean though? Well, titles such as Super Mario Odessy which took up about 7GB worth of RAM are now running around 4GB. Some others have even shown improvement by about 75%. The charts have been linked below.

The “Before and After” RAM usage – Yuzu Team

Currently, users can get the latest version as part of an early bird program. You do have to bid 5$ for that though. As for the official roll-out, we still do not have a particular date for that. The company did add that they have another improvement update coming soon. Perhaps we shall soo more performance gains in that.

PS. You can play Super Smash Bros. on the emulator now. Sweet!

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Sarmad Burki


Sarmad Burki is a Mathematician and a Economist with a passion for all things gaming and tech. His academics and professional experience combined with tech and gaming adds to his skills giving him a unique ability to observe the tech and gaming industry from various prespectives.
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