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    PlayStation 2 emulator gets improvements for GPU Mali

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    Carlos Laforet Coll
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    AetherSX2the best PlayStation 2 emulator for Android It just got even better. The app developer has prepared an update number 1.2 that improves the performance of the emulator on mobile phones with a processor Exynos and MediaTek that have Mali GPU.

    The update is excellent news for owners of Samsung mid-range phones, Infinix and many others.

    The new version of the emulator is not yet available on Google Play. To download it, you need to access the emulator's official website and directly download the APK.

    Version 1.2-2632 brings great improvements to smartphones that use Exynos processors, which are very popular in Spain thanks to Samsung's presence in our country.

    This is excellent news for anyone who had a mid-range and premium Samsung smartphone, bought in Spain, and was having problems with the AetherSX2.

    Here's what's changed in the new AetherSX2 update:

    Added fractional scaling options.

    Previously, upscaling was limited to integer scales only (eg 1x, 2x, 3x, and so on). You can now set upscale multipliers in 0,25x increments, so 1,25x, 1,5x, 1,75x and so on are available!

    Please keep in mind that this can introduce graphical glitches in games, which are not present at full scales. So we recommend using full scales whenever possible, but for games/devices where, for example, 3x is too intense but there's still enough room, going to 2,5x can be a good compromise.

    If you manually edit the game settings ini file, you can choose any upscale multiplier, not just 0,25x increments. But do it at your own risk, it might break horribly 🙂

    Eliminate redundant copies in the texture cache.

    This change primarily improves performance when upscaling, and on mobile we go even further by using framebuffer/depth fetch where it is supported.

    Overall, we have a small performance boost on top of last month's upscaling tweaks.

    Fix framebuffer too small in some games (eg Test Drive).

    Also related to GS, instead of framebuffers always having a fixed size, we now use heuristics to track the target size based on how the game is drawn. This fixed some long standing issues like Test Drive only rendering half of the screen, but also fixed the regression where some PAL games had a similar issue with last month's changes.

    Move the threaded presentation to the graphics options.

    When investigating performance on the Pixel 6, we found that in some games, such as the ones listed below, performance was significantly underwhelming, despite none of the features being at full utilization. It turns out that the driver is blocking somewhere in the upload process, significantly reducing frame rates compared to what should be possible.

    While we still haven't defined exactly where these crashes are happening (it could be in userspace or in the kernel), enabling threaded presentation can even double frame rates in some games by not blocking the GS thread when sending commands to the GPU.

    Keep in mind that this option can result in a worse frame rate, but between slightly worse frame rate and not maintaining full speed, obviously the former is the better option. There is no need to enable this option on Adreno GPUs. We haven't seen any evidence to suggest it's faster here. It also won't make a difference if you're bottlenecked by EE or VU, as is often the case on weaker devices.

    Add per-game controller configuration.

    Input profiles were the previous method for configuring per-game configuration, which allowed for some level of customization, but was still sub-optimal when it came to user experience and simplicity. We've now added controller configuration (including touchscreen) to per-game configuration, and it can be easily toggled on/off with in-game settings.

    This also fixes multitap not persisting correctly per game. We will keep the input profile option for the foreseeable future, but you can easily convert to per-game setting by turning on the per-game toggle and selecting “Load Profile” to copy the settings. Per-game configuration will take precedence over profiles.

    Add tap to hold option for touchscreen buttons.

    Sometimes playing games intended for manual control on a touchscreen can be quite awkward. Especially holding the trigger buttons. In this update, we've added a "tap to hold" mode for on-screen buttons. Accessible through the touchscreen tab of controller settings during gameplay, you can choose which buttons will operate in tap-to-hold mode. When you press the button and release your finger, the button will remain pressed until you tap again.

    Add the ability to link multiple sources to a single controller binding point.

    While the controller binding system supports binding multiple sources (e.g. volume knob and an external controller) to the same trigger/bind point (e.g. square button), the UI does not provide any mechanism for the user actually create this binding. You can now link any number of sources to a controller binding point. By default, tapping the link will only change/update the single font, but long press you can add a second font.

    This can also be useful if you have multiple external controllers and don't want to switch settings/profiles every time you switch to a different controller.

    Add a warning when unsafe settings are being used.

    One of the most common complaints we see is “why is X broken in game Y, how can I fix it? what settings?”. Most of the time it is caused by using insecure settings and despite the warning if you select the fast profile no one seems to read it and/or manually set the underclock options. If you know what you're doing and you're prepared for things to break to get better performance from your device, that's fine, but it seems like a good percentage of users think that just because there's an option, it's safe.

    Therefore, we have added a warning message that will be displayed on startup if any of the unsafe settings that often break the game are used. This includes changing the cycle rate from 0/0, setting upscaling below 1x, using asynchronous mix audio, any of the clip/round options, etc.

    We recognize that this can be irritating for some users, who are prepared to risk games crashing for better performance. So, you can disable the messages on the System tab under Settings, “Warn about unsafe settings”. But don't complain when things break 🙂

    Add new save state menu.

    The save/load state menus were perfectly functional before, albeit a little ugly. We've replaced them with a full-screen dialog where screenshots are actually visible.

    Switch to material components theme.

    We changed the AppCompat theme to the Material theme, which made some minor changes to the app's appearance. The dark theme in particular, in our opinion, looks much better now.

    Also, the blue matches the logo 🙂

    Fix disabling bilinear upscaling in advanced options.

    Very simple change here, option was using wrong config key resulting in change having no effect.

    Fix activity restart when dark mode is changed.

    This was happening on some devices when the light/dark mode was changed, which may trigger automatically based on the time of day. Unfortunately, since the system state is much larger than what we can save in the normal Android workflow, this means that the emulated system has effectively rebooted. Theme changes should now persist across the activity, although if you had the pause menu open you may need to reopen it after the theme change for it to take effect.

    Add OSD scaling option in advanced options.

    You can now increase the screen display size (FPS/performance counters as well as pop-up messages). This can be useful on devices where default resolution-based scaling is insufficient.

    Add audio latency option.

    For devices that are strong enough to have lower audio latency, you can now reduce the destination buffer size in the Audio tab in the settings. This can be beneficial for rhythm games.


    The big news for users with Samsung mobile (GPU Mali)

    While the AetherSX2 improvements are good for all smartphones, they are even better for those who own a Samsung smartphone with an Exynos processor and Mali GPU.

    The option that greatly improves performance is the “Threaded Presentation”. By leaving this option active, there is a gain of up to 50%.

    Users who have other processors with GPU Mali also benefited from the latest update.

    For example, those who own a smartphone with a MediaTek Helio processor can also celebrate.


    Read also:

    AetherSX2: Update “Doubles” PS2 Emulator Speed ​​for Android

    AetherSX2: Here's How to Configure the PS2 Emulator for Android

    AetherSX2: Complete Tutorial – the definitive guide on how to set up

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