PSP processor gets a boost

Written by Brett Thomas

June 26, 2007 | 10:14

Tags: #firmware #portable #ps3 #psp

Companies: #sony

We know quite a few of you (most notably our former Chief Editor, Wil Harris) love your PSPs. And who can blame you? It really is a great little system. But since the PS3's debut, people have been looking to hook them both up - and Sony's version 3.5 firmware (released at the very end of May in North America) finally let that happen. But what they didn't tell us is that it does something else cool, too.

The new PSP firmware slaps some "go faster" stripes on the little handheld, bumping its processor up 50 percent from a wimpy 222MHz to 333MHz. That's right - no new hardware required. The PSP actually has always run on a bit of an underclocked processor, presumably to aid in battery life until some extra horsepower was needed.

Now, game developers will be able to flag their software for faster speeds if necessary. The bump won't be noticeable in older games, as they have all been programmed on and will run at 222MHz. Instead, developers will be required to tell the device whether to step up its speeds - the firmware just unlocks the potential. This way, older games don't act buggy or accelerated without intent.

Sony's latest speed bump won't be used by many in the commercial sector just yet, though the new Ratchet and Clank has brought speeds up to 266MHz. However, home brew source code has long since fiddled with the device's clock speed through modified firmware, often accelerating it at the expense of battery life. It seems that finally, proper developers will get the chance as well.

Initially, Sony hid the increase under mounds of paperwork detailing the firmware upgrade, not much interested in making it a public note. However, SCEA has now finally confirmed that the bump up did happen, after being none too pleased (from what we understand) with the initial leak. Unfortunately, a worldwide update has not been offered yet - the firmware upgrade is still North America only for the time being.

Other sources are mentioning that an entire redesign of the device is in the works, hopefully allowing it to better compete with the Nintendo DS, which is currently world's number one selling handheld.

Do you have a thought on the PSP's new "go faster" stripes? If so, race on into our forums and tell us about it.
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