Switch Emulator Ryujinx achieves huge performance gains with its March 2023 update

Switch Emulator Ryujinx achieve huge performance gains with its March 2023 update

Ryujinx’s latest emulator update delivers a huge performance boost when playing Switch games using the Vulkan graphical API

If you want to emulate Nintendo’s Switch console on PC, you have two main emulator options, YUZU and Ryujinx, both of which boast a large level of compatibility with the Switch’s game library.

Over the past month, there have been major changes to Ryujinx handles memory buffers when using the Vulkan API. This was found to be an area where the emulator’s OpenGL codepath performed “vastly” better than its newer Vulkan codepath. By working on this area, the Ryujinx emulator now offers much stronger performance levels when using the Vulkan API, delivering staggering performance gain in some titles. If you want to know exactly what the Ryujinx team did to enhance their emulator’s Vulkan API performance, you can read their blogpost on the topic here. 

Simplifying things, Ryujinx now uses a ruleset that defines if data should be stored on CPU/system memory or a GPU’s VRAM and when data should be moved from one to the other. In the graph below we can see performance gains of  66.7% in Hyrule Warriors: Age of Calamity, and an almost 2.5x performance boost in Catherine: Full Body. On Subnautica’s title screen, Ryujinx’s latest emulator changes deliver an insane 2000% performance boost, though this is an isolated case where Ryujinx’s improvements have a larger than normal performance impact.

Below is what the Ryujinx team had to say about their latest emulator changes.

    The solution proposed is very much a balancing act. We can’t just store everything in VRAM as we’d lose all the aforementioned advantages such as quick access, but we clearly can’t store everything in shared memory either. A set of rules were therefore established to migrate buffers between different memory types in order to improve GPU performance and eliminate a bulk of cases where OpenGL still performed slightly better.

While the majority of these cases affect the fabled AMD CPU/Nvidia GPU combo mentioned, all vendors experienced the issue to some degree and all should see improvement. The numbers below were taken with a variety of AMD/Nvidia hardware combos, not just a 5600X/RTX3070, so your numbers may not match exactly; the percentage improvement is the star of the show here.

Switch Emulator Ryujinx achieve huge performance gains with its March 2023 updateAlongside performance related changes to Ryujinx’s Vulkan codepath, Ryujinx has also received a number of bug fixes that allow the emulator to play more Switch games with fewer graphical glitches. So with Ryujinx’s March update, users can expect previously slow games to run much better using Vulkan, and for some games to run with more graphical stability using the emulator. 

Switch emulation is improving at a rapid pace, and Ryujinx is currently one of the best Switch emulators available. The project is currently Open-Source on GitHub and gamers can support the emulator’s development on Patreon.

You can join the discussion on Ryujinx’s Vulkan performance enhancements on the OC3D Forums.