As time goes on, homebrew developers keep on removing limits holding the PlayStation Vita back with Graphene being at the forefront of such efforts with LowMemMode & Affinity Changer. Now, Graphene is back with a potentially game changing plugin called CoreUnlocker80000H which enables the Vita’s 4th CPU core to be used in games!
What is CoreUnlocker80000H?
The Vita’s SoC contains 4 cores but only 3 can be used for games but Graphene is on the path of changing that once and for all! (Image Source)
Like all modern-day consoles, the PlayStation Vita’s SoC contains multiple CPU cores but not all of these cores can be used by games and homebrew. Out of the console’s 4 cores, one core (CPU3) is dedicated exclusively to handling system processes in a similar fashion to the Nintendo 3DS & Switch which effectively slashes the Vita’s processing power by 25%. However, it was noted that this core generally hovers around 10-15% utilisation while playing games which prompted Team CBPS member Graphene to come up with a solution to allow its usage in commercial games and homebrew!
As a result, a kernel plugin called CoreUnlocker80000H was released with the ‘80000H’ part referring to the CPU affinity mask required for a thread to use the Vita’s 4th core. This plugin’s main purpose is that of removing a check barring non-system applications from using the aforementioned system-reserved core BUT it doesn’t magically make software use it. As a result, by installing the plugin on its own, no difference in performance will be witnessed as existing games/homebrew aren’t aware of the ability to use the ‘unlocked’ core but something else is in the works to remedy that.
What’s next? When will games use the 4th core?
With Graphene’s upcoming config app and plugin, Borderlands 2 may finally provide a good experience at native resolution with overclocking!
In its current form, CoreUnlocker80000H doesn’t improve performance in currently available Vita software although it gives homebrew developers the ability to implement 4th core usage in their projects which would benefit applications making use of multi-threading. However,this won’t be the case for long as Graphene is already working on a second plugin and configuration application that will presumably allow commercial games to use CPU3 without much intervention from the user’s side.
With games being able to use 4 cores instead of 3, titles like Borderlands 2 which are notorious for performance issues may become more enjoyable and games such as God of War (II) which reduce the rendering resolution in a bid to provide a smoother FPS might be able to render at 960×544 with the good performance. Furthermore, this may also lay the path for the creation of more HD mods as increasing a game’s resolution to 1280×720 generally requires more processing power which would surely please Vita TV users. Lastly, this may also be useful in homebrew and emulators but these need to make use of a multi-threading to get some form of benefit from the 4th core.
While its impact on battery life and thermals is not known, it is probably safe to say that both will suffer especially if you’re already overclocking your system to 444/494MHz so care must be taken if you’re using it on a Vita console as opposed to a PSTV as high temperatures could degrade battery capacity. For now, no ETA has been given for the second plugin and configuration application but Graphene promises that they will be released ‘soon’.
Team CBPS Forum Thread (installation instructions + more info): https://forum.devchroma.nl/index.php/topic,203.0.html
GitHub Release Page (download page): https://github.com/GrapheneCt/CoreUnlocker80000H/releases