Switch News: Linux4Tegra Ubuntu with Audio, Vulkan and Docking support released, Reicast (Dreamcast emulator) gets aarch64 dynarec support which will improve performance on the Switch and Nintendo Brings Boost Mode (OC to 1.75GHz) in FW 8.0.0 for faster loading times!
For the past few days, the spotlight has been on the PlayStation 3 thanks to the release of PS3HEN, a hack that allows you to use homebrew (and some CFW features) on SuperSlim/Late Slim PS3 consoles. However, very interesting stuff was also going on in the Switch scene with the release of L4T Ubuntu, news of Reicast being ported over and Nintendo’s new Boost Mode on FW 8.0.0!
L4T Ubuntu Released for the Switch – The definitive Linux distro you should install on Nintendo’s Current Console!
It’s no secret that Linux for the Nintendo Switch has been around for a while but other than Lakka, an emulation-focused Linux distro that’s mostly intended for use with RetroArch, no fully-fledged stable distributions were available to install.
Now, that’s changed as GBATemp user bylaws, who was involved in porting Android to the console, has released L4T Ubuntu which is based on Ubuntu 18.04 and has pretty good hardware support. Among the features that L4T Ubuntu has, we find:
- Support for docking, Bluetooth, Audio, the touchscreen, WiFi, joycons and hardware video acceleration
- Built-in Nvidia GPU drivers with Vulkan and OpenGL support so you can use demanding emulators like Dolphin and play 3D Linux games (although they have to be compiled for arm64)
- CPU Frequency Scaling which adjusts CPU speed from 200MHz-1.7GHz depending on the load thus allowing for better battery life and less heat output
- Proper battery percentage reporting and no battery bug that was present on earlier iterations of Linux for the Switch (this was fixed a while ago)
- All the features that Ubuntu 18.04 offers including the touch-friendly Unity shell and the easy-to-use apt system in order to install packages
As a result, it could be said that L4T Ubuntu is probably the best option if you want to run a multi-purpose Linux distribution on your Switch and it also has the potential to turn your Switch into a little laptop albeit the 1280×720 screen won’t be very fun to use.
To grab L4T Ubuntu, check out this link and make sure you download version 1.1.
Reicast gets aarch64 dynamic recompiler and Nintendo adds Boost Mode to FW 8.0.0
It’s not secret that Reicast could run on the Nintendo Switch (through Linux) and if you browse on YouTube, you can find a video of the Switch emulating ‘Sonic Adventure 2’, a Dreamcast game, with a pretty low framerate. However, things may change because Reicast apparently just got an ARM64 (aarch64) dynamic recompiler (dynarec) which could greatly improve its performance on the Switch similar to what happened with Nintendo 64 emulation.
As of right now, there’s no Switch build for either Horizon OS or Linux to download but the Reicast team have replied to natinusala’s tweet (above) about the dynarec with an image showing Reicast running on the Switch so more developments may emerge in the near future!
In other news, Nintendo has secretly added a feature called Boost Mode to official Switch firmware with update 8.0.0 which ‘overclocks’ the Switch’s CPU to 1.75GHz (up from the usual 1.02GHz) for a short amount of time in order to improve loading times. This shows that ‘overclocking’ the Switch for short periods of time is safe since Nintendo’s now allowing use of a higher clock frequency in official software similar to what Sony did with the PSP with the FW 3.50 update which allowed its CPU to be ‘overclocked’ to 333MHz (its base frequency) for better performance in games as opposed to faster loading times.
As more time goes by, hacking one’s Switch becomes more appealing but do note that there’s a near certain chance that your console and the Nintendo account logged on it will eventually get banned if you decide to install hacks on your device.
It’s imperative to think twice before hacking it and perhaps, you should even buy another Switch if you want the best of both worlds (homebrew/hacks and online play)! While forking out money for a new Switch may not sound like a good solution, Nintendo might be coming with a cheaper version of the Switch dubbed the Switch Mini so perhaps in a few months, you’ll be able to play online again without the risk of being banned and without spending too much 😉