PSX emulator

PSX emulator

pSX emulator (more commonly referred to as pSX) is a PlayStation emulator for the Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems. Its first public Windows version (1.0) was released on January 29, 2006, and the first official Linux port (1.11) was released on February 24, 2007. pSX is freeware, available for download.

pSX doesn't use plugins to emulate the GPU, SPU and CD drive functions of the PlayStation. Instead, simplicity and ease-of-use are favored over a high level of configurability. Despite the fact that it avoids the use of external files to aid in emulation of the PlayStation, the emulator still requires a user-provided PlayStation BIOS dump to work.


pSX is an attempt to accurately emulate the PlayStation hardware as closely as possible (with an emphasis on greater compatibility). One advantage of focusing only on accuracy and compatibility is that there are fewer worries for the author with regards to implementing or fixing enhancement options. There is also little worry over graphics card compatibility because the graphics are mainly software rendered. The main drawback with pSX's approach to emulation is that it cannot offer sharper image quality than the PlayStation itself.


  • Support for loading games from various CD image formats, or directly from CD drives
  • Emulation of the classic (digital) PlayStation controller, the SCPH-1150 prototype DualShock controller, and the DualShock controller
  • Emulation of the Namco GunCon peripheral by mouse (Windows version only)
  • Localization (mainly by user contribution)
  • On-the-fly PPF patching via command line

Supported CD Image Formats

pSX emulator supports direct loading of ISO, BIN/CUE, Alcohol 120% images (MDF/MDS) and CloneCD images (CCD/CUE/IMG/SUB). Either Alcohol 120% or CloneCD format is required if the game uses subcode data. Regardless of the device they are read from, disc images are automatically cached into RAM as they are read, reducing device acess rates on high memory systems. In addition to these formats, pSX is able to use a compressed format (developed by pSX Author himself) called CDZ. The compression algorithm used in CDZ is based on zlib compression. This format was created in order to save hard drive space while maintaining the ability to perform random data access (which is required for the games, but not supported with the more common data compression formats). Images compressed with CDZ also use up less cache memory. As of pSX 1.12, all supported CD image formats besides ISO can be converted into CDZ. The CDZ converter will include all relevant files in the final CDZ file, so image formats that make use of multiple files (such as CloneCD's CCD/CUE/IMG/SUB images) are stored in the single CDZ file. Users can convert images using the GUI included in the emulator, or use the commandline utility (cdztool.exe), which is located in the utils folder included with the emulator.


Support for localization was added in version 1.10, which included translations of the main user interface in various languages. The translations are mainly provided by users on the official support forums. While the readme is currently English-only, there are plans for it to be translated as well following a pending rewrite. Support for more languages is also a constant goal, with 24 languages (English and 1337 Speak among them) included as of pSX 1.13.

System Requirements

Although the readme that comes with the emulator does not list any specific system requirements, system requirements have been drawn based on user input. Note that the minimum requirements listed here are for getting some (but not necessarily all) games running at full speed.

Minimum System Requirements:

  • CPU: 600 MHz (750 MHz on Windows XP)
  • Memory: 128 MB RAM (192 MB on Windows XP)
  • CD-ROM: 2x read, ASPI-compatible, or any CD-compatible virtual drive

Recommended System Requirements:

  • CPU: 1.3 GHz
  • Memory: 256 MB RAM
  • CD-ROM: 16x read, ASPI-compatible, or any CD-compatible virtual drive

Windows-specific Requirements:

  • OS: Windows 98 or higher
  • Graphics: DirectX9-compatible graphics card (non-integrated recommended)
  • Sound: DirectX-compatible sound card (non-integrated recommended)
  • Other: Latest release of DirectX9, fully-functional ASPI layer recommended

Linux-specific Requirements:

  • Kernel: Linux 2.6.x
  • Graphics: OpenGL and supporting graphics card
  • Sound: ALSA, sound card that supports 20ms period or below highly recommended
  • Other: libgtkglext (a library used to add OpenGL support to GTK+ widgets)


  • An integrated graphics card or sound card may require a faster processor and more RAM to maintain steady speeds.
  • Higher-end, dedicated graphics cards provide only minimal improvements in performance over lower-end, dedicated graphics cards, since pSX uses software rendering (thus relying mostly on the processor to do the emulation work).
  • While the CD-ROM only needs to read at 2x, one with higher capabilities is highly recommended to guarantee being able to read original PlayStation discs.
  • As a rule of thumb, the cheapest solution for faster overall performance is to add system RAM to improve disc image caching. For people with slower CPUs, a faster processor will also provide a strong performance boost.


  • pSX Selector was the first known frontend created specifically for pSX, released on Aug 12, 2006. It was written by Gamesoul Master using the C++ programming language. The primary focus of pSX Selector was to allow the user to select a specific BIOS for pSX to load with. It also allowed the user to set the -r (Event Rescheduling) command line switch. No GUI was implemented, so it ran using a simple DOS style console interface. Development ended with the release of Ultima's pSX Frontend (see below).
  • pSX Frontend is a fully-featured frontend for pSX, released by Ultima one day after pSX Selector. Programmed using AutoIt, it uses a GUI as opposed to pSX Selector's console window interface. The initial release was only a GUI for pSX's command line options, but subsequent releases have added many more features beyond the command line options. The current version is v1.12 WIP2, released on Oct 27, 2007. Notable features include creation of standard shortcuts (bearing only command line options to start pSX with) and extended shortcuts (which link to the frontend and contain all available settings), profiles to store game-specific settings in the frontend, customizable window sizing for windowed mode, an option to hide pSX's log window, and customization of most of the options in pSX's configuration menu.

Future Development

  • PlayStation graphics enhancements, the use of higher render resolutions, filters, and other GPU technologies. This is a possibility, though only after the author is satisfied with the emulator's accuracy.
  • PS2 emulation has been worked on, and pSX emulator can boot a PS2 BIOS (using the -2 switch). Although recent work has been done to improve PS2 emulation, the primary focus is still on improving PS1 emulation. Nevertheless, pSX Author has made some progress with PS2 emulation, improving the emulator enough for it to be able to run at least one PS2 game.
  • A port for Mac OS will be done sometime in the future. There is no public information on when it will be done, but it's known that a friend of pSX Author will be the one working on the port.

External links

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