Which CPU corresponds to PS2? Let’s find out
Updated: March 2, 2023 2:37 p.m
The PlayStation 2, released in 2000, was one of the most successful video game consoles of all time, with around 150 million units sold worldwide. Today we find out which CPU corresponds to the PS2’s custom processor.
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Whether you’re a fan of classic console gaming or just curious about the technology behind it, read on to find out more about the PS2 processor and its legacy.
What CPU does the PS2 use?
The PS2 uses a custom CPU called the Emotion Engine, a RISC processor consisting of the “MIPS R5900” core, which is capable of boosting up to a clock frequency of 299MHz.
As you probably already know, a clock speed of 299MHz is extremely low. Such a low clock frequency is almost unheard of when it comes to mainstream processors.
The PS2 was released back in 2000, but even back then we had desktop processors delivering clock speeds of up to 2 GHz.
What is the CPU equivalent of the PS2?
Let me preface this by saying that there is no exact equivalent to the PS2’s Emotion Engine due to its unique architecture. However, the “Intel® Celeron® Processor 400 MHz, 128K Cache, 66 MHz FSB” (Yes, that’s its full name) released in 1999 has very comparable specifications, with a locked clock speed of 400MHz and a 32-bit instruction set.
All mainstream processors today operate on 64-bit instruction sets and have much higher clock speeds. Even the weakest Celeron processors today—those that strip away virtually all performance in favor of lower power consumption—have clock speeds above 1GHz.
What processor do I need to emulate PS2 games?
Realistically, you probably aren’t looking for a processor equivalent to the PS2’s. If you’re interested in playing PS2 games today, you’re looking for a processor that can emulate those games and offer you the same experience on PC.
PCSX2 is a popular open source emulator that allows you to play PS2 games on Windows, Linux and Mac. Although PS2 games themselves are not very resource intensive, emulating them is, so not all modern systems will offer you a comfortable gaming experience.
PCSX2 recommends that you use a CPU with at least 4 cores and a PassMark single-thread rating of 2100 and above.
For emulating PS2 games on PC, the Intel Core i3-12100 is the lowest you should go if you’re getting a new processor. This is a 4-core, 8-thread CPU (Hyperthreading enabled) with a passmark single-thread rating of about 3500 points, which means that the specs well exceed the requirements listed by the emulator.
To summarize, the PlayStation 2 has a custom CPU called the Emotion Engine. Although there is no exact equivalent to the Emotion Engine, the 1999 Intel Celeron 400 MHz processor has comparable specifications.
For those interested in playing PS2 games on PC through emulation, the Intel Core i3-12100 is a great option. Emulating PS2 games is quite resource-intensive because the differences in hardware-based architecture must be accounted for computationally.
So using a processor somewhat weaker than 12100 can affect your performance in more demanding titles (not that the PS2 titles are very demanding overall).