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Sony clocks up PSP processor by 25%

Hidden firmware update feature

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Sony has pulled off a covert PSP firmware release that secretly removes a processor speed limit from the hardware, boosting the handheld games console's clock speed from 266MHz to 333MHz, an increase of over 25 per cent.

Firmware version 3.50 was initially released at the end of May, but only now has the update's impact on the processor speed emerged. Sony's original release notes blurb says nothing about it.

Instead, the official PSP website says PSP Firmware 3.50 will now allow users to connect their PSPs to a PS3 and browse through an RSS channel guide.

However, incessant online rumours about the firmware update removing the processor speed limit finally led Sony Computer Entertainment America (SCEA) to confirm this week that the cap can be removed with the upgrade, GamesIndustry.biz reports.

SCEA doesn't appear to have confirmed much else about the PSP's clocking speed. But reports suggest that the 25 per cent processing boost will only apply to PSP games currently in production, enabling them to take advantage of a higher frame rate. This may affect battery life though.

SCEA hasn't confirmed what prompted it to allow users to remove the processor's clock cap. But many PSP fans are speculating the move could be based on a potential redesign of the PSP, which may include a brighter screen, slimmer profile and - crucially - a longer battery life.

PSPs are still selling strongly in the US. Sales figures from market watcher NPD showed that Sony's US PSP sales jumped 20.7 per cent during May to 221,000 units, compared to April.

To download the Sony PSP firmware 3.50 upgrade, please click here.

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