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How to connect Nintendo Switch to a laptop?

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  • 5 min read

When the Nintendo Switch launched in 2017, the ability to transition between a home console and an on-the-go device was a significant part of its appeal. This feature facilitated by the dock also allowed for higher resolution gameplay, though its compatibility is limited to dedicated displays.

But what if one could use it with a laptop’s screen or play Switch-exclusive titles on a laptop? Read this guide to learn how.

How to connect your Nintendo Switch to a laptop?

Nintendo Switch transmits its video feed via an HDMI-out port on its dock. This means that a device on which you want to view content requires an HDMI-In port.

Unfortunately, laptops tend to include only HDMI-out ports, thus to connect Switch to a laptop, one needs a capture card. These devices connect to an HDMI-out cable and transmit feed via a USB connection, which can then be viewed in the capture card’s dedicated software.

For this article, we will be using Elgato’s Game Capture software compatible with the HD60, HD 60S and HD 60 Pro.

A USB based connection between a laptop and Nintendo Switch charges the console and only allows for the transfer of data when used with software specific to hacking the console.

Listed below are steps to connect Nintendo Switch to a laptop.

Step 1: Set up the Nintendo Switch Dock.

Step 2: Insert the HDMI cable running from the Dock into the capture card’s HDMI-In port.

An HDMI connector

Step 3: Connect the capture card to a laptop via its USB Cable.

USB Type C vs Micro USB: Difference and Similarities
USB Type-A connector

Step 4: Open the Capture card-related software and boot up the docked Switch.

Step 5: Within Game Capture, press F11 to enter full-screen and then F10 to view only the captured feed on your screen.

Note: These steps are not applicable to the Switch Lite since the handheld-only device does not contain the hardware necessary to display its content on screens.

Also read: How to set up your computer for streaming?

Can one play Switch games on a laptop?

The method listed above explains how one can view a Switch’s feed on a laptop’s display, but the question remains, can you play Switch games on one without a docked console? The answer to this question is Yes, but with certain conditions.

Yuzu is an open-source project

To legally play Switch games on a laptop, users will need to download Yuzu — a Nintendo Switch emulator made by the developers of Citra — and extract files from a console vulnerable to the fusée gelée RCM exploit.

Once the emulator is up and running, users will need to use the exploited Switch to dump ROM files of games that they own to play on a laptop.

To check whether a console is vulnerable to the fusée gelée RCM exploit click here. For further steps on how to use Yuzu, we recommend referring to their quickstart guide and subreddit for additional information.

Note: Nintendo Switch V2 (also knows as Red Box Switch) and Switch Lite cannot be used to extract files required to run Yuzu.

Also read: Top 7 free screen recorders for PC

Minimum hardware requirements to play games with Yuzu

Listed below are the minimum hardware specifications that your device should have to be able to play games with an acceptable experience:

For 2D Games

  • Processor: Intel Core i3-6100 / AMD Ryzen 3 1200
  • GPU: Intel HD Graphics 520 / NVIDIA GeForce GT 1030 / AMD Radeon R7 240
  • RAM: 8GB

For 3D Games

  • Processor: Intel Core i5-8600K / AMD Ryzen 5 3600
  • GPU: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1060 6GB / AMD Radeon RX 470 8GB
  • RAM: 16GB

The GPUs present must support OpenGL 4.5 (or higher) & OpenGL Compatibility profile, or Vulkan 1.1 for Yuzu to work.

Why would one want to use Yuzu?

As mentioned earlier, to use Yuzu, one still needs to own a Nintendo Switch. Therefore, one may ask, “Why do I need Yuzu in the first place?” To answer the question, listed below are some of the benefits the emulator offers:

  • Game Modding: Using Yuzu allows for the addition of mods to a game. This allows players to experience a game in ways they may never have. Additional features like higher frame rates and improved textures are also made available via the emulator.
  • Ability to play on a better display: While the display on the Switch is acceptable, being able to play on a high refresh screen with better resolution is always preferred.
  • Choice of input: With the Switch, using alternate methods of input can often need extra cables or dongles — unless using Nintendo’s licensed accessories. The emulator simplifies this with support for any type of input method.

Also read: How to delete games on Nintendo Switch?

Aryan Surendranath

Aryan Surendranath

Has an interest in technology and video games. When not doing anything related to either of these you will find him with his books, educational or not.