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Dolphin is a very demanding program, so configuring Dolphin the right way is very important to run games smoothly. This performance guide will show a "quick and dirty" example of how to speed up Dolphin. Only options that improve performance are shown here.
Dolphin has three configuration related buttons: Config, Graphics, and DSP, which will open the options described below.
- Enable Dual Core - Provides a significant speedup on modern systems. Recommended.
- Enable Idle Skipping - A free speedup 99% of the time. Recommended.
- CPU Emulator Engine - JIT Recompiler is the fastest and most stable of the CPU emulator engines.
- Backend - Which graphics backend is the fastest generally varies depending on the game that you are playing. Experiment to find what works for you. Note: OpenGL is the only backend available on Linux and Mac OSX.
- Internal Resolution - "Auto - (Multiple of 640x528)" is recommended. If emulation suffers from slowdowns when going to fullscreen, change it to "1x Native (640x528)", and go up from there until you can find the highest setting without slowdown.
- Skip EFB Access from CPU can provide a speed boost. However it provides this boost at the expense of emulation accuracy, breaking some games and removing effects. It should be ok to use, but be careful with it.
- Ignore Format Changes - The vast majority of games don't care about this, and it provides a small boost. However a small number of games hate this setting. Recommended.
- EFB Copies - Make sure that "EFB Copies" is set to "Texture", and change it to "RAM" only when running a game that requires it. You can also check "Enable cache" when using EFB to RAM to gain a small speedup.
- Disabling EFB Copies entirely can provide a radical speedup, however it provides this by disabling an entire class of effects, and will break most games. It is not recommended.
- Disable Destination Alpha - Allows Dolphin to skip the destination alpha pass used by some games’ effects. It breaks a lot of games, but can be a handy speedup. Use carefully.
- OpenMP Texture Decoder - Uses multiple CPU cores for texture decoding. Helps with microstuttering and provides a slight speed up. But be careful with it: in rare instances it can max out all cores and actually hurt more than it helps.
- Fast Depth Calculation - Uses a less accurate method of calculating depth values. Gives a small speedup, but can cause flickering textures.
- DSP Emulator Engine - DSP HLE is the fastest DSP Emulator Engine. It is very reliable, but some games still have some problems with it. Use DSP LLE if DSP HLE is not working properly. See DSP LLE for more details.
- DSPLLE on Separate Thread - For systems with three or more CPU cores, this option can give a nice performance boost to DSP LLE. However, it can cause freezes in Zelda ucode games. Use carefully.