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.
- 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.
- Store EFB Copies to Texture Only - Make sure that "Store EFB Copies to Texture Only" is enabled. Disable it only when running a game that requires it.
- 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.
- Fast Depth Calculation - Uses a less accurate method of calculating depth values. Gives a small speedup, but can cause flickering textures.
- Bounding Box Calculation - Don't emulate bounding box calculation, which is only required for a limited set of games (i.e. Paper Mario).
- DSP Emulator Engine - DSP HLE is the fastest DSP Emulator Engine. It is very reliable, and only a few games still have 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.