Question What do I need to run Dolphin Emulator well?

Sep 8, 2022
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Hello everyone, now that I've got my PC build all set, I would like to ask those of you who know, what do I need in order to run the Dolphin Emulator well? My gf and I just want to play older Nintendo games (Super NES, N64, GC, etc) on this PC (none of the new crazy graphic intense games that requires a huge expensive GPU). And when I try to read about what I'll need to run Dolphin, i see all sorts of confusing info all over the internet, and it's making me even more confused about what I need. So I really don't know what I need at this point to run it well. Not amazing, not perfect, just well.

Here is my PC Build so far, so that you can determine if it will be "good enough" to run Dolphin. I don't care if games don't run perfect. I just want to run the Emulator, play Nintendo games, and for the most part, have the screen and graphics look fine. Not looking for THE BEST or anything like that.

PC PART PICKER

Thanks
 

Nighthawk117

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You should be fine with that machine, CPU is more than enough, I have a dedicated GPU in my machine but I think GC ran on my laptops MX150 ok which is not too dissimilar to the Radeon GPU you have there. You may run into the odd issue with GC games though.
 
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I hope you are buying this for more than just emulators because that's a huge amount of money for what you want.
I run recallbox (standalone linux distro frontend for retroarch) on a haswell celeron with only the iGPU and it plays gc and wii games just fine.

Of course that is only for native resolutions, if you want to upscale and apply a ton of filters you would need a dGPU.

(You also don't need $200 in fans just for this CPU)
 
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Sep 8, 2022
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I hope you are buying this for more than just emulators because that's a huge amount of money for what you want.
I run recallbox (standalone linux distro frontend for retroarch) on a haswell celeron with only the iGPU and it plays gc and wii games just fine.

Of course that is only for native resolutions, if you want to upscale and apply a ton of filters you would need a dGPU.

(You also don't need $200 in fans just for this CPU)
It's not for emulating, haha. It's my first home PC Build and will be used for home computing, some light graphics work here and there with PS and Ai, IT class work, and virtually running Windows 10. I'll be running Linux Zorin as my base OS, and then for IT classes and just for my own personal experience, I want to run Virtual Box, so I can virtually run Windows 10. Or possibly other programs or OS's down the road.

The Nintendo emulating is just a bonus on top of my build, that I'm going to make sure works as a present for my gf for Christmas! She's a HUGE Nintendo fan, and misses playing all the old SNES, N64, GC and some Wii games. So I wanted to make sure my build works for Dolphin, so we can play all her old favorite games come this Christmas.

Thanks for the info on your system running GC and Wii games just fine. That's good to hear. I did some research on this, and most articles are saying that the CPU is far more important than any expensive GPU. That a 4 core (or more) fast processor will do most of the work. And that most newer Mobo's/CPU combos on board iGPU will have no problem running Dolphin. But then they sometimes contradict themselves by saying later in the article that a decent GPU will help and make things better. So that is what is confusing me. Plus if you go to Dolphins page and look at the "requirements", I have almost no idea what all that stuff means.

But according to you and the other response above, I should be just fine with the on board iGPU I have with my Rayzen 5600G?
 
I have no idea how the support of dolphin is for amd cards, it is powerful enough but if the software has bugs it might not run well, you should wait for others that actually have tried it to chip in.
But then they sometimes contradict themselves by saying later in the article that a decent GPU will help and make things better.
As I said with a better card you can go for higher resolutions, playing the old games in 4k on your TV and so on.

Also if you can find a used Wii for cheap they can be modded with software alone (no soldering) a Wii can play wii and gc natively so no emulation and most importantly you play the wii games with the controller they are meant to be played on and if you get an older wii you can get a gc controller for it as well, the first wiis have 4 controller ports for gc controllers, and it can run all the older consoles in emulation.
The only bad thing is that it is AV out only.
 

Nighthawk117

Respectable
But according to you and the other response above, I should be just fine with the on board iGPU I have with my Rayzen 5600G?
Yes you should be fine. I just tried it on my laptop which has an i5 8250U, it worked fine with the Intel 630 iGPU at 720p @ 60 FPS. Started to have the odd imperfection at 1080p. It also has an Nvidia MX150 which is a low end dedicated GPU, that ran 1080p just fine @ 60 FPS. That's not too dissimilar to what you have so I would have thought you would be able to do 1080p without issues.

But then they sometimes contradict themselves by saying later in the article that a decent GPU will help and make things better. So that is what is confusing me. Plus if you go to Dolphins page and look at the "requirements", I have almost no idea what all that stuff means.
It's helpful if you want further enhancements like higher resolutions, anti-aliasing and stuff like that. You should be able to get a very good result on what you have though, I don't have an AMD system to try though. It doesn't tell you much about the requirements for Windows on the website, I think in large part because it will run on most things these days. My laptop only runs at 1.8Ghz when it's playing a game, that's much weaker than your 5600G. It was noticeably better with DirectX 11 and 12 on my laptop though over Open GL, your best bet is probably Vulkan for AMD.
 
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Sep 8, 2022
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Yes you should be fine. I just tried it on my laptop which has an i5 8250U, it worked fine with the Intel 630 iGPU at 720p @ 60 FPS. Started to have the odd imperfection at 1080p. It also has an Nvidia MX150 which is a low end dedicated GPU, that ran 1080p just fine @ 60 FPS. That's not too dissimilar to what you have so I would have thought you would be able to do 1080p without issues.


It's helpful if you want further enhancements like higher resolutions, anti-aliasing and stuff like that. You should be able to get a very good result on what you have though, I don't have an AMD system to try though. It doesn't tell you much about the requirements for Windows on the website, I think in large part because it will run on most things these days. My laptop only runs at 1.8Ghz when it's playing a game, that's much weaker than your 5600G. It was noticeably better with DirectX 11 and 12 on my laptop though over Open GL, your best bet is probably Vulkan for AMD.
Thank you for all of that. I really appreciate it. But what do you mean by: "your best bet is probably Vulkan for AMD." I have NO idea what that means
 

Nighthawk117

Respectable
Thank you for all of that. I really appreciate it. But what do you mean by: "your best bet is probably Vulkan for AMD." I have NO idea what that means
Your welcome, Vulkan is a graphics API used for interfacing with the GPU. In the case of Dolphin you have a number of API's to choose from, Open GL, DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and Vulkan. You should be fine with any of them but Open GL is the slowest. AMD GPU's tend to perform best with Vulkan that's why I suggest you try that first.
 
Sep 8, 2022
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Your welcome, Vulkan is a graphics API used for interfacing with the GPU. In the case of Dolphin you have a number of API's to choose from, Open GL, DirectX 11, DirectX 12 and Vulkan. You should be fine with any of them but Open GL is the slowest. AMD GPU's tend to perform best with Vulkan that's why I suggest you try that first.
Ok, so what IS a graphic API? I looked it up, and I'm still really confused. I "sort" of understand what it does, but not really. And is it something I need to download to use Dolphin or RetroArch? Or is it a setting I have to turn on in those emulators? Sorry, I'm new to all of this and even after reading about a Graphic API, I still really don't understand it, or if it's something I get or already have? Thanks
 

Nighthawk117

Respectable
Ok, so what IS a graphic API? I looked it up, and I'm still really confused. I "sort" of understand what it does, but not really. And is it something I need to download to use Dolphin or RetroArch? Or is it a setting I have to turn on in those emulators? Sorry, I'm new to all of this and even after reading about a Graphic API, I still really don't understand it, or if it's something I get or already have? Thanks
An API is a software interface that allows two programs to communicate with each other. They are used for all sorts of things, for example if your using an e-commerce site to purchase a present for grandma and you pay by PayPal, the website your on will connect to PayPal via their API, it will tell PayPal through the API what you want to do and pass over any relevant information like your personal information, order details and stuff like that.

In the case of a graphics API, they offer a standardised way for software developers to communicate with the GPU. The majority of games available today use Microsoft DirectX for this purpose. Some games support multiple API's, for example Red Dead Redemption 2 supports DirectX 12 and Vulkan. So for example, the game engine tells Vulkan what 2D or 3D scene it wants to render, Vulkan then tells the GPU.

GPU's are very complex pieces of hardware, by using an API someone developing a video game doesn't have to worry about how the specific GPU architecture works. That is all hidden from them, they just have to know how to use the API. Some API's will come with Windows like DirectX and OpenGL. If your GPU supports Vulkan for example, the API will probably be installed with your GPU driver.

That's an oversimplification but hope it makes some sense.
 
Reactions: Haliax68
Sep 8, 2022
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An API is a software interface that allows two programs to communicate with each other. They are used for all sorts of things, for example if your using an e-commerce site to purchase a present for grandma and you pay by PayPal, the website your on will connect to PayPal via their API, it will tell PayPal through the API what you want to do and pass over any relevant information like your personal information, order details and stuff like that.

In the case of a graphics API, they offer a standardised way for software developers to communicate with the GPU. The majority of games available today use Microsoft DirectX for this purpose. Some games support multiple API's, for example Red Dead Redemption 2 supports DirectX 12 and Vulkan. So for example, the game engine tells Vulkan what 2D or 3D scene it wants to render, Vulkan then tells the GPU.

GPU's are very complex pieces of hardware, by using an API someone developing a video game doesn't have to worry about how the specific GPU architecture works. That is all hidden from them, they just have to know how to use the API. Some API's will come with Windows like DirectX and OpenGL. If your GPU supports Vulkan for example, the API will probably be installed with your GPU driver.

That's an oversimplification but hope it makes some sense.
Ok, thank you for that great explanation, that helps a little bit more.

So my GPU is actually just an iGPU from the processor I'm using. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600g. So is this Vulkan API something I need to "turn on" in the BIOS settings? Or something like that? Or, do I have to download it or does it just come already installed with my AMD chip? Or is it something I turn on/use on Dolphin Emulator? Sorry for the beginner questions, this is ALL out of my realm and learning on the fly. I really appreciate the help!
 
Ok, thank you for that great explanation, that helps a little bit more.

So my GPU is actually just an iGPU from the processor I'm using. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600g. So is this Vulkan API something I need to "turn on" in the BIOS settings? Or something like that? Or, do I have to download it or does it just come already installed with my AMD chip? Or is it something I turn on/use on Dolphin Emulator? Sorry for the beginner questions, this is ALL out of my realm and learning on the fly. I really appreciate the help!
It's just a graphics setting inside the emulator (the OS and the emulator take care of everything) , you can just switch it there and see which one works best for you.
 
Reactions: Haliax68

Nighthawk117

Respectable
Ok, thank you for that great explanation, that helps a little bit more.

So my GPU is actually just an iGPU from the processor I'm using. The AMD Ryzen 5 5600g. So is this Vulkan API something I need to "turn on" in the BIOS settings? Or something like that? Or, do I have to download it or does it just come already installed with my AMD chip? Or is it something I turn on/use on Dolphin Emulator? Sorry for the beginner questions, this is ALL out of my realm and learning on the fly. I really appreciate the help!
It will likely already be installed with you AMD drivers, it's software so it's not something you have to enable in the bios or anything like that. It's just in Dolphin you have to tell it what to use, so go to Graphics Settings>>>Backend>>>Vulkan.
 
Reactions: Haliax68

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