I'm currently trying to play my all time favorite game, Final Fantasy X, on the PCSX2 emulator and I'm constantly running at around 35-40 FPS, about 70-80% of optimal performance.

Does anyone know what sort of settings I should be looking into configuring to optimize game performance?

My specific specs are:

  • OS: Windows 7
  • Motherboard: XFX Nforce 680i Sli
  • CPU: Intel Core2 Quad Q6600
  • Memory: ~4GB RAM
  • DirectX Version: DX11
  • Graphics Card: ATI Radeon HD 5800
  • 2
    @Raven Do we even have a solid site policy concerning emulators and emulator optimization? The highest voted stance on this meta-post says that we should only disallow links to emulator sites and flag content that asks for emulator sites. None of the other stances seem to even be really against having emulator questions on our site. While the FFX part is kind of iffy, I feel like emulator optimization is an okay topic for this site.
    – Mana
    Commented Jan 29, 2011 at 3:58
  • @Mana -- No, we do not. Hence my mention of a "gray area". Commented Jan 29, 2011 at 6:44
  • @Mana -- ...and I see that my statement doesn't include that any more. I think I need to get some sleep; I can't even get what I write straight, anymore. Comment redacted until I can think straight again. Commented Jan 29, 2011 at 6:45

3 Answers 3


I recently got a PC rig capable of entry-level VR, so I assumed I'd be able to play PS2 emulated games easily enough. Boy was I wrong, Shadow of the Colossus (the only game worth playing in my book ;-) ran up to 70-80% performance, and dipped down to 10-50% performance when I looked at high-poly regions, depending on the graphics settings I chose. (On Windows, with PCSX2 1.4, you can see the framerate % in the window titlebar.)

Then I found this Reddit link: https://www.reddit.com/r/PCSX2/comments/3bjpos/is_pcsx2_running_slow_on_your_knowingly_highend/

The gist of that advice is: A modern gaming PC is likely having trouble with PS2 emulation because it's overperforming on some calculations (magic?), not underperforming. In many cases one key setting will get your PC's behavior more "in sync" with what the game needs, and then everything is super smooth. So that would mean you can 1) pick a graphics level default, then 2) uncheck "preset" and play around with settings one by one until you find a marked improvement.

I was a bit skeptical (I thought I'd tried all the relevant settings anyway) but I gave this a shot, and it worked... and more than worked. In my case, for whatever reason, one setting made all the difference:

  • Set presets to 3, then uncheck the "preset" checkbox (allows you to fine-tune)
  • Under VU settings (something to do with the virtual machine?), change the VU0 setting from "microVU Recompiler" (default) to "Interpreter".

After making this one change, I can now ramp up the graphics and texture settings to near their max, then switch to 4x the native resolution, all with 98%-105% framerate. This also resolved the stuttering / "metallic" quality to the audio, though again I have no clue why.

Next step: make it work in VR with VorpX...


Your hardware should easily enough run it

Getting PS2 emulators to work is largely about finding a good video plugin and bios. Aside from that, Final Fantasies are notoriously picky and often you will need to turn up or down hardware acceleration in your drivers.

You can also try running the emulator using XP Compatibility mode if you still have issues.


To improve performance in PCSX2 you need more processor power than GPU power.

Also be away the XFX motherboard is a CRAPPY brand.

So, how do I get more processor power, you ask? Buy a faster processor, Core i7 or at least a Core 2 Quad Q8xxx or better yet a Core 2 Quad Q9xxx.

Why? Because the Core 2 Quad Q8xxx and Q9xxx support MMX, SSE, SSE2, SSE3, SSSE3 and SSE4.1. Q6600 don't support SSE4.1, that extra is going to give you a bit more power to run PS2 games.

  • 1
    Are you sure any of the PS2 emus actually use SSE4.1 intrinsics?
    – Vality
    Commented Aug 7, 2014 at 13:19

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