Recommended Specs?

Hey, guys. I’m looking to get recommended technical specifications to emulate Gamecube through Lakka on a PC.

Sorry if this is the wrong category, and/or if this topic has already been covered. Tried searching but didn’t find anything.

Also, if anyone has any pre-existing builds (on anything but an Intel NUC, Raspberry Pi, Droid Box, Tinkerboard, etc.) I would really appreciate seeing it.

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Please check articles for the latest news. You will find the link for our builds.

Please bear in mind that Dolphin core is still a work in progress so don’t expect full support. Intel Nuc is good choice for Generic platform.

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Thank you for the kind response, gouchi.

I’m avoiding using an Intel NUC because of the inherent limits of them, but I appreciate the heads up regardless. I’m going to check out some of the builds listed and see if I can find what I’m looking for.

Thanks again!

Well…I’ll level with you: Lakka’s built to run on “commodity PC hardware” (taken directly from Libretro’s own Mission Statement:, so you don’t have to think too hard about finding a good PC to use. If you don’t want to use a NUC, hit up eBay for a used ol’ emulation machine for cheap with some old mid-2000’s graphics card. You can probably get that for less than $100.

Yeah, that’s what I was think I was gonna do. Gonna nab an old Dell Xeon-loaded workstation from eBay and move on from there. Just wanted to know if there was a threshold I should be looking to hit. Thanks for the response.

Since I have the Pi 3, the XU4 and a Gigabyte Brix, I can comment.

Performance-wise and core-wise, that depends on what “cores” you want to run/have available. I can tell you right now, the Pi 3 runs N64/PSP/Saturn like shit, so don’t bother (although I have to admit, it IS rather impressive speed-wise with the Glupen64 core). The XU4 is a great little alternative ARM board to the PC, but if you want to run everything, get something x86-64 based (PC) similar in spec to the XU4 and you shouldn’t have a problem running anything.

But you see, it’s not that simple, and therein lies the problem. It’s not just about specs or power. A good rule of thumb is the faster, the better, and make sure it has an Intel HD graphics card or Nvidia (you’ll need it for the Dolphin core).

I would never recommend an Nvidia card for this. I know a lot of people like their driver on the desktop but this is irrelevant on Lakka. Lakka relies on Kernel Mode Setting (KMS) for displaying things to your screen. The official Nvidia driver does not support KMS at all. You will be stuck with the nouveau driver which has abysmal performance for anything hardware rendered.

I would recommend to try the integrated GPU first. If it’s not enough, then you can look at adding a somewhat recent AMD graphics card. Do check the state of drivers before you buy. You need an open source driver that supports KMS.

When it comes to CPUs, what you want to look for is single thread performance. The Pentium and Core i3 series tend to be the better choices for this. If you find a CPU you’re interested in, you can search for it on cpubenchmark and look at the specs (mainly single thread rating).

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My 2c: a system with a decently powerful Intel CPU will run pretty much everything up to (and including) PS2/Wii/Gamecube.

The newer the better, but I’d say aim for a 4th gen i5 or higher. Newer ones have a better integrated GPU which has a big impact on performance. You don’t need a lot of RAM either, 4GB is decent. Realistically , you don’t need an SSD for storage, as an HDD already offers a decent speed advantage over the original storage mediums (especially CDs).

NUCs are great due to their compact size, but ex-lease workstations are relatively sleek and very affordable.

If you want something cheap, easy to set up and won’t cost you an arm and a leg, can hook up to a HDTV and small and can run everything, here: It’s built to run LibreELEC (which is the Kodi OS, but it’s also the same OS Lakka uses at its core).

They’re cheap on Amazon:

Heck, you can even get them used for less than $120. That’s full-speed Dolphin emulation, by the way (yes, Dolphin with JUST the Celeron version).

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To be fair though, this is what I use: What hardware do you use Lakka on? (Version 2.0)

It screams with EVERYTHING (even Sega Saturn, which is notoriously difficult to emulate for, and I can play Sega Rally on it!)

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Since you specifically asked about hardware, I have found that, to date, the best small form factor pc to use for dedicated emulation is this guy:

ASRock Deskmini

Pair it with a high-clock desktop Kabby Lake CPU, like this:

Pentium G4620

or, better yet, this:

Core i3-7100

add 2x SO-DIMMs (for symmetrical dual-channel):

Like these

-and you have a really powerful emulation setup!

Only, the problem is, the GPU might be an issue for what you want to do. You could definitely get by with the CPU’s iGPU at base resolution (maybe even 2x), but if you want to make everything as pretty as possible by cranking up the render resolution, anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, etc., etc., that integrated GPU won’t be able to handle it. Where does that leave you? You could get a dedicated card, but as @anothername99 has correctly pointed out above, Nvidia is out of the picture… AMD is too, really. Whether it be missing features or lack of performance, both Nvidia & AMD have lacking driver support for Linux. You can read the many different articles on the web covering this issue.

It’s unfortunate to say, but if you’re looking at specifically emulating GameCube\Wii your best bet, really, is to do so under Windows with an Nvidia or AMD card, as the drivers are optimized for that ecosystem… With Laka (Linux) you would be getting reduced performance because those vendors refuse to spend money and time to create quality drivers for Linux. For example:

And, as much as I love Lakka and LibRetro, the official version of Dolphin for Windows would also be a better choice since the LibRetro port is still a work-in-progress as it doesn’t perform as well and lacks some features. One day though we will have our cake and eat it too damnit! :smiley:

Good luck, and post back with an update as to what route you went :slight_smile:


Thank you, customcarvin. That was a really in-depth response. Since making this thread, I opted to just stick to emulating on my Windows 10 PC, and use my RetroPie for convenience.

Thanks for all the great replies, everyone!

So i really love the Lakka on my ne Rasperry Pi 3 B+ - but the chance to replace a old Wii with Dolphin makes it rally nice to try getting casual games like Harvest Moon or Donkey Kong working on it.

Is there any change to get enough power with a decent CPU with iGPU to get at least some of the wii games working stable?

alternatively: what ARM Mini Device would be best choice atm?