System requirements - Building a RetroArch PC

Ok, I need a new computer. What should I be looking for if I want to use hard GPU Sync 0 frames with PCSX2? Will an i7 system suffice? CPU is the bottleneck, right?

Depends on the age of the i7. If new, yeah, should be fine. And yes, it’s CPU-bound.

However, I wouldn’t invest in hardware based on the LRPS2 core, as it’s not really ready for primetime, as they say. It still has the zombie process problem (sometimes?) where it doesn’t like to switch games without fully closing out of RetroArch first, and lots of the compatibility of standalone PCSX2 relies on its software renderer, which isn’t hooked up in the libretro core currently.

We hope to improve things with the core at some point, but right now it’s just not super-usable.


I was just going in to test the hard gpu sync with my i7 for you and I don’t see the option for it now. Is it video driver dependent?

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It might be. I’m using glcore

I checked and it doesn’t appear to be available if you are using vulcan. It is available if I switch to glcore. I usually don’t use glcore as it seems make problems with HDR.

Correct. Hard GPU sync is only visible in “gl” and “glcore”. vulkan and d3d11 use ‘max swapchain images’ to do something similar but it’s different enough to necessitate separate options.

glcore also indeed does not support HDR in RetroArch, only vulkan and d3d11.


Ah… I forgot that’s why I had stopped messing with the PS2 core… it is gl only, I think, and was causing the HDR to turn off on my system and had to be manually turned back on after each game. I think I had given up for the time being and planned to check back later.

That’s a bit of a bummer. Is HDR support for glcore on the schedule? Or conversely, hard gpu sync for vulkan/d3d11?

Some games are also supposed to be GPU intensive (there are lists on the PCSX2 wiki), but generally, GPU comes more into play for upscaling.

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I don’t think glcore will get HDR (or if it even can), but you should be able to get equivalent (or better) latency with vulkan/d3d11 with the swapchain images setting.

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Your best bet is just wait until the PS2 core supports vulcan.


Ok, let me re-frame.

I just need a ready-built solution that will do the following:

-run all cores up to and including those for 6th Gen consoles WITH hard GPU sync 0 frames (or the max swap chain images equivalent)

-and do the above at 4k @ 120 Hz

-and do all of the above with the Megatron shader enabled

Budget: $600. Is it possible?

That is going to be tough. Any $300 GPU is going to struggle.

I did a quick search and the only ready-built systems I could come up with had GTX 1650 GPU. The 1650 won’t cut it.

You could come close using last generation Ryzen and AMD GPUs if you built it yourself, but if you don’t want any regrets, I would spend at least $900.

Edit: I just put together a budget set of parts on PCPartPicker for $795.

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Thanks, that’s helpful. Is it possible to post a link to the list you created? (No worries if not).

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I didn’t save it but I could put it together again.

The only issue could be that a budget AMD MB doesn’t have a way to update the BIOS without a CPU installed. It can cost an additional $50-100 for one that does. I just happen to have an older AM4 CPU so for me this isn’t an issue, but it might cost some $$ to bring the MB to a shop to get the BIOS updated if it comes shipped with an older BIOS.

IMHO it is worth the extra $$ for the convenience of a MB that can update without a CPU installed, but if you have a shop in your area that can do the upgrade you could weigh the cost difference.

The system I put together has an upgrade path so in time you could increase the memory and/or upgrade the CPU and GPU. (It would have some longevity.)


Yeah, that would be great. Aside from slapping a new graphics card into an old workstation, I have 0 experience with building a PC and the options are all a bit overwhelming.


This is a build guide I did recently but it’s based around a Mini PC that’s easily transportable and the graphics card was discounted at the time.

This is an almost complete build with Monitor and Power Supply. It shouldn’t be that hard to swap out/cull some unneeded components as well as scale it down to fit closer to your budget and hopefully still hit your performance targets.

Here is a decent Mini Mega Bezel Build that I put together for when you retire.

For building help, there are quite a few good PC building video tutorials that you can start researching from all now.

Here’s a cheaper base system alternative with a much more expensive monitor.

You can go even cheaper if you sacrifice some storage, cheap out on the power supply a bit and switch to a cheaper micro ATX or ATX motherboard and case.


Here is a link to an updated list.

I added some IDE storage and updated the MB to one that can flash the BIOS without a CPU.

Since you mentioned Megatron at 4K and 120 Hz I am assuming you already have the display.

This build comes in at $969.45 with the same upgrade path and doesn’t include an OS. Since you won’t be worrying about Intel P cores I wouldn’t recommend Windows 11, and Linux is free. :grin:

** Note ** Best Buy has a Lenovo gaming desktop with very similar specs for $899. The SSD is only 256 GB though which is pretty damn small. (It does have a much better CPU)


Thanks guys, this is very helpful. I was actually eyeing that same Lenovo tower, looks like a solid deal.


It does, but your upgrade path will be limited at least in terms of memory. From what I have read the BIOS doesn’t have an XMP setting so you will be stuck with doubling the exact memory the box comes with.

Long term it seems the MB is a fairly standard Micro-ATX so you should be able to reuse the case.

If I were buying this I would clone the M.2 drive to a new 1TB drive before I even booted the OS.

The build I posted a link to would only run $954.56 if you upgraded the CPU to a 5800X. (Which is even better than the Lenovo, and it already has a 1TB M.2 drive.

Also, the Lenovo MB only has one M.2 slot, unlike The MSI MB in my build. (Just in case you want to add a second M.2 drive down the road.)

Plus you have more freedom with memory upgrades.

Well worth the extra $50. Although if you insist on a Window OS it may cost you a bit more. :wink:

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