PCSX2 New User’s Guide

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PCSX2 New User’s Guide

~by tankMage (September 2018)


   The PCSX2 is currently the best PlayStation 2 emulator available, but it is not terribly user friendly. Consequently, new users may feel a bit overwhelmed when they try to play their favorite games with PCSX2 for the first time. This guide addresses some of most common problems associated with PCSX2 and offers quick solutions to them. It is important to understand that results will vary from game to game and with different computers. Someone running PCSX2 on a mid to high end machine with a graphics card will be able to play a greater number of games with accurate emulation than someone using a weak computer. Many common problems have several solutions, which will be listed in order of effectiveness.

Note: This is a work in progress. Feel free to ask questions if an issue isn’t addressed here or if the prescribed methods do not work for certain titles. PS2 emulation is rather subjective and data provided by other users can go a long way towards improving this guide.

Pro-Tip 1: Take Notes

Make a note of your PCSX2 settings before changing anything. Some of the solutions listed in this FAQ may cause more problems than they solve and having an idea of what you original settings were will make fixing them easier. It also helps to make a record of settings that work, because they will often apply to other games.

Pro-Tip 2: Check Compatibility

PCSX2 has a compatibility wiki which can be helpful, since those who maintain the wiki took time to publish notes on how well many titles work with the emulator. Keep in mind that much of the info on the wiki is old. Make sure your machine is using the most compatible and up to date version of PCSX2 as well. You’ll undoubtedly run into problems if you are trying to run the 64-Bit version of PCSX2 or if you are using an outdated version of the emulator.

Compatibility Wiki: https://pcsx2.net/compatibility-list.html

Missing, Distorted Graphics, and/or Garbage (Artifacts).

You may notice things like layering effects, recticules or even text missing from games running on the PCSX2. Some games may even experience flickering, strange shapes known as garbage or artifacts and even discoloration. There are several ways to fix these issues, but the availability of some of these solutions depends on your computer.

1.Switch to GPU or CPU.

PCSX2 is set by default to use your computer’s CPU with the GSdx Plugin, which is what generates graphics for PS2 games in the emulator. Unfortunately, this is also the cause of many graphical issues on the PCSX2 for some people. Going into the GSdx Plugin and enabling your Graphics Card/GPU (if your computer has one) can make a drastic difference in the quality of your gaming experience. The flip side can also be true depending on your hardware and the game you are trying get running, so try using CPU if GPU is not effective. In fact PCSX2, like many emulators, relies on CPU to do most of the work and users with a high quality CPU may get better results.

Go to: Config -> Video GS -> Plugin Settings -> Click Adapter Drop Down -> Select GPU or CPU

2.Change the Rendering Mode to Software.

GSdx supports several different rendering modes that have a great impact on how the emulator performs. Software Mode is generally more accurate and will likely display missing layers and play cutscenes properly. Keep in mind this may cause slow down issues with games that use certain types of 3D rendering. It is also possible to choose whether to use directX or openGL to render graphics, but this has little impact on performance in my experience.

Go To: Config -> Video GS -> Plugin Settings -> Click Renderer Drop Down -> Select Direct3D11 (Software)*

*This option may vary depending on your OS or PCSX2 Version, the important factor is that Software mode Mode is selected.

3.Disable Speed Hacks.

Speed Hacks can cause a lot of graphical issues. While they are disabled by default, you will have to go back into settings and disable them again if you enabled them. Usually a Speed Hack Preset of 1 or 2 is safe and will not cause problems. A preset of 3 or more can cause problems with some games.

Go To: Config -> Emulation Settings -> Speed Hacks -> Uncheck Preset Box -> Uncheck Enable Speed Hacks, Uncheck Speed Hacks Presets, or Set the Preset Slider to 1

4.Try Using a Multiple of the Game’s Native Resolution in Internal Resolution.

PS2 titles often have an internal resolution that will differ from what GSdx is set to. This can cause issues related to stretching the image. Try setting the internal resolution to native. 2x to 3x the native resolution is usually a safe start.

Go To: Config -> Video GS -> Plugin Settings -> Click Internal Resolution Drop Down and Choose Native or 2x/3x Native

Slow Down, Low Frame Rate (FPS), Stuttering, and Video/Audio Lag.

PCSX2 can place a heavy of demand on your computer depending on the game you are trying to run. Even mid to high end computers may have difficulty running some games at full speed and low end machines will certainly encounter issues running a number of titles. The good news is many of the games that suffer from slow down issues can be made playable with a few tweaks. The bad news is this will come at the cost of accuracy and may cause other minor issues like missing graphics. Try each of the fixes listed below on their own before combining them to speed up emulation for slow games, because they can have a drastic negative impact on accuracy if combined in some cases.

1.Use Your GPU or CPU.

This also fixes graphical errors, but is not an option if you do not have a GPU. At any rate, your GPU may do a better job at rendering graphics for certain games than your CPU. However, in some cases it may be better to use CPU instead, depending on your machine, so try switching between the two in order to see which one gets the best results.

Go to: Config -> Video GS -> Plugin Settings -> Click Adapter Drop Down -> Select GPU or CPU

2.Try Hardware Mode.

GSdx renders faster in Hardware Mode than in Software Mode, but certain layering effects may not appear in some games. You may also notice a variety of other problems, but this can completely eliminate video lag in some cases.

Go To: Config -> Video GS -> Plugin Settings -> Click Renderer Drop Down -> Select Direct3D11 (Hardware)*

*This option may vary depending on your OS or PCSX2 Version, the important factor is that Software mode Mode is selected.

3.Enable Speed Hacks.

Speed Hacks can cause problems, but they can also make slow games playable. Clicking “Speed Hack Presets” in the settings then trying to run the game with the Speed Hack Presets slider moved to 2 is a good way to test them. In many cases the game will run at full speed with minimal Speed Hacks. Try setting the slider to 3 if the game is still slow. You can also customize Speed Hacks by checking the “Enable Speed Hacks” box near the top and adjusting the EE Cycle Rate and VU Cycle Stealing sliders.

Go To: Config -> Emulation Settings -> Speed Hacks -> Uncheck Preset Box -> Set the Preset Slider to 2 or Check Enable Speed Hacks and Move the Sliders to Faster Settings

Game Runs Too Fast!

Computers have become much more powerful since PCSX2 was first created. As a result some titles may run a little too well. Fortunately, this issue can be fixed rather easily.

1.Enable the Frame Limiter.

Make sure the Frame Limiter is active and the “Disable Frame Limiter” box is unchecked. The NTSC and PAL Framerate boxes should say 59.94 and 50.00 respectively.

Go To: Config -> Emulation Settings -> GS -> Uncheck Disable Frame Limiter

2.Disable Frame Skipping.

Frame Skipping is disabled by default, but in the event that you enabled it for some reason, disabling it may fix speed issues.

Go To: Config -> Emulation Settings -> GS -> Check Disable under Frame Skipping

Thanks for using our PCSX2 New User’s Guide!

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