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How to Install and Configure Dolphin Emulator on Windows 8.1


Introduction




Dolphin is an emulator for two recent Nintendo video game consoles: the GameCube and the Wii. It allows PC gamers to enjoy games for these two consoles in full HD (1080p) with several enhancements: compatibility with all PC controllers, turbo speed, networked multiplayer, and even more!




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Dolphin is a cross-platform emulator that runs on Windows (10 and newer), Linux, macOS (10.15 Catalina and up), and Android (5.0 and above). Other Unix-like systems (such as FreeBSD) may work but are not officially supported. Operating systems are required to be 64-bit to run Dolphin.


Dolphin has been well received in the IT and video gaming media for its high compatibility, steady development progress, the number of available features, and the ability to play games with graphical improvements over the original consoles.


If you want to experience some of your favorite Nintendo games on your PC, then dolphin emulator is a great option for you. In this article, I will show you how to download, install, and configure dolphin emulator for Windows 8.1.


Downloading dolphin emulator




The first step is to download the latest version of the dolphin emulator from the official website. You can choose between two types of versions: beta and development.


Beta versions are released every month, usually accompanied by a Progress Report article. They are more stable than development versions, but may not have the newest features or fixes.


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Development versions are released every time a developer makes a change to Dolphin, several times every day! They have the latest and greatest improvements to the project, but they are less tested than beta versions.


For this guide, I will use the latest beta version as an example, but you can also use a development version if you prefer.


To download dolphin emulator, follow these steps:


  • Go to of dolphin emulator.



  • Under Beta versions, click on Windows x64.



  • Save the file to your preferred location on your PC.



Installing dolphin emulator




After downloading dolphin emulator, you need to extract and run it on your PC. Dolphin does not require installation or administrator privileges to run.


To install dolphin emulator, follow these steps:


  • Locate the downloaded file (dolphin-x64-beta.zip) and right-click on it.



  • Select Extract All... from the context menu.



  • Choose a destination folder for the extracted files and click Extract.



  • Open the destination folder and double-click on Dolphin.exe to launch the emulator.



Configuring dolphin emulator




Before you start playing games on dolphin emulator, you may want to adjust some of the settings of the emulator for optimal performance and compatibility. Dolphin has two performance related configuration windows: Dolphin configuration and Graphics settings, in addition to applying settings per game via their GameINI.


In this section, I will explain some of the most important settings that affect dolphin's performance. For more details on each setting, you can check out .


Dolphin configuration




This window contains general settings for dolphin's emulation behavior. To access it, click on Config on the main menu bar. Here are some of the settings that you can tweak:


  • Enable Dual Core: This option enables the use of multiple CPU cores for emulation, which can improve performance on modern systems. However, it may also cause some instability or crashes in some games, so you may want to disable it if you encounter any issues.



  • Enable Cheats: This option allows you to use cheat codes for your games. You can find and download cheat codes from or other sources. To enable cheats for a specific game, right-click on the game in the game list and select Properties. Then, go to the AR Codes or Gecko Codes tab and check the codes that you want to use.



  • Audio Backend: This option determines how dolphin handles audio output. You can choose between different backends, such as XAudio2, Cubeb, WASAPI, or Null (no audio). The best choice may vary depending on your system and preferences, but XAudio2 is usually recommended for most users.



  • Audio Stretching: This option enables a feature that stretches audio to prevent audio from stuttering or cracking when the emulation speed is not 100%. However, it may also introduce some latency or distortion in the sound, so you may want to disable it if you prefer accuracy over smoothness.



Graphics settings




This window contains settings for dolphin's video output and enhancements. To access it, click on Graphics on the main menu bar. You can also access it by right-clicking on a game in the game list and selecting Graphics Settings, which will allow you to apply settings per game. Here are some of the settings that you can tweak:


  • Backend: This option determines how dolphin renders graphics. You can choose between different backends, such as Direct3D 11, Direct3D 12, OpenGL, or Vulkan. The best choice may vary depending on your system and preferences, but Direct3D 11 is usually recommended for most users.



  • Fullscreen Resolution: This option determines the resolution of your display when running dolphin in fullscreen mode. You can choose from a list of available resolutions or select Auto (Window Size) to match the size of your window.



  • Aspect Ratio: This option determines the aspect ratio of the game screen. You can choose between Auto (use game's setting), Force 16:9 (widescreen), Force 4:3 (standard), or Stretch to Window (fill the entire window).



  • V-Sync: This option enables vertical synchronization, which synchronizes the frame rate of dolphin with the refresh rate of your monitor. This can prevent screen tearing, but it may also introduce some input lag or reduce performance.



  • Enhancements: This tab contains various options to enhance the graphics quality of your games, such as increasing the internal resolution, applying anti-aliasing, anisotropic filtering, post-processing effects, texture scaling, and more. These options can improve the appearance of your games, but they may also require more processing power and cause performance issues on lower-end systems.



  • Hacks: This tab contains various options to improve the performance and compatibility of your games, such as skipping EFB access from CPU, ignoring format changes, storing EFB copies to texture only, texture cache accuracy, fast depth calculation, and more. These options can speed up your games, but they may also cause graphical glitches or inaccuracies in some cases.



Adding games to dolphin emulator




After configuring dolphin emulator, you need to add your game files to the emulator. Dolphin supports playing games from ISO files (disc images) or WBFS files (compressed disc images). You can also use NKit files


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