Please do not post a support request without first reading and following the advice in

My proposed changes to the N64 Optimization Wiki - Please comment!

  • Below is a rough draft of my N64 Optimization wiki page overhaul. Before I make major changes to the page I would like some feedback so that I know my proposed changes are welcome. I have felt like the page has had some bad information and to the best of my ability I removed/amended it. Some categories such as hi-res texture packs I personally know nothing about so I left it as is.

    READ FIRST - Why N64 emulation on the Pi is not so great

    N64 emulation on the raspberry pi is difficult due to the pi's under powered GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) and lack of certain GPU features found in more modern devices. For a more detailed explanation please see this post by a mupen64plus developer.

    If you are looking for a more perfect N64 emulation experience you should seriously consider different hardware first (i.e. a desktop computer, modern mobile phone/tablet etc.). However, listed below are several tweaks that can be made to your raspberry pi that will help maximize N64 performance and make many of the popular N64 titles playable.

    Hardware and Configuration

    A Raspberry Pi 2 or Raspberry Pi 3 is highly suggested.

    Overclocking is setting a hardware component to run faster than originally intended by the manufacturer. There is no standard for overclocking and not all pis will handle the same amount of overclocking. Therefore before you make changes to how your pi runs you should read this article first for proper overclocking methods and stability testing to prevent SD card corruption and potential loss of your data.

    For boosting N64 performance boost look to overclock gpu_freq and core_freq. Most pis seem to be stable at gpu_freq=500 and core_freq=550 with some amount of over voltage although your particular pi may be able to be clocked higher (or not at all).

    arm_freq(CPU) and sdram_freqoverclocking are of little to no help for boosting N64 performance on the pi. Though they may help increase performance for other high demand emulators such as PSX or MAME.

    v3d_freq is set by the gpu_freq setting so it does not need to be set separately.


    The CPU governor controls when your overclock is applied. With the cpu-governor set to performance mode your pi will run at full speed while running ROMs but will down-clock when sitting idle in Emulation Station. The CPU governor can be set to max performance mode in one of two ways.

    echo "performance" |sudo tee /sys/devices/system/cpu/cpu0/cpufreq/scaling_governor

    Or you can enable it from Runcommand Go to Retropie-Setup - Setup and Configuration to be used post install - Configure the runcommand launch script - cpu configuration force performance
    then cancel, exit and reboot.

    Selecting the Correct Emulator and Graphics Plugin

    Just as important as overclocking, selecting the right emulator/graphics plugin from the run command menu on a per game basis will also increase performance.

    To learn the community tested optimal settings please view either of the 2 rom compatibility lists located here or here. (rom compatibility lists are all in need of retesting with new hardware sets and updates to software) Do not accept these lists as 100% accurate as they are community maintained and with updates may change over time. There may be some inaccuracies so it is best just to use the lists as a general starting point. Some games listed as playable have with recent updates become playable and vice versa. Current Default Emulator is mupen64plus-auto which will attempt to select the correct graphics plugin for you, however for best results it is best to test each plugin for yourself on a per game basis. It is recommended that you confirm a game runs well with the standard low-res plugin before attempting to use the hi-res option.

    Each plugin should be set to the lowest resolution to increase performance. This can be scaled up for some games that perform really well like Mario kart and Super Mario 64 at your own discretion.

    Notes on Audio

    The SDL audio plugin produces less audio drop out during lag and makes for an improved experience over the the OMX audio plugin. Previously, the SDL audio produced an audio crackling that was undesirable. With recent updates the audio crackle was fixed so it is now fine to use SDL audio. To switch to the SDL audio plugin first update your mupen64plus emulator to the latest binary version. Then navigate to: /opt/retropie/configs/all/autoconf.cfg and make sure that mupen64plus_audio = "0"

    As a side benefit from using SDL audio, save/load states will now function properly with mupen64plus.

    High Resolution Texture Packs

    From Current version forward Hi Resolution Texture options are automatically configured to True in the configuration files. You should not need to modify them as you did with previous versions.

    If it is critical to check that everything is enabled simply run this command in one line

    cat /opt/retropie/configs/n64/mupen64plus.cfg | grep Textures && cat /opt/retropie/configs/n64/mupen64plus.cfg | grep txHiresEnable

    and you should get a result looking like

    LoadHiResTextures = True DumpTexturesToFiles = False txHiresEnable = True txHiresEnable = True

    Which will confirm that Hi Rez is turned on for both Glide and Rice Plugins

    Make sure you have launched a rom with both Rice and Glide before checking the file or the variables will not be there to confirm.

    Glide Line

    # Use high-resolution texture packs if available.
    txHiresEnable = False

    Rice Line

    # Enable hi-resolution texture file loading
    LoadHiResTextures = False

    You would then place high res texture packs in the directory /home/pi/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture

    Download the texture packs to that directory and then unzip them:

    mkdir /home/pi/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture
    cd /home/pi/.local/share/mupen64plus/hires_texture
    wget http://websitewithtexturepack/
    sudo unzip

    Texture packs are available for download here

    The folder name in that directory must match the core name in the rom header.
    Most cases the default directory name is ok but you may need to check if you find if your rom is not correctly launching the texture pack.

    To find that you can use the command to display the core name just use the command below in terminal then exit and scroll up I do it from a ssh session cause I can scroll up and read it. But in the first few lines it will show the core name

    cd /home/pi/RetroPie/roms/n64
    /opt/retropie/emulators/mupen64plus/bin/ mupen64plus-video-rice rom name

    You can use the same command to launch the rom correctly loading the texture pack.

    To get the texture pack to load from emulation station you must do the following.
    Launch Retropie Setup
    Update Retropie Setup Script
    Go to Manage Packages
    update the mupen64plus package (I Suggest installing from source)

    Go to launch one of the N64 games you have uploaded a high resolution texture pack for.
    Launch that game
    Press x or any key when it launches
    change the video mode to one of the following options

    Then hit launch

    Please also feel free to reference the Rice 64 github page for the source documentation

  • administrators

    It looks good for a first pass. In regards to the portion of over clocking I think there should be a large bolded disclaimer or something saying that it should only be done by advanced users, at their own risk, can cause freezing/instability/void warranty etc.

    As often people listen to some annoying youtuber telling them to change settings they don't understand and then come here wondering why their pi sploded. I'd rather the wiki not do the same thing.

  • @herb_fargus thanks for the feedback. I have noticed the same thing. I suspect many people who overclock their pis do very little in the way of stability testing and think that just because it boots and runs a couple games it's stable. I'll add a little more to that section and make sure it's bolded.

  • I do agree the lists need complete overhaul as some games that ran flawlessly, now don’t work (Pokemon Snap)

Log in to reply

Contributions to the project are always appreciated, so if you would like to support us with a donation you can do so here.

Hosting provided by Mythic-Beasts. See the Hosting Information page for more information.