The 4 Best Laptops For Dolphin Emulator In 2022

The 4 Best Laptop For Dolphin Emulator

Are you a connoisseur of retro consoles and games? Do you want to enjoy your favorite Wii and Gamecube games on the go? Are you and your children looking to kill time on a long-distance flight? Look no further as Dolphin Emulator is open-source software designed to allow you to do just that. Continue reading to see what are the hardware requirements and which are the best laptops for Dolphin Emulator. 

Let’s look at what kind of laptop you need to run Dolphin Emulator and have a stress-free and, more notably, fun experience.

TL;DR: Any laptop newer than 2015 with at least 2 cores / 4 threads and 4GB of RAM should perform A-Okay. Throw in a dedicated GPU for a better graphics experience. Ensure the laptop runs a 64bit OS like Windows 10 or macOS 10.13 High Sierra. 

The best laptops for Dolphin Emulator

Here are 3 best laptops we think will run Dolphin Emulator:

Best Seller

In Stock

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop - Best Cheap Laptop For Dolphin Emulator

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop – Price ~ $300

  • AMD Ryzen 3 3200U 2Cores/4Threads (Up to 3.5GHz)
  • 4GB DDR4 Memory (User Upgradable)
  • 128GB PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 15.6 inches full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
  • AMD Radeon Vega 3 Mobile Graphics
  • Only comes with Windows S
  • Small size SSD
  • Limited RAM

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Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop - Best Bidget laptop For Dolphin Emulator

Lenovo Ideapad L340 Gaming Laptop – Price ~ $700

  • Intel Core i5-9300H 4Cores/8Threads (Max Turbo Frequency 4.10 GHz)
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6 inches full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1650
  • Known throttling issues due to overheating (Can be fixed by undervolting)
  • Short battery life
  • Low-quality touchpad

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In Stock

ASUS TUF A15 FA506IV - Best Laptop For Dolphin Emulator

ASUS TUF A15 FA506IV – Price ~ $1000

  • AMD Ryzen™ 7 4800H 8Cores/16Threads (Boost up to 4.2GHz)
  • 8GB DDR4 Memory
  • 512GB NVMe SSD
  • 15.6 inches full HD (1920 x 1080) widescreen LED-backlit IPS display
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 2060
  • Suspect build quality
  • Heavy to take on the go

Will my current laptop run Dolphin Emulator?

As noted earlier, the system requirements for running Dolphin are not high. If you have a reasonably modern (post-2015) laptop, there is a good chance that the only thing you need to do is install Dolphin from here and give it a test run. 

Faster the laptop better the experience!

If you want the no-holds-barred best emulator experience, and money is no concern, then you should consider this beast. We think this is the best laptop for Dolphin Emulator (and any AAA game you throw at it and).

Best Seller

In Stock

Alienware X17 R2 - Best Laptop For Dolphin Emulator

Alienware X17 R2 – Price ~ $2200

  • Intel Core i7 12700H 14Cores/20Threads (Boost up to 4.70 GHz)
  • 16 GB DDR5 4800 Mhz Memory
  • 1TB M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD
  • 17.3 inches 1920 x 1080 resolution, 360Hz 1ms refresh rate
  • NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 Ti

Operation systems that Dolphin Emulator supports

Dolphin is cross-platform and optimized for all current 64bit operating systems. It is supported on:

  1. Windows 10 and up
  2. macOS 10.13 High Sierra and up
  3. Ubuntu 18.04 LTS and up

Other Linux versions may also work, but you must build Dolphin from the source. If you don’t know what ‘build from source’ means, I advise you to stay away from that graveyard. If you feel adventurous, feel free to follow their installation guide here.

Dolphin Emulator: Intel Or AMD?

Dolphin supports all Intel x64 and AMD processors from AMD Rizen 1st Gen and above. It supports Apple M1 and M2 MacBooks as well. But keep in mind that there are a few issues with Dolphin 5.0 on the newer MacBooks. 

Undoubtedly, CPUs with newer architectures are better as they come with increased IPC (Instructions Per Cycle). This increase in IPC will positively affect Dolphin’s performance and will likely be a significant bottleneck if ignored. 

You should remember that Dolphin is just an emulator for many games with a plethora of bells and whistles. But, in the end, the game determines which features are emulated and ignored. Hence, some games will function excellent with older hardware, and others may stumble even with the latest and most exceptional processors.

How many cores does Dolphin need to run?

Dolphin is a dual-core application, so any dual-core processor should be enough to run it. However, this would mean that the OS would likely have to borrow processing time from the active emulator thread for any background tasks it needs to perform, causing some decrease in performance. 

Hence, a processor with 4 or more cores would be optimal for Dolphin to run without any performance hits. 2 cores can handle the emulation tasks, and the third core handles other tasks managed by Dolphin. The OS would use the last core to oversee and manage any background tasks and programs. This setup would ensure no resources are taken from Dolphin for OS-level tasks. 

There is no added benefit of more than 4 cores as far as Dolphin is concerned. More cores will give you an added advantage if you plan to do background tasks like streaming simultaneously.

Does your laptop need a GPU to run Dolphin Emulator?

Yes and no. While many users are completely satisfied by the performance of their inbuilt graphics, it is recommended that the laptop has a discrete GPU for optimal playability. GPUs are relatively easy to choose. The more powerful the GPU is, the more in-game enhancements you can throw at it before you start seeing a performance slow-down. 

However, the most important thing to consider is that the GPU should support DirectX11.1 and OpenGL 4.4. 

Here is what you need:

  • NVIDIA/AMD: Any modern mid-range or better GPU no older than 6 years should be able to play at HD resolutions without any issue
  • Intel: Iris Pro iGPUs with D3D should work well in Windows 10 and above. However, iGPUs older than the HD4000 are not supported by Dolphin and may cause issues.

How much ram do you need for Dolphin Emulator?

2GB or more RAM is recommended for Dolphin to work correctly. More or faster RAM does not improve the emulation experience as such.

Things to remember before getting a laptop that plays Dolphin Emulator

  1. Dolphin is just an emulator, and often the laptop will be optimized, or more accurately handicapped, by the manufacturer to maintain usable temperatures and avoid CPU/GPU overheating. These limitations will affect the performance achieved by Dolphin, and sometimes the system may need optimizations to unlock its potential fully. These limitations include underclocking CPU / GPU / RAM frequencies, reducing voltages, using integrated graphics instead of discrete graphics, etc. 
  2. Sometimes you may encounter audio stuttering and performance bottlenecks that do not allow Dolphin to output as much audio as required. It would be best if you fixed these bottlenecks to solve this issue. In newer versions of Dolphin, you could also enable Time-Stretched Audio to make the game sound more natural at the cost of some audio latency.
  3. If you find that some particular game is working incorrectly, please remember that Dolphin Emulator is not a flawless emulator. It is an open-source software maintained by a great community that does not ask for anything in return. Look around the Wiki, and you may find a solution for your problem. If not, then file a bug report so that developers know the issue. 
  4. Lastly, you need to own the physical game copies before you can use emulators to enjoy the experience on giant screens with better graphics. We in no way or form condone or encourage piracy of any IP. This article is only for informational purposes. 

Read This Before You Buy

If you decide to buy a new laptop that can run Dolphin Emulator, you should remember to buy a laptop that fits into your daily needs and lifestyle. Consider what else you might do with a new laptop? Would be using it for basic work stuff or will you need some more juice in it for more specialized programs? Do you do some video editing as a hobby or maybe do some animation work as a side hustle? It would be wise to shortlist all your possible use cases and then make a well-informed and researched decision. It always pays to be prepared for all use cases.


Whichever laptop you decide is the best laptop for Dolphin Emulator based on your budget, we hope we were helpful in reaching that decision in some way. If you need any more help leave a comment and someone on our team will get back to you.

Have a good one.


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