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Revision as of 22:01, 19 October 2020 by MAME Cheater (talk | contribs) (Overview)
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Developer(s) PCSX2 Team
Latest version 1.6.0
Active Yes
Platform(s) Windows, Linux, macOS
Emulates PlayStation 2
Compatibility Compatibility list
Website PCSX2.net
License GNU GPLv2
Source code GitHub

PCSX2 is an open-source, plugin-based PlayStation 2 emulator. Its purpose is to mimic the PS2 hardware using a combination of MIPS CPU interpreters, recompilers and a virtual machine which manages hardware states and PS2 system memory. In 2016, preliminary work was started on PS1 support.[1]


Windows Linux macOS Stable builds
Mac builds are severely outdated
Windows Dev builds

System requirements



These are recommended specs for using PCSX2[2], but depending on the game you want to play, your mileage may vary. Some games need high-end, possibly overclocked CPUs or powerful GPUs, whereas some games run even on weak processors.

For those with DualShock 3 controllers, use SCP Driver Package.



Get God Hand running on a laptop

Native DS3 controls with LilyPad-SCP - Import this with the 'Load Bindings' button in LilyPad's config.

Either that, or you can use the Pokopom XInput Plugin. If you use a DualShock controller running under a XInput wrapper such as SCP Server, then this plugin is a no-brainer. It's very customizable, and you don't have to configure it beforehand. All of the buttons are bound at startup.

Also, you can easily (and quite effortlessly) set up and use a DualShock 4 pad if you connect it wirelessly via an official PlayStation DualShock 4 Bluetooth USB dongle PC adapter from Sony. A generic bluetooth adapter (integrated or external) should work too with combination ryochan7/DS4Windows or via steam as a wrapper for wired or wireless.


Most of the video options should be straightforward, with the possible exception of interlacing modes. Many games will run fine with 'None', while others may experience artifacting or jitter.

  • "Sawtooth" is not recommended at all. Artifacting is far too heavy to be usable.
  • "Bob" has reduced artifacts, but jitter can still occur.
  • "Blend" has the least amount of jitter. However, it can cause blurriness. The Blend interlacer does frame-blending. This is also known as motion blur. This means that if there is heavy jitter, the video output will be extremely blurry since the two jittering frames will blend together. Only use this interlacing method as a last resort.

Another method to get around this is by running GSdx in hardware rendering, doubling the vertical resolution (if a game displays 640x480 on the emulator window, set vertical res to 960) and selecting bob-tff for interlacing. This can eliminate interlacing artifacts in most cases, although issues with upscaling, as well as using hardware emulation over software, can arise.


Code for 64-bit support for all major PC versions of PCSX2 including Windows, Linux and macOS was in development from June 07, 2020; and both 32-bit & 64-bit builds for all three desktop PC systems started being available on July 04, 2020.[3] Eventually, this has the potential to reduce the so-called 'technical debt' (Consisting of hacks built in for some games) that still cause issues in 32-bit builds; and broaden the emulator's support for more platforms and devices such as support for ARM64 chips (Also for Mac too).

PCSX2 is a plugin-based emulator in name only. All plugins are developed in tandem with the emulator in the same source tree. With the exception of some specialized input plugins discussed below, there is no reason to add additional plugins such as the older ZeroGS/ZeroSPU2. Similar to current versions of Dolphin, the PCSX2 developers intend to eventually have all the plugins statically linked/"baked-in". Already, PSX emulator support has been dropped from LilyPad and GSdx (does not affect playing PSX games in PCSX2) and the audio plugin SPU2-X has been integrated into the core.


Automatic game fixes

Whenever you encounter any kind of bug that isn't graphical in nature, objects going through other objects, untargetable objects that should be targetable or A.I. freezing, for example, make sure that the automatic game fixes option from the system menu is activated.

Major graphical glitches

Whenever a game has graphical problems such as garbage texture, missing effects, light sources visible through a wall, burn-in or transparent objects being opaque, the easiest fix is generally to switch to software mode either by pressing F9 in-game or via the configuration panel of the GSdx plugin. If using the DX11 renderer another option is to try the OGL one which is generally more up to date and more accurate. If you're using stable version of the emulator, try using the most recent development build. Newer development builds of the emulator have fixes in the hardware rendering which may remove graphical errors such as red or green bars appearing on the screen. The newest development build can be found at https://pcsx2.net/download/development/dev-windows.html, click the download link of the revision closest to the top of the page.

Poor performance in software mode

Many games will require you to switch to software mode to fix various issues, albeit at the cost of a significant performance loss. However, an easily overlooked setting in the graphical plugin configuration panel, extra rendering threads, might help lessen the performance loss if you have a quad-core or higher CPU. It is recommended to set it to the number of cores in your CPU minus one if you aren't using the MTVU speed-hack, or minus two if you are (ex: if you are using a quad core CPU you should set this number to 3 without MTVU and 2 with MTVU). The process described above is partially automated in recent development versions of PCSX2 but you might still need to tweak it to get optimal performance levels

Multi-threaded microVU

Multi-threaded microVU (MTVU), while generally a very useful speed-hack, might sometime cause minor problems like hanging and absence of performance gain or more severe ones like massive performance hits, save-states corruption (PCSX2 keeps a backup you can load with Shift+F3 in case any issues arise) and crashes to desktop.


Crashes could be the results of several things. Switching between hardware and software rendering rapidly is likely to cause the emulator to lock up. This can be easily avoided by waiting a few seconds after switching between hardware and software rendering before switching again. If the log warns you one or several times about being out of memory or the emulator crashes without warning several times in a row after playing for around the same amount of time you will need to apply a patch to make the executable large address aware, its more commonly referred to as the 4GB patch. If your GPU drivers also crash simultaneously (or you get massive graphical corruption on your desktop and/or a BSOD while trying to run a game) this means you're either using outdated drivers or you're trying to use an AMD card with the OGL renderer and Blending Accuracy set to none, in which case either set it to basic or higher or use the DX11 renderer instead. If the log warns you about TLB miss you are either:

  • Using a bad dump of a game, in which case you'll need to re-rip your disc or re-download the game you are trying to play.
  • Playing the game directly from your DVD drive, in which case you should rip the game and play using the .iso instead (it's not advised to play directly from your DVD drive).
  • Trying to play a game that isn't supported by the emulator, in which case you cannot do anything except trying another version of the game (PAL or NTSC-J for example).
  • Trying to play a game with a massive or in some cases any EE overclock applied, in which case turn it back down the speedhack menu.
  • Try to configure modo clamping to Completo, in the emulator settings.

If PCSX2 still crashes after doing all of the above, check that you aren't using any speed-hacks and that your system is stable and not overheating especially if you are overclocking.

Extreme fluctuation emulation speed

The large fluctuation in emulation generally are caused by the games themselves and cannot be avoided but there is a handful of cases where this is caused by specific configuration issues

  • Using large internal resolution multiplier on a lower end GPU, even if the game runs mostly fine some effect can cause the emulator to suddenly have to do a lot of very heavy operation on the VRAM, lower GPU tend to have much lower VRAM bandwidth and will get absolutely crushed by what PCSX2 tries to do, especially true when using Large framebuffer and even more so when using the OGL renderer, obviously the only real fix is turning the resolution down and disabling Large Framebuffer if possible
  • Playing the game directly from the original DVD using a disc drive, in which case you should rip the game and play using the .iso instead
  • Having the Blending accuracy set too high in the OGL renderer (Full and Ultra mostly)
  • Using EE overclock in some games

Intermittent warped audio

Due to how the synchronizing function of the audio plugin works, even when running games on a computer that is capable of going way above 100% speed in a stable fashion, random bits of time-stretched audio can be heard occasionally or even frequently, there are however a few ways to work around that issue.

  • Set the audio syncing method to Async Mix (can cause A/V sync issue, not recommended with rhythm games), do not set it to None as it basically does the same thing as Async Mix but has more issues
  • Unlock the PCSX2 framerate limiter and use an external one such as MSI Afterburner


It's either interlacing or a filter in the game itself. For the former, switching the de-interlacing mode with F5 may help, and may cause flicker or screen shaking. For the latter, hacks are required. Either Aggressive-CRC if the game is listed there, or skipdraw (toy with the number, 1-100) might work otherwise.

Black lines

Black lines are caused by scaling to a non-integer internal resolution (anything other than Yx Native), texture filtering (Try anything that isn't bilinear (Forced), improperly offset textures (TC Offset, Wild Arms Offset hacks, Half-Pixel Offset), or improperly handled texture edges (Merge Sprite hack, Sprite/Round Sprite combobox). Native resolution, for the most part, fixes these issues, however, software rendering may be required as well.

Special hardware

Pressure-sensitive buttons

The DualShock 2 joypad bundled with the PS2 has all buttons and sticks with variable pressure states.

While most PS2 games don't require this feature, instead preferring variable trigger/stick pressure (e.g. sneaking past the sleeping dog in Chulip), a select few do. Some examples include:

  • All three attack buttons in the Bouncer do different attacks based on whether the press was light, medium or strong. Same goes for the musical game Mad Maestro.
  • Star Ocean 3 has a musical item that plays different melodies depending on pressure and they're required for progressing.

Games requiring variable trigger pressure need physical controllers with analog sticks, but rare are third-party controllers which support variable pressure buttons. To know if your controller supports it, open the LilyPad plugin settings by going to the PCSX2 menu and selecting "Config", "Controllers (PAD)", and "Plugin Settings". At the LilyPad plugin popup, select your gamepad from the list of detected controllers in the "Device Diagnostics" box in the lower left then click the "Test Device" button.

A small popup window will appear, showing a list of all the gamepad's buttons as well as their current state. 0.000 = indicates unpressed, 1.000 = indicates fully depressed. Roll either analog stick around. See how the values change from 0.000 to 0.xyz, with the .xyz values shifting incrementally. These changing .xyz values show how the plugin detects different changes in angle as you move the analog stick around.

Now press any of the buttons normally used by games, i.e. the triangle/square/cross/circle buttons. See how the values immediately shift from 0.000 = unpressed, directly to 1.000 = pressed. If your gamepad truly has pressure sensitive buttons you will see gradual 0.xyz changes as you slowly press each button, just like the different changes in angle as you move the analog sticks around. If the buttons change from 0.000 directly to 1.000 this proves that your gamepad buttons are not pressure sensitive and are merely tracking the pressed/unpressed state.

The solution would be to either buy an official DualShock 3 controller and use an appropriate 3rd party driver such as SCP Driver Package, or mapping the button to a rarely used trigger/stick in LilyPad this way:

An additional button needs to be mapped to circle as well but configured to deliver "light" pressure. This is done by opening the gamepad plugin configuration and choosing a rarely used key - for example, the lower shoulder button L2 - and remapping it to the circle button, and setting the sensitivity to 0.500 or thereabouts. In the game, merely use the remapped [email protected] button to deliver "light" tap/hold tunes while the regular circle button can be used normally to deliver "hard" tap/hold tunes.

Lightgun Support

Lightgun support is available in the pcxs2 emulator via a third party plugin called nuvee. His allows you to use and mouse or mouse compatible device (such as a lightgun) to play the large ps2 library of lightgun games[4].

See also


External links