How To Speed Up DeSmuME

Gaming emulators are on the rise as they offer an easy-to-use and cheap alternative to playing some of your favorite games from your childhood. 

Long after the consoles are discontinued and now that retro game cartridges cost a lot of money due to their rarity, emulators like DeSmuMe allow everyone to play retro and long-forgotten games once again. 

How To Speed Up DeSmuME

The issue is that some emulators like DeSmuMe are not perfect. One huge issue found with them is that they are very slow – so how can you speed them up?

If your DeSmuMe emulator is running too slow for your tastes, then try out some hints and tricks below that might help speed it up. Then, you can play your favorite games from your childhood with ease. 

What Is DeSmuME?

DeSmuMe is a Nintendo DS emulator (see also ‘How To Patch An SNES ROM‘) that is capable of accurately running Nintendo DS games on your PC.

This allows you to play some of your favorite games from your childhood even if you no longer own a Nintendo DS or the game cartridge. It does this by allowing you to emulate many ROMs and demos.

It is one of the most popular Nintendo DS emulators thanks to its accuracy and open-source status, meaning that it is available for use, modification and distribution.

Many people choose DeSmuMe when looking for a very good, high quality Nintendo DS emulation software – but it is not without its faults. 

The DeSmuMe emulator is great at compatibility and accuracy, but it is rather slow. Due to this compromise, there is not much you can do to speed DeSmuMe up but it’s not impossible. 

How To Speed Up Your DeSmuMe

If you are looking for ways to speed up your DeSmuME Nintendo DS emulator, then here are a few steps you can take to try and get it to work faster.

Although these aren’t guaranteed ways to make your DeSmuMe run faster, they may help out until the DeSmuMe team can work on their own ways to improve their emulator. 

For now, try out these hints and tips to help speed up your DeSmuMe. 

Enable Speed Hack

If you use an external BIOS image, then this could be one of the reasons why your DeSmuMe emulator runs so slowly.

BIOS images can slow down a DeSmuMe emulator so it’s not recommended that you use one, but if you need to and have no choice – you need to enable a hack called “Patch DelayLoop SWI”. 

To do this, go to your emulator settings and under the BIOS section, click ‘Use External BIOS Images’. Under that, keep scrolling to find the option ‘Emulate SWIs with BIOS Images’ and click on it.

Then you should see the ‘Patch DelayLoop SWI’ option – click it so it is marked.

This speed hack should help speed up your DeSmuMe emulator. 

Press A

Another way to help improve the speed of your DeSmuMe emulator is by pressing ‘A’ on Settings and switching between OpenGL Renderer and Software Rasterizer. 

Do this by pressing ‘A’ on the ‘Config’ option and go to your emulation settings. Unclick the check mark found next to the ‘Enable Bus-Level Timing option. 

Avoid Using Certain Sound Settings

Certain sound settings can slow down your emulator so try switching these settings to speed up your DeSmuMe emulator. Head on into your sound settings and check the option ‘Dual SPU’.

Avoid using the settings ‘Advanced SPU Logic’ and try setting the interpolation to none. 

Also, turning your sound off altogether can help speed up your DeSmuMe emulator but this option is not exactly ideal – especially if you want to indulge in the nostalgic music of some of your favorite games. 

Enable Frame Skipping

Frame skipping allows emulators to skip a certain amount of frames but still maintains the real-time speed of a game.

This is a method used across lots of different emulators (see also ‘How To Make DOSBox Full Screen‘), and not just DeSmuMe, to speed up gameplay and allow them to run faster. 

To enable frame skipping on your DeSmuMe emulator, all you have to do is go to the ‘Tools’ option and click on ‘Frame Skipping’.

Enable frame skipping by setting it to 1. Do this by going to ‘View’ then clicking on ‘LCDs Layout’ and then ‘One LCD’. 

Avoid Using Netbooks and Laptops

Laptops, netbooks and even notebook computers struggle to feature the kind of power needed to run emulators like DeSmuMe.

It’s disappointing as these kinds of computers are popular as they are mobile and usually more affordable than more powerful computers – but unfortunately, they aren’t powerful enough to handle emulators. 

If you are still using a laptop then try and disable the power management. This will allow it to run at a better speed but will drain your battery very quickly.

You can consider upgrading to a faster computer, but this means spending quite a bit of money. You can increase your RAM speed by upgrading your laptop’s RAM card (see also ‘What Is Swap Memory?‘). 

These are all tips that can help your laptop’s speed and performance increase while running an emulator, but it’s always best to use a computer if that option is available to you. 

Use DeSmuMe Builds Only

When looking for a DeSmuMe build, try and stick to the ones available on the official DeSmuMe website. 

Any other unofficial builds are not compatible with DeSmuMe and will run much slower. So, if you are after a build, stick to the ones available on the DeSmuMe website for a compatible build that will run at a higher pace. 


As we said earlier, DeSmuMe is infamous for being a very slow emulator so there is very little you can do to speed up your DeSmuMe emulator to a much faster speed. However, there are still things you can try to increase its pace.

Try out the hints and tips above to see if any of them make a drastic difference to the speed of your DeSmuMe emulator. They are not certain fixes, but they should help in some way.

Hopefully, DeSmuMe will work on improving the speed of their emulator so future versions will be far more enjoyable to play while still maintaining that quality and accuracy DeSmuMe is known for.

Erik D