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RetroArch to gain a feature to improve input latency in the next release

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RetroArch [Official Site], the frontend for a number of emulators will gain an interesting feature to help improve input latency in the next version.

The feature, they're calling Run-Ahead will run core logic one or more frames ahead and then load the state back to reduce input lag. You can even do a "Two-Instance mode" which will essentially load multiple instances of a core (they call emulators and games cores), which apparently helps with some games having a buzzing sound as some cores don't leave audio emulation in a clean state. You can see an example of the difference in this tweet, which has a comparison between a real NES and RetroArch using Run-Ahead. You can also see a little more info in a reddit post here.

They say it's quite resource intensive, so you will need a rather powerful CPU. Their testing of Super Mario World using Snes9x on a Core i7 7700k would normally give 1500fps, but once they enabled Run-Ahead with 2 frames, it drops right down to 440fps. The higher you set it, the more it will drop of course.

Why are they doing this? Some retro games actually come with "built-in 2/3 frames of latency", so removing it makes it feel a lot better of course. Pretty interesting stuff, emulation is a difficult job and this shows why when they work around issues like this.

It's due in the 1.7.2 release and it will work across Linux, Mac, Windows and Android builds. You can see more information about it here.

Thanks for the tip, Mahendra!

Article taken from
Tags: Emulation
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The comments on this article are closed.

Liam Dawe 4 April 2018 at 12:44 pm UTC
Article text has been adjusted to be clearer, especially on the point about running cores multiple times.
RafiLinux 4 April 2018 at 1:56 pm UTC
Many people try to get me to use RetroArch but it seems to be hit or miss too often with the ROMs I play. Mednafen while limited is perfect. With the frontend Mednaffe it's even better.
Purple Library Guy 4 April 2018 at 5:03 pm UTC
OMG, down to only 440 FPS?! How could that massive performance loss possibly be worth it?!1!?11?!!
razing32 4 April 2018 at 9:25 pm UTC
Purple Library GuyOMG, down to only 440 FPS?! How could that massive performance loss possibly be worth it?!1!?11?!!

Everyone knows the human eye can only see 246 frames ;)

Last edited by razing32 on 4 April 2018 at 9:26 pm UTC
elmapul 5 April 2018 at 1:26 am UTC
GuestAlready tested, in the daily build PPA ! It works well with a reasonable CPU (i3) and 1 frame ahead, which is a safe value because all emulated machines (except the atari 2600 and maybe some similar ?) have 1 frame of lag built in or more.
how did you tested it? you have eyes great like that?
Wendigo 5 April 2018 at 7:23 am UTC
I installed RetroArch as dualboot on my PI3 about half a year ago, but unfortunately the steam controller didn't work.
Does someone know if this has been fixed by now?
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