Gaming has grown and evolved in tons of different ways over the last few decades. And the sheer amount of different games that people can play nowadays is crazy to think about. Throughout the years we’ve had massive blockbuster releases and amazing games that have flown under people’s radar. But thanks to modern tech and the devotion of different programmers out there, game emulation has come a long way. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on old gaming hardware and old games as long as you have a device with decent specs. One of the most developed and best working emulators out there is Dolphin. Learn more with our Best Laptop for Dolphin Emulator Guide!
Table of Contents
Best Laptop for Dolphin Emulator
Dolphin is an emulator that plays Nintendo Gamecube and Wii games. Two consoles that have a plethora of classics that should be played by every single gamer out there at least once. But Dolphin itself can sometimes be a little tricky to run and you need to make sure that you get a decent device to run it.
For the first option on this list, we’ve got a laptop that’ll appeal to those who want to save some money. We’ve gone for this laptop from Acer for its affordability and nice design. Typically Acer laptops fit right into any place of work. They have a simple style but a professional look and this laptop are no different. Of course to some people, this might be pretty boring to look at. If you’re looking for something that’s a little more exciting to look at you may want to check out our other options.
But let’s get into what kind of experience you can get when you actually try and use the laptop. First up we’ve got a 15.6”, 1080p screen here which is perfect for gaming and watching stuff. This particular screen is vibrant and displays colors beautifully. Then we’ve got 4GB of RAM which is definitely on the lower end here. It’s the minimum that you need to run Dolphin so you may experience some stuttering from here and there.
The processor is an AMD Ryzen 3 3200U and again this is definitely a lower-end CPU. You might run into some issues with some games but you should be alright as long as you double-check. The GPU is an AMD Radeon RX Vega 3 and you shouldn’t have too many issues here really. You won’t be playing modern games with this but Dolphin should run just fine. And if you are someone who travels a lot with their laptop, this one has around 7 hours of battery life. This should last you a pretty good while but carry around the charger just in case. All in all, this is a fantastic budget option for anyone who doesn’t want to spend too much money.
Next up we’ve got a laptop that’s a little bit of a step up in a couple of different ways. We’ve gone for this laptop from Lenovo for its great specs at a reasonable price. Aesthetically speaking, Lenovo rarely does anything super fancy with their products. Most of the time they have a very simplistic style and attitude to the stuff they make. This laptop is no different but it looks great because of that. The dark blue colour of the case that contrasts with the grey keyboard looks fantastic and stands out.
This laptop also has quite a lot going on under the hood too. Starting off with the screen, we’ve got a 14” display that outputs at 1080p. It looks great but it isn’t the biggest screen you could get by any means. Though if you’ll be emulating Gamecube and Wii games the size and resolution of the screen shouldn’t matter a huge amount. For the RAM we’ve got 8GB of memory to work with. Which is around what we want for Dolphin to operate smoothly. It’ll also mean that Windows runs nice and smooth too.
For the CPU we’ve got an AMD Ryzen 5 3500U, which is still on the low end for laptops. You won’t be able to run apps that require a lot of power to work correctly. But for Dolphin, it should be fine. The GPU is an AMD Radeon Vega 8, not anything super special really so don’t expect to run modern games with this. Finally, the battery life is around 5 hours which isn’t really all that great. It’ll also be a bit shorter than that if you’re gaming on it for a while so just bear that in mind. This is another great laptop that still fits into that affordable range.
Up next we’ve got a laptop that is perfect for anyone who wants something within the mid-range. We’ve gone for this laptop from Acer for its great aesthetics and good specs for gaming. We mentioned previously how a lot of the Acer laptops tend to be a bit boring to look at. This laptop sort of disproves that. so far it’s the most unique looking laptop on the list. The colors here are striking, the black case contrasts with the red-backlit keyboard in a really cool way. The angular corners also help to give the laptop a distinct silhouette that helps it stand out.
Let’s take a closer look at how this laptop performs now. We’ll start with the screen which is a 15.6” display that outputs in 1080p. This is another great looking screen, perfect for gaming or watching films though it makes the laptop a bit heavy. The colors are vibrant and you’ll be able to see every bit of detail that you’d need to. For the RAM we’ve once again got 8GB to work with and this is really the sort of ballpark you want to be aiming for. It’ll ensure that Windows runs smooth and that any games you play on Dolphin will be able to work at 100% speed. But you’ll also need a good enough CPU that can keep up and the Intel i5-9300H should do that just fine.
The GTX 1650 should also let you play some more intensive games that have come out in the last decade too. So you should be covered there for games old and new. The battery life here is also pretty good, being able to last around 8 hours. All in all, this is a pretty impressive mid-range laptop and definitely worth your time.
For the next option on this list, we’ve gone for a laptop that is completely designed for gaming. We’ve gone for this gaming laptop for Lenovo for its relatively good value for money. And while this is a gaming laptop, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell straight away. Unlike most gaming laptops, this one doesn’t really stand out in any noticeable way. There is no keyboard backlight, RGB, or anything like that. It’s a fairly standard Lenovo design and there’s nothing wrong with that. But if you want something flashier you’ll need to look elsewhere.
So in terms of what you can expect with this laptop, there’s actually quite a lot to talk about. Starting off with the screen, we’ve got a 15.6” display that outputs at 1080p. It also has a refresh rate of 144Hz and while that doesn’t really matter for older games, newer ones definitely benefit it. For the RAM we’ve got 16GB to work with and that’s a great amount. It’ll ensure that your laptop runs smoothly and it’ll definitely help emulators run at full speed. The CPU is also pretty good here too. AMD’s Ryzen 7 4800H is a good CPU made specifically for laptop gaming. So it should help out a lot when trying to run an emulator like Dolphin.
The GPU is a GTX 1660 Ti and this is still a pretty decent graphics card. Even though we’ve had two full generations of GPU from NVIDIA since then. The battery life here is also pretty decent. Being able to last around 7 hours of use before needing to be recharged. Overall this is another great laptop, especially if you’re looking for a laptop that can handle modern gaming.
For the final option on this list, we’ve gone for a laptop that prioritizes performance over all else. We’ve chosen this laptop from MSI for its great performance and aesthetics. And when you think about a gaming laptop this is probably what you would picture. A laptop that just looks like it packs a lot of power. From the RGB backlit keyboard to the logo and pattern on the back of the display. It’s pretty easy to tell that this is a gaming laptop. Of course, you may want something that is a little more subtle. But if that’s the case then this won’t be the laptop for you.
Let’s talk about the really interesting parts of this laptop now and that’s what it’s got under the good. Starting off with the screen, we’ve got a 15.6” display that outputs at 1080p. It also has a refresh rate of 144HZ which is really going to help if you play any fast-paced multiplayer games. Then we’ve got 16GB of RAM which is a really good amount of memory. It should ensure that your laptop runs smoothly and any games you emulate shouldn’t stutter.
The CPU here is also really good. The Intel i7-10750H is a higher-end laptop gaming processor. Which will basically mean that your emulator shouldn’t really have any issues at all with running games at full speed. Which makes it perfect for running Dolphin. Plus it has an RTX 2070 GPU which will run almost any modern game with no issue at all. The worst aspect of this laptop by far is the battery which can only last around 5 hours. But all in all, this is still a great laptop as long as you can afford it and bear in mind the rather short battery life.
If you’ve come this far down the list and you’ve still got no idea which laptop you want, don’t worry! In this section we’ll be giving you some extra bits of advice to help you with your purchase.
What you’ll need to run Dolphin
Dolphin, like most emulators you’ll find, is constantly being updated and tweaked. This means that the emulator is being optimized for less powerful machines and newer hardware constantly. But there are still a few things that you need to know before trying to use it. First, the exact requirements that you need for Dolphin to work aren’t very strenuous at all. As long as you have a fairly modern PC/Laptop it should work just fine. Each game has different system requirements though and this is where it can get tricky. This means that some games may perform flawlessly and then some others will not work very well. You’ll have to do some research and troubleshooting of your own if the game you have doesn’t work properly. And prepare to mess around with Dolphin’s settings a bunch to get the exact kind of experience that you want.
Pick a laptop that fits in with your lifestyle
One of the most important aspects when deciding to buy a new laptop, or any bit of tech really, is how it’ll fit in with your day to day. Spending your hard-earned cash on something that’s actually making your life harder is a little bit backward really isn’t it? So you need to pay careful consideration to whether a new laptop will fit in with what you do. For instance, if you travel a lot and use a laptop on the go, you don’t want something big and bulky. You want to aim to get a laptop that is light and portable with a good bit of battery life. But if you need a machine to work from home but don’t want to be stuck at a desk with a PC you can be a little freer with your choice. Aim to get a laptop that packs a lot of power and don’t be afraid to get something with a bigger screen. Battery life is less of an issue here if you’ll be home since you can charge it anytime.
Reminder: Piracy is illegal. You’ll need to procure your own copies of the games you want to play in order to get them to work with Dolphin.
Be sure to get a decent controller to play your games. Gamecube games were designed specifically for a controller. While you can use a keyboard as an input device it really isn’t recommended.
Dolphin has a lot of settings that allow you to tweak the visuals of your games. So you could technically play Gamecube games in 4K if you wanted to. But be warned that a lot of those features are very intensive and can reduce performance significantly.
If you’re going to be using the laptop at home mainly, make sure you get a laptop with a big screen. The bigger the screen the easier that games will be to play. But if you’re looking for something that is more portable, aim to get a smaller laptop that still has a good screen.
Verdict – The Best Laptop for Dolphin Emulator
That’s been our guide for ‘The Best Laptop for Dolphin Emulator. If it helped you out at all, please let us know about it in the comments below! Thanks for reading.