Nintendo DS Emulation System Requirements

By Joshua Benjamin

Updated September 22, 2017

i computer image by Orlando Florin Rosu from

Video game emulation is the process of emulating the operation of a certain game system on another type of system. A program that allows you to play NES games on your computer, for example, would be one type of emulator, and the emulation would be actually using the computer to play the NES game. While most gaming systems of the previous generation (and earlier) have had working emulators created for them, not all computers are able to run these emulator programs due to the high processing power required. The Nintendo DS hand-held gaming system is no exception. It is important to note before going any further that using emulators and the games--called roms--on your computer is legal only if you already own the game.


When it comes to emulation, especially of current-generation gaming systems, the general rule of thumb is "the more power, the better." Because current-generation consoles do not have to handle the myriad tasks that computers do and can concentrate solely on the gaming aspect, their hardware is configured to get as much power into the game as possible. Computers have to have extra power to keep up with the consoles, because their hardware is configured for a broad range of tasks rather than just gaming. The basic minimum CPU requirement for Nintendo DS emulation is an Intel Pentium processor, preferably capable of speeds in excess of 1 GHZ.


Memory is absolutely key in any attempt to emulate a gaming console on your computer. Because your computer will be using software to emulate gaming hardware--using a program instead of the actual console--it's going to require far more memory to be able to do so effectively than if it were just playing the game normally. As with the CPU, the more you have, the better it will be. Minimum memory requirements for Nintendo DS emulation are at least 256 mb of memory, with at least 1 gigabyte of memory being recommended.

Video Card

Strange as it may sound, the video card is actually of less importance than the previous two entries. While it should be a powerful card, usually the emulators will not be set up in such a way as to take advantage of some of the more advanced features of a video card. The video card does, however, have to support the latest Direct X runtime files--Direct X 9 in February 2010--in order for the emulator to work properly. In that same vein, the computer must have at least Direct X 8 installed for any emulator program to run correctly, though Direct X 9 is recommended.