PCSX2 has the first run configuration wizard to help you with configuration. The emulator will automatically store all settings, memcards and any new configuration related files in your My Documents folder if you used the installer, or in the same folder where pcsx2.exe is located if you downloaded the binary version.
In the next screen you will be able change the plugins you want to use. The plugins selected by default are the most compatible ones and will usually perform better. Do not change anything here if you are not yet familiar with PCSX2.
You can also specify a different folder for your plugins if you want, by unchecking the use default setting checkbox and selecting a folder of your choice by clicking Browse. Open in Explorer button will simply open a file explorer window in the folder you have specified.
From Config menu using Plugin/BIOS item, you can review and change the above settings or plugins used by PCSX2 at any time. More information about plugins will be given in the following section of the guide.
The Component Selector is the plugin and BIOS configuration window that opens when you select 'Config => Plugin/Bios Selector in 1.6.0. It has three tabs: Plugins, BIOS and Folders. In later versions of 1.7, plugins are removed, and the BIOS and Folders tabs are under 'General Settings'.
Plugins have been merged into the core emulator as of 1.7.1420. Settings are similar between 1.6.0 and non-plugin versions, but you will not need to select plugins if you are running 1.7.1420 or above.
PCSX2 1.6.0 is a plugin-oriented program. Your pcsx2.exe is the main processor that can emulate the real PS2 on the PC, but it does not work alone. It needs a graphics plugin to display the game graphics and a sound plugin to play the game sounds and music, and it also needs a pad plugin to allow you to play using your keyboard, mouse or gamepad. All plugins are stored (by default) in the plugins folder of your main PCSX2 folder.
These are the same plugin compiled using different optimization instructions sets. You must use only the versions supported by your CPU otherwise the emulator may crash. The difference between these versions speed-wise is minuscule and only some games are showing any improvements in speed when using more optimized version. So if you are unsure, your safe choice is the SSE2 version. The three above are listed in order from fastest to slowest.
Note to AMD users: please do NOT confuse SSE3 with SSSE3 (1 extra S) and SSE4A with SSE4.1, they are totally different and are NOT supported on AMD systems before Bulldozer/Bobcat. Please fall back to the SSE2 plugin instead in case your system has an older CPU.
Open downloaded zip file and extract PCSX2Fx_Settings.txt and shader.fx files in the same directory pcsx2.exe is located. You can change some shaders' settings by editing the PCSX2Fx_Settings.txt (the file contains all the needed instructions). External shaders should be used with caution because some of them may potentially have an enormous impact on speed. Note that you can use external shaders even with GSdx software renderer, which is the best way to get higher visual quality in this rendering mode.
Movie CaptureThis feature will only work while you are ingame. By pressing F12 a message box for video capture will appear. You'll need to specify the place where to store video, processing codec (like for ex. x264vfw, note you'll be only able to use already installed codecs) and picture resolution. Please be aware that lossless or uncompressed video may produce VERY large files so your HDD must have enough free space to contain it. Press F12 the second time to stop capturing. The result video will be automatically speed up to 100% even if you have experienced slowdowns while playing. If you use SPU2-X as your audio plugin the audio file recording.wav will be also recorded and saved alongside with the video file.
SPU2-X is the most advanced, compatible and up-to-date sound plugin for PCSX2. It was first based on Gigaherz's SPU2ghz and later modified by Jake Stine (Air). This is the only SPU2 plugin that supports audio processing effects (like reverberation and Dolby Pro Logic (if your sound card is able to decode it)). Many games only work correctly with SPU2-X.
In most cases you will only need to use the PCSX2 built-in ISO loader (ISO option in the CDVD menu, then use ISO Selector to select actual game image from the image history list or choose Browse... to select the image from disk.However, if you want to play a game from the actual DVD disk or to create a dump of an ISO file, use the Plugin option in the CDVD menu. It will let you use one of the PCSX2 CDVD plugins instead of ISO loader.The default PCSX2 1.6.0 installation has one CDVD plugin:
Dev9 is a collective name for plugins that handle HDD and ethernet (LAN/Internet) access.By default PCSX2 installation has only one plugin Dev9null v0.5.0, which is null plugin used as a stub. However there is a newer Dev9 plugin in development by Luigi__ named MegaDev9. The plugin is still in its early development stage at this time (early 2015) but it can already partially emulate HDD. You can get it from here.Also there is an experimental Ethernet plugin from gigaherz and drkIIRaziel named DEV9giga-razi. Even with the most of Sony game servers down you can still give it a try. It can be downloaded using this link.
As with Dev9 plugins PCSX2 does not currently have any official working plugin to properly emulate USB access. The release package includes only USB Null v0.7.0 which is yet another stub plugin. Howeverthere is a USB plugin called Nuvee that supports USB mice, keyboards and lightguns by Shalma. You can get it from here.Additionally, there is a new plugin by jackun called USBqemu wheel mod emulating steering wheels. The plugin is a modification of an old USB Qemu plugin. USBqemu is fully capable of supporting various steering wheels. For more information visit the plugin's dedicated thread on the forums and/or you can download it using this link.
Emulation Settings config window is the collection of main PCSX2 settings to tune the behavior of PCSX2 itself (not unlike the plugins separate configurations can tune the behavior of a particular plugin). You can access the window from Config => Emulation settings menu. There are 6 tabs, EE/IOP, VUs, GS, GS Window, Speedhacks and Gamefixes each of which has its own set of settings.
GS stands for Graphics Synthesizer PlayStation®2 co-processor responsible for rendering the graphics (but is also used by some games for additional calculations and other purposes). The PCSX2 will work in conjunction with the selected GS plugin (like for ex. GSdx plugin) to emulate PS2 graphical co-processor and convert its output into input understood by the PC video cards. 2b1af7f3a8