I'm using a Raspberry Pi with RetroPie and I'm quite happy with it; there's only one exception: when I choose a file to launch inside emulationstation, usually it only takes few moments to load the emulator and the file. BUT when I exit the emulator to go back to emulationstation it takes a lot of time. Really! Sometimes it takes up to 20-25 seconds to go back to the launcher.

I already tried to install RetroPie on a faster micro-sd card (I believe it's a class 10 card), but IMHO it's still really slow.

Please, could you tell me if there is anything I can do on the configuration to speed up this process ?

Many thanks

3 Answers 3


One thing you could do is overclock the Pi. This would increase overall speed, and should help with your issue.

I already tried to install RetroPie on a faster micro-sd card (I believe it's a class 10 card), but IMHO it's still really slow.

I don't believe having an faster SD card is going to help all that much, as this slowness is probably because the Pi is a relatively low-spec piece of hardware (as I'm sure you know.) The Pi simply can't process and load the data from the SD card for the application fast enough.

512MB of RAM (at 667 MBps) and a 700MHz ARM1176JZF-S ARM11 core within a Broadcom BCM2835 media processor isn't going to be that fast without any changes (overclocking).

When you overclock you don't just speed up the CPU/GPU, you are also speeding up the RAM, which should help some. However, the issue still remains that the Pi is a low-end (speed-wise) device and it isn't/wasn't made to be a gaming device.

  • You're welcome. I hope this helps! Sep 2, 2014 at 17:44

The prior answer is a bit out of date. On the Pi 2 and 3, SD card performance does matter quite a lot!


There is an order-of-magnitude difference between most cheap cards and the slightly-more-expensive ones (even if both are rated as being in the same class)—especially in small-block random I/O performance. As an example, if you use a normal, cheap microSD card for your database server, normal database operations can literally be 100x slower than if you used a standard microSD card.

Overclocking the microSD reader also helps a fair bit:


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Try this alternative before switching to a faster SD card and/or overclocking yor pi:

  1. download, compile and install vmtouch
  2. add this line in /opt/retropie/configs/all/autostart.sh:

sudo vmtouch -dl /opt/retropie/emulators/retroarch/bin/retroarch /opt/retropie/supplementary/emulationstation/emulationstation

(check the paths are correct in your system)

The idea is to keep the main executables of retroarch and emulationstation in main memory so switching betweeen them will be faster (no need to load the file back from the SD). You may also cache other files and emulators cores you use often.

TIP: keep the bigger files in main memory (e.g.: /opt/retropie/libretrocores/lr-genesis-plus-gx/genesis_plus_gx_libretro.so), avoid loading small files used seldom.


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