Which is better? FBTURBO driver or LIMA driver

Okay so just out of curiosity. What GPU driver switch is best? I mainly just play gba and Nes/Snes games so idk if the GPU drivers effect anything. Please tell me the differences about LIMA and FBTURBO if anyone can. Just curious!

Use Lima, with fbturbo vsync doesn’t work.

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With the most recent OS, the gameshell has much more stable and reliable Lima drivers. Before they were very VERY experimental! I would say that the experimental tag should be removed, given its relative stability. Ha I might do that in my own OS

Previously some things like the GSP launcher wouldn’t work while using the Lima drivers. There are a few other things, like Blood2 which I think also doesn’t run with them. The workaround was to use the CPU to drive the graphics.

Performance wise, you can compare FBturbo to using an onboard graphics card on a computer, vs Lima as using an actual dedicated GPU. Pretty much everything I can think of runs better with the Lima drivers. Especially things such as N64 emulation. Some things that are optimised for ARM use only, such as PCSX+ isn’t really affected by the presence of the GPU.

Previously, some people experienced problems with scaling. I never experienced them myself, and think it may have just been people using incorrect settings/bad configurations. I haven’t really experimented with everything, but I might do that just for fun. It would be great to document.

Battery wise, the GPU is said to use less power than the CPU. Although I haven’t tested using applications that don’t heavily rely on the GPU. Maybe it could be something to use if doing light work, compiling/building or transferring large batches of files.

There was some reports of people experiencing flickering when using custom kernels, and/or overclocking. Again, I never experienced any of these, and initially believed it was due to different revisions of the R16-(J) boards. Now I’m having a thought that it could be GPU dependent. I’m curious to see if disabling Lima fixes those flickering problems.

Personally I don’t have any reason to use FBturbo nowadays. So long story short, just use Lima and you’ll be happy. If you have any stability problems, see if FBturbo works.


Vsync works on both actually. I have a feeling people are getting mixed up with v-sync and the tearing present, due to the hardware. Like some of the older GBA IPS screens, it’s due to the quality/density of the ribbon cable.

Before OS 0.5, performance in general was sub par for both FBTurbo and Lima. Since then, there have been countless updates to Retroarch cores, the upgrade to Retroarch 1.8.8, changing to Debian 10 (not sure how much it affected things to be honest), updating packages in general, user input and optimisations, and advances is kernel development/built in drivers. The notion of V-sync not working in FBturbo might be a mantra of an age long past.

Here’s Mother3 running with mgba in Retroarch, using FBturbo. The opening panning is a prime culprit for potential screen tearing. As you can see, there isn’t any.

Interestingly, I get a more prominent tearing off the screen using Lima on PocketSnes than FBturbo.

A lot of the standalone emulators dont have a V-Sync toggle/option. Perhaps that’s the reason people keep saying that standalone emulators are faster. They aren’t necessarily. But of course, if they’re not using V-Sync, of course they’ll run faster with less overhead.

My guess is, the perceived v-sync problems are present as general lag, due to using filters or shaders. Even with the GPU, shaders don’t work very well.

So in short, V-sync isn’t necessarily a reason to use the Lima drivers. There are plenty of other compelling better reasons. Eg, the Retroarch XMB menu driver runs crawlingly slow on FBturbo.

Thank you so much for that detailed explanation! Yeah like you said. LIMA runs better so far and the battery life has been better, thanks a lot for helping <3

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