DOSBox and CPU frequencies/max cycles interaction


Golden Member
Jan 10, 2011
Is it best to set my CPU at a fixed frequency if running DOSBox with cycles set at max? If the cycles are set to max in DOSBox is it possible that DOSBox won't lower it's cycles to the appropriate maximum amount my CPU can handle promptly enough automatically when there is a drop in CPU frequency and DOSBox ends up overshooting the amount of cycles that my CPU can handle for several milliseconds, maybe causing an audio dropout or a brief stutter during panning? Is it better to set cycles to 80% of max in DOSBox to account for my CPU's varying frequency as my CPU, a Ryzen 5800x, varies it's frequency between 4.45-4.85 GHz at stock depending on CPU temperature and CPU power consumption and I wonder if this delta would cause issues with having cycles set to max in DOSBox?
Last edited:

Fallen Kell

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
I don't think it matters at all. DOSBox is simply an emulator running on top of your existing OS and hardware. Setting cycles to max in DOSBox I believe simply means the emulator will not artificially limit its speed, but will run as fast as your computer will let it run. This means it will then run as fast as your OS will let it run on your hardware. The speed rates for DOSBox to me were always there to deal with software and code that made assumptions based on hardware that existed at that time for tracking timings. This can result in games/software that runs 50-100 times faster now on modern CPUs because back in the day, the CPU might have only been running at 66MHz, but now it is 4.45GHz (in other words, games would be unplayable because the game engine is on superspeed and just running away, classic examples of this are the original Mechwarrior (1989), and the original Ultima games).
Last edited: