Hardware and Software Compatibility

This article covers the minimum and recommended computer specs for hosting and joining a Parsec session.

Operating System Deprecation Notice

On October 1st 2022, we deprecated Parsec on these operating system versions:

  • Windows 7, 8 and 8.1
  • macOS 10.11, 10.12 and 10.13
  • Android 8
  • Raspberry Pi 1/2/3/4 (all current and future hardware revisions and operating systems)

Newer versions of Windows, macOS and Android will continue to be supported, and we recommend updating if you can. Parsec will no longer be maintained on the previously mentioned versions and may stop working properly at some point.

 

Currently we support joining a Parsec session from Windows, Linux, macOS, Android devices, and we provide a web client for Chromium based browsers. Parsec is not currently supported on iOS or iPad, including web access through Safari. Hosting is currently only available on Windows and macOS computers.

Table of contents:

Client specs
    Minimum
    Recommended
Host specs
    Minimum (H.264 Encoding)
    Recommended (H.265 Encoding)
    Unsupported operating systems
    Hosting on laptops
Additional GPU details
    NVIDIA
    Intel
    AMD
    Hosting on a laptop with multiple GPUs
H.265/HEVC Decoding and Encoding
4:4:4 Color

 

Client specs

These are the specifications for devices that will connect to another computer remotely.

Minimum

Platform CPU GPU Memory
Windows 10 Intel Core i5 3rd Gen
  • Intel HD 4000¹
  • NVIDIA 600 series¹
  • AMD Radeon X1000¹
4GB DDR3
Ubuntu 18.04 (desktop) Intel Core i5 3rd Gen
  • Intel HD 4000¹
  • NVIDIA 600 series¹
  • AMD Radeon X1000¹
4GB DDR3
macOS 10.14 Mojave
  • MacBook (Early 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2012 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Mid 2012 or later)
  • Mac mini (Late 2012 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2012 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or later with user upgraded GPU with Metal Support)
Android 9 N/A
Platform CPU GPU Memory
Windows 10 Intel Core i5²
  • Intel Xe¹ ²
  • NVIDIA 2000
    series¹ ²
  • AMD Radeon RX 5000 series¹ ²
8GB DDR3
Ubuntu 20.04 (desktop) Intel Core i5²
  • Intel Xe¹ ²
  • NVIDIA 2000 series¹ ²
  • AMD Radeon RX 5000 series¹ ²
8GB DDR3
macOS 12.1 Monterey (w/ Metal API support)
  • MacBook (Early 2016 or later)
  • MacBook Air (Mid 2015 or later)
  • MacBook Pro (Early 2015 or later)
  • Mac mini (Late 2014 or later)
  • iMac (Late 2015 or later)
  • iMac Pro (2017 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Late 2013 or later)
  • Mac Pro (Mid 2010 or later with user upgraded GPU with Metal Support)
Android 10 N/A

¹ We recommend the using latest graphics drivers for your GPU
² Indicates the minimum recommended series, however newer/better CPUs and GPUs are preferred

 

Host specs

These are the specifications for the computers that will be connected to.

Minimum (H.264 encoding)

Platform CPU GPU Memory
Windows 10/Server 2016 Intel Core i5²
  • Intel HD 4200¹
  • NVIDIA GTX 650¹
  • AMD Radeon HD 7750¹
4GB DDR3
macOS 10.15 N/A
Platform CPU GPU Memory
Windows 10/Server 2016 Intel Core i5²
  • Intel Xe¹
  • NVIDIA 2000 series¹
  • AMD Radeon RX 5700¹
8GB DDR3
macOS 2019 hardware or later

¹ We recommend the using latest graphics drivers for your GPU
² Indicates the minimum recommended series, however newer/better CPUs and GPUs are preferred

Unsupported operating systems

Ubuntu does not support hosting at this time.

Hosting on laptops

Please note, despite what is said here, some laptops running hybrid graphics still have an issue hosting a Parsec stream. You'll get error -14003 as the dedicated GPU is not physically wired to the display. In those cases you will need to use the laptop's integrated graphics for Parsec.

 

Additional GPU details for hosting

In order to host a session with Parsec, your computer must include a graphics card that has a hardware video encoder, and your computer's display must be connected directly to the graphics card. If your computer has more than one graphics card (EG both Intel and NVIDIA inside of a laptop) then you will need to follow the steps for multi-GPU systems.

If you have one of these graphics cards, but are unable to host, you may need to update your graphic card to latest drivers, or check that your client is not trying to connect at the wrong resolution. In general, check the errors that you get when you try to host to try and solve your issue.

NVIDIA

Requires NVIDIA NVENC + DirectX 11.1.

Generation of NVIDIA GTX or RTX GPU Arcade Hosting Computer Sharing
NVIDIA GTX 200 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 260 No No
NVIDIA GTX 400 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 460 No No
NVIDIA GTX 500 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 560 No No
NVIDIA GTX 600 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 650 Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA GTX 700 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 750 Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA GTX 800 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 850M Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA GTX 900 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 950 Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA GTX 1000 Series - Example: NVIDIA GTX 1050 Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA RTX 2000 Series - Example: NVIDIA RTX 2060 Yes Yes | See here for laptops
NVIDIA RTX 3000 Series - Example: NVIDIA RTX 3060 Yes Yes | See here for laptops

NVIDIA MXM, GT and GTS GPUs

MXM, GT and GTS GPUs like the GT 1030 tend to lack the NVENC chip required for Parsec and are not supported. If you're shopping for an NVIDIA card, make sure that you're getting a GTX card, not a GT card.

NVIDIA Tesla, GRID, and Quadro

Professional workstation and server graphics cards will work with Parsec provided that they support hardware video encoding (NVIDIA NVENC), support either a physical display or display emulation via EDID, and are running in WDDM mode. Generally speaking, this means you should license NVIDIA Grid Virtual Workstation, along with installing the correct Grid Virtual Workstation driver. AWS also has a "vGaming" Driver available. For support with this, contact your NVIDIA Representative, or cloud provider documentation.

Intel

Requires Intel Quick Sync Video + DirectX 11.1.

Generation of Intel i3, i5, i7 Supported
1st Gen "Nehalem" - Example: Intel Core i7-620m No
2nd Gen "Sandy Bridge" - Example: Intel Core i7-2720QM No
3rd Gen "Ivy Bridge" - Example: Intel Core i7-3720QM No
4th Gen "Haswell" - Example: Intel Core i7-4720HQ Yes - Windows 10+ Only
5th Gen "Broadwell" - Example: Intel Core i5-5200U Yes
6th Gen "Skylake" - Example: Intel Core i7-6700HQ Yes
7th Gen "Kaby Lake" - Example: Intel Core i7-7700HQ Yes
8th Generation "Coffee Lake" - Example: Intel Core i7-8550U Yes
9th Generation "Coffee Lake/ Coffee Lake / Whiskey Lake" - Example: Intel Core i7-9750H Yes
10th Generation "Ice Lake / Comet Lake" - Example: Intel Core i7-10710U Yes

Celeron, Pentium, and Atom Support

Celeron, Pentium, and Atom chipsets are supported provided they support DirectX 11.1 and Quick Sync Video.

Intel HD Graphics Driver Issues

An Intel Graphics driver released in September 2019 ending in .726X (for example 26.20.100.7262) has a bug preventing Parsec hosting from working. Please check the device manager to see if you have this driver. If this driver is installed on your system, you will need to update your driver (directly from the Intel Support Site) or downgrade/rollback to a previous driver version.

AMD

Requires AMD VCE/VCN + DirectX 11.1.

Generation Supported
TeraScale - Example: Radeon HD 6770 No
GCN 1 - Example: Radeon HD 7770 Yes
GCN 2 - Example: Radeon R9 290 Yes
GCN 3 - Example: Radeon R9 380 Yes
GCN 4 - Example: Radeon RX 480 Yes
Vega - Example: Radeon RX Vega 56 Yes
Navi - Example: Radeon RX5700 Yes
Big Navi - Example: Radeon RX6700 Yes

AMD APUs

AMD APUs based on GCN1.0 or higher containing VCE and DirectX 11.1 may be supported when running latest drivers from AMD.com

Lower end RX 6000 GPUs

Unlike the other cards in the series, the RX 6500 XT and RX 6400 do not have a hardware encoder, and cannot host.

Hosting on a laptop with multiple GPUs

For technical reasons, Parsec needs to use whichever GPU is directly plugged into the display you want to capture. Laptops are usually built such that the display it comes with is attached to the integrated GPU instead of the dedicated one. In those cases, Parsec needs to be set to use the integrated GPU with the instructions below to be able to host, otherwise it will fail with error -14003. Your integrated GPU must support hosting for this to work, so check the list of supported GPUs beforehand.

Note that if you use your laptop with an external display, that usually routes into the dedicated GPU, avoiding the issue altogether when hosting via desktop sharing.

If you're hosting on Arcade, it just uses the GPU the game is using, and doesn't have the same technicalities with the display and GPU connectivity like the Computers tab. If you're getting error -15000 because the card the game is using is unsupported, you can attempt to switch the GPU the game is using to the other GPU, however games often do not switch to the integrated GPU and this may not work.

NVIDIA graphics cards

You must set Parsec (or your game if hosting via Arcade) to use integrated graphics instead of the NVIDIA card, and restart your computer. Follow these instructions for more details:

  • Right click the desktop of your laptop and select NVIDIA Control Panel

    open_nvidia_panel.png

  • Select Manage 3D Settings

  • Change Preferred graphics processor to Auto-Select

    auto_select_option.png

  • Click the Program Settings tab

  • Click Add to add a new program

    add_program.png

  • Select the correct program based on where you're hosting. If you don't find it in the list, manually find it clicking Browse...

    • Computers tab: Select Parsec (Manual path is C:/Program Files/Parsec/parsecd.exe)
    • Arcade: Select the game you want to host
  • Click Add Selected Program

    select_program.png

  • Change the preferred graphics processor to Integrated graphics

    select_integrated_graphics.png

  • Click Apply to apply the changes

    apply_changes.png

  • Right-click the Parsec icon in the tray bar and click Quit (not Restart)

    quit_parsec.png

  • Lastly, open Parsec again from your start menu

    start_menu_parsec.png

AMD graphics cards

AMD has recently stopped providing an option of its own to switch the graphics processor. You may want to use Windows's graphics settings, shown just below in the "alternative method" section.

You must set a program to power saving on AMD's control panel, then restart the computer.

  • Hosting on Computers tab: Set Parsec to power saving
  • Hosting on Arcade tab: Set the game you will host to power saving

amd_controlpanel.png

Alternative method

If other methods don't work, use the Windows graphics settings. For Windows 10:

  • Open the Settings app
  • Go to System > Display
  • In "Multiple displays", open Graphics settings
  • In "Graphics performance preference", select Desktop app
  • Click Browse and select the correct program depending on where you're hosting
    • Desktop sharing: Select Parsec (Manual path is C:/Program Files/Parsec/parsecd.exe)
    • Arcade: Select the game you want to host
  • Change to Power Saving
  • Click Save
  • Restart your computer to ensure these settings are applied

Your computer may in some cases still force Parsec to use the dedicated card because of power plan settings on your system being set to maximum performance. Some laptops for instance will go into maximum performance while charging. You can change out of maximum performance in the Windows settings.

Intel has a graphics power plan hidden in the advanced power options. To access it:

  • Press Windows key + R
  • Type control.exe powercfg.cpl,,3
  • Press Enter
  • Expand Intel(R) Graphics Settings and tweak plugged in to Balanced
  • Click OK
  • Restart your computer to ensure these settings are applied

power_plan.png

 

H.265 / HEVC

H.265 is a setting that reduces the bandwidth usage by around half, while maintaining the same level of quality as H.264. If the host and all currently connected clients support H.265, the clients can enable it in the settings and use it. If the host or a Windows client doesn't support H.265, the stream will revert to H.264 for everyone. If the client is macOS High Sierra or better, it will revert to software decoding for H.265. 

This feature will only work on hosts and clients running:

  • NVIDIA: For hosts, a GTX 900 series or better. For clients, a GTX 1000 series or better
  • AMD: Radeon GPUs and Carizzo APUs or later
  • Intel: CPUs with Cherry Trail or Braswell architectures or later

If H.265 is currently being used, the connected clients can open the overlay and see H.265 in the details at the top-right section.

h265_overlay.png

 

4:4:4 Color

"Prefer 4:4:4 color" is a setting available for Teams and Warp customers that improves the color volume (chroma subsampling) of the stream. It is helpful in situations where color clarity is important, like graphic design, video/photo editing, animation and colored text rendering.

420_vs_444.png

The default Parsec stream is in 4:2:0, which is the standard for video encoding. It reduces the amount of chroma (color) information while keeping luma (brightness) intact, in order to reduce the amount of data used. 4:4:4 on the other hand keeps the chroma information intact. You can learn more about chroma subsampling here.

chroma_subsampling_visual.png

Host requirements

Parsec requires an NVIDIA or Intel GPU with hardware encoding support for 4:4:4 at H.265. The host must be a Windows machine.

  • NVIDIA: GTX 1000 (Pascal), GTX 1600 / RTX 2000 (Turing), or RTX 3000 (Ampere) consumer graphics cards, and their respective Quadro workstation cards
  • Intel: Integrated graphics from 11th gen Intel (Tiger Lake) or newer. On 10th gen, specifically Ice Lake versions can work, but not Comet Lake

Guest requirements

The person joining just needs a Windows/Mac/Linux machine. If the guest has an NVIDIA or Intel GPU with hardware decoding support for 4:4:4 at H.265, Parsec will decode using hardware.

  • NVIDIA: GTX 1600 / RTX 2000 (Turing), or RTX 3000 (Ampere) consumer graphics cards, and their respective Quadro workstation cards
  • Intel: Integrated graphics from 11th gen Intel (Tiger Lake) or newer. On 10th gen, specifically Ice Lake versions can work, but not Comet Lake

If the guest doesn't have the hardware listed above, it will use software decoding (CPU), which is slower and significantly more performance hungry than the regular Parsec stream (4:2:0). This means performance or battery life on the guest may be lesser when using this feature. If you're using Parsec Warp, keep in mind that the person joining the host needs to be the one with Parsec Warp, for the option to appear.