The advanced settings are available through configuration files on both the server and the client. The configuration file is stored in the same directory as the software. There is a link in the Parsec Application to the advanced settings where you can add any of these settings to your configuration file. Before changing these, please try some of the more basic settings. Here's a helpful link to get you started optimizing your settings. All settings must be on their own line. Most settings are managed through the client except those listed in the server settings section of this document. You can access Advanced Settings directly in the app in the settings area.
Or you can find the config.txt file on Windows here (C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Parsec\config.txt) or on macOS / Linux / Pi here (
The majority of the advanced settings should be set on the Parsec Client, as the client defines the settings that will be used when connecting.
- Shortcut For Quality Settings
You can define the quality of the video versus lowering latency via our shortcut quality settings. The LAN setting only applies to local connections, and the WAN setting only applies to connections made when you are not in the same network as your server. The three settings are Performance (lower quality video, lower latency), Balanced (balanced between video quality and latency), and Quality (higher quality video, lower priority on latency). The values are 1 = Performance, 2 = Balanced, and 3 = Quality. The default is always 1. This setting changes a lot of other encoder settings and your bitrate automatically.
- Max Bitrate Setting
This setting determines the maximum amount of bandwidth Parsec will use when streaming video to your client. The default value is 10.
- Video Stream Frames Per Second
If you'd like to lower the FPS of your stream without impacting the server display refresh rate, you can change this setting. The default value is 0, which means it will match your display refresh rate. But if you want to force 30 FPS, you can add 30. The maximum for this value is the server refresh rate, which is automatically set at 60.
- Encoder Video Output Quality
The quality of video can be set with encoder_min_qp. The higher this value is, the more 'blurred' the image will become. A value below 5 probably is not especially noticeable to the human eye. Parsec automatically scales this value based on network performance. The default value for this is 25. If you're still seeing blurry video, try increasing your max bandwidth in the settings tab of the app.
- Encoder Quality
The encoder quality can be separately managed. This defines how much pressure you want to put on your encoder to meet the demands of streaming. If you have an older GPU, setting this value to 3 will put a lot of pressure on your encoder. You can set this value to 1, 2, 3 with 3 being the highest quality.
- Overriding Network Discovery
Override the IPv4 discovery functionality in Parsec by definining the exact IP address or network adapter you want your client to use. This is handy if you have multiple adapters on the same network and you want to choose a specific one. These options are available on both the client and the server. You should use this to help with IP discovery issues when the client or the server is having issues finding the right network adapter. This is usually only an issue if you have a VPN.
- Force LAN connection
If you would like to force a LAN (Local Area Network) connection please set the try LAN variable to 1.
The client or the server can connect to each other. If you manually manage port forwarding for the client, you'll need to forward ports 9000-9002 for UDP traffic. Once you forward those ports to UDP traffic on your router. If you want multiple connections, you will need to open more ports (three for each connection). We recommend opening 9000-9040 in case you want to have a bunch of friends connect to you at some point.
PARSEC WINDOW SETTINGS
- VSync Setting For Parsec Window
Parsec runs VSync on the client. This adds latency, but removes tearing. On some Intel decoders, you can actually turn this option off and continue to play without tearing. If you would like to lower latency further, and if you are willing to have tearing, try turning VSync off. The default value of 1 signals that VSync is on, use 0 to turn client VSync off.
The Parsec Client runs in borderless windowed mode normally (default=0). You can set it to fullscreen mode if you'd like to use "Spaces" on Mac or other features that are only supported on fullscreen applications. Set this value to 1 to enter fullscreen mode.
- Windowed Mode
The Parsec Client can run in a window. The default is to run the client fullscreen with 0, but you can turn on windowed mode with 1.
- Window Size
When you run the Parsec Client in a window, you can also change the window resolution size.
- Parsec Button
You can turn off the Parsec button by default with the overlay option. Setting this to 1 will automatically hide the Parsec overlay.
- Software vs. Hardware Decoding
We use hardware decoding by default (0). Hardware decoding is great for many reasons. But most importantly, it really brings the latency down on your games. That being said, if your computer doesn't have a hardware decoder, you can try using software decoding. But remember, Parsec on software decoding is not awesome. To run software decoding, set the value to 1.
The zero-copy option is only applicable to Mac clients. The zero-copy option tells your client to keep all video data in the GPU memory rather than moving it to system memory. When zero-copy is on, the data stays in video RAM and is rendered directly from video memory to the screen. If it's not zero-copy, the video data is decoded into video memory, copied to system memory, then copied back into video memory, and then rendered. Zero-copy is currently default off (value of the setting is 0). If you want to lower your latency on a Mac, please set the value to 1.
SERVER DISPLAY SETTINGS
- Force Server Display Resolutions
When you're in admin mode (you own the server or your friend gave you admin privileges - silly them), the server screen resolution will scale to match your client display. You can force specific resolutions here, but please don't exceed 2560x1440 (1440p). When you're not an admin, the server screen resolution will not change because we assume the admin is controlling the server screen resolution. If you get a display resolution error with this, it is because Windows does not have the resolution you are requesting available. You will have to manually add that resolution to the available resolutions or choose a different resolution.
- Refresh Rate Of Server
You can set the refresh rate of the server display. The default is 60 hz. This will also be the maximum of the encoder FPS, which is defaulted to be equal to your server refresh rate.
- Audio Echo
Turns the echo cancellation software on and off. If you are experiencing issues with sound cutting in and out, please turn the echo cancellation off by setting the value to 0.
- Audio Buffer
Controls the delay on the audio. Our default value is 20000. Increasing the value increases the buffer/delay on the audio.
- Muting The Remote Server
By default, if an admin is connecting to a host PC, Parsec mutes the audio on the host computer's speakers. If you'd like to turn this default off, please set the server_admin_mute value to 0.
If you want to pass hotkeys to your server (alt+tab for instance), you'll want to be in "Immersive Mode". Immersive Mode is default off with the setting at 0. If you want to turn it default on, you'll have to change the setting to 1. You can also use the hot key
ctrl + alt + i to quickly toggle Immersive Mode on/off.
These are the only settings that should be set on the host
MAX CLIENT CONNECTIONS
You can set the maximum number of friends connecting to your machine concurrently. The default max is 5. Remember, for every connection, you will be sharing bandwidth. For example, if the first connection was set at 30mbps and you have 5 friends connected, each friend will only get a 6mbps stream, which will be pretty low quality in fast action games.
FORCE NETWORK ADAPTER / SUBNET
Connection errors can be caused by Parsec choosing the wrong network adapter by default. This is a frequent issue on VPNs. To change the default network adapter, you can either choose a number (1,2,3) in your list of adapters or the specific IP you are trying to connect to. You can also set a specific IP address for the server to broadcast to. We only support IPv4 at this time.
The client or the server can manage a connection. If you manually manage port forwarding for the server, you'll need to forward ports 8000-8002 for UDP traffic on the server network. If you would like to invite others to join your gaming session, you need to increase the ports forwarded by 3 for each concurrent connection. For instance, if you have 5 friends connecting to your server, you should forward ports 8000-8014. Once you forward those ports for UDP traffic on your router, add this line to your server settings:
Connecting To A Host From The Command Line