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The Future of ARM Emulation(s)


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Intel has been the top selling x86 processors for almost 40 years. The ARM RISC processor family integrated with GPU and RAM is rapidly changing personal computing starting with portable computers and expanding to the desktop.

Problem
The x86 and ARM processor instruction sets (code) are not compatible. There are two solutions to this problem. Emulation and translation. Emulation is required every time the program or operating system is run until the source code is compiled into binary for ARM processor. Translation converts the program one time using the new instruction set. Apple Rosetta 2 is a translation application for Mac computers.

Microsoft is working on adding x86-64bit emulation to the existing x86-32bit support for their Windows ARM. If Microsoft decides to sell Windows ARM directly to end users (why not?) then we could see Windows ARM running on future Apple ARM computers. Just for fun imagine PTE AV Studio 10 x86-64 version running in emulation on Windows ARM running on a Mac M1. Also Corel Parallels is currently working on a new version that will allow M1 Macs to run the Windows x86 operating system. We do not know what the performance penalty (25%?) will be for Windows x86 code on Apple ARM computers.

What happens to Intel and AMD if they continue down the legacy x86 road? I think it is a dead end because RISC appears to be the clear winner. Maybe future processors can upload instruction sets into firmware, making it appear as a x86 or ARM processor with a simple reboot.

I'm glad WnSoft has been working on converting their code to ARM family of processors and will be future proof. Who knows, maybe some day we will see PTE on tablets.

Tom

 

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  • tom95521 changed the title to The Future of ARM Emulation(s)

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