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  1. #1
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    Hack to run X86 programs on Surface RT

    http://lifehacker.com/5985193/run-fu...with-this-hack

    Use at your own risk and it probably voids your warranty but its interesting.

    Jerry

  2. #2
    4 Star Lounger
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    'Interesting', yes. Potentially useful? Hmmm...

    Emulating the x86 (let alone x64) architecture on ARM - even just for application code using special intercept functions to execute native RT system API calls - is often likely to be a VERY compute-intensive operation (assuming that the author does not extend his approach to actually recompiling the x86/64 code into ARM instructions and executing the result rather than merely emulating the x86/64 instructions on the fly via an 'interpreter' written in the ARM instruction set). In other words, many applications might 'run' only for interpretations of the word so liberal that any forward progress at all could be considered to satisfy them.

    The reason that the Alpha was able to interpret x86 code at reasonable rates in the '90s was that the Alpha was a significantly faster processor (even after compensating for CISC vs. RISC computational productivity) than almost all of the x86 processors of that era. By contrast, it's difficult to imagine that a RISC processor running at 1.3 - 1.5 GHz can hold even a sputtering candle to the computational performance of a modern CISC processor (i.e., one that ambitiously exploits many of the advantages once thought to be RISC-specific) running at over twice that speed even when both are executing NATIVE code, let alone when the RISC processor is interpreting the CISC processor's instruction set.

    That said, my acquaintance with this area is well over a decade out of date, so some new magic might allow this to be usable.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I was a designer for a mainframe company whose processors had a 36 bit architecture. We managed to emulate it on 32 bit Intel x86 processors at reasonable performance so it is possible. It would really be interesting to see how well the emulated x86 apps run on the Surface RT.

    Jerry

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    There have been complaints of slow performance even on native apps, on Surface RT. I can't imagine that x86 emulation will have anyone jumping with happiness about the performance.

  5. #5
    Super Moderator jwitalka's Avatar
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    I suspect it would only be of interest for those "got to have it" apps not available in Metro where performance is not a major concern. An example for some might be Quicken. Maybe Outlook until someone comes up with a better mail client than the Metro one.

    Jerry

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