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Encyclopedia > FX!32

FX!32 is a software emulator program that allows x86 Win32 programs to execute on Digital Alpha/NT systems. Released in 1996, FX!32 was developed by Digital to support their Alpha processors. At the time, there was a belief that RISC processors such as Alpha, were likely to replace x86 Intel-based processors, due to a more efficient and simplified architecture, that could reach higher clock speeds. The one thing that held Alpha back was application compatibility with existing Win32 x86 applications. Computer software (or simply software) refers to one or more computer programs and data held in the storage of a computer for some purpose. ... An emulator reproducing a console games playable atmosphere on a Windows computer. ... Windows API is a set of APIs, (application programming interfaces) available in the Microsoft Windows operating systems. ... AXP redirects here. ... 1996 (MCMXCVI) was a leap year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar, and was designated the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty. ... DEC Alpha AXP 21064 Microprocessor The DEC Alpha, also known as the Alpha AXP, is a 64-bit RISC microprocessor originally developed and fabricated by Digital Equipment Corp. ... This article is about the computer architecture. ... Intel Corporation (NASDAQ: INTC, SEHK: 4335), founded in 1968 as Integrated Electronics Corporation, is an American multinational corporation that is best known for designing and manufacturing microprocessors and specialized integrated circuits. ...


Emulation has been around for a while as a concept, but FX!32 went one stage further, analysed the way programs worked, and in real time, developed DLL files of native Alpha code that the application could call upon next time it ran. This way even in the 1.0 release, FX!32 achieved speeds with Win32 x86 applications of 40-50% native, with 70% projected as likely with improved optimization.


FX!32 was a remarkable piece of clever coding, that, had Intel not found a way to emulate an x86 processor and move internal computation to a more RISC-like architecture, might very well have become the normal way to run legacy Win32 x86 applications, as the world migrated to the Alpha chip architecture.


External links

  • FX!32: A Profile-Directed Binary Translator
  • DIGITAL FX!32: Running 32-Bit x86 Applications on Alpha NT from the Proceedings of the USENIX Windows NT Workshop, Seattle, Washington, August 1997
  • DIGITAL FX!32: Combining Emulation and Binary Translation from the Digital Technical Journal, Volume 9 Number 1, 1997

 
 

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