FX!32 is a software emulator program that allows x86 Win32 programs to execute on Alpha-based systems running Windows NT. Released in 1996, FX!32 was developed by Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) to support their Alpha microprocessors. At the time, there was a belief that RISC-based microprocessors were likely to replace x86-based microprocessors, due to a more efficient and simplified implementation that could reach higher clock frequencies. The one thing that held Alpha back was application-compatibility with existing Win32 x86 applications.
Emulation has been around for a while as a concept, but FX!32 went one stage further. It analysed the way programs worked and in real time, developed dynamic-link library (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.
Maurice Marks serviced as manager of the technical team.
Eric Perkins provided the primary information on Windows NT, wrote a runtime system to allow binary translated application to run on Intel Windows NT based machines.
A prototype of the system was demoed at Comdex in 1993
- 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
- FX!32 v1.5 download - Rename to .exe extension.
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