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Windows 8 on x86 android devices?

OP mtmerrick

17th April 2012, 12:44 AM   |  #21  
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I wonder if it would be possible to do an emulation inside of windows on arm

What I am thinking is that the full windows 8 ARM is installed on a tablet, and then when you hit "desktop" it would switch on the emulator to do a x86/x64 emulation

That would be wonderful in the fact that the Metro Apps can take granted of the ARM, while the desktop is used to run normal everyday software which makes less development

And it could be vice versa for a desktop; running an emulator for the Metro Apps, and having full windows 8 installed on the machine

With tech getting better with arm quad core processors, and more than 2GB of ram (virtual or not), plus a good GPU, I think that would be possible and awesome (of course dont forget that 1TB solid state drive )
17th April 2012, 07:39 AM   |  #22  
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Except its not that easy. Take x86 and emulating some small device like a phone, or old games console, is fairly straight forward, x86 has the grunt to do it and the device doesn't need much emulation its self, what i mean by that is that the device has limited uses.

Emulating x86 on an arm CPU would be like tugging an oil tanker with a pedal boat, of course that does depend to what extent you need to emulate it, and I think there is the problem, there is so much scope with x86 that Ms couldn't easily do it and support it as well as cover all its bases, more possible is that someone can develop a limited use emulator, for a specific use or set of functions

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18th April 2012, 05:53 AM   |  #23  
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I thought of this as well, and we wouldn't even have to wait for Windows 8 the same could be done with Windows 7. I would love getting an Intel phone in a few years when the SoCs are a little faster. Then use something like a Motorola Lapdock to dock and you get a full x86 Windows experience. Instead of a laptop its on your phone, it wouldn't be your primary system but a pocketable netbook. This is the future once technology catches up and hopefully Microsoft can bring this idea to market.
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18th April 2012, 10:54 PM   |  #24  
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I would have thought that arm would be able to compile and run with out a hitch, especially with the new quads coming out.. who knows maybe intel will bring something usable.

But really, how come a ARM processor cannot handle both an emulator and a actual windows for arm? I thought they were they same thing, just slower compared to a x86 (well not now since the new quads).
19th April 2012, 04:42 AM   |  #25  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J94w

I would have thought that arm would be able to compile and run with out a hitch, especially with the new quads coming out.. who knows maybe intel will bring something usable.

But really, how come a ARM processor cannot handle both an emulator and a actual windows for arm? I thought they were they same thing, just slower compared to a x86 (well not now since the new quads).

you need to have an understanding of how a CPU works to understand that its very difficult to emulate the whole thing.

an ARM CPU is a RISC CPU, the idea being that by making it simple it can be faster. Which is true to an extent, in a number of scenario's. It was seen as "the" solution back in the 90s but ultimately failed to gain any traction in the desktop market, hence we have a x86 dominated market.

What RISC did bring is the ability to have high numbers of cycles in a very short pipe line making it very efficient is some cases, hence why it has such a low power requirement and is great for small devices like phones and also why its taking Intel so long to develop a good x86 ultra low power CPU

But this is also its failure, because x86 is a longer pipe, or fatter if you'd rather, it can do more per cycle than a ARM CPU, a good way of thinking about it is to say it has more grunt, more bang per buck.

So lets take emulating a x86 CPU, even tho you can have 4 threads running at once on an ARM CPU it doesn't mean it could stitch those 4 threads together to emulate a single x86 instruction. or to put it another way, take a knitted woollen jumper, have 4 people grab a different strand and pull it apart, easy right? ok. now ask those 4 people to put it back together again... suddenly a lot harder isn't it!

a 1GHz ARM and a 1 GHz x86 CPU are running the same number of cycles a second, but the volume of work PER cycle is significantly less in the ARM, in the same way a current gen AMD 2GHz CPU is slower than a Intel 2GHz CPU, same speed, but it has less ability.

So take all that, combine it with the fact that x86 is VERY complex and you get an idea why emulating it on a weaker CPU is a lot harder than you may think.

the other way around is easy tho, ARM on x86 would be slower but because x86 has more grunt and ARM isn't as complex its a lot more feasible.

Im not saying x86 on ARM cant happen, im saying that its not going to be very good.

Oh the other thing you mention about just compiling it, what you have here is a program, not just written in a different language but also for a different system, now by using a cross platform programing language you get a head start but it is still trying to talk to the hardware in x86, all those calls would need to be intercepted and converted in to a ARM equivalent,

a simple program could easily be done with a basic emulator, but some x86 programs would likely be very complex, meaning the emulator would need to be setup to emulate anything the program might throw at it, which in turn means a much harder piece of work and the reason MS probably doesn't want do it, its also the reason that even if it did work it would be slow (in some cases) because the ARM CPU is RISC and your trying to make it do the work of a x86, it might take dozens of cycles to achieve what the x86 CPU can do in a single cycle.

I hope that helps, ive simplified things somewhat before folk jump up and down, but that is essentially the problems it would face.
Last edited by dazza9075; 19th April 2012 at 04:57 AM.
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19th April 2012, 04:53 AM   |  #26  
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Thanks, that makes more sense

Well I would love to see if Intel can bring something better than ARM for mobile devices especially with x86

But it would also be cool to see what they can do on ARM, even if it will be slower
19th April 2012, 05:09 AM   |  #27  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J94w

Thanks, that makes more sense

Well I would love to see if Intel can bring something better than ARM for mobile devices especially with x86

But it would also be cool to see what they can do on ARM, even if it will be slower

Definitely.

Interestingly what intel might end up doing is going backwards and using older Pentium cores, or even P2/3. slapping several of them on a single die, shrink them to 22nm and turn down the juice, essentially turning it in to a many core CPU it would need some sort of controlling CPU dealing with all the threads because the OS wouldn't be setup to handle it and it would need the newer SSE and co, instruction sets added but it should mean a significant reduction in power usage that can scale depending on workload, ie turn 75% of the cores off if not needed.

but yes, they need to do something, im sure the tech people in Intel R&D are going mental with working with low power x86 and cursing all the additions over the years
20th April 2012, 10:15 PM   |  #28  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tydem

Microsoft (and the hardware manufacturers of current Android devices) don't want this to happen on ARM devices, because having an open bootloader and a myriad of Linux distributions would hurt their ecosystems. All ARM W8 tablets will come with locked bootloaders by specification, just like Android ones. Existing Android devices and others like the TouchPad will be very difficult to port this to because the bootloader security is different from current devices.

That's not true, only certain Android OEM's lock their bootloaders, namely HTC and Motorola. Samsung bootloaders for example are not locked.
2nd May 2012, 07:29 PM   |  #29  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rakeesh_j

That's not true, only certain Android OEM's lock their bootloaders, namely HTC and Motorola. Samsung bootloaders for example are not locked.

Agreed, but Microsoft has made UEFI security a mandatory requirement for Windows 8 ready devices (whether this can be disabled is up to the manufacturer though). Technically though, this isn't about bootloaders and more about UEFI firmwares which are (supposedly) the next generation replacements for a BIOS.

Hopefully we won't have to see this as too restricting (meaning hopefully manufacturers will give a way to disable this, which is not prohibited by the Microsoft Windows 8 Ready specification) and will continue to be able to use whatever OS we want with our Windows 8 Ready PCs.

How did we get on this topic anyway? I thought we we're contemplating the overhead of an x86 emulator on an ARM tablet..

Either way, it would take significantly more instructions to make up even a simple instruction that's found in an x86 processor, which would be pretty slow performance wise, not to mention very inefficient as opposed to porting applications to the ARM architecture.

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2nd May 2012, 09:51 PM   |  #30  
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Originally Posted by ShadowEO

Agreed, but Microsoft has made UEFI security a mandatory requirement for Windows 8 ready devices (whether this can be disabled is up to the manufacturer though). Technically though, this isn't about bootloaders and more about UEFI firmwares which are (supposedly) the next generation replacements for a BIOS.

Hopefully we won't have to see this as too restricting (meaning hopefully manufacturers will give a way to disable this, which is not prohibited by the Microsoft Windows 8 Ready specification) and will continue to be able to use whatever OS we want with our Windows 8 Ready PCs.

How did we get on this topic anyway? I thought we we're contemplating the overhead of an x86 emulator on an ARM tablet..

Either way, it would take significantly more instructions to make up even a simple instruction that's found in an x86 processor, which would be pretty slow performance wise, not to mention very inefficient as opposed to porting applications to the ARM architecture.

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For x86 they made it mandatory that you must be able to disable it as well as add additional signatures. They did the opposite on ARM, saying that you must not be able to disable it nor add signatures.

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