FEX 2303 Released For Improving Linux x86_64 Gaming On ARM64

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 6 March 2023 at 03:00 PM EST. 6 Comments
FEX-Emu 2303 was published today as the newest version of this open-source software for enjoying x86 64-bit Linux software to run gracefully on 64-bit ARM (ARM64 / AArch64) including the likes of Linux games and Valve's Steam client with Steam Play (Proton).

FEX-Emu has been enjoying great success and popularity as a fast user-mode x86/x86_64 emulator for ARM64. There is an increasing number of modern Windows games now running on 64-bit Arm by way of Steam Play atop FEX. With FEX 2303, there are more improvements in tow both for gaming and other areas like the ongoing work to emulate AVX instructions on Arm.

FEX + Crysis Remastered
FEX developers recently showed off Crysis Remastered running on Qualcomm Snapdragon powered Lenovo ThinkPad X13s notebooks with Proton Experimental + Turnip + DXVK.

Some of the FEX 2303 highlights include:

- More start-up optimizations around Valve's Proton and Pressure-Vessel. From this work to improve ARM64 Steam Linux gaming: "With the couple of optimizations in place we managed to shave a second off of the start-up time. Cutting the execution from 9.7 seconds down to 8.7 seconds. Or in the case of running on an Apple M1, execution is now down to 7 seconds. Almost all of this time improvement comes from faster syscall wrapping and the remaining CPU time is code JIT and execution. It'll only get faster in the future!"

- After finding a game shipping anti-virtual machine code to make the title refuse to run if within a VM, FEX has added an option to hide the hypervisor CPUID bit. FEX isn't a virtual machine but by default do set the CPUID bit so software can query FEX-specific CPUID information if desired.

- Optimizing the REP STOS instruction to an inline memset. This change has shown an 11% performance improvement.

- Signal frame improvements.

- Continued work on enabling AVX emulation support atop Arm SVE2 256-bit.

Downloads and more details on today's FEX 2303 release via FEX-Emu.com.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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