FEX-Emu 2310 Released With Performance Optimizations, WOW64 Wine Frontend

Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Gaming on 6 October 2023 at 08:26 AM EDT. 10 Comments
A new version of FEX-Emu has been released, the open-source project aiming to be "the greatest x86/x86_64 emulator on Linux" that includes the ability to run Steam and Steam Play Windows games on AArch64 Linux systems.

With FEX-Emu 2310 there is faster performance by making use of more instruction optimizations. Using Geekbench as a benchmark they are seeing around a 13% performance improvement. Over the course of the past few months in some cases this means 50~65%+ better performance. More performance optimizations for FEX are also still on the way.

FEX screenshot
FEX has already managed to get various Windows x86 games running on AArch64 Linux laptops.

FEX 2310 also began implementing optimizations using Arm 128-bit SVE instructions. Another exciting area is the initial WOW64 Wine front-end. In turn this will allow Wine to integrate FEX directly into its WOW64 layer for running x86 and x86-64 applications on ARM64 host devices.
"This is a very substantial change to how WINE integrates with FEX, since today FEX-Emu just runs the full x86-64 WINE process and eats the overhead of emulating everything WINE needs to do. With the WOW64 layer now implemented, a bunch of the WINE code can now be Arm64 native code and when it needs to execute application code it just jumps back to the emulator. This is similar to how Windows natively handles its emulation through its "XTA" layer. Sadly today this is only wired up to work through a 32-bit x86 part of the layer, we need to get setup to support Wine when it inevitably supports Wow64 for x86_64->Arm64."

FEX 2310 is rounded out by thunking support for Wayland-client and the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan driver.

More details on today's FEX 2310 emulator 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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