New Emulator Lets Some x86-64 Games Run on RISC-V Dev Board

(Image credit: StarFive)

The latest version of Box64, a popular x86_64 emulator for Linux running on architectures like ARM/AArch64 and RISC-V, introduces significant performance improvements, making possible gaming on RISC-V-based platforms such as the Vision Five 2 board, reports Phoronix

The most important addition to the Box64 version 0.2.4 is that Dynarec now works on RISC-V. This facilitates faster operations of x86_64 Linux software on RISC-V 64-bit system and makes simplistic games, such as Stardew Valley, playable on Vision Five 2-based devices. Additionally, the new version introduces several fixes for Steam, enhanced multi-threading capabilities, and broader improvements for emulation across various CPU architectures.

While titles like Stardew Valley can hardly attract avid gamers, the Vision Five 2 is not exactly designed to run games (even though it has an OpenGL ES 3.2, Vulkan 1.2-capable integrated GPU), so running a game is already a kind of a breakthrough for this product. The motherboard is aimed at software developers and is based in the quad-core StarFive JH7110 SoC with SiFive U74 RV64GC cores running at 1.50 GHz and Imagination's  BXE-4-32 GPU.

The Box64 version 0.2.4 has refined its compatibility with several modifications, which includes better handling of ELF files, added wrapped libraries and functions, expanded opcode functionalities, and preliminary WoW64 support for 32-bit operations in Wine. 

In conjunction with Box64's release, Box86, focused on x86 32-bit emulation, launched its 0.3.2 version. This version sees improvements in system call processes, an optimized ELF loader, a decrease in memory usage, and stability improvements.

Anton Shilov
Contributing Writer

Anton Shilov is a contributing writer at Tom’s Hardware. Over the past couple of decades, he has covered everything from CPUs and GPUs to supercomputers and from modern process technologies and latest fab tools to high-tech industry trends.

  • bit_user
    As mentioned the VisionFive 2 board is not exactly meant to be a top-performer. Expect performance near that of a Raspberry Pi 3, except in applications that make heavy use of NEON SIMD. In the latter case, performance will be much worse, as the CPU cores of the VisionFive 2 have no SIMD.