Faster than a speeding bullet… albeit an old, comparatively slow, speeding bullet, by today’s standards
Franck Martinaux has made version 1.00 of FastDosBox available from the NO RISC – NO FUN website. Previously mentioned on the website, the application was described as being available exclusively from PlingStore, R-Comp’s initiative to make it easier for new users to discover software they might be interested in.
FastDosBox is a fork of DOSBox, an open source x86 emulator. Based on the SVN source code of DOSBox, Franck says that FastDosBox is 250% faster than the version of DOSBox on riscos.info, and works on the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBoard and PandaBoard – in particular, on a PandaBoard ES, the performance of FastDosBox is said to be comparable with that of a low-end Pentium system.
Franck explains that the ingredients for the “secret sauce” of FastDosBox include that he has fixed/ported the dynrec x86 emulation part to RISC OS, which had never been done before, that he has optimised the SDL library with some assembler, and that a lot of routines are now calling assembler substitutes.
The benchmark used to compare DOSBox and FastDosBox, and which leads to the claim of a 250% gain in speed, is 3DBench, a benchmark often used in the DOSBox community to compare 386-486 Pentium class machines [Google Docs spreadsheet]. Running the benchmark on FastDosBox on a Raspberry Pi gives a result of 6.0 – equivalent to a 386SX16 – whereas running the version of DOSBox from riscos.info on the same board gives a result of 2.5. On a BeagleBoard Xm, the benchmark gives a result of 15 for FastDosBox, equivalent to a 486DX33 computer, and on a PandaBoard ES it gives a result of 33, equivalent to a Pentium 75.