A new DOS emulation program has been released for the Raspberry Pi mini computer system. The program is called rpix86 and was put together by a homebrew coder by the name of Pate. On the RasPi the emulator runs approximately on a par with a 20MHz 486 machine sporting Super-VGA graphics and includes all important SoundBlaster compatibility.
Coder of rpix86, Pate, has previously coded DOS emulators for both the Nintendo DS and the Android mobile OS. His rpix86 release is now at version 0.03 and has recently undergone various tweaks to improve USB mouse and keyboard compatibility. Also some bugs/problems in games such as The Settlers, Heimdall and Doom have all been patched up. Pate informs us that he will switch back to working on the Android version during his next spell of free time but as the emulators share about 95 per cent of the same code - improvements to one emulator will easily be ported to another version.
RasPi DOS emuator benchmarked
The current status of emulation is as follows:
- CPU: 80486 processor, including the protected mode features (for running DOS4GW games) but without virtual memory support. The emulation runs at a speed of around 20MHz 80486 (which equals a 40MHz 80386) machine.
- Memory: 640KB of low memory, 4MB of EMS memory and 16MB of XMS memory.
- Super-VGA graphics, with a maximum resolution of 640x480 with 256 colors.
- SoundBlaster 2.0 (including AdLib-compatible FM sounds) sound card.
- US keyboard.
- Two-button mouse.
It’s pretty easy to find DOS emulators for the PC but this one is great for RasPi owners to enjoy ye olde PC gaming nuggets on a big screen TV. The speed of emulation on the Pi sounds just about right, as I remember PC gaming really took off during that 486 era.
It’s yet another reason to buy a Raspberry Pi... However it’s been suggested that the OUYA will offer the ultimate emulation platform (but more biased towards consoles) for your TV for around about £99.