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Emulator definition

An emulator is a hardware device or a piece of software that allows one computer system (the host) to perform the operations of another computer system (the guest). This permits the guest system's software, tools, peripheral devices, and other components to be executed on the host system. Many distinct kinds of emulators exist, each designed to simulate a certain environment or set of resources, like a specific piece of hardware, software, operating system, or central processing unit. In most situations, however, hardware architecture is imitated to create a host system-like environment.

Components of emulators:

  • CPU emulator
  • Memory sub-system emulator
  • Different input/output device emulators

Benefits of emulators:

  • They provide a way to continue using unsupported game consoles.
  • They are preferable to costlier software and hardware options.
  • They can be utilized for both gaming and operating system installation.

Limitation of emulators:

  • Due to the hardware limitations, they are often noticeably slower than the system they are meant to mimic.
  • Some emulators may be downloaded in an unauthorized manner, which poses legal risks.
  • Downloaded emulators may infect your computer with malware.

Types of emulators:

  • Terminal emulators. Terminal emulators emulate computer terminals. A command line or graphical terminal emulator lets a host computer communicate with another, including remote systems.
  • Printer emulators. Printer emulations are programs that run on the printer and let you use a number of different printer command languages. Users can choose the right command language by transferring multiple emulations to a printer.
  • Game console emulators. This emulator lets a computer run console games on its platform. Emulators usually have extra features like wider controller compatibility, improved performance, crisper clarity, one-click cheat codes, etc.
  • Full system emulators. This type of emulation simulates every aspect of the original hardware, including the central processing unit (CPU), basic input/output system (BIOS), chipset, and interrupts.
  • CPU emulators. CPU emulators simulate physical CPUs. The simplest CPU emulator is an interpreter, which records program code execution.
  • Functional emulators. This type of emulation refers to the process of running a program that was originally written in symbolic assembly language rather than binary machine code.
  • Mobile emulators. Mobile emulators emulate hardware and software on desktop computers or cloud-based testing platforms.

See also: computer simulation, DOS box