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cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17
Running QEMU on a Tablet?

I noticed that USB mouse support for QEMU on a tablet was added to the Garden today, awesome!

So, what type of hardware does QEMU need to work well on a tablet? I mean, tablets have transformed into laptops/desktops with how much they can do nowadays, but what kind of specs would make QEMU a happy camper? Are we talking just Windows 10-based tablets or some sort of Intel-based processor as a minimum for QEMU, like a Windows Surface or something similar? A more important detail about all this is how much does one have to spend to get some nice mobile gear to play with QEMU?

Or how about an Amazon Fire tablet ( I'm joking.. or am I? Shock ), an iPad Pro ( okay, now I'm really joking, right? ). As far as ARM-based ones, those should be out, AFAIK, but for this helper software to have a spot on Github since end of April last year, something gotta be working! I know QEMU works on many platforms, I'm just curious to know some of the best, practical mobile hardware it can run on, that's all!

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adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

I've tried running QEMU on my iPhone 6+; there's not enough memory to run anything but a really stripped down Android 1.0 or DrDOS, and they run way too slow to be usable. Getting QEMU-PPC to work was a complete bust.

So, I'd say you likely need at least 4GB RAM and a 1.2GHz processor to even begin using it, and you'll likely need current generation high end hardware to actually do anything useful.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

So a very high-end tablet's needed then Smile I thought as much!

But anything w/an ARM chip doesn't offer QEMU compatibility (based solely on my own failed Android experiments with LIMBO) partially due to the old version of QEMU wrapped inside of LIMBO itself. The Screamer build would be a nice build update, but again, it'd be for the high-end stuff, for now; at least until ARM processors become faster and cheaper anyways..

adespoton's picture
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Joined: 2015 Feb 15

What I've tested out is https://getutm.app/ -- the ARM chips seem to be mostly fast enough; the big issue is having enough memory.

However, from their FAQ:
The lack of hardware virtualization on Apple A-chips means that even for ARM code we must re-compile it with JIT. Therefore performance would never reach the levels possible with KVM. There is also no support for GPU virtualization so that means no DirectX or OpenGL. This makes most modern games non-playable.

I'm presuming that the latest round of A chips will support hardware virtualization, as they'll be used on ARM Macs as well.

But yeah; there are currently definite roadblocks to using ARM for QEMU.

cbone's picture
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Joined: 2011 Sep 17

Get the UTM outta here, lol Laughing out loud so there's a VM for iOS, wow!! Maybe an iPad Pro w/max RAM could give this VM app what it needs (as far as memory and processing umph) with the restrictions based off of whatever you're actually trying to run.. nice!