In computing and gaming an emulator is a piece of hardware or software designed to duplicate the behavior of another set of hardware/software. Modern computer users can employ emulators for myriad functions including emulating older computers (including their environments and programming languages) for educational purposes and emulating older game systems for entertainment purposes.
While modern systems have more than enough computing power to emulate older systems (from a processing power standpoint, for example, it’s no sweat to emulate the Super Nintendo Entertainment System on a modern quad-core computer) emulation is a tricky task as you are not simply throwing an equivalent amount of computing power at the problem but attempting to emulate the unique hardware of the system–including things like on-board sound processing. As a result it is common even with the best of emulators to run into hiccups like out-of-sync audio or system timing that is an iteration or two faster than the original hardware.
- By Jason Fitzpatrick on 02/12/13