Gaming PC

Apple Silicon Supports 48-Year-Old Intel 8080 via Secret Extension

Apple built support for instructions designed for Intel’s 8080 processor, which debuted in 1974, into Apple silicon processors, using secret undocumented extensions to execute very rarely used instructions. and found to improve emulation performance.

Apple’s Rosetta 2 is part of macOS and allows applications written for Intel processors to run on Apple Silicon. (opens in new tab)– Works pretty well on an equipped Mac. Named after Rosetta his stone that allowed Egyptologists to begin deciphering ancient hieroglyphs in the 1820s.Rosetta was similarly mysterious, but may have begun to abandon that secret, as detailed in a blog post (opens in new tab) Australian security researcher Dougall Johnson discusses why Rosetta 2 is so fast while revealing undocumented enhancements.

(Image credit: Apple)

The secret extension seems to change how the processor stores parity and adjust flags from applications to provide more accurate emulation. This story is picked up by web developers and retro computing enthusiasts. Blake Paterson (opens in new tab)with the help of Johnson’s post, explains how and why to do this Mastodon (opens in new tab).

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