Using Intel VT with the Android Emulator

Up till recently, developing applications and games using the Android Emulator on Windows has been painful. Due to the emulator running much slower than a real Android device.

 

Intel have released Android emulator images that emulate an intel based android device and use Intel VT (Virtualisation Technology) to accelerate the virtual device to near real time speeds. this is great, it makes a huge difference.

 

To give you an idea of the difference this makes I’ve performed some simple tests below and published the results:

SunSpider browser benchmark:

ARM based emulator: 15448

INTEL based emulator: 2491

That’s over 6 times faster!

 

Gameviewsmiley (Basic4Android example program):

Intel + GPU emulation: 51 frames per second

Intel (no GPU emu) : 24 frames per second

 

ARM + GPU emulation:48 frames per second

ARM (no GPU emu): 18 frames per second

 

Booting the emulator from cold:

ARM based emulator: 76 seconds

INTEL based emulator: 76 seconds

Okay, no difference there.

Test setup details:

  • Windows 7 64 bit
  • Intel E5500 processor
  • 4GB RAM
  • Android 4.0.3 Emulator Image
  • JDK 7

How to configure an intel Android emulator:

Firstly, check your PC supports Intel VT, use the link below to check if your CPU is supported:

http://ark.intel.com/Products/VirtualizationTechnology

 

Check your BIOS settings to ensure Intel VT is enabled:

There’s some useful information here on checking your BIOS settings for intel VT settings:

http://www.microsoft.com/windows/virtual-pc/support/configure-bios.aspx

 

Does this affect using Basic4Android at all?

Yes – of course, it makes everything much quicker and less hassle. Teh activity designer connects to your virtual device much faster, program compile and install to the emulator much faster and obviously your B4A programs run much faster on the emulator.

And as B4A is totally based on using standard Android code, then all your apps should work just as well on the Intel based emulator images as the ARM ones.

 

There’s a good article on this subject here:

http://www.developer.com/ws/android/development-tools/haxm-speeds-up-the-android-emulator.html

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