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This section last updated on 21 March 1998

[DOS/Windows] [UNIX/Linux] [OS/2] [Mac] [Archie] [Amiga] [Psion] [ST/TT] [NeXT] [Java] [QL] [C64] [MSX]

After the great NVG emulator directory reorganisation, the links to the emulators on these pages have been adjusted accordingly. However, I haven't checked them all so if you get any problems please let me know.

The number of available emulators continues to grow at a surprising rate; there are now a total of 61 emulators (if you include each incarnation of the multi-platform ones). As ever, if you know of one not listed here, please tell me about it!. So far every single update of this FAQ since September 1996 has had new emulators included! I have heard of Speccy emulators for the Amstrad CPC (possibly called ZXEmu and emulating only a 16Kb Speccy and by Andy Wright/Betasoft) and the Enterprise but have no details on them. Any info very welcome.

Authors, where known, are in (brackets) after the name of the emulator. PLEASE don't bother these guys asking for an emulator; there are plenty of places to get the emulators from, and I list example addresses. While many links are to the emulators directories at NVG, you may also want to try Martijn van der Heide's mirror of this area.

The features of each emulator are listed in the following set order:

  1. Emulation: 48/128/+2/+3/Multiface/Disciple/Interface 1/etc.
  2. Loadable formats - e.g. .SNA, .Z80 etc.
  3. Saveable formats.
  4. Real tape loading - type of support offered.
  5. Requirements - video, processor etc.
  6. Speed.
  7. Status: freeware/shareware/commercial/etc.
  8. Good points.
  9. Bad points.
  10. Other comments.
  11. Site available from. Please note that these are not the only places to get the emulator from; there are many other sites, but the directories may be different. Try a WWW/FTP search for the name of the archive file if the site listed is too slow for you.


Ribic Samir has supplied the following benchmarks. As these are BASIC programs they are not fully representative of the speeds of the emulators; some emulators use tricks to speed up BASIC execution and the variations within machine code programs can show remarkable differences between emulators running the same game.

All emulators (except xz80) were tested on 486 SX/33 with VGA, no resident drivers, 48K mode. If not otherwise stated, assume full speed mode. Time is measured in seconds with a wrist watch (so, accuracy is up to 1 second). xz80 was tested by Ian Collier on a Sparc 2. Thanks to Rob Darke for trying the benchmarks on a real Spectrum 128 in 48K mode.

According to Ian, xz80 times each instruction and gives a close match to the time a real Speccy should take; accordingly, the times for these tests should take approximately 49.7, 29.6 and 10.6 seconds. As test 3 should obviously take 10 seconds, this shows the error factor in xz80's predictions (due probably to the timing start/stop point being off due to program loading/finishing delays).

1) 10 FOR I=16384 TO 23296
   20 POKE I,255
   30 NEXT I

2) 10 FOR I=16384 TO 23296
   30 NEXT I

3) BEEP 10,0

Emulator         Test 1            Test 2             Test 3  sound quality

Real Speccy 128    51              30.2                   10  clean :)
(in 48K mode)

JPP                14                8                     3  damaged
PJPP               50               29                    10  damaged

Sinclair v0.99     22               12                     5  clean
VGASPEC            34               14                     5  bit damaged
SPEC386            21               13                     4  clean

Sinclair 2.0       19               11                     4  clean

SP                 14                8                     3  clean

SpecEm             41               24                    10  damaged

SP_EMU/SP_UKV      18               11                     3  clean

SP105              42               25                    11  very damaged

Warajevo           15                8                     3  clean
Warajevo 128 in 48 18               10                     3  clean

WSpecEm           2:52              1:18                  20  very damaged

Z80 3.05           20               12                     3  damaged
Z80 100% speed     50               29                    10  damaged

SPECEMU           1:15              43                    19  clean

ZX (Garabik)       13                8                     3  clean

ZX (Rindt/Brukner) 17               11                     2  clean

X128              2:29              1:32                  23  damaged

XZ80              40.4              22.3                 7.9  damaged *

Roman ZX           21               13                     4  clean

* running at top speed. At normal speed it is clean.

Multiface Problems

Some emulators have Multiface [128] emulation, but do not supply the Multiface ROM because it is copyrighted and the authors require a license fee to be paid. However, Z80 does include this ROM, because Gerton Lunter has licensed it. This is really a bit of a silly situation, as Z80 is freely available as shareware - so the ROM is also then freely available! You can extract the ROM from the ROMS.BIN file; all you need to know is in the TECHINFO.DOC file that comes with Z80. It is not something you can do without either a little programming or a small utility to extract part of a file. Not that I condone any possible breach of copyright; your use of this utility to extract the ROM is only permitted if you own a real Multiface. You would be in breach of Romantic Robot's copyright if you were to extract the ROM without owning the real thing.