Risc PC

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The Risc PC (codenamed Medusa) was Acorn Computers's next generation RISC OS/Acorn RISC Machine computer, launched in 16 April 1994, which superseded the Acorn Archimedes.[1]

Like the Archimedes, the Risc PC continued the practice of having the RISC OS operating system in a ROM module. Risc PC augmented the ROM-based core OS with a disk-based directory structure containing configuration information, and some applications which had previously been kept in ROM.

Contents

Specifications and technical details

  • Memory type: SIMM, 2 slots, supporting a maximum memory size of 256 MB.
  • Video subsystem: VIDC20 controller, with optional dual-port VRAM up to 2 MB.
  • Expansion: Eurocard-sized Podule support in common with Archimedes-series machines. The Risc PC also offers DMA support in the first two podules on the bus.
  • Operating System: RISC OS

RISC OS 3.5 (Risc PC 600)
RISC OS 3.6 (Risc PC 700)
RISC OS 3.7 (StrongARM Risc PC)
Fitted as standard

RISC OS 4, RISC OS Select, RISC OS Adjust and RISC OS 6
are available from RISCOS Ltd as a replacement for the Acorn-implemented versions which came fitted as standard.[2]
Linux was ported but is no longer supported.[3]
NetBSD [4] has been ported.

  • Case: Designed by industrial designer Allen Boothroyd of Cambridge Product Design (designer of the BBC Micro case). Custom plastic-based design with a novel 'slice' feature which allows extra case modules to be added to increase internal expansion space. Each slice adds 2 podule bays at the rear, and two drive bays (one 3.5 inch, one 5.25 inch) at the front, covered by a retractable flap to hide cosmetic inconsistencies in hue. Some slices were internally sprayed with nickel paint to meet electromagnetic and radio emissions regulations.
  • Ports: Serial, Parallel, PS/2 keyboard, Acorn mouse, headphone audio out, DE15 VGA, network (optional).
  • CPU: Dual-processor slots, accepting the following chips on a special daughterboard: ARM610 at 30 MHz or 33 MHz, ARM700 at 33 MHz (only as prototype), ARM710 at 40 MHz, ARM810 at 55 MHz (only as prototype), StrongARM at 203 MHz, 236 MHz or 300 MHz. 486 and 586-based co-processors at up to 133 MHz, and DSP chips (third party) were also available. A Hydra multi-processor development system from Simtec allowed an extra four ARM6 or ARM7 CPU cards. The Hydra add-on added multiprocessor functionality to the RiscPC with multiple Acorn ARM610 processors and the addition of the x86 Co-processor card.

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