Worth buying? Some general questions

Worth buying? Some general questions

Post by rodm » Sat, 27 Sep 2003 21:02:41


I've seen a few adverts around for Risc PC's these days for not a lot
of money and wondered if I should buy one for old times sake. I used
to use Acorns at school and uni to a small extent.

Anyway I have a few questions.

1) Can I add in (new) Strong Arm processors?

2) How do the new StrongArm processors compare to the current Intel
Pentium and Apple G4/G5 processors.

3) Can I add in new/bigger hard disks easily? I have an spare 30GB
EIDE one.

4) Can I run a webserver from it?

5) I think they use 610/710 processors how does these compare?

I will no doubt have more questions, but these will do for the time


Worth buying? Some general questions

Post by Tony Hough » Sat, 27 Sep 2003 21:30:41


Well you can buy them new AFAIK, but in terms of technology, you can
only add "old" StrongARMs. It won't be worth the price of a new one
though, try to buy one that already has a StrongARM.

If you're thinking of the XScale-based ones as used by Iyonix, they're
incompatible. In theory I expect an upgrade would be possible, but I
think the concenus is that it isn't worth designing one because it would
be too badly throttled by the Risc PC bus.

They could just about keep up with contemporary PowerPCs and Pentiums.
But that was about 6 years ago... And only for integer operations.
For anything using floating point (FP) they're desperate.

I've got a feeling RISC OS 3 is limited to 2GB, but RISC OS 4/Select can
see 30GB+ OK

Just about.

A lot slower than the StrongARM. You won't notice it much just rummaging
around RISC OS's GUI, but if if you try doing anything
processor-intensive like compiling, photo editing, ray-tracing, number
crunching, MP3-encoding or even viewing a complicated web page, it's
going to be a bit painful.

In fact I'm not even sure they can decode MP3s in real time, whereas
that uses less than 1% of a modern x86's power.

It'll be good fun if you've got a spare hundred quid or two, but if
you've got a decent PC why not try Virtual Acorn instead
< http://www.yqcomputer.com/ >?

My real address is in the Reply-To and includes the .nospam


Worth buying? Some general questions

Post by The Docto » Sat, 27 Sep 2003 22:40:44

n message < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >
Tony Houghton < XXXX@XXXXX.COM > wrote:


Also agreed.

True indeed, but bear in mind that the desktop is still much more
responsive than PCs and PPCs of that era, and still similar to modern
ones. Sort of.

3.1 (which doesn't really count) - 512mb drives or partitions.
3.5 as above.
3.6 not sure.
3.7 has large disc support (not sure how large) but becomes incredibly
inefficient above 4-8gb
4.xx has proper large disc support with selectable LFAU size (at time of
formatting) up to at least 120gb (the largest I've tried)

You're not kidding. I'd also say even a standard SA is very noticeably
faster around the desktop and a Kinetic about twice as fast again.

Only if they are of very low quality (so low even I wouldn't bother
By contrast my Kinetic uses roughly (very roughly) about 7-10% while
having a shedload of other apps loaded and while typing this (true, most
of them aren't doing much) which has just dropped to about 5-7% now the
MP3 has finished.

Of course you won't get the full effect for only a couple of hundred ;-)
The RISC OS software site - www.thedeathzone.free-online.co.uk/software
The RISC OS hardware guide - www.thedeathzone.free-online.co.uk/hardware
Deathzone Emulation - www.thedeathzone.free-online.co.uk/emulation
The Main Control Room - www.thedeathzone.free-online.co.uk