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April 15, 1994


By CBR Staff Writer

Cambridge-based Acorn Computers Ltd has a new range of 32-bit RISC-based personal computers. They are ARM-based and use version 3.5 of the RISC OS operating system. The first model, the RISC PC 600, will use the ARM 610 CPU running at 30MHz and will be available in late September or early October. Acorn says that this has about the same processing capability as the 80486 processor. After this models using the ARM 700 CPU will be offered, with ARM 800-based models planned for 1995. The ARM 700 is expected to double the performance of the 600 model and the 800 will double this again. It will be possible to upgrade to the future chips when they become available for a cost of up to UKP100. Acorn says that all the RISC personal computers will offer multiprocessor support and each can have an additional processors, which need not be an ARM chip. Acorn will initially offer an 80486 board, although it would be possible to add a Pentium processor. The computer is designed to accept either a 5.25 or 3.5 drive and it is possible to add further drives by virtue of the stackable case design. This design also means that CD-ROM drives can be used as well as additional disk drives. The computers enable the addition of up to eight expansion slots along with a network board. The computers will take up to 256Mb RAM on the motherboard. Users’ existing peripherals and expansion boards that are A5000- or Archimedes 440/450-compatible can be used. A further 128Mb of memory can be added to the motherboard using the 64Mb SIMM memory currently available and it will be possible to add up to 256Mb when the higher density 128Mb SIMM memory is available. Video images can be displayed at 16 bits per pixel colour and can be upgraded to 1,600 by 1,200 resolution displaying 24-bit per pixel colour with the addition of up to 2Mb Video RAM. The RISC PC 600 will cost UKP1,250 with 80486 processor an additional UKP100 bought at the same time, or UKP200 if the purchase is made later. The ARM 700 model will be UKP1,400 and the ARM 800 model will be UKP1,700.

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