Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 9th Jul 2007 22:02 UTC, submitted by RISCOSMike
RISC OS An effort by users to produce a charity that will support future RISC OS software development is beginning to take shape. Using a mailing list to coordinate the project, a group of punters eventually hope to create a website that will allow people to offer cash and skills to developers.
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RE[2]: Affordable Hardware?
by tamlin on Tue 10th Jul 2007 17:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Affordable Hardware?"
tamlin
Member since:
2006-06-18

Even after reading your second comment, a 600 IA32 PC would get you some pretty decent hardware. Not a "killer", but enough to run both heavy (!) calculations on and play all but the latest games on.

Let me try to dissect this piece-by-piece, and use "PC" here to mean "low-end IA32-compatible PC with on-board gfx, audio and NIC". I'm not trolling or trying to make any RISC PC look bad, I'm just making a comparison of what I as a customer would get for 600 (or $499 + local taxes, it seems) compared to what I'd get going down the IA32 path with a low-end motherboard with integrated gfx and audio.

Gfx? Even looking hard I couldn't find anything IA32 with as little VRAM as the A9 has. 8MB of video RAM isn't even enough to page-flip 1600x1200x24bpp (~=5.5MB) for 2D. Granted, the matching PC would have UMA, but with DDR2 RAM speeds it's still in another division (min VRAM I could find was btw 32MB).

Audio? The PC's today have 5.1 or better, on board, standard. A9 seems to have stereo.

Networking? A9: 10/100Mbps ethernet. In 2007 I'd say that's an order of magnitude too slow when intended for desktop - even for built-in. PC: 1Gbps, standard. The A9 also seems to be so small you can't put another NIC in it, why it can't act neither gateway nor firewall.

CPU? ARM9 arch. at 400MHz (cache unknown) vs. f.ex. a Core2Duo E6600 @ 2.4GHz (L2 cache 4MB).

RAM? A9: 128MB SDRAM (100MHz?). PC: What's the price on DDR2-800MHz today? :-)

For 600 (or even 500) we could get a rather kick-ass Core2 (or AMD if you prefer) CPU, motherboard, amount of RAM and more disk than we could shake a stick at.

However, only mentioning performance would be quite unfair, as the PC uses much more power.

A9: apparently 5V 20W external PSU (that also drives the 40GB internal harddisk), and seems to have no fans whatsoever (a very good thing). The PC? 65W CPU, 10W HD, motherboard... coming to think of it I don't know what a mobo of todays uses. 10-20W? I don't know how much loss is in a PSU of today, but the fan's usually are above 1W, why I guesstimate 5W in total for PSU+fan. Together, let's round it off to 100W, or simply five times as much as the A9.

The PC is also usually quite bulky, while the A9... well, compared to a pack of cigarettes it's probably also bulky, but its size is more like todays external USB (pre-built) harddisks.

So I feel I must ask, is the RISC OS platform really just of (mainstream-ish) interest for embedded developers, or the ones more-or-less growing up on it, or are there benefits to it I'm oblivious of?

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