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Old 12 November 2007, 21:40   #81
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Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Nowhere
Age: 47
Posts: 1,792
Originally Posted by Bloodwych View Post
...Akira still needs to write his Sharp x68000 review... ...the Arch was so close to being a perfect computer - all it was missing were those dedicated video chips...
Wholly agree

I would love to know more about the x68000 computers - not knowing the lingo is a bit of an impediment. Played a few of the games under emulation & they speak volumes about the underlaying hardware.

Acorn suffered badly from lack of funds & poor management. (Sound familiar?)
The chipset was a wonderful example of thinking on a budget. It was flexible enough to do amazing things with support from the ARM processor...
...but, yes, if there had been time & funding to design it the other way round...

A good example of Acorn's chronic lack of funding for R&D is the RiscPC. Designed as a multi-processor system from the outset. Two processor slots as standard, never mind the Hydra board! But the OS (hacks aside) was always single-threaded so didn't support this.

Given the OS needed a protracted/expensive rewrite to become MP-aware Acorn planed a simpler strategy:
Use additional ARM processors supported by the hardware to 'improve' the chipset. You re-write software modules for each 'function' so that they either shared the main CPU with the rest of the OS as normal or optionally had a processor to themselves. This would remain transparent to the system but would drastically improve the performance of these functions where extra processors were available.
ARM#4: I/O
ARM#5: FPU (yes, there is a hardware FPU, but an ARM processor is faster!)
etc, etc...
Piecemeal replacement of some parts of the OS being much easier than a ground-up rewrite. Also for a single-user system this would have a much more obvious effect on performance.

-Sadly Acorn ran out of time even for this. -

If you're mad enough buy a RiscPC + Hydra board. Add 8, yes EIGHT StongArm 300 processor cards for it & install *nix. Still a pretty quick system by modern standards. I think the last hydra board I saw on eBay went for about 600.00 in the end!
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