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Old 07 December 2003, 16:51   #1
SilentBob
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Acorn Archimedes?

I remember reading back in the days about the Archimedes computers and how the "all-mighty and powerful" ARM CPU is was using made it loads faster than an equivalent Amiga or even a 386 PC.

I remember they ran a comparison of different computers in an old CU Amiga issue, the Archimedes was represented by the A3010 model. Also there was a 386 PC, a Falcon 030 and a Mac of some sort. The Amiga of course took 1st and 2nd place, but that was to be expected.

But how did it compare against an Amiga in reality? I've never used an Archimedes at all, so I'd be interested to know.
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Old 07 December 2003, 18:01   #2
Nyarlathotep
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I don't know, but Red Squirrel (Archimedes emulator) give us an idea of what Archimedes can do.
http://www.red-squirrel.org/
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Old 07 December 2003, 22:52   #3
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The only bad thing about the Archie is the lack of Software !

On the other side is the Archie FAR more powerfull than an Amiga, Atari or a PC of that time, well it´s not quite as fast as an Amiga 060 or maybe even an 040, but it beats the hell out of every other Amiga except PPC
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Old 07 December 2003, 23:04   #4
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I posted about the Archie here

Great machine, but you have to remember even though it had a revolutionary CPU for the time, it didn't have custom chips to share the load when it came to certain tasks.
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Old 08 December 2003, 06:21   #5
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The OS, RiscOS, was quite great as well.
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Old 08 December 2003, 09:36   #6
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Archimedes was a fantastic computer. Unfortunately, Acorn was so stupid because they released Acorn as a computer made out for education. They didn't even put joystick ports...

Pitty. Archimedes was by far the best home computer in terms of hardware, but Acorn sucked...
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Old 08 December 2003, 09:44   #7
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So, there was a company that was worse at marketing than Commodore?

Well, been looking around on the net for Archimedes resources, have come across a few.

Seems like a good machine for its time. 256 colours on screen when the Amiga/PC/ST only had 32 or 16 colours, 8 channel sound etc. RISC OS also looks good, particularly the later versions. And its still around too, in incarnations up to 200+ MHz. Me wants one of those!


BTW, this whole thread should probably be in the Nostalgia section, I was a bit too quick posting.
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Old 25 February 2010, 21:40   #8
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The OS, RiscOS, was quite great as well.
RISC OS (yes, it's two seperate acronyms) had some amazing GUI features that it's taken until Vista/Win7 for Microsoft to catch up (and not on all, either). The underlying mess of hooks and SWIs was quite nasty, but from an end-user point of view it was generally a nice OS to use. As far as limitations, the major factor limiting the performance of RISC OS was the lack of a floating point engine, until the A7xxx series (the next machine after the RiscPC). The Iyonix and beyond brought the hardware more up-to-date, but the infighting in the developer community (notably, Castle Ltd vs ROL, RISC OS Ltd) more or less dealt the finishing blow. It is still being developed (in the form of ROOL, RISC OS Open Ltd) for newer ARM SoCs, such as the BeagleBoard.
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Old 26 February 2010, 00:30   #9
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The Archimedes was a magnificent machine.

But, as others have already said, the lack of software really lets it down. It still has some good stuff (Nevryon, Starfighter 3000), but it was a horribly underused platform.
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Old 26 February 2010, 00:35   #10
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When did you stop using it? I think you'd be surprised what sort of software was (and is) on offer. Granted, it can't really compare with Wintel or Linux offerings these days, but there was actually a decent spread of stuff - from Fireworkz, Personal Account 4, Ovation Pro, Impression Style all the way to a bunch of great games, both native (Exodus springs to mind, and lots of stuff by Tom Cooper, etc) and ports.
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Old 26 February 2010, 02:36   #11
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I owned an A3000 and later had it upgraded with the arm3.Blistering fast at the time but it was not a whole lot of fun if you were a gamer- despite there being a few decent efforts that is.Tremendous potential of course if only the support had been there

I loved the atmosphere and life of the OS and dabbled a fair bit with it's basic.Happy days but i eventually sold it for the right reasons-i felt quite proud to own one but it was ultimately pointless being that i had an Amiga as well

I ended up prefering Virus to Zarch which worked out rather nicely
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Old 26 February 2010, 02:47   #12
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Oh my, no wonder you have such a poor impression of the OS. In 1993 Acorn released the FPA10 Floating Point Accelerator for the A540, A5000 and R260 which boosted floating point performance by a factor of 50; the A5000 was also ARM3 but clocked at 33MHz. From a similar era as your A3000, the A5000 was the absolute best overall Arch, in my opinion, although I'm also terribly fond of the later RiscPC (ARM7, then StrongARM at 202MHz, then 233MHz, and ultimately 270ish MHz). I've since sold one of my RPCs but can't bear to part with the other. But seriously, if you ditched RISC OS around the time of the A3000, it's no wonder if you thought either/both hardware and software were lacking - you seem to have parted ways with RISC OS just at its most exciting time. I was at Wakefield when the RiscPC Rocketship (pizza oven, kitchen sink) was unveiled for the first time. Now those were exciting days.
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Old 26 February 2010, 02:57   #13
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I'm sure i would have loved those days too but it's unlikely i would have had the same fun gaming experience if i'd gone that route- much like how if i'd bought into the Amiga at the time fps games started appearing on A1200- by which time this didn't really represent to me at least what Amiga was all about

I would have been very proud to have owned an A5000 though and it's just a shame the system isn't around in any real serious way any more, as i would more than likely have one
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Old 26 February 2010, 03:02   #14
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There are some games which - in terms of pure gameplay - are utterly unrivalled among modern Wintel or console games. However, they are all graphically lacking due to being quite old, and I'm sure that if you didn't have the buffer of nostalgia, they would be hard to get into again for that reason alone, if nothing else. However, ArcElite will never leave my heart
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Old 26 February 2010, 03:16   #15
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There are some games which - in terms of pure gameplay - are utterly unrivalled among modern Wintel or console games. However, they are all graphically lacking due to being quite old, and I'm sure that if you didn't have the buffer of nostalgia, they would be hard to get into again for that reason alone, if nothing else. However, ArcElite will never leave my heart
At that time i think i also had the N64 so was enjoying stuff like Ocarina and Goldeneye- in that sense i'm glad i didn't return to Acorn but had i, i'm sure i'd be looking back very fondly now as well

About 6 months ago i did look into getting another Archimedes as they're definitely easy enough to find at cheap enough prices.I suppose the only trouble was that i'm a sucker for new machines- the thought of owning a new A5000 was very appealing if just for the sheer thrill of messing around in the os again.It would have to be new though for me to consider getting one

Eilte on the Archi was quite unique and very easily arguably the best version

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Old 26 February 2010, 16:59   #16
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had some A3000 at middle school around the mid 90s. I remember them as being a bit... well, rubbish really. that 'lander' game was so bad!
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Old 27 February 2010, 10:52   #17
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Lol - I think Lander was a bundled demo of Zarch/Virus, or at least a technology demonstation. No sound and no enemies I believe.

From memory, Zarch on the Archie looked nicer with more colours but for some reason lacked the beefy sound effects of the Amiga Virus. Not sure why, pretty sure the machine was capable.

Personally, I used to love Chocks Away! Wasted a lot of time playing link-up games on that.


Edit: Oh and it was smoother than the Amiga version (well smoother than a 6800 anyway).
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Old 27 February 2010, 11:05   #18
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Lol - I think Lander was a bundled demo of Zarch/Virus, or at least a technology demonstation.
Yes, it came bundled with early RISC OS 3 machines.

Quote:
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Personally, I used to love Chocks Away! Wasted a lot of time playing link-up games on that.
Chocks Away was a cracking game, I used to play it splitscreen with my friend. Shooting down a Gotha G IV bomber (the big grey ones) was always rewarding.
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Old 27 February 2010, 11:06   #19
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It was always crystal, and e-type at school on the a3010's we had
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Old 27 February 2010, 11:11   #20
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They were marketed as educational machines, and some of it was excellent stuff too, well above the 'edutainment' level of Windows stuff of the same era. An old favourite was Sherston Software's "Badger Trails" - an excellent and addictive game, and you learned a lot about nature at the same time! But yes, for purely wasting time, the Acorn had lots of great games (Haunted House and Time Machine are other classics) as well as many ports, including one close to my heart, which I enjoyed so much (and found so little material for) that I made a website for the Acorn port: The Iron Lord.
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