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Old 05 January 2011, 23:48   #1
Bloodwych
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Acorn ARM processor back to mainstream?

I'm a great fan of the Acorn Achimedes, really nice computer and OS but lacked some custom graphics chips.

Am I right in thinking that the same achitecture that powered those machines went on into the mobile market and is now being pushed by nVidia for desktop?

http://www.engadget.com/2011/01/05/n...r-the-desktop/

Windows 8 might also run on ARM according to rumours?
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Old 05 January 2011, 23:57   #2
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Yes. But are you only noticing ARM? I wouldn't describe it as a return as they never left.

ARM processors are in EVERYTHING.

They are in 90% of the worlds phones and have been for decades. Half the worlds modems & routers. All USB 2.0 hard drives. Even in washing machines made in the last 10 years! Prolific is not the word to describe their success. You must have 10-20 or so ARM processors in your house.

Lots of set-top-boxes, HD-TV's and media players are all ARM based too.

Last edited by alexh; 06 January 2011 at 00:03.
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Old 06 January 2011, 00:03   #3
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Well ok, pretty big brain fart there - I knew the name went on to be everywhere, but didn't know if it was essentially the same architecture that powered the Archimedes. Guess I just never gave it any thought until now. Much might have changed.

It is a return however when big names like nVidia and Windows 8 take it under their wing.

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Old 06 January 2011, 01:03   #4
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Well ok, pretty big brain fart there - I knew the name went on to be everywhere, but didn't know if it was essentially the same architecture that powered the Archimedes. Guess I just never gave it any thought until now. Much might have changed.

It is a return however when big names like nVidia and Windows 8 take it under their wing.
Things just got interesting. This isn't Intel vs AMD or whatever. This is Intel vs everyone else. At once.
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Old 06 January 2011, 01:38   #5
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It is a return however when big names like nVidia take it under their wing.
He he, yeah. But believe it or not nVidia is a smaller company than ARM!
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Old 06 January 2011, 01:50   #6
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Even before this announcement, nVidia's Tegra chips were the most advanced ARM chips out there.

Anyway, with NT-based Windows coming to ARM and newer more powerful ARM chips coming onto the market, I wonder if we're going to see the WinUAE folks starting work on fixing things like an ARM-targeted JIT engine.
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Old 06 January 2011, 11:19   #7
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Ah, nice! Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06 January 2011, 13:45   #8
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There were rumours about Microsoft planning to use an ARM based processor in their next Xbox... It will have to be a totally new and powerful ARM design though to surpass the current Xbox 360 CPU.
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Old 06 January 2011, 14:21   #9
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Any chance of running a hacked RiscOS on any of these new ARM gadgets? Surely nicer than Windows CE
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Old 06 January 2011, 16:42   #10
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I wish I had ARM shares last month. A fecking 48% increase in one month.

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Any chance of running a hacked RiscOS on any of these new ARM gadgets?
Unlikely. Depends what platforms RiscOS has been ported to already. The move away from the Acorn Archimedes & Acorn RISC-PC hardware architecture (26-bit addressing) will be a painful one.

Edit: Perhaps this RiscOS 6 might be possible to port to other platforms but only RiscOS LTD know for sure.

Last edited by alexh; 06 January 2011 at 16:49.
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Old 06 January 2011, 18:56   #11
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Windows 8 might also run on ARM according to rumours?
This is based on misunderstanding I believe, there already is a "Windows for ARM" and its running on those Windows phones. Its called WindowsCE and been around since 1996, its quite different to the desktop variant though.
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Old 06 January 2011, 19:16   #12
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Why not just run Linux or BSD?
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Old 06 January 2011, 20:00   #13
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This is based on misunderstanding I believe, there already is a "Windows for ARM" and its running on those Windows phones. Its called WindowsCE and been around since 1996, its quite different to the desktop variant though.
Nope. MS did unveil a beta version of "normal" NT-based Windows running on ARM (along with a beta port of MS Office to NT for ARM)

Windows NT was designed to be cross-platform from the very beginning. Early (3.x) versions of NT supported FOUR platforms (x86, PowerPC, MIPS and Alpha) and even through the whole NT 4.0 cycle, Alpha was fully supported. Windows 2000 would have been released for Alpha as well, but Alpha CPUs were discontinued right before the Alpha version was to have been released. Thus, it's not too shocking to see NT running on ARM.

Anyway, as for gilgamesh's question, that's actually what most people using ARM are doing at the moment. Still, with the smartphone and tablet market growing the way it is, MS would be silly to not have a horse in the race...

Also, @alexh, RiscOS 5 has been ported to Cortex-A8 based systems like the Beagleboard, though the lack of a 26-bit mode on the chip means that some really old programs won't run. Given that the hardest work of porting the OS to a 32-bit only design has already been done (by a small group of unpaid hobbyists, no less), adapting that port to nVidia's "super ARM" platform shouldn't be that hard, it's just not being done as AFAIK, there is no sort of Beagleboard-style hobbyist-targeted motherboard using Tegra available, which means there's no suitable hardware for such a port.

Last edited by Madcrow; 06 January 2011 at 20:09.
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Old 06 January 2011, 22:51   #14
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I'm glad there's been so many good news about ARM lately. It could mean it will eventually replace the ugly x86 ISA which has been around for 10 years too long, at least in the portables. I'm hoping to see OS X running on ARM based MacBooks within a few years.
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Old 06 January 2011, 23:02   #15
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Yeah these ARM news are great indeed...I just hope some good OpenSource-oriented portable platform will come through and Apple retrograde marketing takes a good slap in the face.

I mean, we're finally slowly getting rid of Microsoft's aegemonia, and I don't understand how computer-educated people can accept a new tyran to take his place, praising for Apple?

Steve Jobs wants to decide what you do with your computer, what is good for you and what's not. Bleh. They're just making the computer market go years backwards and everybody goes "wow".
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Old 06 January 2011, 23:43   #16
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I'm hoping to see OS X running on ARM based MacBooks within a few years.
What powers the iPad? And iPhone? Yup ARM Cortex + OS-X variant.
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Old 07 January 2011, 00:15   #17
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What powers the iPad? And iPhone? Yup ARM Cortex + OS-X variant.
Yep, and with ARM now getting closer to laptop and desktop performance, things are looking good for the MacBook as well. At least I think performance is the main reason it's not in the MacBook yet. Steve Jobs has supposedly said that the prior move from PPC to x86 was because they wanted higher performance and the current micros couldn't deliver that.

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Yeah these ARM news are great indeed...I just hope some good OpenSource-oriented portable platform will come through and Apple retrograde marketing takes a good slap in the face.

I mean, we're finally slowly getting rid of Microsoft's aegemonia, and I don't understand how computer-educated people can accept a new tyran to take his place, praising for Apple?

Steve Jobs wants to decide what you do with your computer, what is good for you and what's not. Bleh. They're just making the computer market go years backwards and everybody goes "wow".
Windows will always be big, and Linux is getting bigger, better and more usable every day - that's your OpenSource-oriented portable platform starting to come through.

Did you know that there's already malware and apps assisting in fraud etc. for Android, even though it's still relatively new? You'll never find that on the iPhone. And OS X is sanity defined as far as malware goes on desktops, at least when compared to Windows.

Maybe Steve Jobs is a tyrant, but I don't think Apple will ever have any market in its clutches in the way Microsoft have had, and that Apple's products will instead be safe, pleasant and easy to use alternatives. And yes expensive alternatives, but my experience is that you're getting really good stuff that just works.
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Old 07 January 2011, 00:53   #18
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(...) that Apple's products will instead be safe, pleasant and easy to use alternatives. And yes expensive alternatives, but my experience is that you're getting really good stuff that just works.
True, I agree with that. And by the way I'm not blaming anybody for having a Mac and liking it...but what is the price to pay to have something good that works?

- Overpriced product
- No DYI fix
- Poor updatability (if that word even exists)
- No homebrew, only apps that receives God's Seal of Approval
- $600 for 4GB of DDR3 RAM (I know, I went to the apple store the other day to ask for a friend while I'm in NY..600 dollars lol. Remembers me the good old days of Compaq ECC RAM.)

We're back to the computing of the early 90's, and they lead the market. That's the price we pay for "having good stuff that works".

I know, I'm a bit bitter about this, but I mean..this is just wrong, we're making the same mistakes and didn't learn from the past, and while I'm very tolerant with the new consumers market and can understand why they go for Apple, I would expect old-schoolers to have a different opinion.

But that's not against you buddy, don't take it as a personal attack.
Let me fight against already lost causes, I'll be better in a few minutes :P
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Old 07 January 2011, 01:04   #19
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A full NT-based Windows 8 running on ARM devices would be amazing. The end of the Wintel monopoly? MS has kept its Windows NT 5.x/6.x-based products (Windows 2000, XP, Vista, 7, and server editions) Intel/AMD-only for over a decade now. Let's hope Apple follow suit, ditch their crappy iOS for the iPad and release a full ARM-based Mac OS X-based tablet (perhaps with an iOS VM for backwards compatibility). Then Linux and BSD (and ARM AROS?) would have some healthy competition, and the open-source alternative could improve too.

IMO, Microsoft would be foolish not to implement some sort of JIT-compiler for running x86-compiled Windows apps on ARM Windows 8. (Much like Apple did with Rosetta for running PPC-compiled apps on x86 Macs.) Sure, it would be considerably slower than native ARM builds, but could serve as a decent 'stop-gap' until all popular Windows apps get an ARM build. As well as a means to run some legacy Windows applications and games.

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Old 07 January 2011, 01:44   #20
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Apple founded ARM back in the 90s and almost bought the company last year - in fact I was sure they did.

OSX is a lovely operating system. I have a 4 & half year old iMac that still cuts it with music making. For me, 1000 well spent & I could still sell it for 350.
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