This is the second of my Archimedes A410/1 machines which I purchased in October 2013 through ebay. It features an IFEL 36MHz ARM3 processor upgrade and a Simtec 4-8MB RAM upgrade along with a Simtec 16-bit IDE podule hosting a 4GB CF HDD.
Due to the extra memory and the fastest ARM3 processor ever made that this A410/1 contains, it is the most flexible and usable of the original Archimedes family computers in the Retro-Kit collection. The Simtec RAM upgrade effectively doubles the maximum memory that the Archimedes architecture supports. This gives RISC OS the breathing space that it needs to run some of the more memory hungry applications when the machine is also running a Uniboot installation which is required for modern networking. The Uniboot installation is itself a drain on memory resources because it replaces (soft-loads) many of the original RISC OS 3 ROM modules and adds many extra modules to support TCP/IP networking. With the extra RAM and faster processor, RISC OS can have a few extra home comforts installed to make life easier, the screenshot below shows a backdrop, !AppsClock and !Mode? running along with all those extra hard drive partitions being available in the IconBar.
Judging by some of the files found on the original SCSI hard drive, the machine was still in service as late as 1999, a full 10 years after it was originally manufactured.
Finally, this particular Archimedes has a twin which is owned by BeebMaster and you can see it by visiting his site. Both of these machines appear to have been bought by the same school in 1989 or 1990 and they received significant upgrades in 1991 when they were upgraded to have very similar specifications to each other.
This machine has quickly become my primary development platform for RISC OS 3 projects as it has the performance and capacity to run an full network stack and an extended development suite with plenty of resources to spare.
Typically the development applications I use on this machine are !Zap for the text editor, !extASM for the ARM assembler and !ARMalyser to analyse the code produced. ARMalyser uses around 1MB of RAM when performing analysis so the extra RAM in this machine means that I don't have to close applications in order to make room for ARMalyser.
This machine is also set up as Econet station 235 so that it can be used as a printer server for the other machines on the network. It is connected to an Acorn JP-150 ink-jet printer and also a Xerox Phaser 8400 using the RemotePrinterFS module to provide TCP/IP network printing capabilities.
Originally, the machine had an issue 2 Oak SCSI podule and large capacity (for the time) SCSI hard drive which I have removed due to reliability issues of the original SCSI drive.
This machine was purchased by Stonar School in 1989 and was still in use by Stonar School as late as 1999. In 1991, the machine was upgraded with an ARM3 processor, Simtec 4-8MB RAM upgrade and Oak SCSI controller card with a 100MB SCSI hard disc drive. This configuration remained unchanged until I purchased the machine in October 2013.
In October 2013 the machine was fully stripped down and thoroughly cleaned which included the following points.
In April 2014, the Watford Electronics 25MHz ARM3 CPU upgrade which was added by the original owner was replaced with an IFEL 36MHz ARM3 CPU upgrade to increase the performance of the machine from @12.72 MIPS to @17.44 MIPS making this by far the most powerful Acorn computer in the Retro-Kit collection.
In December 2014, I fitted an Acorn AKA32 SCSI controller card in preparation for fitting a SCSI hard drive and installing an image of RISCiX on it which I intend to do in early 2015.
2 Duracell AA alkaline batteries fitted in October 2013.
The next battery change is due in October 2014.
The JASSP project run by Jon Abbott is an attempt to acquire the rights to all of the Acorn Archimedes games back catalogue and archive them for the future.
Archiving the games is just half of the battle. Jon has written ADFFS which allows those archived images to be loaded and played on any ARM based machine running RISC OS which involves patching these games to run on later hardware using a JIT/VM style environment within ADFFS to allow the games to be patched to run safely on the latest hardware.