Laurence Granville shines a torch on the Omega
A couple of quick questions, what is four times the speed of the current Kinetic RiscPC, but will cost the same amount? What will be able to run all current 26bit applications on a 32 bit operating system? What does away with the old Acorn chips such as VIDC and MEMC? What have MicroDigital been doing for the last two years? The answer is Omega.
The new Omega computer
So what eactly is the specification of this new computer? Well you asked....
As you can see from the first picture the Omega is quite small, although a larger case can be supplied as an option. So how does all this fit into such a small case? The answer is below.
Inside the Omega
Why is this important
The Omega is the most exciting RISC OS machine ever, even more exciting and important than the Risc PC. This is for a number of reasons. Firstly it is much faster, even running the same 233Mhz StrongARM as a Risc PC it outperforms it by a factor of four. This is due to the Lightning graphics card, the main processor no longer has to do all the work involved in updating the screen buffer, this is now done with dedicated hardware. You may be surprised to find that 75% of the load on your current machine could be just for the screen display.
Not only is the machine faster but it finally gets rid of the old Acorn VIDC and MEMC chips. Although these were fine chips in their day (the early 90's) they are now seriously slow and underpowered. The old 16Mhz memory bus from the Risc PC has been binned and we now have a 66Mhz bus running modern 133MHz memory which again makes the machine faster. The Omega represents the much requested Hardware Independance. We no longer have to rely on outdated chips. Not only that but the Omega has been designed with clever hardware which allows the operating system to think it is still running on the old chipset.
And perhaps the most important part, you will be able to fit an XScale (StrongArm2) processor card. This means we could have a 1GHz RISC OS computer some time next year. However there is one big problem with the XScale. It no longer supports the 26bit operations required to run RISC OS and many RISC OS applications, such as ArtWorks and Impression. This is the really clever bit, the Omega solves this problem. The old 26bit code runs on the StrongArm, new 32bit code runs on the XScale. No switches on the case, no messing around. The computer simply directs code to the relevant processor on the fly as you are using it. Some parts of RISC OS are already written in 32bit code, as more and more of the OS is converted the Omega gets faster and faster. While this is happening you can still run all the old software you want. The Omega is the future, I'm off now to go and order one, perhaps you should to?