RISC World

Omega Updates

RISCWorld takes a brief look at Omega developments...

It's been some time since we did an update on the Omega in RISCWorld. As so much has happened over the last few months we thought it would be worth providing readers with a quick update on the current state of play from MicroDigital.


The first upgrade that we really should mention is the network card. This started shipping on the 17th of May this year to customers who had pre-ordered. The card was on show at Wakefield on the Liquid Silicon stand and was working perfectly. One of the main complaints about the Omega from potential customers (as opposed to those who put their money where their mouth was and actually purchased one and were quite happy) was the lack of networking (this was my gripe with the Omega - ED). Now Omegas can be networked just like any other RISC OS Computer. RISCWorld has seen the networking in use with both RISC OS 4 and RISC OS Adjust and it's performance and stability seem excellent.

Omega Network Card

1GB of RAM.

At the start of July MicroDigital confirmed that the Omega will now run with up to 1GB of main memory when using RISC OS Adjust. At the moment this is for development machines only, however once RISCOS Ltd have made a few changes to the Adjust ROM all Omegas with RISC OS Adjust will be able to support up to 1GB of memory. For those using applications like PhotoDesk this will make a lot of actions much faster, as there will be no need to use virtual memory when handling large files. This also means that you could, for example, have a machine set up to have a huge RAM disc for storing temporary files. In theory the Omega will be able to support up to 4GB of RAM, once the chips become available.

More free upgrades

Since the Omega was first launched there have been a multitude of free upgrades available from MicroDigital. Over the last year or so users Omegas have become faster and faster as each upgrade is installed. The upgrades actually reprogram the FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) chips on the motherboard, effectively changing the hardware in the machine. This might sound a bit odd but the Omega is a "soft" hardware design, meaning that instead of having a fixed chip set, the chip set is actually programmed in software, into the FPGA on startup. So you can update the program code, that "makes" the hardware. So an update provided over the internet can actually replace and upgrade your hardware.

One of the benefits of the latest upgrade issued earlier in July was an 8 to 10% speed improvement. Indeed according to postings on NewsNet the updated Omega is now almost as fast as the Iyonix, even though the Omega has a processor that is almost half the rated speed.

A desktop Omega

In RISCWorld's view the Omega is now developing nicely, the network interface improves the machines usability no end, as does support for large amount of RAM, and of course free speed improvements are always welcome! So what's coming next? Well we spoke to MicroDigital who were being rather coy on the subject. Basically we all know what comes next, and when it does RISCWorld will be there. In the meantime to keep up to ate with Omega developments why not visit the MicroDigital website.