R-Comp sneaks out VRPC graphics speed boostBy Chris Williams. Published: 11th May 2005, 14:54:40 | Permalink | Printable
Look but don't touchR-Comp are playing hard to get over the specifics of their "RISC OS Performance Enhancement technology" for VirtualRiscPC. Lurking at the bottom of an announcement issued today for a new Windows PC bundle running the VRPC emulator, is a mention of R-Comp's top secret graphics speed up tweak.
It's claimed that the improvements, introduced late last year, boost graphics based applications, such as Artworks, and allow the RISC OS desktop to run at 1600x1200 with "minimal performance hit", although with a screen refresh rate of 60Hz. Despite "allowing RISC OS to better interface with the graphics hardware" of the host Windows PC, R-Comp were disheartened after RISC OS magazines snubbed news of their work.
When we asked how their technology worked, R-Comp's Andrew Rawnsley replied: "With the best will in the world, that's the one thing I'm not saying, beyond the fact it utilises both hardware and software to boost graphic speed under RISC OS. In a sense, it came about by chance when I was experimenting with various ideas, and low and behold 'vroom!'"
The speed up does not rely, we're told, on the screen refresh rate although it's known that by lowering the refresh rate, the performance of the emulator increases. R-Comp ship LCD monitors with their PCs, which run at a refresh rate lower than that of CRTs.
Apparently, the company was shy to announce the enhancements, which we gather was news to VirtualAcorn, because R-Comp chose to roll out the update over time. Andrew continued: "It would have been rather tricky to pen a press release which didn't affect everything, concerning stuff that had already been shipping. As such, I figured it better to leave it until Wakefield, which is the biggest event of the RISC OS calandar."
As to the age old argument of emulation of RISC OS hardware versus native kit, the R-Comp boss added: "Would you rather pay 999ukp for a machine that is faster in most tests than an Iyonix costing 1299ukp, and get two real-world operating systems: RISC OS and WindowsXP. Or would you rather pay 1299ukp for an Iyonix, which only runs one. For most people the answer is fairly clear. There's still a role of pure ARM machines I guess, but it's a role that stems from emotion, and a fear on MS, rather than one based on performance and value."
In December 2003, STD unveiled an update to the graphics capabilities of VirtualRiscPC, much to the surprise of VirtualAcorn and other dealers.
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