Fixing up a second hand Acorn computerBy Chris Williams. Published: 29th May 2005, 19:08:22 | Permalink | Printable
Teaching an old dog new tricksSo you've come back to RISC OS. You've grabbed from eBay a cheap RiscPC or some other machine that's barely usable by today's standards. You recognise the familiar Acorn nut logo on the desktop, and can't wait to get stuck into this piece of computing history - but you can't figure out how to get the machine to do anything useful.
Luckily, Adam Richardson has written a simple guide to "sorting out that old RiscPC you just got for a fiver on eBay" for his website. Adam told us: "Its main aim is to describe how to get a UniBoot system up and running, but it also describes things like resetting the CMOS."
"My page isn't really about 'current' machines - it's about sorting out a second hand computer - which is bound to be more problematic than buying something shiny and new," he added.
Legacy Acorn kit is now increasingly accessible, seven years after the break up of the company. With A5000s going for a couple of quid and RiscPCs available for under £100 on eBay, picking up an old machine is cheaper than the high-end emulation route. Whilst Adam's guide is written from the software perspective, there's also the hardware aspect to consider: nailing down the baseline specification for what makes a usable RISC OS machine.
Presumably, a StrongARM processor card is mandatory, plus RISC OS 4, and 64M of RAM with some VRAM or a Viewfinder card. Then you'll need an ethernet card and possibly a USB or IDE card to give the old machine some kick. By now, you've run up a bill that, interestingly, is mildly close to the A9home or a special offer Iyonix, depending on how much you want to push the computer.
Sorting out an old RiscPC
Programming hints and tips also by Adam
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