A9home turns the volume upBy Chris Williams. Published: 8th Apr 2006, 15:18:25 | Permalink | Printable
Alive with the sound of musicA9home owners have reported this weekend that their ARM9 powered computers can finally output sound. Developers AdvantageSix released a Flash ROM upgrade to their beta testers earlier in the week via their website.
One drobe.co.uk reader said: "I downloaded and re-flashed the OS last night and was delighted to find that sound now works. So far I have only had time to test it with Maestro, but it sounds good through my lo-fi desktop amp and speakers."
Others have managed to use AMPlayer and DigitalCD for MP3 playback, and played Star Fighter 3000 with the usually game play noises raging in the background. The A9home features no speakers, only a headphone out socket.
According to Ad6's Matt Edgar, the company are releasing the upgrade to a number of users to assess the impact of the update before sending the upgrade to others.
He said: "It's nice that it's available, and I guess that's one of the more noticeable features of the current updates. It's not something we've been making a fuss about because we are doing a gradual roll-out - some people have it and some don't yet.
"Feedback is mostly very positive, but there are some issues to look at."
It's understood the audio chipset is the PC standard AC97, as found on most motherboards including the Castle Iyonix. The A9home, launched to selected paying beta testers last year, was designed by Simtec and based heavily on their integrated module product line. AdvantageSix are currently producing variants of the A9 range for OEM clients, and recently added Bluetooth support for one of them. The team are aiming for an official launch of the A9home in May, in time for the Wakefield show. Silent and fan-less, the diminutive A9home could be used as a simple but effective music station, especially with a wireless network adapter fitted.
Ad6's developers are already on top of various graphics acceleration updates and features, and other issues such as harnessing the computer's DMA capabilities are hoped to be next on the company's to-do list. In an interesting twist, Matt contacted the GCCSDK developers suggesting that future versions of 32bit RISC OS 4 will feature tighter memory protections - limiting the damage a faulty application can do to the rest of the desktop.
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