StrongARM to FastARMPublished: 21st Jan 2002, 12:45:06 | Permalink | Printable
When the going gets tough, the tough get faster and sillyCards on the table time. RISC OS needs new hardware, no secret there. We've had 300MHz StrongARM cards from Castle but they've run out of those so it was back to the 200-odd MHz StrongARMs. Last week, drobe.co.uk learnt that a RISC OS online resource developer had put down his server tools long enough to have a play with some StrongARMs to see just how fast they can really go.
Webmaster of Acornsearch.com, Ian Hawkins, has indeed managed to run a normal StrongARM at 304.8MHz and has made his experimentations public for anyone brave enough to follow. If you are a hardware junkie, this could be an ideal spring project.
You might be aware that processors can be 'over clocked' which basically involves driving them at a much higher clock speed than usual to increases execution speed with the hope of speeding up the computer system as a whole. It's like a slave master banging her drum to a much faster rhythm to get her slaves to work faster. The downside to this is that the processor can heat up and become stressed which reduces the life time of the chip although if you try and cool the processor, you can avoid damaging it in this way.
While Castle used a particular batch of StrongARM chips that could withstand clock speeds of 300MHz (albeit with a large cooling fan), Ian is using a normal StrongARM that is used to clock speeds in the area of 200MHz so it therefore needs an almost ludicrous cooling solution. When drobe spoke to Ian, all he could bring himself to say was, "If you do this yourself, then you're as mad as I".
How to give your StrongARM go faster stripes
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