Eureka unmasks OmegaBy Chris Williams. Published: 23rd May 2003, 19:44:00 | Permalink | Printable
Shipping? We've heard of itCorrectly touting it as an exclusive, The ARM Club have this week emailed a pre-review of their Omega to their club members. A full in-depth review of Microdigital's otherwise AWOL StrongARM powered desktop offering will be published in the next issue of the club's Eureka magazine, we're told. You'll need to be an ARM Club member to get hold of this.
"A full review of the Omega system will be appearing in the next issue of Eureka, and a more detailed review may be sent out by email before then if we receive more information regarding the machine", ARM Club chairman Toby Smith confirmed to us earlier today.
As you may recall from earlier this month, The ARM Club was the lucky Wakefield show exhibitor to pick up a free Microdigital Omega in the WROCC's prize draw.
The WROCC prize draw chillingly excluded magazines (basically, the free press) from the Omega prize draw and ruled out exhibiting magazines Archive, Acorn User and Acorn Publisher from winning the Omega and being the first to review the machine. However, The ARM Club isn't specifically a press organisation, it's a user group that provides for its members, amongst other things, technical support, discounts and most importantly here, the quarterly printed magazine Eureka. So much for excluding magazines.
"I found that it seems to run most software with no problem. The Omega is still a 26 bit machine, unlike the 32bit Iyonix, so there should be no compatability issues with old / non-updated software", The ARM Club preview reads, the highlights of which quoted to us by Toby. The preview sounds like it's not holding anything back.
"Benchmarking showed that, as expected, the processor is roughly 50% faster than a 200Mhz StrongARM Risc PC. The speed of memory writes peaks at roughly the same value as the Iyonix, but memory reads are only about half the speed of the Iyonix due to the use of faster memory in the Iyonix.
"The graphics are currently a little disappointing - moving windows in high resolution modes is noticeably sluggish but I understand that the graphics are not currently being accelerated.
"Overall I would have to say that this does not appear to be a production quality machine, but then I'm not sure whether or not it is meant to be and as MicroDigital have not yet replied to the questions I put to them about the problems with the floppy drive and the graphics system, I am unable to reach a firm conclusion."
We were unable to reach Microdigital for comment earlier this afternoon and our emails never get answered.
Now given that visitors to the Wakefield show were told the Omega would be shipping during the week after the show weekend, we assumed the Omegas being handed out in the prize draw were packaged up finalised products like those ready to be posted to deposit holders. Microdigital's Dave Atkins explained at the show that the Omega's FPGA configuration was not quite finished but then again, they've been saying that for the past two years.
As the machine hasn't arrived at end users' doorsteps, we can only hope Microdigital are racing into overtime to address the glitches in the video system, the lack of USB and ethernet drivers as well as patching up the problems thankfully highlighted by The ARM Club.
Beyond a joke
This is precisely why we need the machine to be in the hands of independent publications, or even still, in the hands of the users who placed their deposits no less than three years ago. There's no need for Microdigital to assume the place of RiscStation, now that RiscStation have quietly sneaked off.
The ARM Club
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