Simtec offer 7500FE boardsBy Chris Williams. Published: 8th Jul 2003, 18:10:50 | Permalink | Printable
Hardware projects galoreWe know there's a particular quarter of the drobe.co.uk readerbase that's quite familiar or interested in the hardware aspects of the RISC OS platform - like the reader told us he's bought a Hydra card and currently looking for ARM710 processors to populate it - so here's an article that should interest you.
Simtec Electronics are currently pushing their EB7500ATX boards which are powered by Cirrus 7500FE processors running at 56Mhz or 64Mhz. The board has been previously seen as the motherboards in the RiscStation RS7500s. Simtec are no strangers to RISC OS or ARM as from 1990, they've designed and produced electronics for Acorn related hardware.
The EB7500ATX board is very much self contained and features dual channel IDE, 10Mbit ethernet, FlashROM chips, standard parallel and serial ports and more. As the whole board costs less than a hundred quid, we reckon it could well be useful in an embedded project, if you're already familar with the ARM7 core and the 7500FE processor.
As for an operating system, Simtec provide a Debian ARM Linux package for the device, although RISC OS is an option. Simtec don't have a licence to distribute RISC OS on the board and therefore will not provide a copy of RISC OS for the board. However it is possible to flash RISC OS 4.03 onto the board's FlashROM chips or to use the Simtec ABLE bootloader to softload RISC OS Select from other media or from the network. It goes without saying that Simtec and Drobe do not condone piracy or the abuse of any EULAs.
Anyone already thinking of a laptop or luggable project should look Simtec's LCD driver module and be aware of other details such as how to fit a portable power supply.
Also, Simtec have informed us that they also have some remaining 2MB VRAM (video memory) modules available. We're told that the chips used in these modules are obsolete so it's unlikely that any further suitable modules will be manufactured.
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