Windfall Engineering closes downBy Chris Williams. Published: 19th Feb 2004, 18:43:34 | Permalink | Printable
Punters offered last chance buyAs dramatically announced this afternoon, Windfall Engineering is throwing in the towel and shutting down its operations. Windfall notably produced and manufactured the Viewfinder range: a set of ground breaking podule cards that provide an interface between off the shelf AGP based ATI graphics cards and native Acorn kit. Windfall also, for a short time, sold a similar PCI-to-podule interface called PCIFace.
RiscPCs fitted with Viewfinder cards can exceed the limited graphics capabilities of Acorn's VIDC20 chipset and run screen resolutions up to 2048 x 1536 in 16 million colours with 2D acceleration. The latest supported ATI Raedon cards also boast dual head and TV out capabilities.
In an email to Viewfinder users, echoed on the Windfall front page, Windfall's John Kortink explained: "To give potential customers a last chance to purchase ViewFinder (it will no longer be manufactured after Windfall has closed down, if you want one then, you'll have to get it second hand), we're having a final 'ViewFinder sale'."
Windfall have slashed 50 Euros off their Viewfinder price list, provided you get your order in before March 15th. Dealers need not apply.
The Viewfinder was first available in May 2000 and was fitted with an 8MB ATI XPert 98 graphics card. In 2002, the Viewfinder 2 was launched, which included a 32MB ATI Xpert 2000 Pro card.
Over the years, there were a number of scuffles between Windfall and a particular quarter of the userbase, with some developers spinning off their own Viewfinder patches and configuration software to replace Windfall's offerings. There were also issues with mailing lists and charging users for firmware updates.
Despite the textured and bumpy history of the Viewfinder, as a product, it is most certainly an impressive feat of electronic engineering. Regardless of your opinion on Windfall's level of customer service, cramming an AGP interface into dinosaur Acorn kit and doing it well requires a level of skill the RISC OS market sadly cannot afford to lose right now.
As for future support, John Kortink told drobe.co.uk this evening that he will be offering support, "for at least a year. Quite likely even longer than that."
Windfall Engineering website - final pricings etc.
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