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Eureka unmasks Omega

By Chris Williams. Published: 23rd May 2003, 19:44:00 | Permalink | Printable

Shipping? We've heard of it

Correctly 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.

First impressions
"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.

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Discussion

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50% faster than a 200MHz SA RiscPC?

So my SA287 is faster than this, my 233T not far off, and Kinetic300's leave it for dust?

Doesn't seem right to me, especially for a machine that has [so far] taken 3 years to build.

I guess the Iyonix has no real competition then....

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 23/5/03 9:56PM
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Oops, thought it said 50MHz, not 50%, still disappointing that it's only like a 300MHz RiscPC though - as that's what the processor does, surely the memory/bus etc. makes the machine *seem* faster than say a Kinetic?

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 23/5/03 9:58PM
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The speed results are pretty much as predicted long ago given CPU and bus speed.

The 50% speed increase is raw CPU speed, which governs much of the performance. And yes, it will certainly be faster than a (Kinetic) RiscPC on many tasks due to the bigger bus.

If you want a fast machine, get an Iyonix. I rather doubt seeing ARMTwister before the end of the year.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/5/03 10:10PM
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Maybe MD are afraid that some members of the press have already made their mind up about the Omega, and that's why they did'nt want mags/press reviewing it before it was available.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 23/5/03 10:38PM
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Oh dear No Omegas yet.....Mico motherboard replacement is getting futher away. Lets just hope it doesn't fall off the horizon.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 23/5/03 10:39PM
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tgm: I don't think so. The ARM Club did their very best to do a fair review. A drobe review would have been similar (whatever anybody might think).

Regardless, the numbers have been there to see for a very long time, and MD can only do more damage to themelves by pretending things are other than they are.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/5/03 10:48PM
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MD are not pretending that things are other than they are. If you (or whoever might have Omega hardware) do not have the very latest FPGA images you should not make comments about the machine's performance. And you have no way of knowing how soon ARMTwister will be with us, so this negative comment is just damaging the market.

And there are people for whom the Iyonix is not fast enough in some areas, so to simply tell people they should get an Iyonix does not help either, since most people have different requirements. -- Julian G. F. Zimmerle

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 23/5/03 11:18PM
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Of course I do not know when ARM Twister will be with us. But I am free to make my own personal predition based upon the performance of MD's deliveries so far. You are of course free to make your own (possibly based upon better knowledge). Please don't say it is "damanging to the market". I know you know better than that.

Equally, no. I do not know the behaviour of the latest FPGA images. However, clock and bus speed place top limits on performance. If those have changed, then we'd be very interested to hear.

If people really want a fast machine, they should get a PC. There is nothing that can change that. My comment is in reference to Simo's comment about speed, and should be taken in that context.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/5/03 11:26PM
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Chocky: We agree on something, I can be a bit of an MD apologist sometimes, probably because I see a lot of promise in the Omega (or at least it's spec). I don't think it's strictly true to say clock/bus speeds put top limits on performance because the Omega (if released with full spec) is supposed to have MPEG/OpenGL in hardware, which should make those two tasks faster than machines with far greater clock speeds.

I'm very interested in what Julian has to say, as someone who apparently has close contact with MD. However until the Omega is in the hands of punters, they're in no better position than RiscStation (and that's a sh*tty position). So maybe next time you talk to David Atkins, maybe you could ask him for some realistic time scales, I don't think many people would mind waiting 3 months for the full spec machine, but nobody likes to hear 'next week' umpteen times.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 23/5/03 11:39PM
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We too are very interested to hear what MD has to say - hence our frequent attempts to contact them, which Chris has referred to the in article. Unfortunately what they have said isn't a great deal, and we have only their published specs to go on.

Yes, it's certainly true there are expections in any machine - although they technologies you refer to are very specialised and won't affect the vast majority of operation. CPU and bus speed must be crucial factors when considering the final performance of the machine.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/5/03 11:45PM
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"exceptions" is of course what I meant.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 23/5/03 11:47PM
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Sure, but as the 300Mhz SA is'nt going to be able to push around full screen movies by itself, hardware MPEG might be cool. OpenGL acceleration might get some games ported too.

I appreciate the difficulty in getting MicroDigital to answer an email (I've tried), I just hope they won't treat customers like they treat potential customers.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 23/5/03 11:53PM
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@Julian: I believe that MD is damaging themselves, unfortunately. Why does not MD answer to emails from The ARM Club who is an owner of an Omega? If you have actual FPGA images better than those in The ARM Club's Omega why does not MD send these images to The ARM Club? The ARM Club has won a prize or in my opinion a gift, but still an incomplete gift. It's very impolite what MD is doing!

 is a RISC OS UserGregor on 24/5/03 12:30AM
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Sorry for posting my comment twice! I use an Windows-PC for emails and internet. I suggest that Microsoft's Explorer has sent this posting later once again because it was still cached.

[Removed duplicate comment - Ed]

 is a RISC OS UserGregor on 24/5/03 1:04AM
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Well, the ARM Club should not have produced an article on their Omega, because the press was excluded from the price draw. So if they did consider themselves to not belong to that group, they should have stuck to that and not change their mind later on.

As you can see on MD's website there will be a support area for owners of MD machines soon ("owners club").

AFAIK the first machines have been delivered to customers already.

On the subject of limitations on speed: There are several buses in the Omega wich run at different speeds. If you were refering to the speed of the RAM, then we all know there is more to this than the clockrate (wich is actually lower on the Iyonix, but uses DDR technology wich does *not* double the speed). There are many ways in wich a chipset can optimise RAM usage, caches being the most common one.

-- Julian G. F. Zimmerle

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 24/5/03 1:10AM
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Julian G. F. Zimmerle = Muhammed Saeed al-Sahaf.

"The machines have been delivered already. Delivery is an abstract concept. Your technical arguments are irrelevant. They are in a state of hysteria. Losers, they think that by producing facts and trying to distort the feelings of the people they will win. We shall still crush them at the gates. They are slitting their own throats. We are fully in control. My feelings, as usual, Omega... far superior. Much like my shellsuit."

"We are winning".

 is a RISC OS UserMrChimp on 24/5/03 1:42AM
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Poor taste

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 24/5/03 1:55AM
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Julian: I don't see any problem with the ARM Club reviewing the Omega. They are not associated with the media. Would you have felt this way if the review had been more positive? As long as the review is honest, based upon facts, and free from speculation, then I don't see that MD has anything to complain about. You say that AFAYK the first machines had already been delivered to customers, but I kinda remember you saying pretty much the same thing at Christmas. As an MD insider, perhaps you can explain why the Omega is still unfinished 5 months after we were told that outstanding delays were due only to contractual issues. I'm very curious.

Regards,

Neil

 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 24/5/03 9:05AM
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I agree. Tony's comment was not required.

Julian: This is a very odd position to take. The ARM Club have done precisely what the vast majority of RISC OS want to see - hard information about the machine, even in its unfinished state. The Iyonix suffered no less scrutiny before and after it was released.

Try as I might, I cannot find your points about bus speeds any more than hand waving. It doesn't matter how many busses you add, the CPU can only do so much. If you, or someone else, would like to write a technical analysis of the situation then drobe would be very happy to publish it, and we can discuss the matter further.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 24/5/03 9:07AM
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So all you care about is speed, is it? If it's not a 600Mhz XScale you immediately write it off as useless, nevermind the (supposed) great graphics, PCI interface, etc? I'm in no way defending MD because I think their choice of shared graphics memory is plain stupid these days - the CPU will be starved for RAM access in high resolutions, but you do need to consider the whole machine when comparing against RiscPC and Ironix. Oh yeh, and it doesn't run an outdated version of RISC OS ;-)

 is a RISC OS Userimj on 24/5/03 10:30AM
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There's no implication that it's "all about speed" nor about writing it off cos "it's not a 600Mhz XScale". The only question is that the claims about Omega are questionable at best.

If the functionality of RISC OS 4 = an outdated version of RISC OS, then there's not much than can be done.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 24/5/03 10:34AM
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If a 300 MHz StrongARM Omega is 50% faster than a 200 MHz Risc PC, this would seem to imply that the Risc PC wasn't held back by the speed of its bus after all.

Either that or that the Omega has some similar constraint.

Martyn

 is a RISC OS UserMartyn Fox on 24/5/03 10:52AM
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Spriteman: Poor taste? The shellsuit? This really isn't the place to discuss sartorial elegance.

 is a RISC OS UserMrChimp on 24/5/03 11:31AM
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MF: I don't follow your reasoning. The RiscPC certainly _was_ held back by its bus, and the Omega certainly _will_ benefit greatly from having a sensisble sized bus.

An unqualified speed quote will generally just be a meansure of CPU speed (benchmarked of course).

The point I've been trying to make is that except in some unusual circumstances (e.g. dedicated processor), the CPU speed dictates the final theoretical speed of a computer. Busses/memory speed and other items impose certain restrictions on that in practice (and in a RiscPC it's a bit sucky), which things like caches can help alleviate.

It might help if I said that bigger busses help the machine go "less slow", even though that's slightly nonsense when analysed too closely.

Tony: enough, thanks.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 24/5/03 11:53AM
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Well at least someone has *finally* managed to get Omega reviewed (phew).

It perhaps would have been more helpful if MD *had* made the machine available to Drobe and ArmClub or whoever to review with the caution that "This is pre-release hardware" and that would have satisified curiousity and yet had that proviso in just in case.

The results (at least from this article) seem not surprising. It does still sound like a machine that is a bit away from being in a production state. Performance wise it's better than a typical SA RPC, but (and I am only going on what's in the article above) the question is it sufficiently faster to justify the price.

Without real benchmarks and finalised hardware this is a hard one to call.

Part of the problem (as it were) of Omega is that because of the use of FPGA's it will *always* be possible for someone to say that "oh my versions faster because I have a later FPGA build" type excuse. The problem is there *are* limits to the speed improvement that can be had from tweaking the FPGA VHDL - fundemental limits will still exist (the 66MHz I/O bus on the SA for one, the RAM speed for another). Besides by this stage (the point of giving machines away as prizes) one would hope the FPGA's configuration would be more or less settled by now - and that all that should be going on is system software tweaks.

At least it's nice to see some progress has been made to replace the RPC, but I would suspect that it will be a while yet before finished Omegas will be available.

Keep plugging away guys.....

-- Annraoi McShane,

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 24/5/03 1:38PM
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It seems to me that MD have lost their chance. They seem to have spent three years faffing about and Castle have taken that opportunity. Can the Iyonix plays MPEGs?

 is a RISC OS Usersebgate20 on 24/5/03 8:42PM
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The Iyonix can play MPEG2 videos, of course. There's a 32bit KinoAmp. Cineroma can also play MPEGs too and is 32 bit, but still unreleased.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 24/5/03 8:44PM
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Well, the RiscPC can also play MPEGs, but you really have asked the wrong question, wich should have been: Can the Iyonix play full-motion widescreen DVD resolution MPEGs at full speed? The Omega will soon, with it's hardware-accelerated DCD/iDCD and the FPA.

The (minor!) video problems on the ARM Club's Omega have been resolved in the latest FPGA images. And if you used a TFT monitor then you would not have seen it at all. The floppy drive problem is almost resolved. And most people don't use their floppy drives anyway these days.

I think it is unfair that the ARM Club's publication got a head start by winning an Omega, while the other publications have to wait for the official release. -- Julian G. F. Zimmerle

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 24/5/03 10:44PM
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Julian, define 'soon' -- Spriteman.

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 24/5/03 11:19PM
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I must point out that at the Wakefield show, we were told by David Atkins that the Omega would ship 'next week'. He 'must' have known it wasn't ready and therefore wouldn't ship.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 24/5/03 11:28PM
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@Spriteman: Well, certainly much sooner than the Iyonix's 'never'.

@The Doctor: But the first batch has been shipped.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 25/05/03 08:47AM
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Your complaint that the ARM Club reviewed it first is very odd. Firstly, Acorn User had Omega exclusives in 2000 and again in 2001. Secondly, it could have been reviewed first by any one of the 7 or so RISC OS publications, depending on who won the two mahcines.

Finally, you say later on that MD have in fact shipped them already (news to us), so really there are machines out there that could have easily been reviewed - that would seem to suggest that your complaint aganst the ARM Club is because they were organised.

And I also question your "soon" with regard to MPEG playing. FPA is a machine add on (and we still don't know which chip will be used), which presumably has considerably less demand than ARMTwister. So not only do we have to wait for the Omegas to be shipped (and really, this isn't any evidence of this), we also have wait for the ARMTwister (3 months has been bandied about), and then finally we might see FPA.

Julian: your defence of MicroDigital and Omega is admirable, but there's big holes in your reasoning :-(

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/05/03 09:39AM
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@Julian: The big problem with using DVD is that you have to obtain licenses for the various bits you use. And these licenses can be steep (have a look at the DVD forum site - and that'll get your eyes watering I tell's ya).

Your shopping basket would include:

Book 1 from DVD Forum (requires NDA signature, and $5,000 payment).

Licensing the formats you intend to use (you'll need DVD-ROM and DVD-Video - at $10,000 a piece a total of $20000 (you're allowed deduct the initial $5,000 from that though).

You then need to license CSS (The content Scrambling System) a single $10,000 payment

You need to license MPEG2 from MPEG LA (the cost doesn't appear too bad and it's per unit sold).

You then need to license Dolby Digital (I think it's something small $0.26 per channel (per unit sold)). But you then need to have your product (a DVD enabled Omega) reviewed by Dolby engineers before they'll allow you to license (and sell) the product - that I suspect will be pretty pricey.

A nice round figure (all in) would be somewhere around the $30000-35000 mark (it could be a bit higher but probably won't be much lower). And of course you have to come up with the money "up front".

So how will MD pay for all this, not having sold any Omega's yet ? And if Castle haven't gone this route but *have* been selling machines I fail to see how MD can afford to.

Nope there is no legal way to do it without spending a hell of a lot of money I don't think MD has.

But hey if some error in the above reasoning can be shown, or if MD have proof they signed the NDA with the DVD forum I am prepared to accept your remarks as accurate.

Regards

Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/05/03 1:23PM
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I hope Julian is right about some Omegas getting shipped, maybe someone can let us all know if they have one.

As for all the FPGA/FPA/ArmTwister stuff, all of it should be great, but until it's the hands of punters, this is all getting wearily familiar (I'm thinking RiscStation and the whole laptop and Evolution fiasco).

Julian, I don't think for a second that you're lying about any of this, but you're in the fortunate position of being close to MD, please see this from the perspective of those who gave MD money *years* ago and have had nothing but either broken promises or complete silence.

In MD's favour I think the Omega looks great, and all the features sound great, but Julian, if you can talk to David Atkins, please let him know that he has to improve his PR (as do practically all RO companies). I think a lot of companies in the RO world lose a lot of custom due to bad PR (Windfall Engineering) and simply not answering emails (4 out of 5 of the dealers I contacted when buying my RPC). I would hate to see the Omega suffer from this just because David Atkins does not want to talk to the likes of Drobe or Iconbar.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/213.187.48.180 on 25/05/03 3:56PM
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Julian: Appologies I've re-read you original posting which included the following "Can the Iyonix play full-motion widescreen DVD resolution MPEGs at full speed? The Omega will soon, with it's hardware-accelerated DCD/iDCD and the FPA. "

That actually on a second readthrough is *not* a commitment on MD's behalf to be able to play DVD at all !!!

If it's just a matter of playing *DVD resolution MPEG's* that's a different kettle of monkeys althogether (all that's required is an MPEG license).

Regards

Annraoi

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 25/05/03 5:44PM
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In fact, there's good technical reasons why Iyonix couldn't play such MPEGs. Experiments on RiscPCs year ago show the Iyonix should have plenty of grunt in software alone.

Whether or not any existing software is up to it is another question - I'm not sure that KinoAMP could quite manage it right now (with no disrespect to those that have worked on it of course), but that could change.

Naturally, this is as iffy as saying the Omega will be able to one day. And obviously a hardware solution might be much nicer, but if the Iyonix can do it at all, then most likely people won't give two hoots how it's done.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/05/03 6:04PM
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Hi!

I have just come back from a two-day horse riding trip (did make the above comments on my Ericsson MC218), so I am very tired now and not in the mood for lengthy discussions.

@Annraoi: Well, you also need the processing-power. I am actually not quite sure if an MPEG licence would be needed, if it was done by a freeware application. You certainly would not need one just for the DCD and iDCD.

@Peter: No, the processing-power of a 600MHz Xscale is not enough to decode full widescreen DVD resolution full-motion MPEG2s in real time. And also, if you do it all in software, it slows the machine down a lot.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 25/05/03 8:49PM
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Of _course_ it slows things down. But as I said above, people probably won't care how it's done if it's possible.

Please state your reasoning as to why you say 600MHz XScale is not enough. I have suggested why it is, and no disrespect, but just saying "no it's not" looks far too much like "cos MD told me". Bear in mind that are many things that people have said can't be done that were proven wrong in RISC OS :-)

And what happens if I state I'm working on MPEG2 accerlation via a PCI card for Iyonix. Would I be more or less believable than MD? :-)

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/05/03 9:30PM
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You're talking cruft again Zimmerele. A 533Mhz XScale is more than enough to decode DVD quality MPEG2 realtime in software alone. This all still begs the question as to who /wants/ to watch DVDs on their machines? Give me a cheap 75quid DVD player under my telly and a comfy sofa!

 is a RISC OS Useranon/62.31.64.2 on 26/05/03 11:33AM
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In good time, one might be able to create DVDs under RISC OS ala iDVD/Mac, so you'd want to watch it on your computer. But as far as I'm aware there is no freely available decent movie player for RISC OS which can handle a few common formats, so it's all academic for the time being.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 26/05/03 1:04PM
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Eugh - encoding MPEG2 on an ARM/XScale sounds utterly nasty and painful. Perhaps it's time for Aleph 1 to resurrect their PCI PC card, originally designed for the Phoebe? :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 26/05/03 2:00PM
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I think PCs are too cheap to make a PC worthwhile these days, and anyway having access to a great web browser/media player/email/everything on Windows is'nt going to get people running out to buy those products on RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/213.187.48.180 on 26/05/03 6:22PM
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I meant 'PC card' was not worthwhile, the above was Freudian slip, i think.

 is a RISC OS Useranon/213.187.48.180 on 26/05/03 8:24PM
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The important thing for all these features is that they can be done at all, even if they can be done more cheaply/faster/easily/sensibly on a PC, it represents a step in the right direction.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/05/03 8:49PM
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Amen to that! I'd much rather do my movie conversions/editing on RISC OS even if it means leaving the machine running all night while it chews data. I'd much rather do my music sampling on RISC OS too (though I really need an Iyonix for this). Every new thing I can do on RISC OS gets me one step further away from bloody Windows. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 26/05/03 9:19PM
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Why do you want an Omega/Iyonix to be able to play DVD's?

The CD drivers on RISC OS have always been crap, the XScale won't be able to do it in software (I've seen 800MHz *PC's* stutter) and I doubt they'll ever sort out the Omega's graphics/FPA to do it.

I guess if someone wrote a driver for the Sigma cards (Hollywood+ or MPEG4 card) it would be OK, but you can buy a damn good DVD player for $50 and play it through your HiFi/50" TV....

 is a RISC OS Useranon/192.168.1.5 via 12.235.93.18 on 26/05/03 11:47PM
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Sigh. Why do we have to deal with this rampant negativity?

Read again what I wrote about the importance of being able to do it at all. Please also bother to justify why you think it can't be done (and don't bother to use a PC as a comparison). Ian and I have already stated that the CPU is enough to be able to pull it off. Most likely it won't be believed until it actually happens.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 27/05/03 10:33AM
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I'm sure it can be done purely in software, and yes it's important to at least have the ability to do it, but non-tech users won't care if they can't actually use it. It's easy for us to say, "yes I know all the games on RISC OS are shit, but it's /possible/ to write a good one!" or more commonly "The Omega is great, it's got this that and the next thing", Johnny Newuser says "oh great, where can I buy it?", we say "oh no Johnny, you can't *buy* it!"

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 27/05/03 11:59AM
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I would be utterly surprised if the Iyonix couldn't handle playing back DVDs at a decent rate. Heck, I'm surprised at what a lowly StrongARM RPC can handle in terms of video decoding. The XScale processor is designed with an eye to video decoding, as such it has instructions that make doing iDCT (inverse Discrete Cosine Transforms) much easier.

There are areas that would need work : integer AC-3 (Dolby Digital) decoder -> there is some support in liba52 being able to read DVDs on a RISC OS machine implementation of the interactive features of DVD playback in a RISC OS player

The points above are those that I think are the prospective stumbling blocks, actually getting the movies playing back at full speed is just a matter of time and effort. Effort is being put into KinoAmp and my own Cineroma to fill the void of movie playback under RISC OS, not only to show that it can be done, but can be done in a useful manner.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidm on 27/05/03 12:37AM
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David, Any ideas when you'll be able to release Cineroma?

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 27/05/03 4:12PM
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PCI PC cards are actually very common in embedded systems circles - you have a raw PCI bus, and a PCI PC card plugs into it as a controller.

I don't know how the Iyonix copes with a second bus master, but I'd hope they've got that side sorted out.

 is a RISC OS Usertribbles2 on 28/05/03 5:01PM
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Sorry I can't really give a release date for Cineroma. I really just need the chance to spend a decent block of time working on it and I'm optimistic that I should get a chance at the end of next month. After that I will be able to gauge if there is much left that I want to do with it prior to release and thus work out a feasible release target.

I have put quite alot into it recently as I try and get the next private beta sorted and it's certainly getting closer to being a releasable product. The trouble is that decoders are coming thick and fast and I'm trying to keep up, which means checking that they work under RISC OS and that they work within the Cineroma framework. The same with some formats...

I'm sure beta testers will be pleased with the next beta. I shall update my website (which really shows how slow things have been up until recently) once the beta is ready to reflect the changes that have occured.

If people want to ask me anything more specific about Cineroma or think they can help with testing some of the more obscure formats, please feel free to email me.

 is a RISC OS Userdavidm on 30/05/03 3:33PM
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