VirtualAcorn expand emulator rangeBy Chris Williams. Published: 10th May 2006, 18:52:35 | Permalink | Printable
With StrongARM support and better HostFS [Updated]VirtualAcorn have added StrongARM processor support to the core of their emulator products. A new addition to the VA range, VirtualRPC-SA, includes RISC OS 4.02 with StrongARM and ARM7500 support; an Adjust version is also now available with RISC OS 4.39. Applications that require these particular processor cores to work should be able to run with VRPC-SA.
The software also features a new version of HostFS, which allows RISC OS running on the RiscPC emulator to access files on the Microsoft Windows host - it can now create and remove points of access, known as 'mount points', on the fly. It's easier to use USB-based storage devices with HostFS, such as digital cameras and pen drives. The graphics emulation is faster, there's support for non-standard display sizes, the ability to launch files on Windows from within RISC OS, plus various other updates and applications bundled with it.
Existing users can upgrade for a tidy sum; new copies of the older VirtualRiscPC-Adjust and VirtualRiscPC-SE have also come down in price by 20 quid.
• An update for VRPC users is available online from VA's website to address issues with GhostScript and Techwriter. New copies of the VA product will be shipped with the fix included.
VA's Aaron Timbrell said: "This problem has been tracked down to a patch in the RISC OS Boot sequence that is designed to allow older versions of iSV products software to run on RISC OS 4 and above.
"APDL, who now own iSV products, have supplied us with a new patch that has been tested and resolves the problem."
Update at 14:37 11/5/2006
VA's Aaron Timbrell has said there is no significant speed boost from the added StrongARM support, although the display is reportedly more nippy on his 1.8GHz P4 PC in a 1600x1200 screen mode.
He said: "The purpose of the StrongARM core is to allow programs that use the StrongARM-only instructions to function. We have had a number of requests in the last few months for SA versions from both users and developers. The processor cores all run at roughly the same speed, the difference is in the instruction set they have available.
"Having said that on my laptop screen redraws seem to be coming in around 10% quicker, using a timed drawfile rendering test. Of course performance gains will vary by machine and will also depend on the resolution that has been selected."
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