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RISC OS News Article
Castle announces ARM9 MiMagic 5 support
Published: 29th Nov 2004, 16:48:09GMT  Source: drobe.co.uk
By Chris Williams
Page 1 of 1
Only 220MHz but still exciting, if you want ROS in a PDA [Updated]
Castle logoCastle have announced RISC OS support for NeoMagic's MiMagic 5 processor range. The MiMagic application processor is a 220MHz 32bit ARM9 core wrapped in a host of I/O and LCD monitor interfaces, and is aimed at wireless PDAs, handheld information appliances and other embedded kit.

Clearly not aimed at desktop use, the MiMagic 5 chip packs the following features:
  • ARM922T 220 MHz 32-bit ARM core
  • Dual independent 32-bit DMA bus configuration and dynamically assignable DMA controller.
  • Very low system power consumption.
  • Frequently used code can be stored in the SRAM.
  • Multiple power down modes.
  • Multimedia Enhancement Hardware-assist for video streaming and decoding.
  • Digital camera interface.
  • Low system cost.
  • Supports low cost NAND Flash.
  • Rich set of peripherals: SD Card, SDIO, MultiMediaCard, USB, serial, and audio.
  • Multiple Boot Options: Linear Flash, NAND Flash, UARTs, SD, MMC, or Serial EPROM.
  • Video support up to 800x600.

No prices or release dates are mentioned, but development boards will be available from Castle at some point. For the impatient, Castle will be demonstrating a MiMagic 5 powered RISC OS 5 computer at the Midlands RISC OS show this Saturday.

Following the news of the A9, the RISC OS future certainly looks portable - playing heavily on the OS's original motto of 'doing more with less'. Its small footprint, modular ROM based nature, and straight forward GUI are the assets that appear to be making the OS attractive to outside customers.

It also demonstrates the flexibility of modern ARM cores, in that silicon developers can pick up a core, pack in extra features (such as wireless and LCD support) as required and produce a custom processor to suit their needs - especially with high speed ARM9 cores rumoured to be in hands of third parties developing kit that use the ARM family.

We're also told that the support for MiMagic 5 was introduced after Castle's embedded arm, Tematic, have been working with un-named OEMs.

Update at 04:04 1/12/2004
We asked Castle if they could name the OEMs that they've been working with. CTL boss Jack Lillingston had this to say: "At the moment I can't name any OEMs (that is the nature of the companies we do business with). Also we have some high powered customers purchasing IYONIX pcs for evaluation and development, including major silicon designers and major telecoms companies."

We'll also have to wait and see on the price of the development board, too.

MiMagic 5 support for RISC OS 5 announcement
Castle website

Related articles
Castle reveal shared source licence
Castle and ROS Open reveal plans for 2007
Castle directors patch up 'disagreement'

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hzn(valued user) (+1.0)
29/11/04 4:59PM
Good news, indeed!
sa110(good user) (+0.5)
29/11/04 5:01PM
2nded. most definately good news.
leeshep(valued user)www 
29/11/04 5:33PM
:-) happy days, PDA's here we come :-)
jjvdgeer (+3.5)
29/11/04 6:40PM
"The addition of the MiMagic 5 to the ever growing list of processors that RISC OS supports, is a considerable benefit for the wider RISC OS community."
- Is the embedded market part of "the wider RISC OS community"?
If not, than this means this will surface in some way as a consumer product interesting for the enthousiastic market?
monkeyson(bad user / troll) (+1.0)
29/11/04 8:48PM
I hope so. *waves credit card*
Revin Kevin(valued user) (+2.4)
29/11/04 8:57PM
Looks very promising.

Lets hope it gets a few more people to the ARM Club show.
29/11/04 9:52PM
Wonder how many pennies this little beastie will be?
Unfortunately, I can't make the show this weekend to find out :-(

...but I am looking forward to it performing better that all those WinCE PDA's that are floating around? :-)

Incidentally, is it true that 'WinCE' stands for 'Windows Childrens Edition'? ;-)
AndrewDuffell(bad user / troll)www 
29/11/04 10:14PM
If it is aimed at the embedded market I doubt that they'll sell it to you anyway, or that it would be that much use.
Revin Kevin(valued user) (-0.5)
29/11/04 10:51PM
If it was aimed at the embedded market then surely the press release would be from Tematic not castle.
JWCR(good user) 
29/11/04 11:11PM

The week after I buy myself a PDA.
simo(good user) (+2.5)
29/11/04 11:51PM
"...but I am looking forward to it performing better that all those WinCE PDA's that are floating around?"

I doubt it - this is an 200MHz ARM processor, not likely to be anywhere near a 400MHz XScale or 300MHz MIPS etc.

Jees, even people are saying the Sharp Zaurus is too slow - this thing will crawl.

Plus WinCE (or PocketPC, or Linux) has many more years of development than a hacked together version of RO5 (itself pretty hacked together!) with a new HAL.

Hey at least its low power, the battery will last forever, but the tasks will take twice as long to do, so you'll need the battery life!
Sawadee(valued user) (-1.0)
29/11/04 11:57PM
"Multimedia Enhancement Hardware-assist for video streaming and decoding"
I don't know of MiMagic5, but it sounds like we are getting our RO hardware set up for Multimedia (Cino) and is it for portables only at this stage??
Sounds most promising :-)
Sawadee(valued user) 
30/11/04 1:45AM
Interesting comparison in your comments.

Thinking about that though, at least something for a start is still better than nothing for RISC OS.

RO has a few years of development to catch up to. I too wonder from your comments why the 200MHZ ARM processor and not the 400MHZ XScale, there must be a reason?
blahsnr(good user)www (+1.5)
30/11/04 7:17AM
ARM Linux on an Iyonix seems significantly slower than RO5. A 200MHz RiscPC seems a lot faster than a 200MHz Psion Netbook.

Thus RISC OS seems to run better on slower processors than other OS's. I realise am not consistently comparing like for like, and that hardware (and software) differences say between the Psion and RiscPC make up some of the speed difference. The Zaurus runs a flavour of Linux as an OS.

I'd be very surprised (bearing in mind max screen resolution of 800x600) if a Mi Magic 5 based machine running RO5 was so slow as to be practically unusable.

All in all very good news.
mrchocky(valued user) (+2.5)
30/11/04 8:55AM
In reply to simo:
what do you base your justifications on? Please, some references and not guesses.

"people are saying the Sharp Zaurus is too slow". But the Zaurus et al run WinCE/Linux, not RISC OS. In any case, your presumption avoids the issue that their are a variety of XScale processors with associated architectures.

I suggests that this ARM9 device runs in practice around the same speed as a PXA255 devices, and probably noticeably faster in many instances than a RiscPC (having faster bus, memory, etc).
bernie(bad user / troll) 
30/11/04 9:54AM
this is GUESS, but... from the characteristics, this processor seems tailored for 3G mobile handsets. Camera, streaming video, variety of storage devices... Oh well, time for a RO mobile phone?
30/11/04 10:03AM
Generally RISC OS feels very fast, because it acts quickly on interrupts caused by user inputs. Processing large amounts of data is not one of its strengths.
harmsy(good user) 
30/11/04 11:28AM
Sound like fun to me. Has anyone got a RON yet?!
john(valued user) 
30/11/04 1:23PM
To me, RISC OS doesn't necesarily feel fast, but it feels predictable, i.e. I already know how long it will take to do something so I can do things at maximum speed. With windows I'm never quite sure whether it's crashed or it's going to catch up with me in a min (wheras RISC OS tends to make it obvious most of the time :) Having said that, I can't remember the last time I had to reboot due to RISC OS crashing altogether. Oregano sometimes randomly disappears, but no OS crashes.
em2ac(good user) 
30/11/04 2:23PM
"years of development than a hacked together version of RO5"

Isn't this how all work in the world is done? Can't remember the last time I used anythign without it going wrong at some stage.

Sounds promising, Im sure Castle have somethign bigger up their sleave.....Lets see what happends!
nijinsky(good user) 
30/11/04 4:40PM
Perhaps the parket most suited to this is portable bio/medical imaging. Think hand-held ultrasound scanners, field medical diagnostics etc where low weight (lack of large batteries) etc counts a lot and where a desktop style interface rathere than a PDA interface is preferable. Of course I'm just speculating that it may be in my field. :-) Indeed I think it was 6 years ago I mentioed that this si a possible market so i'm probably wrong. AGAIN :-)

nijinsky(good user) 
30/11/04 7:46PM
Oh here is another idea. A portable barcode scanner. they normaly sell for the price of an iyonix. :-)
[Link: www.barcodesinc.com]

mripley(good user) 
1/12/04 3:29PM
Before folks get carried away you should look at the state of NeoMagic....not healthy.
Revin Kevin(valued user) 
1/12/04 8:47PM
Nice to see some high powered customers for castle as well with the IYONIX lets hope they like them.
jess(good user) 
1/12/04 9:49PM
it's nice to finally get owner of RISC OS who seen interested in actually trying to get it into other peoples products. It would be nice if there were a PDA produced for the general market with RO rather than just aiming it at existing users.

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