Acorn Phoebe

The Phoebe 2100 (or Risc PC 2) was to be Acorn Computers' next generation Risc PC, slated for release in late 1998. However in September 1998 Acorn cancelled the project as part of a restructuring of the company.

In November 1996, the design of what was to become Phoebe 2100 was started. The design took into account a number of perceived weaknesses of the Risc PC design, a slow memory architecture, limited I/O capability, limited expansion, and not adhering to industry standards. To overcome these weakness a number of design objectives were created; Harness the full potential of the StrongARM CPU, support multiple processors, add support for PCI expansion, offer the best possible graphics, run existing RISC OS applications and to provide enhanced RISC OS functionality. An additional design objective of reusing the same case as the Risc PC was dropped due to power supply requirements and electrical interference problems.

During 1997 and 1998 Acorn regularly took prototype and mock-up hardware to various Acorn computer shows, including Acorn World October 1997, Wakefield Acorn Spring Show May 1998 and the Acorn Southeast Show June 1998.

By May 1998 Acorn started to offer their 'Registered Developer' scheme members the chance to pre-order a pre-launch prototype for testing and development, these were offered at a £950 (ex VAT) a significant discount on the public price of £1500 (ex VAT) revealed in June.

On 15 September 1998, the first Phoebe 2100 motherboards with silicon (rather than FPGA) based IOMD2 chips were powered up. They successfully ran at the full front side bus speed of 64 MHz, and the improved performance of the video chip was also seen, however various bugs in the sound DMA were reported and general system instability was noted. As such, no shippable prototypes were yet available to send to the 'Registered Developers'.

Two days later, on 17 September 1998, the development of Phoebe 2100 was cancelled.

On 17 September 1998, Acorn finished a review of its business and decided to close the 'Workstation Division', the department developing Phoebe 2100, and all work stopped. Acorn Computers CEO, Stan Boland said "There is not a big enough market for the PC (Risc PC 2), which is largely for home use and games. It's an enthusiast's product. We are going to resize the rest of the company and concentrate on becoming a digital TV and thin client company", and Computerworld Online News reported an Acorn spokesman saying "The problem was that it would have had a retail cost about twice as high as for a comparable PC.".

After cancellation it came to light that as few as 150 to 300 pre-orders had been placed.

A small number of empty cases that Acorn had pre-ordered were sold to enthusiasts after the project was cancelled (and before the remaining stock was reportedly destroyed by a fire).

Our machine is one of the only complete machines that we know of. 

Kindly donated by: Jason Keeler

Manufacturer: Acorn
Date: 1998

Magazines RELATED to Acorn Phoebe in our Library

Item Manufacturer Date
Acorn User - November 1988 27 May 2009

Other Systems Related To Acorn Phoebe:

Item Manufacturer Date
Acorn 6502 Microcomputer Board Acorn Computers Ltd 1979
Acorn System 1 Acorn Computers March 1979
Acorn System 1 Acorn Computers Ltd March 1979
Acorn System 3 Acorn 1980
Acorn Atom Acorn 1980
Black Acorn Atom Acorn January 1980
Acorn BBC Micro Model A (Issue 2 Board) Acorn Computers Ltd 1981
Acorn BBC Micro Model A - Issue 1 Acorn 1981
Acorn BBC Micro Model A Acorn 1981
Acorn BBC Micro Model B Acorn 1981
Busicomputers Prophet 3 Acorn Computers Ltd 1982
Acorn System 4 Acorn Computers Ltd 1982
German BBC Micro (GNB09) Acorn 1982
Busicomputers Prophet 2 Acorn 1983
Acorn Cambridge Workstation Acorn 1983
Acorn Business Computer (ABC) (Prototype) Acorn 1983
Acorn System 5 Acorn Computers Ltd 1983
BBC Micro prototype PCB Acorn 1983
Acorn Business Computer (ABC) Acorn 1983
Acorn Electron with Turbo Board Acorn July 1983
Acorn Electron (Trial ROM) Acorn Computers Ltd July 1983
Acorn Electron Acorn July 1983
Acorn Electron (German) Acorn July 1983
BBC Micro B+ 128K + 48K ROM Acorn 1984
US BBC Micro (UNB09) Acorn October 1984
Acorn BBC Micro Model B+ (64K) Acorn July 1985
Acorn Econet Terminal Acorn Computers Ltd 1986
BBC Master Used on Microlive Acorn 1986
Acorn Communicator Italian Acorn 1986
Acorn BBC Master 512 Acorn 1986
Acorn Communicator Acorn 1986
Acorn BBC Domesday System Acorn Computers Limited 1986
Acorn BBC Master 128 Acorn February 1986
Acorn - BT Merlin M2105 Acorn Computers / British Telecom 13th May 1986
Acorn BBC Master Compact Acorn September 1986
Acorn BBC Master Compact Prototype Acorn September 1986
Acorn Archimedes A410/1 Acorn 1987
Acorn AEH02 Archimedes NSM Acorn Computers Ltd 1987
Acorn Archimedes 310 Acorn 1987
Acorn Archimedes 305 Acorn 1987
Acorn Archimedes 310 (Arthur 1.2 Installed) Acorn 1987
Acorn Archimedes 440 Acorn Computers July 1987
Acorn A680 Acorn 1988
Acorn Archimedes A500 Acorn 1988
Acorn Archimedes A500 Acorn 1988
Acorn A3000 Acorn 1989
Acorn Archimedes A440/1 Acorn Computers May 1989
Acorn A3000 (Learning Curve Box) Acorn May 1989
Acorn A3000 (Original Spec) Acorn 1st May 1989
Acorn R140 Acorn June 1989
Acorn R260 Acorn Computers 1990
Acorn Archimedes A5000 ALB12 Acorn 1991
Acorn A5000 ALB55 Acorn 1991
Acorn A5000 ALB22 Acorn 1991
Acorn A5000 ALB35 Acorn 1991
Acorn A4000 Acorn January 1991
Acorn A4 Laptop (Prototype 1 of 7) Acorn 1992
Acorn A4 Laptop Acorn 1992
Acorn A3020 Acorn January 1992
Acorn A4 WLP-530N7 Acorn Rev. B Acorn June 1992
Acorn A4000 Acorn September 1992
Acorn A3010 Acorn September 1992
Semerc Acorn A4000S Acorn September 1992
Acorn Risc PC 600 Acorn January 1994
Acorn Risc PC 600 ACB25 Acorn April 1994
Acorn Risc PC 600 ACB45 Acorn April 1994
Acorn RISC PC 600 - Prototype Acorn 1995
Acorn A7000+ Acorn 1995
Acorn A7000 Acorn 1995
Acorn SchoolServer Acorn Ltd 1995
Acorn RISC PC700 System Acorn July 1995
Acorn Risc PC 600 ACB60 Acorn July 1995
Acorn StrongARM RiscPC Acorn 1996
Acorn Stork Notebook Acorn Computers Ltd 1996
Acorn Xemplar Matrix NC Acorn 1996
Acorn Fast NC - Serial Number 1 Acorn Computers Ltd 1997
Acorn DeskLite Prototype Acorn June 1998

This exhibit has a reference ID of CH16644. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.


Acorn Phoebe

Click on the Image(s) For Detail

User Submitted Articles

Add Your Article >>>

Founding Sponsors
redgate Google ARM Real VNC Microsoft Research
Heritage Lottery Funded
Heritage Lottery Fund
Accredited Museum