Acorn Archimedes 310 (Arthur 1.2 Installed)
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The A305 and A310 were launched in June 1987. It was the first RISC CPU based computer in the world. There were 2 models, the A305 and the A310. The A305 could be upgraded to the A310 specification.
The RISC-based A310 excelled on integer programs, but the lack of FPU showed up in the 'Savage' benchmark, where slow IEEE-754 compatible emulation routines in the C library hurt the performance. Remarkably, the A310 could run Savage in interpreted BASIC in 32.8 seconds, only about 50% slower than the Compaq Deskpro 386 equipped with a 80287 math coprocessor.
The A310 ran an operating system called Arthur. It was based on earlier OS Acorn wrote in 1979 for the BBC Micro, a 6502-based PC. Arthur was quite modern for a PC and included features like modularity between the OS and file system (two different file systems were supported), a graphical user interface (GUI) called Desktop, and a built in scripting language. A310 was installed with an ARM2 processor and 1 MB RAM.
This machine has the Arthur operating System 1.2 installed.
The Arthur OS was only supposed to be a stop gap while Acorn continued development on the ARX system, the original project led by paul Fellows was only given 5 months to develop it from scratch. However the ARX project was delayed time and again, until eventually it was dropped when it was deemed possible for Arthur to have a window manager and full desktop. It was also small enough to fit in the 512K of memory, where as ARX required 4MB of RAM and a hard drive.
From the Archimedes brochure:
Acclaimed at its launch with the British Microcomputing Awards 'Micro of the Year' title, the Archimedes system has also won the 1988 TOBIE award for Best New Technology Application of the Year. In the words of Personal Computer World magazine, The fact is that the ARM chip is amazing, and the Archimedes which uses it is equally wonderful."
CENTRAL PROCESSING UNIT
ARM (Acorn RISC Machine) 32-bit microprocessor using Reduced
Instruction Set Computer technology.
A typical execution rate of 4 MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second) makes the
Archimedes system the world's fastest microcomputer in its class to date.
1 Megabyte of fully addressable built-in RAM.
Complex software applications to run from RAM without frequent delays for
Long documents and large quantities of data to be held in memory for faster
512 kbytes of ROM store the complete operating system and the BASIC
programming environment, along with the window driven user interface.
The Archimedes system is ready to run as soon as you switch on. You do not
have to load the operating system from disc.
Storing the operating system in ROM makes more RAM available for
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH51418. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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