The A680 Technical Publishing System was developed by Acorn for Olivetti in 1988. Although it runs RISCiX, it seems to have been the original development machine as its architecture differs from the Archimedes (e.g. there is no RISC OS component and the maximum RAM is 8MB).
This machine was built by Acorn in 1988 as one of the prototypes for a desktop publishing system to be sold by Olivetti. The system was never put into production so the remaining prototypes are very hard to find.
The A680 runs a variant of BSD 4.3 Unix called RISCiX : although the A680 was the first machine built to run RISCiX, it was used to develop versions later released on machines similar to the Archimedes series - the R140, R260 and R225. However, the A680 had substantially different (and more expensive) hardware than those machines with many built-in features that were options on the later models. It was therefore in use at Acorn long after the R140 was complete and didn't become obsolete until spare R260s were available.
The information above and further details can be found at http://chrisacorns.computinghistory.org.uk/RISCiXComputers.html#A680
The A680 contained an ARM2 processor, 8 MiB RAM (dual MEMCs) and a 67 MB hard drive running from an onboard SCSI controller (no other machine from Acorn Computers included integrated SCSI). It is rumoured that overheating from the SCSI controller was one reason for the machine to never be released.
Our model has serial number of: 01-A680B-0000156 and is complete with the Archimedes keyboard and the very comprehensive Acorn UNIX A680 Evaluation System User Guide and Technical Reference Manual which also contains wiring and circuit diagrams.
We are extremely grateful to Ian & Paul Levy for this very kind donation.
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This exhibit has a reference ID of CH16155. Please quote this reference ID in any communication with the Centre for Computing History.
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