The Acorn Archimedes series was the evolution of the famous BBC computers. This is a British machine that got very little attention outside of the UK. The machine is interesting for several reasons: it uses a RISC processor (ARM 250) which was pretty unique for the time. The Archimedes was actually the first home computer line to use a RISC processor and at the time of its release (Archimedes A305) the ARM 2 RISC (8Mhz) was about seven times faster than a Amiga 500 (68000 CPU). However, when the A3020 was released in 1992 the A1200’s MC68EC020 had narrowed the gap and the A1200 had a few advantages over the A3020 like support for more memory and higher resolution.
The machine I got has an internal hard disk as well as an external zip drive device. It was not a very expensive machine to get but the shipping costs from the UK are a killer. The good news is that there is a VGA output that works just fine with new LCD monitors (even though some older games don’t display correctly – I will post about this later) and the machine itself is fairly compact. The case is in good shape and the keyboard is just slightly yellowed.
Overall I am very happy with the A3020 and I am looking forward to get to know more about the software released for the Archimedes.
|BUILT IN LANGUAGE||BBC BASIC / RISC OS 3.1|
|KEYBOARD||Full-stroke PC-102 style|
|CPU||ARM 250 32 bit RISC|
|CO-PROCESSOR||MEMC (memory), VIDC (Video and Sound), IOC (I/O)|
|RAM||2 MB (up to 4Mb possible with socketed zip ram chips)|
|Video Modes||Text Modes: 132 chars. x 32 lines maximum; Graphic Modes: 21 screen modes, including: 640×480 (256 colours), 640 x 512 (256 colours), 800×600 (16 colours), 896×352 (256 colours), 1280×960 (monochrome)|
|I/O PORTS||Centronics, RS423, VGA, Network, 1 expansion slot|
|BUILT IN MEDIA||One 3.5|
|PRICE||£749 with floppy, £899 with a 60Mb hard disk.|