RISC OS 3.60
Released 1995 - RiscPC and A7000 class
RISC OS 3.60 is included with the following products.
The following support documents relate to this version of RISC OS:
RISC OS 3.60 was released just over a year after RISC OS 3.50. From its release all RiscPC computers were fitted with this version of RISC OS as it fixed a number of problems that had become apparent with RISC OS 3.50. RISC OS 3.60 used almost the entire 4MB of ROM space that was available, almost all of the components that had been disc based on RISC OS 3.50 were moved into the ROM, these included the standard RISC OS application suite (Draw, Edit, Paint etc). Whilst a hard disc with Boot sequence provided more functionality Acorn could now supply machines without a hard disc as RISC OS 3.60 could function just with floppy discs for System and Scrap.
Given the lukewarm performance of the original RiscPC Acorn made a number of speed improvements to this new version of RISC OS. Hard disc performance was much improved over RISC OS 3.50, this improvement required no hardware change so early RiscPC machines fitted with the new version of RISC OS also showed the same speed improvement. RISC OS 3.6 also included support for the newer ARM710 processor which was some 25% faster than the ARM610. New RiscPCs were now badged as either 'RiscPC 600' or 'RiscPC 700' and could now be supplied in a number of configurations to suit a wider range of buyers.
As well as support for the ARM710 RISC OS 3.60 also included support for the new ARM7500 chip, which was an all in one design, with memory controller, VIDC20 video and processor (with support components) all on one chip. The ARM7500 powered the new Acorn A7000 which was designed as a cheaper alternative to the RiscPC. The A7000 had very limited expansion potential but was cheap to make and very profitable.
Acorn's Econet networking components were now in the main RISC OS 3.60 ROM, rather than being disc based. TCP/IP was also included as standard so that machines without a hard disc could be set up to boot over a network. The option to buy discless machines for a lower price was attractive to schools and large numbers of low spec A7000 machines were sold into the educational sector.
Acorn offered RISC OS 3.60 upgrade packs to customer who had RiscPCs fitted with ARM610 processors. The cheaper pack included the new RISC OS 3.60 ROM chips and a new Boot sequence to replace the one used by RISC OS 3.50. The more expensive upgrade pack included the ROMS and Boot sequence upgrade as well as a new slot in ARM710 processor. Take up of these upgrade packs was quite high and it's now rare to find a RiscPC that was never upgraded.
RISC OS 3.60 was well received by the market. It was faster, bigger and had fewer bugs. Its support for a wider range of hardware helped Acorn sell at both the top and bottom end, with the new Acorn computers being considerably faster than previous generation machines more users were prepared to upgrade. RISC OS 3.6 is a good, stable version of RISC OS.
The ARM7500 chip was used in very large numbers of Set Top Boxes supplied by Acorn and then Pace Microtechnology Ltd. It's the only Acorn/ARM chip to include a hardware floating point unit.
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