Risc PC 486 Card: Software upgrades Product Statement

Henry Howarth, Version 1.10, 10th July 1995.

The Acorn Risc PC 486 Card is proving a highly successful and popular product, with 10,000 already shipped since the product became available in April. Acorn has been working in partnership with Aleph One Limited and ESP to enhance and extend the software capability of the Risc PC 486 Card, and can now announce plans for making available a range of software upgrades for Risc PC 486 Card owners as follows:

  • !PC486 update: an update to the !PC486 software, available free when downloaded from the Acorn ftp site, or at cost by post.

  • 16-bit Sound Software application which provides Sound Blaster support as well as 16-bit RISC OS sound capabilities (requires either the Risc PC 16-bit Sound Upgrade from ESP or Acorn, or one of the new range of Risc PCs). The 16-bit Sound Software application will be available from ESP and Aleph One in Q4 at £39.95 + VAT, and will include the !PC486 update.
  • PC Card Network Links software to enable DOS/Windows networking with the Risc PC 486 Card when used with an Ethernet card for Risc PC. Customers are recommended to specify DCI4 compatibility on ordering to ensure full compliance with Acorn network products. PC Card Network Links software with DCI4 compatibility will be available from Aleph One from September at £25 + VAT for a single-user license. The PC Network Links software upgrade also incorporates the !PC486 update.

Further details on each software item are given in the sections which follow.

!PC486 update

The !PC486 update will incorporate the following changes compared to the current v1.72g supplied:

  • enhanced Windows 3.1 graphics drivers. These will provide improved colour depth (16bpp and 24bpp) and palette device extensions.

  • CD ROM support for Photo CDs and Quad-speed CD-ROM drives.

  • a number of 'bug fixes', including support for Microsoft 1.8 MB disc formats and improved serial port handling.

It will be available in September by downloading from the Acorn ftp site or by post at a price of around £2.20 inc VAT to cover the cost of the disc, postage and fulfilment. Details of how to obtain the upgrade by post will be announced nearer the time and any necessary instructions for installation will be provided in the 'ReadMe' file which comes with the software update.

The !PC486 update will also be incorporated in the 16-bit Sound Software application and the PC Card Network Links software upgrade. An interim release of the !PC486 update, which includes the improved colour depth and palette device extensions as well as some bug fixes, will be available from the ftp site only from July 28th.

16-bit Sound Software application

The 16-bit Sound Software application from ESP and Aleph One is designed for use with the Risc PC 16-bit Sound Upgrade available from ESP, Aleph One and Acorn, and with the new range of Risc PCs which incorporate the 16-bit Sound hardware on the motherboard.

The 16-bit Sound Software application provides MIDI synthesis capability in software for RISC OS and RISC OS sound drivers for the 16-bit Sound Card, which can be used by existing RISC OS MIDI sound applications like Maestro, Rhapsody and Sibelius, and multimedia applications such as ARPlayer.

The 16-bit Sound Software application also incorporates a Sound Blaster emulator and Sound Blaster drivers so that applications running under Windows can output sound and MIDI through the Risc PC 16-bit Sound hardware. This enables the sound from PC CD ROM applications like Encarta and other Windows applications which assume the presence of a Sound Blaster card.

The 16-bit Sound Software application will also incorporate the !PC486 update (see the section entitled !PC486 update for details) and will be available in Q4 at £39.95 + VAT from Aleph One and ESP. Further details of how to obtain the product will be announced nearer the time. .

PC Card Network Links software

The PC Card Network Links software enables DOS and Windows networking with Acorn and Aleph One PC 486 Cards when used with a suitable Ethernet interface (an Ethernet card for Risc PC). All PC networking software capable of operating on an industry-standard NE2000-compatible Ethernet card should operate with the Network Links extension installed, including Novell Netware, Microsoft Windows for Workgroups and LAN Manager.

Any Ethernet interface for RiscPC which has RISC OS drivers supporting the latest DCI4 specification is suitable for use with the Network Links extension. Contact your Ethernet interface supplier for an up-to-date driver if necessary.

The Network Links software is available direct from Aleph One and costs £25.00+VAT for a single-user license; enquire for site license prices.

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