|Warning ... Gratuitous ARM related memories|
Message #4 Posted by Jonathan Watmough on 16 June 2005, 1:10 a.m.,
in response to message #1 by Todd
Wow, I started my career with Computer Concepts of Gaddesden Place, Hert in July 1988 programming (in assembler) the Acorn Archimedes which was based on a 4MHz (?) ARM3-core. Man the details kinda escape me now, but at the time, there was no Windows, and our PCB layout machine was a top of the line Dell 286 10 MHz machine, which was very very cool. I used to sneak in and play F19 Stealth Fighter on it when no one was looking.
Anyway, my development machine was a regular Archimedes A340 production machine with *no* hard-drive, just a floppy and no software beyond the fairly nasty looking RiscOS, BBC Basic interpreter and inbuilt (into the Basic) ARM assembler. In practice, the only basic we used was a for...next loop to do the 2-pass assembly. Oh, and there wasn't any network either. Just sneakernet.
With this unpromising start, I actually managed to program a large chunk of the UI for the Impression DTP package, and probably the worst printer driver ever. We also worked on a sadly unreleased OS called Impulse which was pretty neat.
The performance of the original ARM chips was actually pretty good. It's a huge testament that a 26,000 transistor chip running at half the rate of the contemporary 286 actually ran similarly to the as yet unheard of 486.
Great that these chips are still doing something useful. I think there may be one in my Clie, but I have my hands full trying to learn my CX to do much Clie stuff.