Up to 2x the speed of other RISC OS (or Windows) machines...
RISCube Ultra Duo
The background to our RISCube Ultra machines can be found elsewhere on this site, so we'll focus on what makes the RISCube Ultra Duo something worth getting excited about. Put simply, it combines two separate processors
into a single chip, in one of our famous small boxes. The concept of multi-processor computing has been around for a long time, but historically
it has been hugely expensive and rather impractical. The Core2Duo technology in the RISCube Ultra Duo, derived and expanded from the Centrino architecture of the RISCubeUltra, brings this into the mainstream, and allows everyone to take advantage. And when running two operating systems at the same time, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that two processors would be a Good Thing! Not only that, but both Windows and RISC OS perform dramatically faster than any of our other systems, thanks to the latest CPU design enhancements!
Advantages of the RISCube Ultra Duo
The most desirable feature of the RISCube Ultra Duo isn't the dual CPU cores themselves, but rather their efficiency and performance, even when
running software that doesn't know about the twin cores (eg. RISC OS). Whilst it is tempting to think that two processors means double the
performance, this usually isn't the case, because software needs to be written to take advantage of multiple processors. This is why
the impressive performance of each CPU core is so significant - even if there was only one processor core on the chip, it would give
stunning results - but with two, well, all the better! The good news is that because WindowsXP is fully aware of the dual core processor,
it is able to offload applications onto whichever of the two CPU cores is least busy. This means that even if one of the cores
is running flat-out, the other core is ready to run other programs without slowdown.
If we take a real-world example, imagine that you're working away on your digital photos. Applying effects to large photos can be a demanding
task, so you wouldn't want any interruptions. If your virus-scanner decided to kick in whilst you were working, on a traditional single
processor machine, things would grind to a halt, and you'd probably stop the antivirus scan so that you could get on with your work.
On a dual-core system, the virus scan would happen in the background on the (previously idle) second processor core. The net effect
would be that your photo editing would continue as normal, with the virus scan zipping along in the background
What about RISC OS? Well, RISC OS isn't multiprocessor aware in and of itself. However, as we have said above, the single-core preformance
of these CPUs is so dramatic, that RISC OS runs nearly TWICE as fast as a RISCube Ultra (which is already very speedy). Additionally, it is in
multitasking that the benefits of the dual core processor kick in. RISC OS will probably be using 100% of the primary processor core
(unless you are leaving your machine idle), so demanding things like Printing, Antivirus, system-housekeeping and any other
"background processes" will run on the secondary core.
This means no interruption from "the outside" when you are running RISC OS, so things will feel smoother.
Printing is a particular example - the UniPrint technology used to allow RISCubes to print to any printer can be quite demanding in terms
of memory and processor usage during printing. With a dual core machine, the printing can be offloaded to the second core, meaning minimal
hesitation when printing even complex documents.
Moving beyond the dual-core processor, because this is our top-end machine, it is also the most powerful and flexible in other ways.
You can choose to have multiple hard drives, and even turn them into linked RAID disc arrays for performance or fault-tolerance. You
can also expect to see the latest PCI-express graphics technology, and top quality audio. The RISCube Ultra Duo features the latest
technlogy for a machine that is future-proofed and reliable.
How does it compare?
Are there any downsides?
We feel it is only fair to give you all the pros and cons of our machines. In the case of the RISCube Ultra Duo, the
machine moves away from some of the traditional ports such as parallel and PS2 keyboard/mouse. It compensates for
this by including no less that 8 USB2 ports! USB adaptors exist if you need to hook up old printers and so on, so
this isn't a huge loss. Internally, you have a choice of built-in floppy drive, or built-in media card reader - we
sadly can't offer both internally, although adding a USB-attached card reader is cheap and easy. Finally, internal
expansion is via the latest PCI-express slots, which whilst future-proof, limits you to more recent add-ons.
Which machine is right for you will be a matter of taste. If you are in doubt, we strongly urge you to
telephone us on (+44) (0)1925 755043 so that we can discuss your needs. Remember that our job is to find the computer
that will best suit you, so that you are happy with your purchase - a satisfied customer will usually return to us
in future, and that's what we strive for.
RISCube Ultra Duo specification - £1199 inclusive
- High end Intel Core2Duo dual or quad core processor
- 2048Mb (2Gb) of dual-channel memory (RAM) with heat spreaders for reliability
- 500Gb serial-ATA2 hard drive with 8Mb cache (fast!)
- Space for additional hard drive(s) if required
- Dual layer DVD burner with CD writing capability
- Floppy disc drive / multi-format card reader
- 128Mb graphics with full 3D features
- PCI express technology allows for future expansion
- 7.1 channel high definition surround sound
- 10/100/1000 speed networking
- 8x USB 2 ports, 2x Firewire ports
- RISC OS Adjust 4.39
- Windows XP Home
- UniPrint 3 Deluxe software allows operation of almost any printer or scanner
- Software bundle including CD burning, DVD movie player, fully MS-compatible office suite, Antivirus, graphics/photo software and lots more