Acorn  Acorn A4000
Previous System
Next System

The Acorn A4000

The A4000 was introduced in 1992 alongside the A3010 and the A3020

The A4000 came with 2MByte of RAM and was standard equiped with a 80MByte IDE hard-drive. Unlike the A3010 and A3020, the case and keyboard were separated to give the machine more professional appeal and the hardware more room.

Like the A3010 and A3020, the A4000 used the first ARM system-on-chip (SOC), the ARM250. This was a single chip that included an ARM2, IO/Chip, VIDC1a, and MEMC1a. CPU, memory controller, I/O and video were all controlled by the ARM250.

Acorn Archimedes Computers

The Acorn Archimedes computer was the commercially available computer to use the RISC (Reduced Instruction Set CPU) architecture. The first models were launched in 1987, and Acorn developed updated models of the machines until the early 1990's. The CPU in the Acorn machines is the ARM chip, which stands for Acorn RISC Machine. ARM Chips are still used today, one popular example is the iPhone.

Arthur Operating System

The Acorn Archimedes computers were initially shipped with the Arthur OS, but could be upgraded to RISC OS, by replacing the ROM chips that contained the operating system. Because of these ROMs, the computer would boot immediatly into it's GUI, similar to the Atari ST line of computers. This gave them a significant advantage over PC's that loaded the operating system from disk.

The early Archimedes computers used the Arthur operating system, which was replaced in 1989 with RISC OS. RISC-OS featured co-operative multitasking, task management, solid window manipulation, adaptive rendering of bitmaps and coloring, and above all stability that the Arthur OS lacked. New applications quickly started to take advantage of the RISC-OS resulting in mature software such as Acorn Desktop Publisher, and even a PC Emulator.

Source WikiPedia


ARM, an acronym for Advanced RISC Machines (originally Acorn RISC Machines) is a Reduced Instruction Set Computer (RISC) cpu architecture. The ARM1, uses a 32-bit internal structure, but only had a 26-bit address space, limiting the processor to 64MByte of memory. This limit was removed in the ARMv3 series, which introduced a full 32-bit address space.

The first machine that used the ARM chip was the BBC Micro, it used the ARM as a secondary processor at 6MHz.

The result of the simulations on the ARM1 boards led to the late 1986 introduction of the ARM2 design running at 8 MHz, and the early 1987 speed-bumped version at 10 to 12 MHz. The ARM2 was roughly seven times the performance of a typical 7 MHz 68000-based system and twice as fast as an Intel 80386 running at 16 MHz.

The ARM2 featured a 32-bit data bus, 26-bit address space and 27 32-bit registers, of which 16 are accessible at any one time (including the Program Counter). The ARM2 had a transistor count of just 30,000, compared to Motorola's 68000 model with around 68,000. This simplicity enabled the ARM2 to have low power consumption, yet offer better performance than the Intel 80286.

A successor, ARM3, was produced with a 4 KB cache, which further improved performance. The address bus was extended to 32 bits in the ARM3.

source: WikiPedia
Technical Details
Released 1992 Brand Acorn Computers Ltd. Type Acorn Archimedes 3000+ Name Acorn A4000 CPU Class ARM CPU ARM250, (ARM2+VIDC1a+IOC+MEMC1a) Memory RAM: 2MB
RAM max: 136MB
Sound Chip Integrated Sound 16 bit digital Stereo integrated sound. Display Chip VIDC20 Video Display Processor Display VGA & SVGA, 1280x1024 24BPP. Best Color 24 bits per pixel Best Graphics 1280x1024 Sprites 1 hardware sprite (pointer) System OS RISC OS 3.10 Storage 3.5" Internal Disk Drive, 80MByte Hard Drive
Related Systems
Acorn System
Acorn Business Computer
Acorn BBC/Acorn 8-bit
Acorn Archimedes 300/400
Acorn New Archimedes 400s
Acorn Workstations
Acorn Archimedes 3000+
Acorn  A4000 (1992)
Related Media
World Wide Web Links
Acorn Computers
A list of all Acorn machines
History of RISC OS
Wikipage about the history of the RISC Operating System
Wikipage about the ins and outs of the RISC Operating System