Solid-state drives from R-Comp

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The Silence of the NAND.

R-Comp Interactive have announced the availability of affordable, high quality SSDs for computers running RISC OS 5.

SSDs, or solid-state drives are designed to be used as a storage medium instead of (or alongside, depending on your computer) the hard disk drives that most RISC OS users will probably be more familiar with,  but instead of the key component in the drive being a magnetic disk, spun at high speed in order to enable fast access times to all parts, SSDs typically contain NAND flash memory, and therefore lack the moving parts of the traditional hard drive, which means they are silent in operation and consume much less power.

Access times and latency are also much lower, and the drives tend to be less prone to damage from physical shock – such as when you perch your laptop on the corner of the printer cabinet in order to print something (because you haven’t yet networked the printer), and you then accidentally knock the computer onto the floor. Ahem. Anyway…

R-Comp’s announcement explains that they are offering SSD kits for use with modern RISC OS 5 based computers and DIY boards, with the option of either a 128GB drive for £99, or a 256GB drive for £179, both prices including VAT. Included in that price is the drive itself, a USB connection kit (which Andrew Rawnsley explains has been tested with RISC OS 5 – so it is known to be compatible), and a mounting kit for ARMini and PandaLand users, if needed.

The drives can be filecore formatted (the native RISC OS format, which allows certain meta-data to be stored with files – for example the file-type) or formatted as FAT32 for better performance. R-Comp supplies a FAT32 formatter with the ARMini computer, as well as part of the BeagleBoard support scheme and PandaLand, the PandaBoard equivalent – however, freeware alternatives exist for those who would like to make use of an SSD kit, but who don’t wish to subscribe to either of those schemes.

R-Comp are also offering to preload a RISC OS boot sequence, etc, if required, although this may cost extra due to licensing issues: If you are buying a kit to use on a totally DIY system, and you aren’t a member of either of R-Comp’s support schemes and are instead obtaining the necessary components from the RISC OS Open Ltd website, then the licence under which you are using RISC OS is a non-commercial licence, granted free of charge by Castle Technology Ltd for the use and distribution of RISC OS and its sources. However, for R-Comp to provide RISC OS 5 or any of its components as part of a commercial product they are doing so under a commercial licence, for which an appropriate fee must be paid.

To order or discuss your requirements, R-Comp can be contacted by telephone on 01925 755 043, or by email and, of course, you’ll be able to speak to Andrew and the team in person at the Midlands Midsummer Mugshow, which takes place on Saturday 7th July at the St John’s Church Hall in Kenilworth.