And then to try your hand at a bit of ROKiteering!
Andy Marks, the king of amusingly named products, has added two new items to his RISCOSbits range – PiSSDup, and ROKit.
PiSSDup is an add-on for the Raspberry Pi that provides fast, reliable access to mSATA storage. The device fits securely to the Raspberry Pi using the principles outlined by the Foundation for HAT (Hardware Attached on Top) devices, but it does so without needing the GPIO pins, which means these are still available for other add ons, such as a Real Time Clock.
Instead of the GPIO pins, the PiSSDup makes use of a USB port – and while you could just connect other storage devices via USB, according to Andy the PiSSDup offers performance that makes it feel much faster. Benchmarks published on the product page suggest the device outperforms other, similar devices such as the Lycom Pi-102.
The device can handle up to 256GB of mSATA storage, which is the current filecore limit in stable releases of RISC OS – for the moment – which is a very generous amount of storage for a RISC OS computer, and far in excess of the amount provided by the official SD card image that can be downloaded from RISC OS Open. Don’t forget, while that image can be used on larger cards, you only get a 2GB disc image, so if you want more you have to connect to another storage device (or prepare your SD card by other means).
Despite its name, which is derived from the fact that it is primarily aimed at the Raspberry Pi, because it connects via USB the PiSSDup can also benefit other RISC OS systems that have USB but not SATA, such as those based around PandaBoards and BeagleBoards. And because of its very small size, it should be a doddle to integrate it inside existing systems and cases. It can also be used with RISCOSbits’ own PiPOD, a hardware device for mounting a Raspberry Pi in a RiscPC or A7000 podule slot, enhancing the PiPOD still further.
If bought as a stand-alone item, PiSSDup costs £24.99. Make that £34.99, and you get a pre-configured Class 10 micro-SD card with a fully licensed RISC OS 5, configured to boot your Pi via PiSSDup.
And, best of all, each PiSSDup comes with a free PiNUT skin, one of which is based on the RiscPC – and who in their right mind wouldn’t want to house their Raspberry Pi in something that looks like a RiscPC?
ROKit, on the other hand, is a kit containing all the parts you need to build your own RISC OS desktop computer, rather than just buy one ready made. The kit is based around a BÜRP case, which is a stylish and rugged, high quality extruded aluminium enclosure that can house any one of a number of boards that are able to run RISC OS, as well some for which the OS hasn’t been ported to.
Being based around the BÜRP case, ROKit is available in a choice of four striking colours – Panther Black, Raspberry Red, Sleek Silver, and Electric Blue – and once built from the provided instructions, the result is a machine that will stand out from the crowd on any desk (unless that crowd consists of several machines in BÜRP cases), while being hard wearing enough that it can stand being taken out and about on a regular basis.
ROKit is available in two versions: Essential, and Enhanced.
Bundled with the case in the Essential version, which is priced at £135.00, are a Raspberry Pi 2 (with the option of a Pi 3 instead for no extra cost), a 32GB micro-SD card featuring a fully licensed copy of RISC OS and a selection of software pre-installed, and all the necessary adaptors that bring the Pi’s various connectors to the supplied end plate.
The Enhanced version takes that price up to £149.00 and brings with it an mSATA adaptor.
For both the PiSSDup and the ROKit, RISCOSbits are able to supply suitably formatted mSATA drives – but due to price volatility, asks that anyone interested gets in touch for the latest prices and availability.