Just like magic: RISC OS on the Wandboard

posted in: Hardware | 1

A development image of RISC OS 5.25 for the iMX6-based Wandaboard is now available to download from RISC OS Open’s site, which adds another low-cost board to the ever-growing list of machines that can run RISC OS 5 natively.

The Wandboard i.MX6 is an ultra low-power computer which claims to have ‘high performance multimedia capabilities’. The board is based around the NXP i.MX6 Cortex-A9 processor.

On the Wandboard website, there’s currently four boards available for purchase. There’s the single-core Wandboard Solo, then the dual-core Wandboard Dual, the quad-core Wandaboard Quad and the very deluxe-sounding QuadPLUS – although from their website I can’t actually seem to find out what you get from the QuadPLUS that you don’t already get from the standard Quad!

As RISC OS does not currently support the use of multiple cores, there’s not much point in opting for anything other than the Solo at this point, unless you’re planning on running other operating systems on the board too, in which case opting for the Dual or Quad options could be a good way to go depending on what you want to do.

The Solo currently packs 512MB RAM, on-board audio, serial, USB and HDMI ports. It also has a MicroSD card slot to run your operating system on much in the same way as you would on the Raspberry Pi. All boards have networking capabilities and an expansion header. The Dual and Quad editions have built-in Wi-fi and Bluetooth support (although RISC OS can’t take advantage of this) and the Quad packs a SATA connector too.

Full specs:

Wandboard Solo
Wandboard Dual
Wandboard Quad
i.MX6 Solo
i.MX6 DualLite
i.MX6 Quad
ARM Cortex-A9
Single core @ 1GHz
ARM Cortex-A9
Dual core
@ 1GHz
ARM Cortex-A9
Quad core
512 MB DDR3
  Optical S/PDIF
  Camera interface
  MicroSD slot
  Serial port
  Expansion Header
  SATA connector
Not populated
Not populated
  Gigabit LAN
  WIFI (802.11n)

The Solo is currently available for $69.00 – so roughly 50gbp. The Dual starts at $89.00 and the Quad weighs in at $119.00.

Just like similar ARM-based boards, the Wandboard ranges of machines will run RISC OS and Linux off the bat. FreeBSD has also recently started supporting the Wandboard.

Overall, the Wandboard looks like a  piece of kit that gives you an awful lot of bang for your buck at a pretty reasonable price. Without getting my hands on one I can’t say how the Cortex-A9 CPU at 1GHz will compare to say a Raspberry Pi 3, but it will undoubtedly be powerful enough to run anything you want RISC OS wise, even with the 512MB RAM that comes with the Solo.

The development image of RISC OS 5.25 for the Wandboard is available for download from here.

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