RISCOSbits sounds like they have been busy spending the last 2 years preparing for the 2021 London Show this saturday. They have a very wide range of new systems to keep everyone from the budget conscious to the power user very happy (and with some nice show discounts). We have reviewed several of their machines and you can read our comments about the FOURtress and PiHard.
They also have some exciting new developments with a proper LapDock Device for a Raspberry Pi 4 and aMini ITX board.
We did an interview with Andy if you want to find out more about RISCOSbits.
The best way to find out about all the new developments is to attend the London Show and see Andy on the RISCOSbits stand. The Icon Bar will be in the queue and we will update you on what we learn...
His press release has the full details and says it all much better than me, so I have added it below.
RISCOSbits press release
RISCOSbits are please to be attending the first in-person RISC OS Show in nearly two years, and has several treats in store for those who make it to the show (which will also be available after the show to those who can't attend!)
There will be a range of Limited Edition FOURtress machines available to take away on the day:
Possibly the cheapest, super-value RISC OS Pi 4 machine, the FOURtress Lite will be on sale for less than a hundred quid! For a fully working RISC OS system! For £99, the FOURtress Lite has the following specs:
- 2GB RAM
- CPU running at 2.1GHz
- Four external USB ports
- Gigabit ethernet
- Super cooling aluminium case
- 32GB SD card with 2GB of curated software included
- EXCLUSIVE Power and Fan control software, including full power-off, and push button power-on
The machine can be used as a superb standalone machine, or can be used as the foundation to a system with a fully integrated SSD, by means of a simple upgrade at a later stage. In fact, the FOURtress Lite is prepared as EDOS-ready, so you can easily add a full Linux installation at a later date. You could even consider it a "buy half now, buy the rest later" machine, in the same vein as the RiscPC.
If you fancy something with a bit more oomph, at £139, the FOURtress Lite Plus is built on the same foundation as the FOURtress Lite, exept that it comes with an almost inexhaustible 4GB RAM and a whopping 128GB SD card with 2Gb of curated software. Just to make it even better, those buying at the show will also get a FREE PSU with the Lite Plus. All for £139! £139!
The final FOURtress offer is the FOURtress EDOS 4240. This special machine runs RISC OS by default, but with the click of an exclusive custom application, will reboot into Raspberry Pi OS Linux. After shutdown from Linux, it will return to RISC OS at next boot. No extra hardware is required, it's an integrated two-in-one system straight out of the box. The specs for the FOURtress EDOS 4240 include:
- 4GB RAM
- CPU running at 2.1GHz
- 32GB RISC OS SD
- integrated, specially partitioned, 240GB M.2 Raspberry Pi OS SSD.
The M.2 drive also includes a special shared partition, visible to both RISC OS and Raspberry Pi OS, to make it easy to pass files between the two OSes or just store your RISC OS applications and files. It even accelerates the speed of disc intensive applications, such as the beta Iris browser. At £199, this represents a saving of around 15% on the usual price, and again, for show attendees, includes a FREE PSU.
EDOS is also available separately, as a custom SD and USB drive package for people who already own a Pi. At only £40, the kit comes complete with a 32GB RISC OS SD card, and a specially formatted 128GB Raspberry Pi OS USB 3.1 drive for superfast access to Linux. It also contains a shared partition that can be seen by both RISC OS and Linux to share files between the two operating systems with ease, as well as providing acceleration to disc intensive RISC OS apps. There is no additional clunky hardware or electronics required to use EDOS USB, and it leaves the GPIO ports fully accessible for other projects. EDOS USB works equally well on both the Raspberry Pi 4 and the Raspberry Pi 400 keyboard computer.
Self-Build Kits and Cases:
RISCOSbits are also returning to their roots by offering several exclusive cases and "self-build kits" at the show, normally reserved for pre-built systems.
If stylish metal is not your forte, there will be a number of matte black and translucent white PiAno self-build kits for sale, including an optional but recommended HDMI adaptor kit, with a custom PCB to bring all the ports out to the front, and adding an internal USB port (for all USB drives, including those connected by a USB-SATA adaptor!). The optional kit also includes a powerful illuminated cooling fan, and heatsink set. This serves to give the PiAno a soft purple glow on the desktop. The PiAno has ample space inside for a regular HAT or RTC, but to get the self-build kit working, just add a Pi 4 and SD card of your choice! The PiAno is held together with decorative fixings, so there are no panels that can fall away unexpectedly.
There will be a special, very limited, run of Delta XL oak and glass-effect self-build, including a Pi 4 compatible HDMI/power/USB adaptor PCB, with enough room for a Pi 4 and an internally mounted hard drive. These stylish looking cases are normally only available with a PiHard system, but we're making a small number available for those who already have a Pi 4 and a hard drive. By just adding a Pi 4, you can have the most pleasant looking RISC OS system in your living room without it looking out of place (depening on your living room, obviously!). A bit of wax, stain or varnish on the wooden end panels for extra style! The Delta XL has room inside for HATs, RTCs and a number of other peripherals.
Finally, the Delta Compact case will be available in limited numbers. This is a newly revised, smaller version of the Delta XL, made with black acrylic end panels and glass effect layers. This case can host any Pi, from the B+ and above, and comes with an optional custom HDMI adaptor to bring all the ports to the front. This stylish case makes your Pi look more like a work of art than a computer, whilst retaining a small footprint. Just add your own Pi!
There will also be a number of pocket-money Thorin cases available, consisting of two oak, acrylic or glass-effect slices to sandwich the Pi. Available with three sets of cooling cut-outs (Cog, Nut or Berry), and in two versions for Pi 4 or for B+/2B/3B/3B+ and, at only £5, these are easy to fit and attractive beyond their price-tag!
Finally, RISCOSbits will be demonstrating and showing off a couple on major developments that we've been working on for a few months, that have been briefly mentioned at the Wakefield Virtual Show.
The first is an exploratory LapDock device capable of doing justice to the Raspberry Pi 4. This laptop dock features a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel IPS display (with several other modes available over EDID, without changing eigen values), and a 360-degree hinge that lets you fold the screen back for use in tablet mode. It has an integrated touchscreen, although this isn't functional under RISC OS. However, the touchscreen serves to access the firmware settings, such as colour adjustment, battery control and specific user settings.
Measuring 12.1in x 8.2in x 0.5in and weighing significantly less than three pounds, the LapDock is about the size of a thin and light notebook, and, with an aluminium alloy body, has a premium look and feel - think PineBook Pro meets MacBook. It includes a backlit keyboard with 84 keys, a touchpad, stereo speakers, mini HDMI in, 3.5mm audio, and two USB-C ports, plus a microSD card reader and a battery capable of powering the LapDock and a Pi 4 for about five hours.
With it's 5v USB-C output, the LapDock can also power various other RISC OS boards, such as a Pandaboard or Beagleboard, and can also make use of Windows boards and Compute Sticks, such as the LattePanda. Not only that, when not being used to run RISC OS or other computer boards, it can be used to charge your mobile phone!
And lastly, but definitely not the least, is our collaboration project which has been ongoing for several months and is finally coming to fruition. Although currently without a name, our Mini ITX board should be of interest to RISC OS and Linux users. We're hoping that complex logistics allow for the FINAL prototype to make it back from the manufacturers in time for the show, but failing that, we may have an earlier iteration available to look at.
Based on the Compute Module 4 Lite, from the Raspberry Pi Foundation, the board fits into a standard Mini ITX case or bigger, and has the following features:
- CPU Speeds from 1500MHz to 2147 MHz
- a number of internal SATA ports
- internal standard ATX power connector
- standard ATX-spec compliant IO arrangement, with IO shield, containing
- external USB ports
- gigabit ethernet port
- full sized HDMI ports
- audio-out (with audio-in software in development)
- Built in RTC
- Internal GPIO compatible with HATs
The board will run a standard off-the-shelf Pi ROM, downloadable from the RISC OS open website, and should be capable of running both stable versions and nightly builds. Some work is ongoing in order to control some of the more enhanced features of the board, such as temperature controlled fans, but the board itself should work and run RISC OS immediately.
It will also run Raspberry Pi OS without issue, and this may be made available via RISCOSbits EDOS software, or by simply swapping the SD card.
We expect to be able to make the board available for sale in the very near future, and are anticipating a price tag somewhere in the region of a cheap laptop. Full computer systems based on the Mini ITX board may follow.
We look forward to chatting to visitors about many of our projects at the show, so please come and have a look at what we offer.