The Acorn Archimedes wiki last edited by CitizenKane on 06/13/15 08:01PM View full history

The Acorn Archimedes found success in the British education sector as it is the successor to the BBC Micro. The first models released were the A300 and A400 series. These featured an ARM processor, 512KB - 4MB of memory and 8-bit stereo sound. The machines were also capable of emulating BBC Basic and utilised a 3-button mouse as standard. Future models, such as the popular A3000, used the 8MHz ARM2 processor and then later the ARM3 at 25MHz.

The operating system, RISC OS (Reduced Instruction Set Computing Operating System), was stored in ROM which contributed to it's fast speed and other features such as true multi-tasking, context-sensitive menus and anti-aliasing.

However, while the Archimedes range were more powerful than the currently available personal computers, they failed to garner much popularity outside of the UK, Ireland and Australasia.


Despite a small market outside of education, there Acorn Archimedes boasts a solid video game library. Many games of the decade saw releases alongside the Amiga and PC such as Magic Pockets and Lemmings. Aside from the multi-platform releases, the Acorn Archimedes was far from devoid of exclusive games. Starfighter 3000 is an example of a title that originated on the Archimedes and then saw later releases on the 3DO and even the Playstation.


The Acorn Archimedes lost popularity in schools in the 90s as other platforms such as Mac and PC improved their multimedia capabilities and programs such as "Computers for Schools" that were originally partnered with Acorn shifted away.

The Acorn RiscPC computers eventually replaced the Archimedes range, offering a dramatic increase in power, more expansion, dual processor slots.

While Acorn Computers Ltd split operations in 1998 and ceased trading in 2000, the operating system RISC OS perpetuates through releases of different variants from RISC OS Select, Adjust and 6. These current releases operate on the RiscPC generation and on modern hardware via a commercial emulator.


Four models were initially released in 1987, followed by a number of variations with minor changes.

ModelCPURAMStorageLaunch DatePrice
BBC Archimedes 305ARM2512 KBNoneJuly 1987£799
BBC Archimedes 310ARM21 MBNoneJuly 1987£875
BBC Archimedes 310MARM21 MBNoneJuly 1987£???
Acorn Archimedes 410ARM21 MBNoneJuly 1987£1,399
Acorn Archimedes 440ARM24 MB20 MBJuly 1987£2,299
BBC A3000ARM21 MBNoneMay 1989£649
Acorn Archimedes 410/1ARM21 MBNoneJune 1989£999
Acorn Archimedes 420/1ARM22 MB20 MB ST506June 1989£1,099
Acorn Archimedes 440/1ARM24 MB40 MB ST506June 1989£1,299
Acorn R140ARM24 MB47 MB ST506June 1989£3,500
Acorn Archimedes 540ARM34 MB100 MB SCSIJune 1989£2,499
Acorn R225ARM34 MBNoneJuly 1990£3,000
Acorn R260ARM38 MB100 MB SCSIJuly 1990£5,000
Acorn A5000ARM31 to 8 MB20 to 160 MB IDESeptember 1991£999 or
Acorn A4ARM32 or 4 MB40 or 60 MB IDEJune 1992£1,399 or £1,699
Acorn A3010ARM2501 MBNoneSeptember 1992£499
Acorn A3020ARM2502 MBup to 80 MB IDESeptember 1992£799
Acorn A4000ARM2502 MBup to 210 MB IDESeptember 1992£999

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