RISC OS on the IGEPv5

Updated 7 April 2016 where shown.

Since the Pandaboard ES was released, based on Texas Instruments OMAP4 platform - a cortex A9 processor - there has been much anticipation of a newer board based on the OMAP5 platform - a cortex A15 processor. Unfortunately TI cancelled the Pandaboard5 but the OMAP5432 chip has been included on an Evaluation Module (OMAP5432EVM) from svtronics at $329 or as the IGEPv5 from ISEE at a cost of €275. ROOL are not currently providing a download for either machine (the licensing clock is ticking) but RISC OS ports do exist for both these boards.

CJE Micros launched an 'Early Adopter Scheme' at the Wakefield show on 25th April 2015 for those eager to get their hands on a machine based on the ISEE IGEPv5 board. Three machines were on display at the show, each in a different Mini-ITX case. Naturally I purchased one to 'keep at the cutting edge' but there was a good reason why this machine was only available to 'early adopters' as the RISC OS port to this machine was incomplete at this stage. By 5 May I had received the missing items of hardware (it was set up for display at the show rather than for sale) and a ROM update.

Things then went a bit quiet and I was thinking that it was, perhaps, rather early days to do a review of the machine. However on 10 October I received an updated ROM (dated 2 Aug 2015) which solved most of the incomplete aspects of the RISC OS port (networking, use of SD card, charging of RTC battery, provision of SDCMOS module - active only when no widget is fitted). Another updated ROM on 20th October (dated 18th Oct 2015) has allowed the machine to run at full speed. A further ROM update on 23 March 2016 brought the RISC OS port to IGEPv5 to completion with working SATA. Clock speed has risen to 1500MHz now that SmartReflex has been perfected for all revisions of the board. I have updated the benchmarks (www.svrsig.org/HowFast.htm) for the new ROM.

The current status of the port is now described on CJE Micro's web site as complete.

The machine is now therefore in a finished state. It is based on an ISEE IGEPv5 (OMAP5432 SOC using an ARM Cortex A15 CPU), none of which trips off the tongue or is easily adaptable like PandaBoard is to PandaRO. The result of the naming competition will be announced at the London show. Some details of the new machine are given below:

      * Board: ISEE IGEPv5 OMAP5432
      * CPU: Dual core ARM Cortex-A15
      * Maximum clock rate before overclocking: 1500MHz
      * Flops: 176% of Coretex-A9 (Panda & i.MX6)
      * Romark benchmark: 178% of Coretex-A9 (Panda & i.MX6)
      * RAM: 4GB DDR3 (2GB available for RISC OS)
      * SATA: 1 port on-board
      * Max. Resolution: 2048x2048?
Its major advantage over its closest competitor (the ARMX6 from R-Comp) is speed but this comes at a price. To compare a real world task - compiling a ROM - then the IGEPv5 is faster by about 70%. Anyway it is definitely worth a look at the next show.