RISCOSbits has been establishing a strong reputation for producing stylish cases for the Raspberry Pi boards running RISC OS with generally silly names. I already have a PiHard at work, but I do have a small space at home. So I decided to check out the new FOURtress. So what is it like as a RISC OS machine?
We have already had a quick look at the FOURtress in a previous article. The FOURtress is an overclocked Pi4 in a very compact case (which still has room for an SD drive inside). It boots straight into RISC OS and comes with a nicely customised desktop on top of the RISC OS Developments 5.28 release.
If you are using the Linux software for a dual boot system, there is a Files partition already setup to share files. You will see it if you boot into Linux. There is a !linux application for booting into Linux (which we will cover in more detail in another article).
There is a lot of additional software installed on the machine above the RISC OS Direct release. On the system there are the free versions on !Organizer, !Fireworkz, emulators, tools, etc. There is also a directory called Free Links with links to lots of sites with software which you can download. RISCOSbits have been rummaging around the internet and collecting software so you do not need to.
There is also some RISCOSbits specific software on the system including a Fan control application for the built-in fan. I have it set on automatic but have not managed to push RISC OS to the point where the fan was needed. So the noise level of the machine ranges from silent to very quiet hum (if I am using Linux).
In use the machine feels very fast. I find it as quick as any other RISC OS machine I have (including my Titanium) and it runs Iris just as well. I am actually running RISC OS off the card not the drive (which would be even quicker) so that I can have the much more disc hungry linux on the drive.
Lastly, the machine comes with a handly A5 start guide which will answers all your questions on setting up and maintaining the machine. I have also found RISCOSbits super-responsive to any questions I ask.
If you want a larger machine which will take some Pi plugins (like the HAT for Wifi), there are better choices around. If you looking for a very compact, polished and fast RISC OS machine with lots of software, the FOURtress should definitely be on your list. It can also run Linux, and we will be looking at that option next time.