The A5000 was launched in September 1991. Naturally there was a Learning Curve package for eduction to go with it. A year later the A5000 was boosted with additional models (including discless Econet and Ethernet terminals) and bigger hard discs.
In July 1993 Acorn finally released the FPA10 Floating Point Accelerator for the A540, A5000 and R260 which boosted floating point performance by a factor of 50. The Acorn A5000 and A540 FPA upgrade kit installation instructions provides more information about installation and use of the FPA10. The FPA Support disc is available in the Software section.
In September 1993 a improved A5000 (alpha version) was launched with a faster 33MHz ARM3 and the capability to expand memory beyond 4MB.
The A5000 included a number of significant changes from the previous Acorn computers. The A5000 had:
a PC standard 15 pin VGA monitor connection, instead of the 9 pin RGB connection used on the Archimedes and A3000 ranges. This meant that any PC monitor could easily be used with the A5000.
a PC standard serial connection instead of the RS423 connection used on earlier models.
a bi-directional parallel port.
a floppy drive that supported 3.5" HD discs with a new Acorn 1.6MB (F format) floppy to go with it. PC compatability was also extended to support the MSDOS 1.44MB floppy.
an on-board IDE controller replaced the aging ST506 (MFM) controller.
The A5000 was the first Acorn computer to come with RISC OS3 installed. This was a major improvement on RISC OS 2 and the ROM size increase from 512KB (for RISC OS 2) to 2MB (for RISC OS 3). The first A5000 models (ALB10, ALB12, ALB14) were launched with RISC OS 3.00 but it had a serious bug in the ADFSBuffers code which caused disc corruption. if you are running RISC OS 3.00 you must set ADFSBuffers to 0 to avoid this fault. Acorn produced an bug fixed version RISC OS 3.10 which was used in subsequent A5000s. RISC OS3.10 was replaced with RISC OS 3.11 and became the standard RISC OS 3 version.