ECTS: Be tempts gamers with OS enhancements

The increasing demand for real-time media and communications is the driving force behind operating system developer Be's Media OS roadmap.

Despite already reaching version 4.5.1 of its flagship operating system, Be remains a relative newcomer to the OS market.

In the belief that it's not enough to simply add a few features to a run-of-the-mill OS platform to warrant referring to it as a "Media OS", Be's systems continue to be architected from the ground up to deal natively with digital media. This year's ECTS enhancements back up this philosophy.

The latest updates to BeOS 4.5.1 include a number of new games, in addition to applications for video and audio editing and native Internet and digital media optimised support and services.

Be claims digital design and manipulation is currently demanding every last bit of performance and that despite processor development, improvements in OS architecture are needed. Be says it has addressed the issue -- with high-bandwidth media needs in mind -- from storage to I/O, through to graphics.

A white paper is available at the ECTS show, or with system requirements for a BeOS workstation.

In brief you will need:

  • BeOS-ready chipset and motherboard (Intel's 430,440, and 450 variants are a banker, but other manufacturers are in the frame)

  • Inside the box: 16Mb RAM (32 recommended); an IDE or SCSI HDD with 160MB free space; an IDE/ATAPI or SCSI CD-ROM drive; a VESA-capable graphics card; and the usual USB or PS/2 keyboard/mouse combo.

BeOS 4.5.1 is founded upon multiprocessor optimisation, pervasive multithreading, a 64-bit file system, multi-threaded direct access graphics, and a modular I/O.

Support is added for Adaptec 7890 (Ultra 2) SCSI, as well as improvements to existing drivers for Matrox, ATI, TNT2, Solo-1 and DEC Ethernet chipset drivers. All updates are available for free download from the company's Website.

Other applications for BeOS on demo at ECTS include:

T-RackS audio mastering suite; GrooveMaker real-time random mixing suite; Blender,a 3D graphics suite complete with 3D interface for modellers and post-production users; a slew of games, including Quake II and III running in Voodoo accelerated openGL mode, Civilisation, Call to Power and Corum 3; and Personal Studio real-time video-editing and digital media production software.

Take me to the GameTech ECTS coverage for in depth technical news from the show. For news on the games, go to GameSpot's official coverage.