ARC (specification)

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(Redirected from Advanced RISC Computing)

Advanced RISC Computing (ARC) is a specification promulgated by a defunct consortium of computer manufacturers (the Advanced Computing Environment project), setting forth a standard MIPS RISC-based computer hardware and firmware environment. The firmware on Alpha machines that are compatible with ARC is known as AlphaBIOS, non-ARC firmware on Alpha is known as SRM.[dubious ]


Although ACE went defunct, and no computer was ever manufactured which fully complied with the ARC standard, the ARC system has a widespread legacy in that all operating systems in the Windows NT family use ARC conventions for naming boot devices.[1][2] SGI's modified version of the ARC firmware is named ARCS. All SGI computers which run IRIX 6.1 or later, such as the Indy and Octane, boot from an ARCS console, which uses the same drive naming conventions as Windows. Most of the various RISC-based computers designed to run Windows NT have versions of the ARC boot console to boot NT. These include the following:

  • MIPS R4000-based systems such as the MIPS Magnum workstation
  • all Alpha-based machines with a PCI bus designed prior to the end of support for Windows NT Alpha in September 1999 (the Alpha ARC firmware is also known as AlphaBIOS; non-ARC Alphas use SRM console instead)
  • most Windows NT-capable PowerPC computers (such as the IBM RS/6000 40P).

It was predicted that Intel IA-32-based computers would adopt the ARC console, although only SGI ever marketed such machines with ARC firmware (namely, the SGI Visual Workstation series, which launched in 1999).

Comparison with UEFI[edit]

Compared to UEFI, the ARC firmware also included support for FAT, boot variables, C-calling interface. It did not include the same level of extensibility as UEFI and the same level of governance like with the UEFI Forum.[3]

List of partially ARC compatible computers[edit]

Products complying (to some degree) with the ARC standard include these:


  1. ^ Andrews, Jean; Chellis, James (13 August 2012). A+ Guide to Software (6th ed.). Cengage Learning. p. 21. ISBN 9781285414980.
  2. ^ Donald, Lisa (2008). MCSA / MCSE: Windows Server 2003 Environment Management and Maintenance Study Guide: Exam 70-290 (2nd ed.). John Wiley & Sons. pp. 116–117. ISBN 9780470327616.
  3. ^ "A Tale of Two Standards" (PDF).

External links[edit]

  • ARC on