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My Iyonix and I

By Martin Hansen. Published: 20th Jul 2004, 22:47:27 | Permalink | Printable

How was it for you?

Six months after purchasing a Castle Iyonix, drobe.co.uk writer Martin Hansen recounts his experiences with RISC OS 5 and his new XScale powered hardware, serving an illustration of life with the latest generation of RISC OS machines.

It was at the South West Show in February, earlier this year, that I bought my Iyonix. I had a suspicion my wife was right; for me this might well turn out to be a rather expensive and frivolous purchase. For I already had a Kinetic RiscPC that did all that I asked of it via a laser printer, two SCSI scanners, network card, Viewfinder and a top of the range 19" LCD monitor. I already had adequate email and Internet access via my work LAN and a Windows '98 laptop provided 'free'. I even had free use of my daughter's new A6 machine from Stuart Tyrrell running RISC OS 4 breathtakingly fast under VirtualAcorn emulation. However, by the time of the South West Show, Iyonix was well past its first birthday and I didn't want to return to being a "left behind" as I had allowed to happened to myself by 1998 when I was still using an A5000 whilst the real enthusiasts had moved on to StrongARM machines. And emulation is all very well, but if you are deeply serious about RISC OS, as I am, then Iyonix is a big part of the future. Period.

While Iyonix was past being one year old, I was clocking in at 43. I reasoned that at such a ripe old age one ought to be able to indulge in an odd whim or two. Plus, experience has taught me that it's often best to wait a little before buying into a radically new technology. Waiting about a year seemed right. And let us not forget: the Iyonix was a massive step forward for RISC OS. It jumps, what many thought was, the impossibly high hurdle that takes our compact, curious and ingenious operating system to a very new CPU and integrates it with hardware that utilises cheap mainstream, mass produced computing components and interfaces, including PCI and USB. This without losing the essential character that makes RISC OS so much better than the alternatives. Iyonix seems expensive but less so than would have been the case had off-the-shelf kit not been used to cuts costs and development time. Allegedly, it took just six months from the moment Castle saw the opportunity, to having a product available for end users to buy.

So, I momentarily had the funds, I had the urge, I took the plunge. A thick bundle of ten pound notes was handed to Jack Lillingston on the Castle Technology show stand. I first got aboard this ride with an Acorn Electron in 1984. Twenty years on, Iyonix was 600 times faster and had 16,384 times as much memory. Maybe I was old and stuck in my ways to still be 'an Acorn man' but it felt good. In truth, I wasn't sure if the Iyonix rather than VirtualAcorn emulation was the bigger future for the majority of RISC OS users, but as I handed over the cash I sensed that I truly had signed up for the next few loops on the RISC OS roller coaster ride into the future.

Since then, half a year has passed and I thought that perhaps it was time to reflect upon the wisdom, or otherwise, of that impulse purchase; my Iyonix. I felt it time to share with others the joy and tears as my new roller coaster ride got under way. Of course, if working with an Iyonix was much the same as with a RiscPC, then there would not be much to say. However, my view is that the fundamental nature of working with RISC OS is now evolving at a brisk pace and I'd like to discuss some of the more significant aspects of this.

When I think back to arriving home from the February show, it's curious what sticks in the mind; Castle was being criticised in those pre-Panther days for the unadventurous colour of a characterless off-the-peg case that housed their flagship machine. Part of the problem was that it wasn't especially photogenic but I distinctly remember lifting my Iyonix out of the box and immediately appreciating how well built and solid it was. Not so the keyboard which, although it worked well enough, seemed cheap and insubstantial. Switching on, I recall not quite seeing the point of having a new set of icons for old applications even if they had been upgraded. Although, I have since come to really like the Iyonix icon set, as designed by Richard Hallas: first impressions are not forever.

Before my initial session was over I'd networked the Iyonix to the Kinetic and managed to arranged two 19" monitors, two keyboards and two mice on my rather small desk in a way that didn't confuse me too often. To me, there seemed no point in using the Iyonix to replace my Kinetic RiscPC and I had every intention of using the two together. This was not just laziness; In order to move my expensive Nikon Coolscan III SCSI photographic slide scanner across to the Iyonix, for example, I'd need a podule backplane, an Acorn SCSI podule and an Iyonix compatible driver quite aside from needing a 32 bit version of the scanning software driver which David Pilling may, or may not, have been able to supply. And all this to support an interface that, as far as the rest of the world was concerned, is obsolete.

I also wanted both machines interconnected following some seat squirming at a show theatre presentation, in which RISC OS Ltd's Paul Middleton had been warning punters of the dangers of not reliably backing up all hard disc data frequently. Well, each of my Iyonix and Kinetic could now back up the other. I'd got away without backups for many, many years. With my Iyonix'sarrival I decided to wise up before the inevitable happened.

I've always been quite taken with the Acorn philosophy that underpinned their entire concept of computing; "doing more with less". The 'R' in RISC stands for 'reduced' but RISC OS claims to be 'the more productive operating system'. I enjoy spending large amounts of my spare time working with the RISC ROM fundamentals, writing BBC BASIC code using Edit, and, more recently, using that duo to produce Draw files. Far more fancy languages and editors abound but Edit and BASIC are the minimalist tools that I love to use. So, as my second week with Iyonix began I copied the current project across, a promising application called !TurtleChalk and was later released at the Wakefield Show, May 2004. Back then there was much to do before it would be ready and I began to program in earnest. The fact that the existing code seemed to run without requiring any alteration at all to accommodate the new machine was a source of considerable satisfaction, and relief. 'Backwards compatibility' was another Acorn philosophy worth far more than most ever gave them credit for. (As indeed is 'File format openness'. With help, writing Draw files is tough - thank goodness that the Draw file format is not a secret.)

Now, at the risk of stating the obvious, when you use a piece of software for hours every day, you inevitably unearth a few bugs. Years of using Edit and BASIC under RISC OS 4.03 had found a few. There is an odd one that very occasionally will drop an "EVAL" keyword into BASIC but without displaying that keyword in the code listing via Edit. Listing the code from within BASIC lets one see and erase this spurious and apparently randomly placed program crashing command. I've yet to get to the bottom of that one. Most of the other RISC OS 4.03 Edit bugs I've come across are to do with overlapping windows leaving bits of black line within the Edit window as they move over it in a high resolution, deep colour depth, (Viewfinder) desktop mode. My guess is that Edit does not quite always refresh all that it should, probably due to a one pixel rounding error, but this is a fairly trivial problem. The chaff can be cleared by using another window as a wiper.

Under the Iyonix's RISC OS 5.05 some major Edit bugs were quickly apparent. Window scroll buttons frequently scrolled the window the wrong way and sometimes with repeated entire window flickering and juddering. Equally annoying, I found that within Iyonix-Edit the action of the and keys was different to that of RiscPC-Edit. However, in the bundled Iyonix word processor application, Writer, the established actions of these keys was respected. Thus, within the bundled Iyonix applications, an irritating inconsistency had been introduced.

I began to think that my BBC BASIC code was contaminating Edit in some way when I unearthed a way of crashing my program through a sequence of operations that gave no such trouble on the Kinetic. Iyonix Week Two was bad, and in frustration I began searching the Internet for help in understanding the problem. Here I found a report confirmation that Edit under Iyonix had several known bugs caused by some parts of the shared C library having been broken when it was recompiled for the true 32 bit OS of the Iyonix. I was shocked. All that money for a machine with a fundamental problem with a major ROM resource. Worse, it was unresolved over a year after the launch. So, Edit had problems. What about BBC BASIC?

The passions aroused, a long day at the end of that second week passed as I grimly resolved to sort out why the same piece of code generated an error on Iyonix but not Kinetic. Heaven help Castle if it was a kink in yet another mainstay of the platform, BBC BASIC. I resolved to be on that phone asking for my money back if this one was the fault of the OS.

Eventually, I realised that the program crash was centering around a routine that prepared a string of characters and set a flag that then told a later part of the program to insert the string into the keyboard buffer. Often this code worked fine on Iyonix but as I probed I isolated a certain sequence of TurtleChalk commands (TurtleChalk itself being a programming language) that caused this manoeuvring to always fail. Finally, I realised that what was wrong; I had not avoided a situation in which my program expected characters to be there from the flag being set, when in fact there were none. So, the error was mine. The Kinetic RiscPC forgave whereas the Iyonix did not. The error that took hours to find, once identified took a few seconds to fix. My sense of humour resurfaced, my patience returned, and a began to enjoy using what was, after all, a fabulously fast machine upon which to execute BBC BASIC.

I'd had my Iyonix for only a few more weeks when a drobe.co.uk news item reported that Robin Edwards, author of "1st", the premier RISC OS statistics package, was no longer intending to attend shows to sell his software. He also had no means of 32 bitting "1st" to run it natively on Iyonix. This is an all too familiar story for RISC OS where major applications, often the work of one or two people, fail to be developed as the capabilities of the platform's hardware marches onward. As he lived near to me, I got in touch, hoping that I could do a little to stop another big app being lost. One thing lead to another, and I eventually lent Robin my Iyonix for a couple of months to help him update his outstanding application to run natively on the latest RISC machine. '1st' later joined TurtleChalk on sale on my Wakefield stand.

The Kinetic once again became my main work-horse but my enthusiasm for Iyonix began to increase when I accepted an email invitation from John Ballance to join the Iyonix support group. I've always taken a fair amount of pride in resolving any problems with my machines by myself, with help from manuals and books. As I said at the start of this article, the nature of RISC OS computing is changing, and the support group, I quickly realised, was where the real enthusiasts were to be found. Here they thrash out problems concerning a machine for which the authoritative Programmers Reference Manuals have yet to be written. Typically this group generates a dozen or so emails a day and although not all of the topics raised interest me, I began reading every single email posted by the groups members.

As a support mechanism, Iyonix-Support is as good as one could possibly wish for, and yet, at the time of my purchase I knew nothing of its existence. Only when I registered my Iyonix on the Castle website, to tidy up a few loose ends, did I receive the invitation. The essential idea is nothing new; both old hands and new are welcome at any time to drop in with an email describing a problem and anyone who feels so inclined can reply with help or advice. By default, every communication gets emailed to everyone in the group. This arrangement may not be new but what is impressive is the speed and the high quality of the responses. Often within an hour helpful emails start being posted back and I've yet to read something that was not focused and purposeful. Good humour pervades everything, and many issues get resolved very quickly indeed, often within twenty-four hours of the first posting. Most topics are simple inquiries, such as, "How do I listen to Internet Radio on my Iyonix?" or "Help me choose an Iyonix compatible USB scanner." or "Why has my Pendrive stopped working?"

Some of the technical topics tackled by Iyonix-Support are pretty formidable, and hanging on to those discussion threads can require a certain amount of determination. But they do often end up being very informative. Many of the most knowledgeable people in the world of RISC OS contribute and the ideas can really start to fly once a tricky area becomes the point of focus, as has happened recently for example, with "Audio In". The idea of "Audio In" was to use the Iyonix to sample a microphone plugged into the "line in" socket. Alas, the quality of the sampled sound was very poor but several users attacked the problem with relish. Sample rates, missing samples, pitch shifting, input voltage levels, impedance matching, the specifications of the mother board chip involved, and pre-amps all got discussed in enormous depth, with some folks bringing expensive investigative electronic kit in to analyse what was really going on in their machines. The problem has yet to be resolved but optimism that it will be is running high.

Over the months, through following the support group discussions, I have come to appreciate what a very complex interface, in its various modes, USB is. It has thrown up a daunting stream of problems for Castle to try and resolve. Getting digital cameras to work with the Iyonix and then keeping them working each time a USB or ROM upgrade is applied seems to be tying down several of Castle's top engineers. The current Iyonix RISC OS version is 5.06 which, incidentally, fixes the major problems with Edit that I mentioned earlier. Quite a few cameras are struggling under 5.06, including some that worked previously under 5.03 or even 5.05. John Ballance is working hard on this problem, and trusting folks are even lending him some of the expensive cameras causing problems in an effort to track down bugs far more convoluted and entrenched than my BBC BASIC keyboard character poking problem described earlier. Of course, the situation is not helped by the short life-span of a typical digital camera. Within a year of their launch most camera models are superseded with a technically superior product. But Castle are not willing to fall behind in this area and Iyonix Support is a vital point of contact between themselves and users.

I'm not aware of anything that worked anywhere near this well for any previous RISC machine and it means that the Iyonix is not the static experience that, for most people, the RiscPC was. Tied in with this, and illustrated in part by the above, is the fact that to get the most out of a modern RISC OS machine, and for the first time, a user needs to have Internet access.

With Kinetic, as I've already mentioned, my Internet access was actually via a Windows '98 machine connected via a LAN at my work. This has been fine for accessing, for example, drobe.co.uk and, indeed, the Iyonix support group.

What I did not fully appreciate when I bought my Iyonix in February, was the fact that, for the first time in a RISC OS machine, the OS ROMs are upgradable by the user via !IyoUpWtch via a direct Internet connection. More than the simple fact that this facility is there, is the fact that Castle are developing the OS and expect, perhaps not unreasonably, users to keep up with the upgrades placed on line and to apply them in the order in which they are released. It looks like I'm going to have to forgo my 'free' but restrictive works Internet access, and shell out for a private line and a direct personal connection for my Iyonix.

It's time to return to where I came in, which, you may recall was to question the sanity of my mind in buying an Iyonix when I already had a machine, a Kinetic RiscPC, that did all that I felt I required.

Six months has left me in no doubt that, yes, I would have become a "left behind", as I thought was becoming the case, had I not bought an Iyonix. Buying an Iyonix means buying into something that's evolving with every month that passes by. I further understand both that the Internet is now a crucial part of RISC OS and why. Iyonix-Support is a vital resource that works well to help users know the strengths of their machine, and also how to circumnavigate its areas of weakness. Yes, I had problems with the OS. Yes, the steady flow of new USB products is an ongoing interfacing problem. !IyoUpWtch is a timely application that lets Castle cope and place OS improvements in the field for users to try out and then, via Iyonix Support, report back upon. !IyoUpWtch checks that your Iyonix has all of the latest upgrades installed and grabs them from the net if you do not. This is the new nature of RISC OS: a far more organic, evolving and involving experience than it ever was in days gone by.

Am I pleased with my purchase? Well, I've just personalised my Iyonix by giving it a Scottish name: I call it "The big aye".

Links


Iyonix review part 1 and part 2 drobe.co.uk also welcomes articles from Select, VirtualRiscPC and Omega users on living with their RISC OS environment.

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Discussion

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Encouraging the use of a USB camera card reader might offer a solution to the Digital Camera/USB compatibility problem: that way, only one device would need to be considered when upgrading the OS, and they're not expensive. This setup works well on my Kinetic with Simtec USB card.

George

 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 21/7/04 7:52AM
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George:

If there is an issue with some digital cameras the same problem might possibly affect other USB devices for which no such workround is possible. We need to get to the bottom of this problem.

As one of the first Iyonix owners I started when the machine was much rawer than what Martin descibes above, when things such as web browsing and printing were bug-ridden and unreliable, and there were stability issues. Iyonix has come a long way and this is largely due to the enthusiasm of the contributors to the support group and Castle's willingness to take on board the comments and do something about the issues raised. I can't imagine the likes of Microsoft doing that! It has been an exciting ride, and it isn't over yet!

Martin

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 21/7/04 9:23AM
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With regards to 'EVAL's being dropped into BASIC while using edit, this seems to be a result of entering in hard-spaces (alt-space). The ASCII code for hard spaces under RISC OS is 160, which just happens to be the representation of 'EVAL' in BASIC's tokenised format. The redraw bug is also a favourite of !Edit's, especially when trying to display too many control characters. Best use another editor really :)

 is a RISC OS Userkmc on 21/7/04 9:51AM
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I too bought an Iyonix within the first month after it came on sale, and I endorse these comments. I cannot say enough how helpful and considerate John Ballance was in those hectic early days. Now I enjoy a stable and useful machine. I particularly like the quietness of the Iyonix; a feature that adds more to the pleasure of its use than I anticipated.

 is a RISC OS UserGavinWraith on 21/7/04 9:57AM
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It may be worth pointing out that the Edit problems described in RO 5.05 were only temporary. They were not present in versions of RISC OS up to and including 5.03 (I don't know about 5.04, but probably not there either). I upgraded my own machine straight from 5.03 to 5.06 and never saw any of these Edit problems. The point is that Iyonix users didn't have to put up with these bugs for over a year; they were short-lived and the result of a short-lived problem that was corrected quite swiftly. It's a pity that users such as Martin, who bought a machine while RO 5.05 was current, came away with a bad impression because of a transient problem.

I'm aware that the current USB problems are actively being investigated, though only a minority of devices are affected.

Anyway, thanks for an interesting and positive article.

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 21/7/04 10:00AM
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(Oops! "Short-lived" twice in one sentence? Shame on me! Should have proof-read the comment before submitting.)

 is a RISC OS UserRichardHallas on 21/7/04 10:02AM
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Thanks (x10) for that Keith. So, it's me catching the alt key as I press the space bar. And then it does not display as EVAL as edit see's it as a hard space. What a great trap I've, once in a blue moon, been falling into there ! I was half hoping someone could explain this 'bug'. That was the only puzzle remaining for me with using BASIC + EDIT. Yes, I know Zap and SrongED are both very good (and free) - but not without equally subtle catches for the unaware !

BTW, it's the 'Delete' and 'End' keys that work inconsistantly between Iyonix-Edit and RiscPC-Edit. (I think some angled brackets around those words in the article fooled the drobe display)

 is a RISC OS Usermartin on 21/7/04 10:12AM
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If you want to edit BBC Basic source code reliably, don't use an editor that detokenises/retokenises, as that way subtle problems lie.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 21/7/04 10:16AM
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To martin: As for 'Delete' end 'End' - I think the inconsitencies are due to the fact that a) Acorn labelled these keys 'Delete' and 'Copy' in the old days and they worked completely different from the 'standard' keyboard nowadays on non-RISC OS-systems. The Acorn Delete key operated the same as the backspace delete key which was more and more frustrating if you work with different systems and a waste anyhow. The Acorn Copy key was not meant as the opposote to Pos1 but for use for some copying mechanism in CLI (which I never understood and thanks to LineEditor don't need anyhow).

As time passed by patches, tools, ... came up which modified this so that the Delete and the End (aka Copy) keys did what you'd expect them to do: Delete deletes the char to the right of the cuser (backspace deletes backwards) and End does the opposite jump to what Pos1 does (be it start/end of file, of line, ...).

In Select this issue was addressed which is good to start with but certainly was irritating for the odd user (like me) since the module I had loaded to take care of this plus the Select control didn't quite work together but that was not hard to sort out.

I'm not absoultely sure about the IYONIX pc anymore since after some initial fight with just these keys things now work as I want them to as for these keys - but I do load !PCKeys in !Boot.Choices.Boot.Tasks so I guess RISC OS 5 is Acorn-compliant as is any other RISC OS apart form Select (if so configured).

So as for these inconsistencies: You can fix that since the default is AFAIK still the strange Acorn type Delete and End (aka Copy).

 is a RISC OS Userhzn on 21/7/04 2:12PM
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I've used Edit, Zap, Stronged and (get this) the basic editor for editing programs. The difference between Zap and Stronged is purely a personal preference, mine being Zap. I do not find, as Martin stated, that subtle catches are a problem. To be honest, I don't find any catches. I do find text colouring and list of def's invaluable.

regards,

Malcolm

 is a RISC OS Usermripley on 21/7/04 4:28PM
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I always found ARMBe to be the only basic editor to correctly edit crunched files without screwing them up, this includes 'protected' ones

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 21/7/04 5:58PM
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vi rules

 is a RISC OS UserJaco on 21/7/04 7:03PM
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piemmm: Zap's based on ARMBe, in that it edits the tokenized files, and the renderer renders the expansions. I've often found, for example, that StrongEd would detokenize tokens inside strings, but not retokenize them, thus buggering them up, as well as get tricky things as confusing "TOP" and "TOP%" (inside a FOR statement) wrong more often than Zap. I certianly know that !Slayer's !RunImage could be edited quite successfully in Zap, where Edit and StrongEd would cack it up completely. :)

As I am often quoted, and kill-filed for saying: "People who use StrongEd do so because they prefer it. People who use Zap do so because it's better." ;-)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 21/7/04 7:45PM
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In reply to ninfetishist:

Deservedly so. :-p

Zap once ate a program of mine when I made a minor edit the day before a show. The most recent backup was 12,000 miles way.

I've never forgiven it.

 is a RISC OS Usersoutherner on 22/7/04 1:44AM
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My experience with Gravious (my Iyo) has been overwhelmingly positive. I can think of three problems that I have with it on an occasional basis:- a) KinoAMP and b) O2 both seem to be able to (vary occasionally) lock it up in a way that is not amenable to anything less than the hard-power switch at the back and even sometimes having to reboot it several times before it seems to recover. This has included a few times when it simply won't startup after such a hard-boot until after several minutes elapse. Very odd but thankfully rare. c) a couple of times the display has awoken from sleep with a very strange timing (probably) error messing up things.

Oh and the graphics card fan has started sounding like a mercedes diesel.

As for problems with BASIC tokenisation - don't write BASIC. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userrowledge on 22/7/04 2:52AM
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It's nice to see a different style of news article. By that I mean publishing a comprehensive users story about a RISC OS product. Feedback articles on hardware and software from more users are great. I do like the some of the articles we usually get though, but more of this? Yes please. Regards, Steve

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 22/7/04 3:26AM
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Congratulations on this article I found it very interesting and illuminating.

More like this please :-)

 is a RISC OS Uservshears on 22/7/04 12:05PM
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Nice article but it still leaves me with the question: What can you do on the Iyonix that you can't (or can't sensibly) do on a RiscPC?

With the RiscPC vs A5000 the addition of 32bit colour, 16bit sound, and much faster processor helped. You can't play mp3s, watch mpegs or process graphics the same way on the older machine. And I dare say things like web browsing also benefit a great deal from the RiscPC power.

What are the Pros over the RiscPC for the Iyonix?

-- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 22/7/04 8:34PM
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Spriteman: A very interesting question and a very valid historical comparison. But we shouldn't look at history with rose-tinted glasses.

You compare the Iyonix launch (as compared with the previous top end system) with the A5000 launch (as compared with the previous - effective - top end system).

Remember that when the Risc PC was launched it had a 30MHz ARM610 CPU, with no FPA. In the previous generation of hardware you could have a 33MHz ARM3 or a 25MHz ARM3 with FPA. That's not to say the Risc PC was a bad move (in fact it was a great move), it's just that in one respect it hadn't really moved on.

In addition, you also ignore the fact that the original Risc PC did *not* have 16-bit sound.

I've rambled extensively elsewhere about how wonderful the Risc PC is, so let's avoid that here. Suffice to say that it was a major step forward in some areas, but less so in others. I've put up with people at user groups lecturing me for 20 minutes at a time about how stupid Acorn were not to separate video and other functions onto separate, cheap, cards.

Looking at the other side of the comparison, the Iyonix compared to the Risc PC hasn't even kept the "maximum" CPU speed the same. And it adds USB and, in particular, PCI. In some areas it could have done more - but changing *everything* at once is dangerous and foolish.

Everyone needs their own definition of what "can't sensibly" be done.

Maybe Castle have foolishly left out opportunities to tick boxes for things that are just impossible on the Risc PC; preferring to move forwards on some of the most important things like the ability to use newer processors and hardware independence (graphics in particular).

If so, it's less exciting, but we should thank them for it anyway.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 22/7/04 9:27PM
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"with the A5000 launch"

Of course, I meant the Risc PC launch. Sorry.

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 22/7/04 9:32PM
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vshears: "More like this please"

What was the last major RISC OS product you bought?

In depth review, please!

dgs

 is a RISC OS Userdgs on 22/7/04 9:35PM
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In reply to Spriteman:

Top of my list for things the RISC PC doesnt have that the Iyonix offers is a very fast, hi-res display in 16M colours.

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 22/7/04 10:10PM
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In reply to Spriteman

The Iyonix purchase gives the market impetus to continue to develop. It gives me access to USB and quicker processing and easier handling of large documents and images.

I know that to some extent these could be covered by add-ons to the RiscPC. However it is like making the decision to either repair or add accessories to your 10 year old car OR take the plunge and buy a new one to get the improvements.

If everyone (or a majority) kept repairing/upgrading their cars and few replaced them there would be little incentive for the production of new models. This is the problem facing Castle. Without support in the form of purchase of new machines the market will continue to wither and eventually die.

If you (any RISC OS user/supporter) are really interested in the longer term survival of the platform then your interest should be expressed in putting your cold hard cash on the table to purchase a new machine more frequently than once every ten or fifteen years.

Having dropped from a middle class income (++) to nothing (- - ) I understand the constraints of finance for students, older and unemployed enthusiasts.

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 23/7/04 3:34AM
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In reply to rmac:

People should buy an Iyonix for purely selfish reasons - its a really nice machine :-)

 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 23/7/04 8:09AM
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Well first you can not have to upgrade to 512MB ram, kinetic+, viewfinder++, usb card+, gigabit network card, ide card++, that's got to save you about 500-700ukps

Then you can play video much better if you have cineroma. And sample audio better it would seem.

Then everything that's annoying because it's too slow on your RiscPC should be fixed. So you can again work with the high res complex DTP documents you want to, or realistically encode mp3s perhaps, or handle 100MBs of data. And run emulators faster.

The only thing I can think of becoming much more usable is video editting.

What can you do on a 2GHz PC compared to a 1GHz or less? Play more games and watch higher res video.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 23/7/04 12:34PM
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"What can you do on a 2GHz PC compared to a 1GHz or less?"

Emulate RISC OS at StrongARM speeds? ;)

 is a RISC OS Usermonkeyson on 23/7/04 12:47PM
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spriteman Pros of Iyonix over a RiscPC Much faster. Very high screen resolutions without compromising speed. Soundcard as standard supports audio/mic in now has the !AudioIn application for sampling from any on board sound source. Built in USB support. It is available. Support for many older applications (some which will not run on an SARPC) via AemulorPro. Iyonix will take cheap PCI cards for example allowing you to watch TV on your computer for less than the price a new TV. Flash ROMs allow immediate user update of operating system. Standard Iyonix tower can take more drives/devices than a single slice RiscPC. Iyonix podule bus is faster than that of a RiscPC. Virtually silent. You can build an Iyonix motherboard into any number of funky PC cases. Excellent support group.

The advantages of the Iyonix are such that my StrongARM RiscPC with 8MB Viewfinder now only gets switched on to use the SCSI scanner.

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 23/7/04 4:54PM
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