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Iyonix dips below grand in Jan sale

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Jan 2005, 02:33:27 | Permalink | Printable

Modest specification for modest price

Panther caseDuring January 2005, punters can for the first time purchase pre-assembled Iyonixes with a sub-£1000 price tag. Castle are offering the usual 600MHz XScale Iyonix with 128M RAM, 40G hard disc and CD-RW drive for 835 quid, or an Iyonix with 512M RAM, 120G hard disc and CD-RW drive for 932 quid.

Prices include VAT but exclude delivery, and the machines are shipped in the standard blank Panther case. For more details, see the Iyonix website below. For most modest desktop use, 128M RAM and 40G of disc space is quite suitable and matches most 'spec`ed' up RiscPCs. A 120G hard disc on RISC OS will last a long time, or at least store quite a few MP3s and MPEG movies, while the 512M RAM is still somewhat of an overkill.

Last year, users were left uninspired by Castle's various Iyonix special offers, except the Iyonix motherboard deal, it appears. Hopefully Castle are intending to start the year as they mean to go on.


Iyonix website

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D'oh! That's about the same as I paid for my DIY kit. *And* about the same time between as me buying a StrongArm and the release of the Kinetic board.

However it could have been much worse - I could have bought a PC :)

I think this deal should be a really positive move for the platform as a whole, the price of an Iyonix no longer looks silly when compared to a Mac.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 1/1/05 9:11AM
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Jess> D'Oh indeed !

Nice to see the price drop down - hopefully it will encourage more sales of the Iyonix. It's a good move and I've seen the Panther case and it actually looks good (my Iyonix is one of the older mini-towers). I suspect Castle are positioning the lower-end Iyonix against possible A9 competition. Given the IOP321's higher spec the only thing that might have counted against the Iyonix was price - and that now seems to have taken a move in the right direction.

Looks like 2005 should be interesting from a RISC OS hardware perspective ;)

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 1/1/05 2:08PM
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Nice to see that Castle are being proactive with offers like this - I am sorely tempted, especially as I've just become VAT registered.

I don't know if Castle read Drobe but I'll suggest a coupe of things that should help to shift a few machines:

1 0% finance - Even though I can afford 1000 I much prefer to spread the cost over 6 or 12 months - Acorns 0% offer on the A3000 seemed to go down well many years ago - though being Acorn I don't think they repeated it with later models.

2 New/Enhanced Software bundles or money off vouchers - My Risc PC has gathered a lot of dust over the past few years and I 've got very little idea where most of my old software is. If Castle were to make the process of getting back into RISC OS easier by bundling a load of software with a machine for say 999 then this would be a more compelling offer for me than simply the machine with the normal bundle for 932.

These are meant to be helpful suggestions rather than criticisms - I'm a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing so I hope there's some sense to what I'm saying.


 is a RISC OS UserPBiggs on 1/1/05 3:43PM
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Oops! missed the boat again. Just bought a nearly new Yamaha keyboard and once its upgraded I'll start saving for Castles next buget Iyonix offering.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 1/1/05 4:17PM
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Oops! missed the boat again. Just bought a nearly new Yamaha keyboard and once its upgraded I'll start saving for Castles next buget Iyonix offering.

 is a RISC OS Userjlavallin on 1/1/05 4:30PM
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I agree, it gives the whole market more credence if prices look sensible compared to other markets. So this is really good news and I hope it persuades a few more people to take the plunge and buy an Iyonix.

Hopefully it's also a sign that Castle have sold enough to recoup some of the development costs of the machine?

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 2/1/05 12:02AM
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Yes, perhaps. There's a number of reasons you could put on the price reduction - you may remember that when it was first released, that Castle mentioned it would come down given sufficient volume, so that may come into play.

Of course, in two years, component costs have unsurprisingly come down considerably, not to mention plenty of chance to shop around for better deals.

Quite apart from that, there's the usual deals of any company: special offers to lure new customers, and Castle has certainly of those, so you could spin it as just being another way of presenting the similar discounts they do normally.

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 2/1/05 12:29AM
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What a shame they are only running the offer on the black Panther. I suppose I could recase it by spending another 50ukp. I'll probably wait and see if they get round to reducing the other cases in a later offer.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 2/1/05 11:58AM
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Cynic - give Castle a ring and ask if they'll sell you one in another case for the same price.

 is a RISC OS UserPBiggs on 2/1/05 12:39PM
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Chris Williams wrote: The 512M RAM is STILL somewhat of an overkill? Why? Especially on an Iyonix it makes sense to have lots of RAM, even now!

 is a RISC OS UserGollum on 2/1/05 1:25PM
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Gollum: Why's that?


 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 2/1/05 2:19PM
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Gollum, what are you going to do with 512Mb RAM on a RISC OS machine. We don't have the likes of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator or In Design that need a mimimum or 512Mb to be usable.

 is a RISC OS Usersa110 on 2/1/05 2:26PM
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*In reply to PBiggs*

CJE micro's offer 0% finance - I don't know whether they can get Iyonix at the offer prices though.

If they can it would be something like:

400 dep plus 45 x 10 months


100 dep plus 125 x 6 months

for the budget version.

Why not see if CJE have them in stock.

I'm going to ask about the case at the same time....

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 2/1/05 3:55PM
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cynic -

Thanks for the info, certainly sounds like a good deal if it's available. CJE offered me a job a long time ago so it'd be nice to buy it from them.

Apart from reading Drobe and going to the Wakefield show I've not had much to do with RISC OS for the past few years so I'm going to have to do some reading up on what software I'll need.

 is a RISC OS UserPBiggs on 2/1/05 5:04PM
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On the software front you will find that 32 bit offerings of most main types are available for the Iyonix - but buying new you would pay a premium price.

However, there is lots of software out there unused and available second hand. As a starter you could list some of what you need and build up a library of 2nd hand stuff that you could upgrade if you find you need/like it.

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 2/1/05 7:02PM
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In reply to sa110

I like number theory and so on, and I like to experiment. I also like RISC OS very much, but I also like hardware power. Perhaps some people should check their point of view and should not only consider typical RISC OS applications. When I talked with Peter Bondar years ago, he recommended to buy a work station with lots of RAM and a fast processor, not a Risc PC . At this time ACORN have had a workstation division!

BTW: Peter donated me an ARM 700 processor card with a Floating Point Unit to speed up my calculations on a Risc PC. I think this hardware is still faster than an Iyonix. An Iyonix is a nice machine, but it shouln't become a joke in the future.

 is a RISC OS UserGollum on 3/1/05 12:03AM
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The 512Mb RAM may be an overkill for now, but I have a feeling that it could be more to do with component prices (as MrChocky points out), that is it may be a minor price differences for double the memory?

I bought in 1998 12Gbyte HD to replace my 500Mb HD in my RiscPC 600. At the time, a 12Gbyte HD for my computer may have been an overkill, but at the time I evaluated the price of 4Gig @ just under $300 NZD against the price of 12Gig @ about $400 NZD. Now I'm glad I took the "overkill" option for the sake of about $100 NZD more difference 6 years ago!

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 3/1/05 3:26AM
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What you want is a pci card with a powerful FPGA on it. A few days ago I were in Berlin at the 21C3 (21. Chaos Communication Congress of the CCC (Chaos Computer Club)), where I saw I presentation on how to crack DES and MD5 cyphers with such FPGA cards. It was amazingly fast. They only used a 200MHz Virtex 2 chip, but it was still 48 times faster than a 3GHz Pentium 4.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 3/1/05 11:29AM
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I suspect that once software is fully working that handles DVDs, 512MB of memory will seem pretty tiny. I can easily use 90MB in an OvPro document with a few (static) colour pictures

 is a RISC OS Usercharles on 3/1/05 12:30PM
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In reply to JGZimmerle

Wonderful news! However, are you willing to write the software in the next few weeks so that I can use this FPGA card? I'm sure that writing this software will also force more users to buy an OMEGA.

In reply to charles

Good point!

 is a RISC OS UserGollum on 3/1/05 6:53PM
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512MB of memory makes good marketing sense - it probably adds little to the cost and it would be at least one thing that won't turn off people used to seeing adverts for PCs will. I remember Alan Sugar saying that he wasted time and effort justifying why a cooling fan wasn't necessary in one of the Amstrads (in the end, one was put in, even though it didn't do much). It's probably better for Castle to bung in 512megs of RAM than to hope people are interested enough to read about the smaller memory requirements of Risc OS.

 is a RISC OS UserAthlander on 3/1/05 7:04PM
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Athlander: I tend to agree adding 512MB RAM adds relatively little to the cost (and may prove useful in near future), but I guess as Castle doesn't advertise its Iyonix in PC World/Mag or whatever the people who will be seeing or hearing about it would know it is not a casual off-the-shelf pc running windoze.

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 4/1/05 10:39AM
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Quite a few people have mentioned 'Price drop' it isn't a price drop, it's a special offer that finishes in less than four weeks!

Also 'cynic' mentions our (CJE) finance offers, unfortunatly we are not able to offer it on plain Iyonix PC's:-( It is a way of spreading the payments over a period which can enable some people to buy who otherwise couldn't:-)

 is a RISC OS UserCJE on 4/1/05 10:47AM
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I guess I'll be waiting for another offer then - the 'black' thing is important to me, I like things to match!

Shame though - but perhaps a true RISC OS portable will appear in the meantime!

 is a RISC OS Usercynic on 4/1/05 12:33PM
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In reply to hEgelia:

Good point about Castle not advertising in the PC magazines - but this leads to the question "Why not?" I remember that Computer Shopper used to have an Acorn column and PC Pro is open minded (although an Iyonix may be as exciting to them as the latest server hardware!) Does anyone know if Castle or Microdigital ever offered to send a machine to a magazine to be reviewed? It could prove cheaper than taking out ads.

 is a RISC OS UserAthlander on 4/1/05 12:36PM
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That should be "an Iyonix may NOT be as..."

 is a RISC OS UserAthlander on 4/1/05 1:55PM
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The Iyonix was reviewed in Computer Shopper way back in March 2003:

[link] Athlander:

But I'd have thought this kind of thing is difficult: benchmarks and specifications don't really reflect the real benefits of using RISC OS (as implied in the review).

 is a RISC OS Userflypig on 4/1/05 1:58PM
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There are a few issues with Advertising in the general press other than cost. A large percentage of the people that will see it will have little idea about RISC OS so if you're not careful you end up with a lot of enquiries from people who need a lot of education regarding product benefits/disbenefits when compared to Windows PCs so a lot of effort for a few, high maintenance sales.

Castle could look to gain some positive PR within the general computer press around their embedded work and use this as a way of promoting the Iyonix.

They could look to market directly to ex-Acorn users who will have an understanding of RISC OS - I wonder who got the Acorn customer database?

Perhaps ex-Acorn dealers or software developers have relevant mailing lists that Castle could acquire or run joint promotions with. Computer Concepts/Xara must have the details for thousands of ex-RISC OS users.


 is a RISC OS UserPBiggs on 4/1/05 2:52PM
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No, I won't write such software. I'm not working in the IT market anymore, I'm just moving over to media design. I have no idea why you seem to think that software would only run on Omegas. The system demonstrated in Berlin was a PCMCIA card plugged into a Windows laptop. This simply ran the Xilinx software for Windows. I understand similar software is availeble for Linux. If it is open source, then maybe it could be ported?

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 4/1/05 4:00PM
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