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Iyonix USB2 support enabled

By Chris Williams. Published: 1st Feb 2005, 09:43:20 | Permalink | Printable

Device drivers are another question

Castle logoIyonixes shipped from today will feature USB2 support, Castle have announced today. Existing Iyonix users can instead pay 30 quid for an upgrade, which comes in the form of a software update. Every Iyonix shipped is fitted with a USB2 capable card, but Castle have only just finished the RISC OS driver for it.

USB2 typically offers a data transfer rate of 480Mb/s, compared to USB1's 12Mb/s, although not all USB2 devices run at full speed. Castle also admit that due to other overheads and limits inherent in the Iyonix system, "a given USB device will not usually be as high as the full 480 Megabits per second specification".

Previously, supported USB2 devices would transfer information slower when connected to the Iyonix's USB card. Gadgets supported by the Iyonix can be found here.


USB2 announcement Iyonix website

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On going development is good news. On the other hand, if this really is what Castle have announced, new buyers get it for free (there is no price raise for it), while I as one of the first to buy this machine and so funding these developments have to pay for it. And that feels sort of like a punishment.

 is a RISC OS UserIke on 1/2/05 10:24AM
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Ike, if it would make you feel better, consider that while there may not have been a price rise, perhaps a price drop has been postponed. Bearing in mind the continual reduction in price of computing power, it is said that there is never a good time to buy a computer, ie if you wait you'd be able to buy it cheaper, or more for the same price. So if you're only feeling that now, I'd say you'd done rather well.

 is a RISC OS UserLoris on 1/2/05 10:38AM
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Well, in essence my comment was meant rather more emotionally (the way it makes me feel) than rationally (I understand that there are things you have to pay for). This on not about money but about the way manufacturers seem to look at customers. So no it doesn't make me feel better. Or worse ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserIke on 1/2/05 10:46AM
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I must say I have a lot of sympathy with Ike's comments, especially as USB2 has been around for some time now. On balance, I think I will put the money towards a Macmini which also comes with a Firewire port and DVI output as standard.

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 1/2/05 11:10AM
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Having just bought a DIYonix a few months ago and having seen complete Iyonixes available for a similar price to the board I bought, I'm not happy with the prospect of paying 30 to make the equipment work at full speed.

Updating messenger pro and easiwriter and buying hermes and risccad will all come first for sure.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 1/2/05 11:31AM
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at last!

30 is not bad, thats rougly about a USB 2 PCI card pricing!

more of a reason to save up

keep the good work up

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 1/2/05 12:25PM
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Yes, great news after Castle's first announcement for christmas, so just a month delayed. This is a very important development and will help Iyonix endure in a rapidly modernising industry.

Now I'd say it is time for more support for PCI cards, ie. drivers...

 is a RISC OS UserhEgelia on 1/2/05 12:37PM
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It'd be nice if someone would benchmark USB 2 using !Speed or one of the other drive speed indexes. I've never got more than 3-400Kb/s out of my Simtec USB 1 card (in a Kinetic RPC), which is a hell of a lot less than the 12Mb/s theoretically available.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 1/2/05 5:42PM
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bucksboy: Remember that the 12Mbps is only possible with one device on the bus - as soon as another device is added to the same bus, things slow down a lot. And anyway, 400KBps isn't bad when you consider how slow the CPU is.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 1/2/05 7:01PM
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In reply to bucksboy

Is the speed with the RPC down to the RPC or the card?

 is a RISC OS UserRevin Kevin on 1/2/05 7:01PM
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Kevin: no idea. ISTR reading that the Iyonix can do about 600Kb/s (=4.8Mbit/s) under USB 1, i.e., considerably faster than a Kinetic but still well short of the full theoretical speed. OTOH I might have got that completely wrong - no doubt an Iyonix user will correct me, in which case.


 is a RISC OS Userbucksboy on 1/2/05 7:10PM
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As an early Iyonix adopter, I understand why people might feel that they should get USB2 for free. However, at some point any supplier has to start charging for product improvements or we'd all get our Iyonix Mk2s for free.

It's not as if the release of USB2 means that our existing USB1 stops working. In fact, as of today there is a (free) update for USB1 too.

And if that does not convince you... my wife has an Apple iBook bought 2 years ago when we gave up on the RISCStation portable. That came with MacOS 10.2 and iMovie Vsomething-or-other. If I bought one now, it would come with MacOS 10.3 (or 10.4) and a later iMovie (that I really want); and be faster and cheaper. Does that mean that Apple owe me a copy of 10.3 etc and a refund - I don't think so (though I wouldn't refuse if you're listening Steve).

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 1/2/05 9:03PM
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...and I don't even charge for Beta-testing Drobe's parethesised italics :-)

 is a RISC OS UserTonyStill on 1/2/05 9:04PM
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It's not quite like that. It's a driver to allow the hardware to work at the speed it was designed to.

It's a bit like if they had charged extra to make the network port run at a gigabit, or the hard drive run at UDMA speeds.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 1/2/05 9:31PM
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No, when people bought their Iyonixs, the specification clearly said USB 1.1. So this was what they got.

 is a RISC OS UserJGZimmerle on 1/2/05 9:41PM
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I understand people's point about the cost of hardware & software on our RISC OS platform, especially when comparing Apples to Pears (usually should compare Apples to Apples?)

When it comes to deciding which platform you want to contribute to, price comparison does not really come into my thoughts because I choose not to give anything to dominating markets.

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 1/2/05 9:49PM
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If Castle had promised USB2 originally then this update should be free, however, the Spec of the original Iyonix was USB 1.1. The charge of 30 seems to me to be a very reasonable way of getting a 1 - 2 year old computer up to date with its modern counterpart.

 is a RISC OS Userj5m1th on 1/2/05 10:11PM
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Out of interest, if an Iyonix can't drive USB 1.1 at full speed, what chance does it have of driving USB 2 at full speed unless some serious changes have been made? If it can, then the 30 quid sounds quite reasonable for the engineering work. If it can't, why bother upgrading?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 1/2/05 10:48PM
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I doubt that the Iyonix would drive USB 2 at full speed. However, it will be more up to date than 1.1 and will open up a greater range of devices to connect to the Iyonix. As to upgrading that is up to the individual. Castle are giving you the option. If you want it, you can have it for 30, if not you can stick with just 1.1

 is a RISC OS Userj5m1th on 1/2/05 11:00PM
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USB Speeds:

USB1 puts 1.2 or 12 MegaBits/sec on the wire, shared between transmit and receive, and between all clients of the root hub.. roughly 1 megabyte/sec in 1 direction if very little else is happening.

USB2 puts 480 Megabits/sec on the wire, or, if and only if it was running in one direction with NOTHING else happening, around 50 megabytes/sec.

BUT, as soon as other things happen, the available bandwidth for most usage does drop off considerably.

Then you have to consider what your USB2 peripheral can actually achieve.. some will be able to fill the wire well, but many will not, especially in the case of flash storage pens.. and writing data.

You also have to consider the underlying machine capability.

Iyonix hardware has the bandwidth to cope with all that USB2 hardware can throw at it.. however, there is a large amount of software involved in the usb stack which will set a limit on the absolute maximum real life speed that can be realised. Exactly the same set of issues can be seen with networking, and can be similarly seen on other non ARM platforms.

So in summary: USB2 is faster.. in the same way as it is faster on other platforms, but please do consider the sums before expecting headline figures. JB

 is a RISC OS Userjb on 1/2/05 11:45PM
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JB: Does USB2 support all the devices that currently work under USB1?

What additional devices does USB2 support that weren't supported on USB1?

 is a RISC OS Userrmac on 1/2/05 11:54PM
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USB 2.0 is backward-compatible with USB 1.1 and USB 1.1 is forward-compatible with USB 2.0 the difference is the bandwidth. The Low-Speed (1.5Mbps) and Full-Speed (12Mbps) USB available with USB 1.1 is part of the USB 2.0 specification.

The only problems you'll have is if you are using a device in a situation that needs the bandwidth of the new USB 2.0 Hi-Speed (480Mbps). Streaming video from a USB DVD drive is hopeless without the Hi-Speed interface. USB 802.11g (54Mbps wi-fi) adapters will also not be limited by the bus speed the same is true for future 802.11n adapters. It also makes using a USB hard drive to backup your whole system a whole lot more viable. There are also a whole lot of devices mostly video capture related that make good use of USB 2.0 Hi-Speed including webcams and digital TV decoders.

 is a RISC OS UserFonz on 2/2/05 12:38AM
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j5m1th: Except my Iyo is only a few months old.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 2/2/05 7:56AM
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I think it it a worthwhile option that will enable Iyonix to interface to devices that really need the speed. Personally speaking I won't upgrade at this time since I only use USB for my two printers, whose speed I suspect will not be affected by upgrading to USB 2, and my digital camera, which might be improved but is it worth it to occasionally copy over a few pictures in a few seconds less? Probably not. The real advantage is that it opens up the possiblilty of using high speed devices like USB DVD drives and webcams and maybe this will encourage the development of software to support such devices.

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 2/2/05 9:12AM
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jess: I know it's irritating (the price dropping, functionality increasing etc, just after you bought it) but that's just what happens when you buy a new computer! Every time. Does anyone think a mainstream PC manufacturer would sell a desktop with USB1.1, then give a free upgrade to USB2 to everyone who bought one of their computers within the previous 2 years?

 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 2/2/05 9:16AM
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When it's only a software upgrade, yes.

 is a RISC OS Userjess on 2/2/05 9:50AM
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Geez, stop moaning. The Iyonix website says the Ix is fitted with 1 USB 1.1 expansion card. You should really be complaining that you didn't get what you paid for since they gave you a USB2 card. Another way to look at it is to draw parallels with the Unipod. Do you complain that it costs 25 to unlock a feature on that? Let's all be p***ed off that the hardware supports a feature but it costs to buy the software to make it work.

Now, not another word about it. Shoosh.

Dave --

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/2/05 9:52AM
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A comparison - way back when, I knew a guy who bought a RPC 600 (RO 3.5) a couple of weeks before Acorn produced the newer faster series machines (700 and upgraded 600) with RO 3.6.

What you're saying is that Acorn didn't owe him a new processor, but should have given him a free upgrade to Risc OS 3.6 (which included, among other things, support for HDs larger than 512MB - a fairly useful change, for many users) because that was only software....

 is a RISC OS Userchrisj on 2/2/05 11:14AM
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So just a minute, is this 30 quid a charge for just the driver for the USB chipset to make it do USB 2, or is it something more? Does it come with better support for different devices, past the speed increase?

Out of interest, why on earth was my last comment modded down? It wasn't off-topic or anything.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 2/2/05 11:54AM
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nutty: Just the driver. I know that it's a mind bendingly simple protocol and that you could knock up an alternative in an afternoon but, let's face it, you're not going to and you don't care. And neither do we.

It's 30 quid for USB 2 support. Something new and not in the original spec. You want it? Pay for it or don't. --

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 2/2/05 12:04PM
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nunfetishist: "Out of interest, why on earth was my last comment modded down? It wasn't off-topic or anything." I was wondering exactly the same thing!


 is a RISC OS Useradamr on 02/02/05 12:14AM
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Not surprising as the drobe comment system thinks you moderate incorrectly ;) -- Spriteman

 is a RISC OS UserSpriteman on 02/02/05 12:17AM
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I've occasionally noticed a tendency for on-topic posts to get moderated down because people don't agree with the, but the moderate option is "good / on topic", "bad / off topic", instead of just on or off topic.

 is a RISC OS UserSimonC on 02/02/05 1:15PM
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Spriteman: Actually, USB can be quite tricky. If you've seen the size of the specification book, then it becomes startingly obvious that it has lots of sutble bits you must get right. What I was saying was that if you actually got a speed increase by using it over the USB 1.1 (which apparently the Iyonix couldn't drive at full speed) then 30 quid is completely reasonable, as obviously quite a lot of work has been done on it.

SimonC: Yes. I've always used the moderation to moderate non-relevent posts. If you've got a load of people moderating things they don't agree with, then what's happening here isn't a discussion, it's a single-sided "isn't everything wonderful" masturbationfest. Which is a shame. This comment, is of course, off-topic, so we should move it to the normal forums :)

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 02/02/05 2:40PM
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The problem with the Drobe moderation system is that it is open to abuse and as a result the 'wrong' people can get penalised. I am also marked down as being someone who moderates incorrectly (a rather strange thing to claim given that moderation is subjective!), eventhough I believe any moderations I have made have been fair.

Developing a fair moderation mechanism, however, is a very difficult task - it will never work for everyone. However, there has been much research performed and techniques developed for tackling many of the issues that could be looked at. I think a simple solution that would greatly improve the system would be to make moderations public - ie you can see who has moderatied, and how. This would help to reduce abuse of the system.

 is a RISC OS UserWalks on 02/02/05 5:05PM
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Your 30 pounds buys you an access to code which allows the software to be downloaded from Castle's website. It asks for the MAC address so I assume its locked to the machine. Its all very straight-forward and transparent to install.

Not sure which release it was in, but its very nice to see long filenames on the USB device!


 is a RISC OS Usermarkee174 on 03/02/05 1:33PM
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markee174: One assumes, for FAT formatted media, that it changed at the same time as all the DOSFS updates.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 03/02/05 2:37PM
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Drobe's system is open to abuse, but I don't quite think that the problem is the computer system called Drobe.

The abuse problem is more us "Humans" who input into Drobe. I understand the frustration within the RISC OS platform why the frustration "thermometer" rises, but I personally don't tolerate or lower my standards to that level or personal abusive "put down" type situations.

Thank God Drobe don't have a news site for Windows users! ;-)

 is a RISC OS UserSawadee on 03/02/05 9:40PM
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Nun> your comment was moderated down because it was plain wrong. Just because I plug 2 devices into 1 USB socket (via hub or whatever) does not mean that both devices will require the full bandwidth that that port has to offer. Actually my USB keyboard requires a miniscule amount of bandwidth, and my camera wants most of it, and both can survive on the same bus quite happily due to the way USB bandwidth can be allocated/requested/enforced.

 is a RISC OS Userpiemmm on 09/02/05 4:08PM
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g0tai: Perhaps you should read the specs.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 09/02/05 4:47PM
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