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Castle unleash Iyonix UDMA100

By Chris Williams. Published: 25th Apr 2003, 09:13:34 | Permalink | Printable

Disc read speeds up to 100MB/s

Castle Technology have today sent forth the marvellous news that they've finally implemented and enabled UDMA100 technology for their Iyonix range of XScale powered RISC OS computers. All Iyonixes will now ship with UDMA100 as standard and existing Iyonix users will be sent a free upgrade pack over the next few weeks, we're told.

So, UDMA is the name and hard disc access speed is the game. With UDMA100, the maximum theoretical hard disc access speed is 100MB/s although exact performance relies on a hard disc's model and make. Castle quote typical in-use speeds of 45MB/s and this, to be perfectly honest, tears the legacy RiscPC IDE bus to shreds which can only manage around 1MB/sec (4MB/sec with a third party IDE card, if you're lucky). Apparently "considerable work" has gone into weaving this new technology into the ADFS module in RISC OS 5.

Iyonixes originally shipped with UDMA100 based hard discs even though at the time the hardware couldn't take full advantage of it. Now of course, five months after the Iyonix launch, RISC OS 5 users can do super fast disc based stuff like load an 80MB sprite file into Paint in 2 seconds flat (Castle's example).

"With UDMA support, hard drive performance is boosted significantly with theoretical read speeds of up to 100MB per second", states Castle spokesman Mike Williams in a press release issued this morning which we're surprised made its way past the spam filters given that the email subject was all IN CAPS.

"All functions which involve hard disc activity are now virtually instantaneous", Mike continues. "All aspects of the IYONIX pc will benefit from a noticeable increase in performance, from initial booting of the computer, to using a wide range of desktop applications, to using the 'C' language compiler, and even when shutting down."

We're reminded that Castle will be attending the Wakefield show this year, parading their UDMA100 breakthrough and USB 'pop-up' printing. Castle's technical director was quoted last week as commenting to Iyonix users that the May Wakefield event will be "interesting".

Links

Iyonix website

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Discussion

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First post!

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/03 9:24AM
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Peter! You ought to know better.

Chris, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Userdiomus on 25/4/03 9:51AM
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Sorry, you know how slashdot fever spreads, and I couldn't have Jymbob stealing the limelight.

Anyway, I have been using the UDMA stuff for some time, and it's certainly very smooth. Zoom.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/03 9:55AM
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Pah! I'll steal any form of light going. Lime, red, blue... I'll nick anything, I will. I'm a geezer... -- jymbob. (llama)

 is a RISC OS Userjymbob on 25/4/03 9:57AM
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...my CD writer...

Excellent news.

Is Iyonix finished now? Any other bits missing?

Being an ATA100 interface is it limited to 128GB drives?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 25/4/03 10:12AM
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This is great news :) It's very encouraging to see Castle working hard on this cool stuff - encourages me a lot more to get this Iyonix I'm saving for :) I just hope they don't let the documentation on their website fall to the wayside as it's been great so far. -- Gavin Smith

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 25/4/03 10:19AM
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I feel I should point out that the standard RiscPC IDE can achieve upto 2mb per second with upto 8mb per second through a Blitz interface. Not that I'm trying to take anything away from Castle achievement though. 45mb per second is indeed very welcome indeed! Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 25/4/03 11:01AM
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I wish I could edit my comments too. Never mind.

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 25/4/03 11:02AM
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9th post!

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 25/4/03 12:38PM
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Hmm, must think of something intelligent to say.

I want I want I want I want I want I want! I can't afford. :(

I think that covers it.

-- Snig Undoubtley doubtful.

 is a RISC OS UserSnig on 25/4/03 12:49PM
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Yes, certainly worth 1300 quid now ...

 is a RISC OS Userjerryf on 25/4/03 1:11PM
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I remember the Omega was supposed to have DMA, if Castle keep going like this MD won't have any trump cards left to play when (if) the Omega appears.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 25/4/03 1:12PM
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Second serial port not done on Iyonix yet, is it? After their developers are done doing victory dances around the office on finishing UDMA, is this next?

(Currently got around 600 quid for my Iyonix ... hoping to get the rest in time for Wakefield ...)

 is a RISC OS Userzeeb on 25/4/03 2:37PM
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I guess they'll fix things on a priority basis, most people don't need one serial port, let alone two. I think the Iyonix's sound gets shakey after you've had it on for a while, so that'll need fixing quick.

 is a RISC OS Userthegman on 25/4/03 2:55PM
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Is this available via the Update Watcher yet or is it only going to be supplied on CD to customers? -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 25/4/03 3:59PM
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Now we just need a version of Select on the Iyonix and it'll be worth buying. :-)

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 25/4/03 4:38PM
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A few clarifications:

The sound issues have been related to the UDMA stuff, and is now stable.

Second serial port is very minor to do, which you'll see if you look at the southbridge chip specs. But not a priority, no :-)

ks: it's not available yet on update watcher, no. But I expect it will be soon. And certainly on the CD of course. Stu: Select would be a nice addition, yes, but Iyonix is worthwhile without it :-)

tgm: all machines have DMA. It's the specific devices which use it which are important. Iyonix was always going to have IDE DMA, and besides, DMA isn't a crucial function for disk access, just a very nice addition. For Omega to try and claim that over Iyonix would have been disingenious. The only advantage it ever had and retains is the ability to run 26-bit legacy code.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 25/4/03 4:53PM
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Great news - I'm very glad to hear that the sound on the Iyonix is now stable. I'll probably jump out of my chair when the Update Watcher springs into life. :) -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 25/4/03 5:02PM
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I think Iyonix is worthwhile without it and to be entirely honest, I'm not sure I'd want a soft loading OS on it...I used to have one on my RiscPC and whilst I did like Select's features, the soft loading part took away some of RISC OS's beauty for me...

Slightly off topic but does anyone have detailed info on how the Update Watcher works? I've read little snippets here and there. Obviously it's optional, yes? Can you set how often it checks for updates? Do we know exactly what info is being sent to Castle when it runs? Are files simply downloaded to the desktop for you to install manually? (Which I'd kind of prefer). Any info would be welcome :) Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 25/4/03 5:19PM
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The Update Watcher will periodically contact Castle when a net connection is available to see if updates are available. It's possible to deactivate this automatic behaviour, though it's quite useful. On a LAN connection, the watcher doesn't seem to automatically check until Oregano2 is loaded, so most of my updates have come through when I've checked Drobe in the morning! -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 25/4/03 5:23PM
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Hmm, I'd be interested in more info on exactly what the process is - I'll give Castle a shout and see if they'll add it to the documentation. (I'm also interested in the whole spyware/privacy aspect of it - although I'm not for a second suggesting that the watcher program acts like some nasty spyware on Windows) -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 25/4/03 9:33PM
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Gavin - see [link] for details on how the watcher works. I doubt it's spyware because Castle's server will send software version numbers to your local box and the comparison between installed software and new software is done locally. -- Simon Wilson, Boulder, Colorado

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 25/4/03 10:22PM
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Ah, nice one, thanks Simon. I've never seen that page, it's pretty much exactly the info I was looking for. Cheers. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 25/4/03 11:47PM
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RISC OS 5 is a softloading OS. As is RISC OS 4.03, and as would be any theoretical OS 5 Select (although it would be stored in flash). Most modern OSes are soft-loading. It doesn't really mean much.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/4/03 8:29AM
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As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very As I understand it there is a very

 is a RISC OS UserEddie on 26/4/03 9:51AM
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Eddie: Stop stuttering man. Out with it!

 is a RISC OS UserNeilWB on 26/4/03 11:48AM
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Peter, RISC OS 5 is stored on a Flash ROM, not a ROM file on the hard drive like Select. This is the bit of Select I don't like, sorry if it wasn't clear. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 26/4/03 12:31PM
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No. On a _RiscPC_ Select is stored on a ROM file, because this is the most sensible way of doing it. On any other machine it could be quite different. As I said, most modern OSes are softloaded, and the advantages of having your OS fixed in ROM are pretty limited these days.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 26/4/03 12:39PM
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If a potential RISC OS 5 version of Select could be stored in the Flash ROM of an Iyonix, I'd be happy enough. :) I wouldn't like it stored on a ROM file of my future Iyonix - just my opinion. -- Gavin Smith, Carrickfergus

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 26/4/03 12:46PM
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Why?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/4/03 1:07PM
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A bit o/t but at least we're in the forums now. I am not a fan of Select's softloading either - *I'd* much prefer the OS in ROM. Why? Because (all IIRC) when I boot my Kinetic, it loads RISC OS 4.03 into SDRAM, which admittedly doesn't take too long. Then the machine appears to restart and start the Select bootloader. Then the Select ROM image appears to be copied over RISC OS 4.03 in memory. This does take a significant amount of time. On a Kinetic, fast disc transfer speed is not currently possible.

Lots of people have raved for years about the benefits of an OS in ROM. I think the most quoted advantage is that it doesn't require a disc, though I doubt nowadays you could do very much with RISC OS 4/5 without a hard disc.

Saying all this, my Select subscription is up next month and I *will* be resubscribing.

 is a RISC OS Userksattic on 26/04/03 5:06PM
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If you'd prefer Select to be delivered on ROMs, then you should be prepared for the massive price hike required for the hardware.

Wasn't Select originally intended as a "beta" testing scheme anyway, with features eventually migrating into a ROM version every-so-often?

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 26/04/03 6:56PM
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In the case of the Iyonix, if Castle and RISC OS Ltd got it together (somehow), then OS 5 Select could be flashed to the ROM. That would be the ideal solution and the only one I'd go for. The more I think about it, and the more I read up on improvements to both Select and OS 5, the more worried I get about these two variants of our lovely little OS getting too different.

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 26/04/03 7:00PM
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Except Iyonix only has 4MB of flash ram.

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 26/04/03 7:04PM
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Yes but at the moment the Select ROM really only checks for existence of the OS 4 ROM doesn't it? i.e. It's technically complete on its own. If OS 5 and Select were properly integrated then it wouldn't be much bigger than OS 5 anyway, would it?

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 26/04/03 7:12PM
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Well they already have difficulty squeezing OS 5 on there, never mind additional Select features. But I'd certainly like to see some Select features in there. Many of the features are disc-based anyway, so we could at least have those.

 is a RISC OS Usersenduran on 26/04/03 7:48PM
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Err, if Select only checks for the OS 4 ROM, and it's technically complete on its own, what on earth makes you think it'd be smaller if you ran it on Iyonix? If anything, 32bit code tends to be a little larger.

 is a RISC OS Usernunfetishist on 26/04/03 8:31PM
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He didn't say it would be smaller, he said it wouldn't be /much/ bigger.

Personally, I don't care if the OS is held in ROM or on Disc. It's the dual boot system that annoys me with the way it wastes so much time. It may not be important to some people, but it is to me.

I'm interested to find out what other improvements Castle have planned for OS 5. Hopefully I'll get a moment to speak to Jack at the Wakefield show. Cheers!

 is a RISC OS UserThe Doctor on 26/04/03 9:35PM
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Select on RO5 will only happen when RISCOS Ltd., finally go bust, or about to close. Or the shareholders manage to get rid of Paul Middleton.

Guess which one is more likely to happen.....

 is a RISC OS Usersmink on 27/04/03 11:04AM
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Out of interest, does anyone know how much of the 4MB RISC OS 5 takes up on the flash ROM? Cheers.

 is a RISC OS UserSparkY on 27/04/03 11:25AM
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Don't know. But it must be pretty crammed because Castle had to add a little extra code to support the keypress on start up configuration behaviour of the RISC PC - and could'nt without compressing some of the ROM and eliminating some stuff.

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 27/04/03 3:51PM
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