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Iyonix USB storage Castle's way

By Chris Williams. Published: 6th Jun 2003, 22:42:03 | Permalink | Printable

This town ain't big enough for the both of us

As announced today in a cheeky Friday evening press release, Castle Technology have finally provided USB mass storage drivers for their Iyonix PC, bringing them more or less in line with Simtec's USB driver stockpile. The new USB device drivers are part of a free upgrade for existing Iyonix users, distributed via the IyonixWatch automatic update system.

USB mass storage devices are typically small, portable, file storing gadgets that plug into a USB port on your computer so you can transfer information to and from them.

Previously this week, Partis Computing told drobe.co.uk about their plans to release their own USB mass storage device drivers for Castle's Iyonix and USB cards, however this hasn't dissuaded Castle from developing their own set of drivers. Gary Partis told us his drivers were independent of Castle so we can't assume this is a joint effort.

USB based hard discs, Flash memory devices, digital cameras, removable media and MP3 players are all now supported for Iyonix users. As they now support a modest range of USB hardware, Castle have published a full list of exactly which gadgets are known to work with the Iyonix and also their USB podule card. Specifically, we note the Belkin 8-in-1 CompactFlash and Smartmedia card reader, a 64MB Flash memory keyring and others.

Users can also add details of other devices that they've found to work with their computers, to Castle's online database. As for USB mass storage devices, we're told users should look out for products that conform to these generic mass storage classes - (08 06 00, 08 06 01, 08 06 80). Castle admit that "some USB devices may need specific drivers" and you'll need to contact them if in doubt.

Due to the fact that device drivers for the Simtec and Castle USB standards are incompatible with each other (that is, a driver for the Simtec USB card won't work with Castle's USB card and vice versa), a worrying functionality split arose with Simtec initially leading the race with various third parties producing key drivers for their hardware (STD made the mass storage breakthrough earlier this year). However, Castle USB users must be relieved now that Castle have shifted up a gear with these new driver releases.

Whatever the cost, the RISC OS userbase has wanted USB technology in their computers and now we firmly have it; an interface standard we all perhaps assumed RISC OS would never (as per usual) enjoy.

Links


Iyonix USB information Castle have also sent word of a new printer driver of theirs for the USB only Canon BJ i450 printer.

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Discussion

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Oooh, 8-in-1 reader - isn't that the one that's a floppy drive too, that might be the SIIG 7-in-1...

I've just seen an advert for a 2Gb USB2 pen drive for about $500 (might buy the 128Mb USB2 for $32 instead!)

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 7/6/03 12:38AM
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I've just seen these aluminium beauties at drivebuddy.com. Any idea if they'd work on RiscOS? And does that mean I can finally shove mp3 music onto my usb mp3 player? Only if there was a usb IPod :D ....

-- completed=MAYBE

 is a RISC OS UserVulture on 7/6/03 4:08AM
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simo: I think you ought to check if the Castle USB supports USB2. I haven't seen anything about that, I'm sure it's only USB 1.1. Don't buy a USB2 pen if you can't use it! Vulture: Apple have now put USB support on thier Windows IPod I read somewhere due to demand. ;)

----------- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 7/6/03 8:53AM
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Iyonix will most likely have USB2 support in future. The card itself already is.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 7/6/03 9:20AM
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AIUI USB2 is backward compatible with USB 1.1 anyway

 is a RISC OS Userwilf on 7/6/03 1:38PM
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Vulture: latest iPod is USB2.0, so should work with 1.1, albeit way too slow to transfer 30Gb!

Smiler: my PC's are USB2.0, and the drives should be backwards compatible with 1.1.

Chocky: is the card already USB2.0? So what's holding it back - the Podule bus or software development.

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 7/6/03 5:20PM
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simo: seeing as the Iyonix's USB card is a PCI card, it's not the podule bus

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 7/6/03 5:29PM
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Don't confuse Iyonix USB with Castle Podule USB. Are the same drivers used on both? Are all these new drivers on the podule version?

 is a RISC OS Usermavhc on 7/6/03 6:18PM
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mav: [link]

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 7/6/03 7:20PM
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simo: nothing's "holding it back". We've just got block storage yesterday; hold onto your boots.

The "backwards compatibility" is a non issue. Firstly, the Iyonix cards are 2.0 and are clearly running 1.1 stuff, and the USB 2.0 software additions are hardly about to be made by throwing away 1.1 support. People get so wound up over the silliest of things sometimes.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 7/6/03 9:17PM
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Chocky, I don't think you understood what I was saying, and *I* wasn't getting wound up!

I was just surprised that the Iyonix and USB Podule was 2.0 that's all, and was then stating that 2.0 pen drives could be used with a 1.1 card (or a 2.0 card that currently only supports 1.1)

I don't know what you mean about throwing away 1.1 support - with 2.0 comes 1.1 compatibility, not one or the other.

-- #include "sig.h"

 is a RISC OS Usersimo on 8/6/03 12:03AM
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The comment wasn't aimed at you alone, so get off your high horse.

I see you're now an expert on USB. No, the situation isn't that simple at all - USB support occurs at several layers, so any sweeping statements about compatibility need to be justified.

-- Peter, drobe.co.uk

 is a RISC OS Usermrchocky on 8/6/03 5:31AM
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I thought that the USB 2 cards were backward compatible with 1.1, but the USB 2 periherals must use a USB 2 card because they don't support 1.1. If not, then it's betetr than I though, but I thought that backward compatibilty only worked one way. ----------- Smiler - :D Alex Melhuish

 is a RISC OS UserSmiler on 8/6/03 8:34PM
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USB!

 is a RISC OS Usernex on 8/6/03 9:32PM
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The idea is that USB2 works with USB1.1, just with slower speeds. USB2's only improvement is that of speed, AFAIK.

 is a RISC OS Usertakkaria on 8/6/03 9:55PM
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Okay, I was wrong. Ignore my previous comment.

 is a RISC OS Usertakkaria on 8/6/03 9:56PM
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As far as I knew, doesn't ALL Podule USB cards suffer, from the slow legacy Acorn Bus speeds of 16MHz,forcing USB 1.1 Compatibility only?

Not sure on the Iyonix due to the higher bus speeds?

 is a RISC OS Userem2ac on 9/6/03 1:01AM
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Look, it's quite simple. The Iyonix USB is provided by a USB 2 capable PCI card. Therefore, there are no bus issues preventing it from providing USB 2 compatibility. It's simply a case of drivers.

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 9/6/03 1:51AM
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ooooo that was painful!

And by the way the Iyonix Update Watcher is not an "automatic update system". It is a notification system only, it is up to the user to download the update and install it.

-- Martin Dixon, LEICESTER

 is a RISC OS Usermrtd on 9/6/03 8:53AM
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front or back seat drivers?

;-)

 is a RISC OS Userepistaxsis@work on 9/6/03 8:55AM
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back seat by the looks of most people round here... ;)

 is a RISC OS Userjmb on 9/6/03 9:43AM
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Olympus Camedia C-730UZ works fine as an external drive. I can copy, delete and upload files to the camera. Excellent! -- S Williams,

 is a RISC OS Userblahsnr on 9/6/03 2:58PM
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IIRC if you want to just use the USB 2 hi-speed logo then this costs $1500. But it costs many tens of thousands of pounds to purchase a license if you want to label your device or card 'USB compliant'.

I would have thought this later requirement would be a large barrier for any RISC OS developer to cross?

 is a RISC OS Userquatermass on 10/6/03 2:58PM
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Nearly.... you cannot use the USB-IF compliant logo unless you pass compliance testing ($10's of K). If you do pass test, you can either:

Become a USB-IF member at $2500 a year.

Obtain a VID via some other route (I did for a one off payment of $1500 - they don't even mention this option any more). Add to this $1500 for every product you want to use the logo on (you still need compliance testing at $10K+!).

Developing devices certified to USB2.0 can be *very* expensive. USB1.1 is just about doable in the $5-figure range if you're careful not to use any logos inappropriately (upon pain of legal action from USB-IF).

Of course this only applies if you're making devices or wanting to use USB2.0 logos. Writing drivers is free.

 is a RISC OS Userstdevel on 10/6/03 3:21PM
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What about the other option (stuff this) and just develop to the published spec. Make no claims for compatibility but (nonetheless) test the device for compatibility with RISC OS hardware, save yourself a suitcase full of money in the process.....if the little devil works - and RISC OS users buy it that's good enough isn't it ?

-- Annraoi McShane,

 is a RISC OS UserAMS on 10/6/03 6:48PM
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Simply because the spec says that you must have a valid Vendor ID, and USB doesn't work without Vendor ID's

Using another company's VID, unless they gave permission, would be an open and shut case of passing off.

Some vendors do allow their ID's to be used, so long as it's with their hardware - which is why you get lots of mice claiming to be "Cypress USB mouse" etc etc - they've got Cypress' processors inside.

Of course all this only relates to *devices* - and the likelyhood of a USB device being produced solely for the RISC OS market is negligable, since with drivers it would also be compatible with PC's.

The Crick USB switch box, developed by us, is a good example - it's custom hardware which runs under RISC OS (at least on the Simtec card) and PC. Aside from this I'm not aware of any USB devices designed by RISC OS companies that work on RISC OS.

 is a RISC OS Userstdevel on 10/6/03 7:18PM
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