You said "I can understand your viewpoint with respect to avoiding Windows, but what's so great about ARMs? They're well-suited to, um, mobile phones and maybe even laptops, sure. But why the sentimental attachment to them for running RISC OS on your desktop? I consider it a hinderance rather than a benefit. "
Let's look at each shall we:
ARM's instruction set is *very nice* the x86 instruction set is a pigs breakfast in comparison. This has a number of consequences (i) it was possible to code much of RISC OS in ARM code (this meant *more speed* than if it had been done purely in a high level language (ii) it meant the code was more compact than if it had been done in a High Level language (so sat in the small ARM cache *better* than larger HLL code would have done.
The end result of this is RISC OS was written for the ARM and this leads to performance and other gains. On the Windows front almost *all* code is written in a high level language (Visual C++ for example) this generates oddles of x86 code which is inefficient bloated and slow. The PC compensates somewhat by having processors clocked much faster than the ARM.
That having being said for GUI use the Iyonix is probably as good (or better) than a high end PC even though the PC may be clocked 5 or 6 times faster. [This is in part because much of the RISC OS core is efficient handcoded ARM machine code designed by people who designed the ARM, whereas Windows XP is almost all C++ big, bloated and highly inefficient].
As to where ARM is pitched (mobile phones, laptops) have a think for a moment - it's pitched where it is *not* because it can't perform better but because ARM seen a niche (sure one Intel Exec even said it would be possible to upclock an xScale to 3GHz or more). Where ARM is is *not* for technical but for sales/marketing reasons - NOT technical ones.
An ARM with as big a cache and as high a clock rate would perform quite close to that of a PC (other than for floating point), thing is it would not be running at 1 Watt power levels and so would not be targettable at a market where they sell 100's of million of units a year rather than a few thousand. I'd point out that ARM chips now outsell Pentiums - so perhaps ARM have a point to this strategy.
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