Home > Hardware > Iyonix Review Part One Iyonix Review Part One Eugenia Loli 2002-12-08 Hardware 25 Comments Drobe reviews the Iyonix, the machine based on the Intel X-Scale CPU that will run on RiscOS 5. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 25 Comments 2002-12-08 11:06 pm How did these people get Nvidia Drivers for such an odd architecture? I’d also like to see Nvidia drivers for linux/ppc so things like the Boxer and Linux Macs could have 3D acc, and boost interest in PPC. 2002-12-08 11:11 pm Maybe they just ported the nv 2D driver of XFree which is open. 2002-12-08 11:15 pm Lot’s of obscure architectures have drivers for NVIDIA cards. XFree86 supports them by default, and these drivers have been ported to other OSs (like AtheOS). SciTech’s SNAP graphics supports these cards as well. However, it’s only 2D support. The 3D drivers are x86/Itanium only. 2002-12-08 11:19 pm Just try to find ROM images to run an emulator…hah! 2002-12-08 11:44 pm he spent a couple of sentences just discussing the case, and then, no photos of the case? 2002-12-08 11:47 pm and then has the nerve not to post a photo of it. Ha! 2002-12-08 11:57 pm Here’s a picture of the IYONIX case, taken at it’s release. http://www.drobe.co.uk/extra/midland2002/012_Med.jpg.8.html Ian. 2002-12-09 12:03 am Looks like an OK x86 PC case. I guess it’s due to the fact that they are using a motherboard provided by Intel, not suited for a risercard and such. If they start making their own mobo’s, they might customize it a bit, make it for a slicker case. I am actually quite curious about this computer and Risc OS. Maybe a bit of Acorn-nostalgia, too. 2002-12-09 12:03 am > The 3D drivers are x86/Itanium only. Don’t forget the Mac. BTW: Where can I find screenshots from RiscOS 5? On the Iyonix page are only photos from the hardware. Or am I blind? 2002-12-09 12:21 am Here is a screenshot of RiscOS 5 running on the Iyonix: (Large, 1600×1200 image) http://www.iconbar.com/news/midlands2002/full/00_iyonix.jpg 2002-12-09 12:23 am I’m afraid I only have some poor screenshots of my own RISC OS 4 desktop to hand (not got my IYONIX,.. yet . It’s basically the same look & feel, but with nicer icons. My own RISC OS 4 desktop screenshot(ignore the code window, please! : http://www.atomised.org/photos/desktop/riscpc-desktop-26-09-2002_Lg… Another RISC OS 4 desktop screenshot from ‘drobe’: http://www.drobe.co.uk/extra/mydesktop.jpg Ian. 2002-12-09 12:35 am ..including the fonts. The background image makes it a bit messy, though. Talking about background images: Ian, where could I find that wonderful background image you have there on your Risc OS 4 desktop??? 2002-12-09 12:42 am Hey mario. The backdrop was found from another site I run – http://www.animehunter.com/ (Sorry for the plug!) As for the fonts in RISC OS, I’ll wave the flag a bit and point out that RISC OS has had antialiased font support since the early 90’s (as far as I myself can remember), which many applications (DTP, Vector graphics, editors, etc) made use of. RISC OS really is a pleasure to use . Ian. 2002-12-09 1:53 am What is this computer/OS good for? Is it for desktop use? publishing? web server? Perhaps Im missing something. Is it just like BeOS/Amiga with deticated users? 2002-12-09 2:13 am Hi, The computer is pitched at the end-user/hobbyist/desktop user market. It’s quite capable of doing each of the tasks you describe above. You could indeed say that RISC OS users are similar to the Amiga userbase in terms of their (sometimes fanatical) dedication to the platform. What (in my opinion) sets RISC OS apart from other computers is the build quality of it’s applications. Also, practically anyone can use RISC OS straight-out-of-the-box, due to it’s methodical user interface. This has been the case for over a decade, whereas other operating systems (Namely windows) are just starting to approach the ease of use RISC OS users have been enjoying for ages. Unfortunately Acorn/RISC OS suffers from the Token Ring vs Ethernet analogy – Token ring is techincally superior(aka works better) to Ethernet, however Ethernet won in the end because it was cheaper (to initially setup), hence more people used it.Also, Token Ring users didn’t need to upgrade for *ages* due to it’s efficiency, therefore the industry saw a lot less turnover in that area. Similar goes for RISC OS. Ian. 2002-12-09 4:03 am So far, I haven’t found any dealers in the US. Anyone know if there are any – or the best way for someone in the US to get one? 2002-12-09 4:12 am OK but does it (the OS) have a better selection of apps in certain areas? Are certain types of users more common? I was under the impression that it had some quality, commercial graphics tools but my knowledge of it is thin. I also thought it was sometimes used as a scientific workstation. TechWriter? You know, my local newsagent still sells an Acorn magazine and an Amiga magazine, or did not that long ago anyway. But then I do live in Wakefield — home of a RiscOS show I think and Team17 (games company.) 2002-12-09 5:38 am Fond memories of my beeb which also cost a pretty penny, #400 just for cpu box. By the time floppies & other stuff added maybe #1200, Looks like its grand children haven’t gotten any cheaper, this is a shame as I expected the Arm family should be much cheaper than x86 but the market is too tiny to carry the engineering cost. It might well be better to just emulate RiscOS, did anyone ever do that? 2002-12-09 7:42 am It might well be better to just emulate RiscOS, did anyone ever do that? try this: http://www.virtualacorn.co.uk/index2.htm Thoems 2002-12-09 12:45 pm To see what Risc OS is, you can see here: http://productsdb.riscos.com/admin/riscos.htm and http://www.http://productsdb.riscos.com/admin/ros_test.htm some screenshots can also be found there…. and also here: http://www.phardy.karoo.net/shots/RISCOS4/index.html 2002-12-09 2:22 pm The price tag is pretty steep. I can see where hobbyists/tech enthuiasts might like it but that price better come down or no one else will. Is the price the result of low volumes? the motherboard? I thought the x-scale was actually pretty inexpensive per MHz. Still this is very cool. I see no reason why ARM can’t play more of a role in the desktop commuting arena. It has volumes, several operating systems, and applications (due to embedded and handheld device). MOroever, web browsing and office applications are still the main desktop uses. 2002-12-09 2:41 pm It’s got 64 bit PCI slots and a 10/100/Gigabit ethernet. These are high-end workstation standatd features. It also depends on the quality of the parts. A good quality buffering memory can be rather expensive, and so can be said about the case. Heck, there is even a huge difference in fans that you mount on cases: I can buy one for 5 Eur, or I can buy a much better brand with quality assurance, and the peace of mind that it won’t stop working after a couple of years – something that once happened to me, and shut down the whole system. Sorry for divulging, but the point is, it all depends on the components. 2002-12-09 9:56 pm There is a lot of high quality software available cheaply on the RISC OS platform. Ok the machine costs more but the commercial software costs LESS so overall you’re probably better off. RISC OS machines tend to last and last (less heat, longer life I guess). So if you take depreciation into account (pardon the pun) it all works out more attractively priced over time. The learning curve is less steep – so even more savings. Then there’s the fun factor. RISC OS is darned nice to use, looks good and makes the best use of the xScale (ARM) processor. Regards Annraoi 2002-12-10 12:06 pm Being a child in the late 80’s, and a former member of the British educational stream, I can say that I have used RiscOS machines to death. Until about 3 years ago I still had an A3000. That machine is now in the dumper, where it belongs. RiscOS is a horrible OS. It looked horrible, it uses an overly complex mouse set up (why 3 buttons????!!!???!!) AFAIKS it still basically the same OS as it way way back when, just more garish graphics. The ‘!’ prefix was just annoying. The way you created ‘executable’ applications was overlu comples (I remember having a file/script called ‘!Run’ and ‘!RunImage’ came into play.) The file typing was insane. IIRC you needed a third party app to set the filetype graphically. The insane !System too…. finding the right disk witht the right relocatable modules in it… I guess HDD made this easier, but I still remember problems. It was a typical British invention. Pioneer, but did a lot of things in a less than satisfactory way (the way you accessed drives in Basic/Scripts *still* makes me have nightmares.. ‘ADFS:/$.blah’ or whatever it was..) Believe me, I used to advocate it. I programmed in Basic on it – did A-level computer studies projects on it. I wouldn’t wish the OS on my worst enemy though. In a way it reminds me of the old Spectrum. Nice idea, but very quickly got overtaken by others. I had an Amiga too, in a similar time frame, and I still have the A500 and think nice thoughts about it… No offence to everyone, I just have a lot of bad memories about RiscOS machines. I remember the A5000 and i’s faffy RiscOS 3.. shudder. Why it took so long to start up is beyond me (all the OS was in ROM AFAIK.) Matt 2002-12-10 8:20 pm Just to address the previous message: Calling RISC OS a horrible OS is, of course, subjective. The fact that its look, feel and general operation can be customised easier than most other OSs means that you can change it to your liking. Most will say they prefer the default “grey” RISC OS look to the Windows XP “Tellytubby” look. ;o) It’s pretty strange to say that three mouse buttons is overly complex when 99% of PCs sold today have three buttons too (the scroll wheel is a button and RISC OS can use the wheel like PCs can). Remember that X Windows typically uses three buttons. RISC OS users find any less than three too little. ;o) Plus, you don’t have to ever use the right mouse button in RISC OS if you don’t want to. The ! prefix for apps can be hidden by using a simple desktop patch. In comparison, the MS Windows system of making applications easy to use is even more complex and “dirty”. Program files can be placed anywhere, and generally are, with odd files appearing in %systemroot%. Link files are used to allow applications to be run from other locations, such as the start menu. The registry is used to clump together some settings, with others going in .inf files. Most RISC OS users feel that having all files pertaining to an application’s program in one place appealing. As for the filetyping, what does your average Windows user do to change a filetype on a bunch of files? It can’t be done without the command line or a special utility. You can’t actually change filetypes without either using the command line or by stopping Windows from hiding the filetype. Of course, the original behaviour of Windows (98 and previous) allowed this and filetypes were only hidden as it’s considered a “power-user” feature. Accessing drives on RISC OS is consistent when using local and remote drives; it’s not on Windows. Having to use C:lah for local files and \sharelah for remote drives is confusing. It’s also extremely odd to still call the hard drive C: in Windows when in fact it’s not been C: since Windows NT came about. On RISC OS, you use ADFS::4.$ to access the root of drive 4 on the ADFS filesystem. $ means root. The period/full stop is the directory separator. My memory of 1991 is Microsoft and its “faffy” Windows 3.0 and 3.1. Talk about shoddy. RISC OS 3 was miles ahead. You couldn’t even have desktop wallpaper on Windows 3 without it being obscured by the program/file manager, but you could have a silly 8×8 bunch of dots tiled to vaguely resemble dogs. LOL!