Iyonix PC

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Iyonix PC
Iyonix front, showing drives (CD-RW, floppy disk), power button, reset button, LEDs, USB ports
DeveloperCastle Technology
ManufacturerCastle Technology
Release date22 October 2002 (2002-10-22)[1]
Discontinued30 September 2008 (2008-09-30)[2][3][4]
MediaCD-RW, floppy disk
Operating systemRISC OS, Linux
GraphicsNvidia video card
PredecessorRisc PC, A9home
SuccessorTouch Book, ARMini

The Iyonix PC was an Acorn-clone personal computer sold by Castle Technology and Iyonix Ltd between 2002 and 2008. According to news site Slashdot, it was the first personal computer to use Intel's XScale processor.[5] It ran RISC OS 5.[6]


Inside view

The Iyonix originated as a secret project by Pace engineers in connection with development of set-top boxes (STBs),[citation needed] and has been noted as a successor to the RiscPC.[7] Pace had a licence to develop RISCOS Ltd's OS sources for use in the STB market. The Iyonix was developed under the code name Tungsten and uses RISC OS 5, which is a version of RISC OS that supports ARM CPUs with 32-bit addressing modes. The sources and hardware design were subsequently acquired by Castle, who developed them into the final product.[8] Castle continued to keep the project a secret, requiring developers to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Information was distributed to such developers via a confidential section of the website.[9] Customers were occasionally able to buy the computer as a bare bones system for self-assembly.[10]

After speculation on the usenet newsgroups, a website for the hardware was spotted in mid October 2002.[11] Units first went on sale in December 2002.[12] Prices started from £1249.[13]

Castle ceased production of the Iyonix after the July 2006 introduction in the UK of the RoHS Regulations. The design was not compliant[14] and Castle did not redesign the Iyonix. Sales continued for another two years via a newly established company, Iyonix Ltd, which enabled Castle itself to circumvent the regulations.[8]

On 25 September 2008, Castle announced that production of the Iyonix had ceased and that new units would no longer be available to order.[15]


Features include:

Motherboard, with GeForce 2 MX video card at bottom
Rear view, showing connectors

It was the first time substantial changes had been made to the platform since the release of the Risc PC in 1994. All interim machines had been built on the ARM7500 system on a chip, which was widely regarded as a single-chip Risc PC. (It incorporated the memory controller, video, sound, IO and CPU logic of a Risc PC, leaving only memory and disc interfacing to be added.)

The presence of PCI and USB capabilities, as well as the retained "podule" bus, attracted comparisons to Acorn's aborted Phoebe PC; however, such comparisons should be tempered with Phoebe's proposed feature set, which retained VIDC and 26-bit mode, and although Phoebe was intended to be capable of SMP configurations, its proposed shipping configuration had been for one SA110 CPU.


  1. ^ Mr J Sawyer (22 October 2002). "Iyonix at RISC OS South-East". Newsgroupcomp.sys.acorn.announce. Usenet: ap.669a7c4b89.a701a0a.m.conroy@argonet.co.uk. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  2. ^ Holwerda, Thom (29 September 2008). "Iyonix Range Taken Off the Market". OSNews. Retrieved 18 August 2011. A huge blow to the already small RISC OS market and community: Castle Technology has announced that the Iyonix range of ARM-based RISC OS computers will be taken off the market after 30th September.
  3. ^ "IYONIX Ltd" (Press release). 25 September 2008. Archived from the original on 9 December 2008. Retrieved 10 March 2011 – via Drobe. IOYONIX Ltd would like to announce that from the 30th September 2008 it will not be possible to order an IYONIX computer.
  4. ^ John Ballance (30 September 2008). "IYONIX Press Release". Newsgroupcomp.sys.acorn.announce. Usenet: slrnge59v4.76r.ngb@compsoc.dur.ac.uk. Retrieved 10 March 2011.
  5. ^ Chamberlain, Ian (7 December 2002). "First Desktop Computer To Use Intel's XScale". Slashdot. Retrieved 9 January 2012. "Drobe, the leading RISC OS portal, has reported the release of Iyonix, the first desktop computer to use Intel's XScale processor.
  6. ^ Proven, Liam (20 October 2006). "RISC OS six appears, only a couple of years late". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 6 November 2009. Retrieved 28 June 2011. RO5 [...] appeared at the end of 2002. [...] put together a new, 32-bit ARM machine, the Iyonix.
  7. ^ Lewin A. R. W. Edwards (18 July 2006). So, You Wanna Be an Embedded Engineer: The Guide to Embedded Engineering, from Consultancy to the Corporate Ladder. Newnes. pp. 139–. ISBN 978-0-7506-7953-4. Retrieved 7 January 2013.
  8. ^ a b "Iyonix RIP". Foundation RISCWorld. 2008. Retrieved 17 June 2011.
  9. ^ "IYONIX is Born..." Foundation RISCWorld. Retrieved 17 June 2011. The Tungsten developer Web site was used to distribute information to developers [...] Everybody involved in the Tungsten project, as it was known, had to sign a strict Non-Disclosure Agreement [...]
  10. ^ Williams, Chris (2 December 2004). "DIY Iyonix kit available again". Drobe. Retrieved 28 June 2011. Castle are once again selling DIY Iyonix motherboard kits, allowing users to save cash by building Iyonix computers themselves. [...] exactly like the DIY kit they offered in October.
  11. ^ Williams, Chris (17 October 2002). "WOOT! It's a 32bit XScale RISC OS PC!". Drobe. Retrieved 23 January 2012. A quick browse to Castle's website shows a link to Iyonix PC -- what's this? [...] It seems that the rumour mill that was bandied around on Usenet recently has some reality behind it. [...]
  12. ^ "Redirecting to Google Groups".
  13. ^ "Redirecting to Google Groups".
  14. ^ Holwerda, Thom (1 August 2006). "Iyonix Banned by New EU Green Law". OSNews. Retrieved 28 June 2011. The computer's motherboard will require a costly resdesign in order to meet the requirements of the new RoHS rules, especially to meet the low-lead levels in the PCB solder, say contacts close to Castle.
  15. ^ Holwerda, Thom (29 September 2008). "Iyonix Range Taken Off the Market". OSNews. Retrieved 28 June 2011. Castle Technology has announced that the Iyonix range of ARM-based RISC OS computers will be taken off the market after 30th September.
  16. ^ Proven, Liam (22 November 2005). "New RISC OS machine coming soon". The Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2 November 2009. Retrieved 27 June 2011. The Iyonix is a standard ATX motherboard with an nVidia graphics card [...]
  17. ^ Iyonix Linux port established | Drobe.co.uk archives
  18. ^ Mellor, Phil (3 February 2005). "Iyonix USB 2 - review". The Icon Bar. Retrieved 2 February 2012.

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