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Old 18 September 2010, 09:41   #1
Fingerlickin_B
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Graphics Cards - What Are They Good For?

Ok, I've no idea on this one...no idea at all, so please be kind

For example, a Z2 Picasso card installed into an A2000. Does it only work with certain programs, or does it give you better screenmodes & so on with everything?

When I say "everything", I don't mean games, just mean stuff like browsers, picture viewing & all stuff like that...stuff that doesn't hijack the system (bang it?).

Again, I've got no idea on this subject, but was hoping to find out if adding a graphics card to my A2000 might make the whole (non-gaming) experience somewhat more pleasant

PZ.
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Old 18 September 2010, 10:11   #2
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Graphics cards are usable in Workbench and most programs that let you select which screenmode to run on. Instead of choosing, say "PAL: Hires" in the list, you select for example "P96: 1024x768 24bit" and off you go. There are some compatibility issues with older programs, but this is how it works in general.

Getting a graphics card will definitely be a major improvement in "serious" usage
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Old 18 September 2010, 10:15   #3
8bitbubsy
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And it makes the graphical window stuff in Workbench faster!
And you can go up to a million colors on the screen at the same time, without "abusing" the AGA chip.
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Old 18 September 2010, 10:16   #4
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Cool, that's just what I need, thanks!

PZ.
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Old 18 September 2010, 10:24   #5
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another useful perk is that youre precious chip ram is spared for other use :-)
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Old 18 September 2010, 10:30   #6
Fingerlickin_B
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What should I expect to pay for a Picasso II?

There is one available right now, but not sure what to pay?

PZ.
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Old 18 September 2010, 11:32   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingerlickin_B View Post
What should I expect to pay for a Picasso II?

There is one available right now, but not sure what to pay?

PZ.
I think Peter sold one for £75
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Old 18 September 2010, 11:36   #8
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@fingers

Pending on the rotation of your location you could pick one up as little as £60 upto about £120

The Picasso 2 is a fantastic Card - however its worth mentioning that the Picasso 2 has what is best described as a "design over sight".

the 15pin HDVGA output header also provides +5 volts (straight from the motherboard!) (vga pin 9) in days of yaw when dinosaurs ruled the earth this +5v was ignored by most CRT monitors -

However newer CRT's and more so the LCD's of today tie this +5v to ground - as you can imagine once the power flows its grounded - since its tied directly to the motherboard you will get a thumping ammount of current flow down the line and hence burn out a small resistor on the card - but also quite likely damage the monitor display.

The problem is easily solved by either removing pin 9 from the VGA cable or by removing a small resistor from the PCB (I would do the latter)

read more about this problem by clicking here


Now, lets talke screen promotion =)

Quite a few workbench titles use custom screens (like PAL / NTSC) these infact can be promoted to the Graphics card by use of a program called NewMode

An example of how this would work is say using "Imagine 3.0fp" rendering program - since its default it to open a custom screen using the native chip-set this can be promoted to any of the graphics card screens you setup.

I used to run it in 800x600 for most of the work I did with imagine - later versions of imagine didn't need the screen mode promoted as they already had the requesting asking what screen to use.

NewMode works wonders for older workbench apps that dont have a screen mode requester - the program also saves the information of the screen you used previously so if you wish you can turn of the newmode requester asking what screen to output too for that program - making everything seemless and smooth =D

I used to also use this with VistaPro3 as well as a few others!


I cannot relay to you how much faster an Amiga feels when you have a GFX card installed - the graphics processing for OCS/ECS or AGA is drastically reduced!! you instantly have a Chunky Buffer (no need to waste CPU time converting chunky data to amiga native planar!)

Even a humble 40Mhz 030 with a chunky display card will be very smooth and playable in 320x200 in 256 colours on a graphics card!

The bandwidth access of the gfx card is much higher and you dont have to have the CPU wait its turn when writing to the graphics display - all in all a RTG graphics card is a fantastic addition to any Amiga Setup.

However its best to know that setting up a graphics card is a two part process - and is essentially customized to your kit!

upon installing the software you will need to "configure" screen modes for the graphics card to use - to do this vaires a little between cards - but is essentially the same - you select a screen dimension of xxx X xxx and depth and then set the output frequency to the monitor - some of this can be a little trial and error - but most monitor information is availalbe in the monitor manual or online =)

Strange as it may seem I always configure the low-screen modes like 320x240 (256) in 8bit, 16bit and if the adapter can 24bit - I then go up the scale including 640x512 in all possible depths too - this is for some very old software that just doens't scale correctly at larger screen dimenions.


With a GFX card - there is a lot to learn but I promise that its worth every effort!
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Old 18 September 2010, 11:44   #9
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Thanks Z-man, that's some useful info right there!!!!

I'm quite happy with how things look with AGA on my A1200, but sounds like if I get the Picasso it'll be just as good (or much better) on the A2000

PZ.
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Old 18 September 2010, 11:55   #10
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I had a CyberVision 64/3D + flickerfixer when I still owned my A4000. Could use a normal VGA monitor with the Amiga, but the real improvement was the speed up and the responsiveness of Workbench and apps which were promoted with NewMode (really handy little tool). AGA is NO comparison.
I highly recommend everyone working with Workbench and Apps to use a graphics card, it's really worth it.

(God, I miss my A4000)
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Old 18 September 2010, 12:26   #11
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you mean to say youve never tried picasso in WinUAE
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Old 18 September 2010, 14:01   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cosmicfrog View Post
you mean to say youve never tried picasso in WinUAE
Nope.

PZ.
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Old 18 September 2010, 14:50   #13
athiga
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thanks i learned somthing new reading this
newmode sounds cool prog for gfx card owners ill check it out
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Old 19 September 2010, 06:18   #14
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I remember promoter as the tool for making old apps running on RTG cards...

Lemme check... Yes, that's what I used!

Of course, any promotion tool will be excellent, even the one built-in on MCP (that's an awesome Amiga program if you have enough RAM).
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Old 19 September 2010, 14:06   #15
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Cool, I just scored the Picasso 2 for what seems to be a reasonable price.

So, please help me further? I need to get cables/hardware ready for it's arrival...

So, it has a 15 pin socket. Can I connect a modern monitor to it after removing the mentioned resistor (using stuff from Picasso disk)?

I assume that the Picasso disk will install screenmodes that will work with workbench & such, but the card will not display games?

So....if I can connect an LCD via VGA switch to both Picasso directly & RBG port via Nathan's adaptor, I can play games from native RGB & then using the VGA switch, use workbench type apps from the Picasso?

PZ.
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Old 19 September 2010, 14:15   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fingerlickin_B View Post

I assume that the Picasso disk will install screenmodes that will work with workbench & such, but the card will not display games?

So....if I can connect an LCD via VGA switch to both Picasso directly & RBG port via Nathan's adaptor, I can play games from native RGB & then using the VGA switch, use workbench type apps from the Picasso?

PZ.
Yep, thats how it works when you install the picasso drivers it gives you some basic screen modes based on the frequency you choose during the install.

320x240 & 640x480 will probably work right away but you'll need to edit the 800x600 and upwards to support you monitor.

You are correct games that use native screens (like WHDLoad Games) will not display through the RTG you'll need to switch to the normal output, your suggestion will work fine. I have an LCD TV with Scart and VGA inputs for my A1200T (Mediator/Voodoo5) so I just switch channel between VGA and AV but a switch box will do the same thing. Games like Doom/Quake/Genetic Species can use RTG and you can promote them to 320x240 with the 'Newmode' App

I invested in a PicassoIV for my A4000 which has the built in scan doubler so displays everything through one output, I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this card is - if you ever get the chance to get one at a reasonable price you should!

Steve.
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Old 19 September 2010, 14:20   #17
Fingerlickin_B
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Excellent!

Thanks to everyone who has posted here!

PZ.
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Old 19 September 2010, 14:46   #18
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So, according to what I read, segmented memory mode seems like a bad idea (slows things down).

If I reduce other installed zorro RAM to 6mb, then Picasso adds 2mb, adding up to the total 8mb...there will be no slow-down?

PZ.
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Old 19 September 2010, 17:37   #19
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@Fingers

Segmented mode is good and bad - although its slower than non-segmented it doesn't eat into the 8MB RAM Z2 RAM space.

in non-segmented mode you would need to reduce the Z2 ram to accomodate the 2MB that the Picasso has.


The Picasso 2 has a VGA through-mode and auto-switcher built in - so if you get one of them 'el cheapo CRT/TFT tuner boxes that upscales say SVideo and obviously use an Amiga Video to SVideo adapter - then this will act as a cheap - scan-doubler / flicker fixer - combine the CRT/TFT tuner output to the input of the Picasso II and you have all this auto switching - scaling yummyness for a fraction of the PIV cost =)
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Old 19 September 2010, 17:45   #20
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Remember that Picasso96 does not support Segmented Mode. Only the Cybergraphics software supports Picasso boards in Segmented Mode.
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