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Old 06 April 2015, 11:31   #1
Sim085
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What would RTG give me?

Hello, I am a little confused on what I get with RTG (Real Time Graphics?) cards / ability. I know a standard Amiga is either OCS, ECS or AGA. I know that big box amiga also had the option to add RTG cards. But what do these RTG cards provide / give? When people speak about RTG does it mean "just" the ability to connect the Amiga with a modern TV? (like this? is this product an example of RTG for A1200?) or it means more than that? or not that at all?
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Old 06 April 2015, 11:49   #2
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It's not Real Time Graphics, it is ReTargetable Graphics. It means that Amiga graphics can be displayed without using the Amiga custom chips.

RTG is a relatively new word. Manufacturers usually advertised their graphics cards as "graphics accelerators". And that's what they are: RTG cards usually are faster than the Amiga custom chips and offer higer resolutions and more colors.

But it also means that "banging the hardware" is no longer allowed. Programs which shall work with graphics cards have to use the operating system.

There is a list of RTG graphics cards: http://amiga.resource.cx/dir/rtg
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Old 06 April 2015, 11:50   #3
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Hi,

RTG will give you higher resolutions and more colours, much like modern PC's.

For example on ECS Amiga's the best you can realistically do is 640x512(i) with 16 colours for a nice workbench, an AGA the same but up to 256 colours.

Of course there are the possibility to use higher resolutions with less colours and productivity modes but the above are the most practical ones people use today. You also cannot connect the RGB output directly to most modern Monitors (only TV's via Scart)

If you add an RTG Graphics Card you can now use modern screen resolutions such as 800x600/1024x768/1280x1024 and also widescreen modes 1360x768/1280x720, etc.

Most RTG Cards will do up to 24bit (millions of colours) so you can enjoy beautiful backdrops and have lots of working space. Some of the cards are limited by VRAM so might only go up to 1024x768 in 16bit so for larger screen you might only be able to do 256 colours so bare this in mind, but I use CV64/3D and PicassoIV in 1360x768 16bit on my 19in LCD TV's just fine.

There are other options too such as PCI Busboards where you can use modern Radeon and Voodoo cards to achieve massive full HD screens with millions of colours

There's one small (possible) drawback from RTG and that is how you will display native modes, some cards such as the PicassoIV have a built in Scan Double/Flicker Fixer so displaying native modes is no problem, the CV64/3D for example has an optional scan doubler. Some cards have a pass through for native modes like the PicassoII, but you will need a separate scan doubler if your Monitor will not do the 15khz modes.

If you go the PCI route there are no pass through options so you need to consider if you will use an LCD TV with Scart & VGA and manually switch or use a Monitor Switch box or similar.

Finally, not only does RTG give you these larger modes but it improves screen performance massively, workbench and icons draw much faster the 3D games that take advantage of RTG run much faster (ShapeShifter is awesome on RTG system as are other Emulators), there are even 3D Hardware accelerated games for the Voodoo's and high level CyberVision PPC's

Hope that helps!

Steve.
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Old 06 April 2015, 12:35   #4
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And to be mr. negative, RTG will give you the illusion that your computer is viable for modern tasks, but in the end you'll just be disappointed when you try to do more than the computer is capable of. :-)

You must keep in mind that even though the screen resolution finally becomes modern after going RTG, you should be doing Amiga things with it, not PC things.
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Old 06 April 2015, 12:54   #5
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Thanks to all for the information. I really knew nothing about RTG cards and now I have a much better idea what these are when people speak about these
Thanks for this. Just a question; so the card I posted doesn't qualify as an RTG card given that it says "Full 24 bit colour depth for most screenmodes and output frequencies"?
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Old 06 April 2015, 13:00   #6
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It is not an RTG card. It is a scandoubler. Or even an up-scaler. But it does not change the way how the Amiga makes graphics. It just transforms the signal the Amiga outputs anyway. An RTG card would generate an additional signal independent of the Amiga custom chips.
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Old 06 April 2015, 13:02   #7
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No, that is a flicker fixer/scan doubler. It will only let you use modern screens.

Whilst it does have some tricks to use higher screen modes such as HighGrafX (1024x768) and HD 720 the work is all done by the Amiga, 256 colours is the maximum and you will use nearly all your Chip Ram to achieve it and it can be very slow to draw graphics.

Of course it will be perfectly fine with normal screen modes and fully support 24bit AGA but not in high resolutions just like the Amiga can't do this normally.
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Old 06 April 2015, 13:17   #8
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Ok I think I understand Thanks.
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Old 06 April 2015, 14:35   #9
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I am pretty sure that the answer is most probable "yes" but I was wondering; given that an AGA game would not work on an ECS Amiga is there such restriction when using RTG cards? i.e. - games would not work unless you connect the monitor to the normal AMIGA output rather than the RTG card?
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Old 06 April 2015, 15:06   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim085 View Post
I am pretty sure that the answer is most probable "yes" but I was wondering; given that an AGA game would not work on an ECS Amiga is there such restriction when using RTG cards? i.e. - games would not work unless you connect the monitor to the normal AMIGA output rather than the RTG card?
Yes, as I explained above when using RTG you need some method to also view native display modes, either a pass through for the native RGB output, a TV that supports Scart and VGA inputs (i.e just change channel) or a switch box if you have a scan doubler in addition to your RTG card.

Note the PicassoIV has a scan doubler and flicker fixer built in so it can display all modes and automatically switches between them, as also explained above the CV64/3D has an optional scan doubler module to achieve the same

Please read again my post above as I explained this already in more depth.
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Old 06 April 2015, 15:24   #11
Sim085
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fitzsteve View Post
Please read again my post above as I explained this already in more depth.
Apologies; I now understand better what you meant. Sorry when I first read it did not link native modes with OCS/ECS/AGA immediately. Thanks for pointing that out.
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Old 06 April 2015, 16:35   #12
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@Sim085

Here is my A4000 demonstrating a combined RTG+Indivision display: [ Show youtube player ]
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Old 06 April 2015, 17:26   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sim085 View Post
Hello, I am a little confused on what I get with RTG (Real Time Graphics?) cards / ability. I know a standard Amiga is either OCS, ECS or AGA. ... But what do these RTG cards provide / give?...
An RTG card is of almost no use at all, if you believe some guys, because almost nobody owns one of these cards there is no real use for it despite a nice looking Workbench!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dlfrsilver View Post
almost nobody got RTG boards. People are not coding for less than 50 users.
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Old 06 April 2015, 18:27   #14
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I've been wondering whether I should put an RTG board back in, but then again: custom chip modes for life yo! :-D

RTG does make the OS nicer to use, I admit.. You don't spend as much time watching the machine draw windows & gadgets onto the screen. :-)
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Old 06 April 2015, 21:01   #15
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If you do use Amiga for productivity use, you'll love RTG system.

It helps even on very basic jobs like text editing or filemanagement by offering much bigger working area by higher resolutions, and it saves your eyes by higher refresh rates (especially compared to flickering 50Hz video monitor usage). And makes window moving etc simple things MUCH faster. You can also fit more programs/windows to be visible simultaneous on the same screen.

And of course it's a major advantage when doing some more demanding jobs like for example drawing and image processing. You'll get true color modes with big resolution. With word processors you have more text visible on screen and speed is much better. 3D programs like Real3D can have much more tool and view windows opened at the same time etc. Practically any utility program will benefit on RTG.

Internet isn't that practical on Amiga anymore, because standards have gone too bloated especially on the web, but anyway when web browsing was still viable for the Amiga, RTG made a really huge difference for it. Scrolling with IBrowse was painful on the native chipset (AGA), but it flies on the RTG system. For example my A1200 with Voodoo3 scrolls web pages very fluently even on 1600x1200 resolution. Not to talk about colors again. But if you still want to use Amiga for the internet, ircing, ftp, telnetting etc do still work fine and with RTG you again get some speed and space for them.

So, RTG is very useful if you stare long times your Amiga screen doing productivity use. I feel pretty claustrophobic on AGA screen if I have to do anything more than 5 mins on the Amiga.

RTG has pretty much no use for gaming, but if you want to experience everything Amiga has to offer, then you need it for the few high end games. Napalm, Earth 2140, Software Tycoon, Feeble Files, Foundation, dynAMIte, Freespace, some 3D FPS games, Payback etc practically all need fast RTG system to be enjoyable or even playable.
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Old 06 April 2015, 22:11   #16
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RTG gives you more pixels. More are lovely, you get more information on the screen.
It will typically also give you more colours.

Then you need a monitor that matches. Which is always a problem. You might end up with two monitors. If not then you need a scandoubling and input switching gizmo. And it might depend on sw control.

Not exactly pretty. Which is why some of us have hopes for FPGA based re-implementations that have it all in one.
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Old 07 April 2015, 07:32   #17
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The answer to those switching problems is, to get an RTG board that has a built in scandoubler or a built in switchable passthrough.
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Old 07 April 2015, 09:04   #18
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There are so many options to show both RTG and native modes... One has to decide which he might prefer. I'll collect here few already mentioned with some own additions

1. Two displays, one for Amiga's own port and one for RTG card's port. Takes some space, but advantages are that you can have perfect monitor for each purpose and they both can be seen simultaneously. You can get perfect smooth scrolling 50Hz modes with this setup, as an opposite to the most scandoubler solutions.

2. One monitor which supports both modes and has two inputs. Some rarer monitors can do 50Hz/15kHz modes too. Old "multisync" monitors or newer which offer video inputs. You'll may need to manually switch input from the monitor when needed and only one image is visible unless monitor has PiP function or so.

3. Separate scandoubler. You can have two modern monitors or one monitor with two inputs (you need to manually switch to wanted mode always, but monitor can also have PiP function ).

4. RTG card with built-in scandoubler like PIV or CV64/3D with sd module. RTG card handles the correct mode to be shown always automatically and you only need one monitor/port. Works only on the machines with video slot.

5. RTG card with a pass-through option. You can wire native modes to the RTG card, but you need to make sure that secondary input takes the modes your monitor can understand. If your monitor takes video modes, you'll probably just need a simple adapter, but if it doesn't you'll need a separate scandoubler. Result will work with one monitor/port.

6. Routing your Amiga's output to TV-card in your PCI/RTG setup. This works pretty well as a "poor man's" scandoubler solution. Image on the TV-card may not be perfect, but will do for games and occasional use. I have Mediator PCI busboard on my A1200 with Voodoo3 and TV-card, and I have wired composite output from the Amiga to the TV-card. TV-card keeps displaying the image even if some program disables the multitasking. Works fine for WHDLoad & stuff... I've made a script to launch WHDLoad games which puts the TV software to fullscreen mode and then launches the game.

I guess these are roughly the most popular solutions, but there may be more. You'll just have to understand that native modes and RTG modes are like two separate graphic cards with their own charasteristic modes they output, and you'll have to find a way to display them both, if you want to display them both

Scandoubler/flickerfixer is just an adapter which converts the native output signal to an other format, but the actual image is still produced with the Amiga's graphics chipset and will have its limitations on the performance. RTG cards have a totally different graphics chipset which produces the image.

You can get native output from many connectors on the Amiga: RGB port, composite port, RF port, video slot inside the big box Amigas (or with video slot enabler on some A1200 bus board expansions), directly from chip's legs from the motherboard (internal scandoublers use this, and you can even do some svideo mods by yourself like this)... and maybe some other solutions too.

Last edited by jPV; 07 April 2015 at 09:29.
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