Resolution boosting thoughts

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Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:24 am

So, I mentioned this briefly in another thread and it got me thinking. I'm thinking of adding an ISA graphics card to my system some time after I've finished my MIDI expander project. It seems like the ET4000 is the overwhelmingly most popular choice. But as far as I understand, the ET4000 maxes out at 1024x768?

This is a bit of a problem. I could probably live with 1024x768 (though higher would be nice). But where on earth do I find an LCD with a 1024x768 native resolution? And even if I do, will it accept the interlaced output from an ET4000? I'd rather not use a failing IBM-compatible CRT for productivity stuff (but 15kHz CRTs all the way for demos!)

Is there some kind of off-the-shelf scan converter which can take an interlaced 1024x768 VGA signal and pump it out in a more modern resolution framed with a border and 1:1 pixel scaling? And preferably that costs less than just getting a TT or Falcon with SuperVidel!

Funnily enough, my plasma TV has a 1024x768 native resolution. Even easier on the eyes than an LCD, I have used it as a Mac monitor before. But I don't really have space to use it as a computer monitor any more. Also I have no clue if it would even accept an interlaced VGA input.

Can the ET4000's resolution be tweaked up slightly, to support the common 1366x768 LCDs? Or does anyone know of a 1366x768 LCD which can be set to 4:3 mode giving you a 1024x768 active display?

So, what about the Mach32? I have heard there are Atari drivers, but I know much less about it than the ET4000. From my understanding, the Mach32 chip itself is capable of 1280x1024. Getting a 1280x1024 LCD is no problem at all. I don't know if it uses interlacing. But does the Atari driver allow selecting such a high resolution?

I know you can use a Radeon PCI card on the Falcon, I wonder how feasible it is to develop a MegaST to PCI adapter? Would the Falcon Radeon driver even run on an ST?

Frustratingly, the MIST supports a high resolution. It also has some decent speed. But the killer - it has no legacy ports at all. I need those for MIDI stuff. Without legacy ports I may as well use Hatari on a Raspberry Pi.

It seems like it should be pretty simple to develop a new video card for STs using a CPLD or FPGA and some SRAM? Such a PLD could also contain the necessary logic to interface a 68030 which would be handy. Or a similar related option might be an FPGA-based Atari-to-HDMI converter box that plugs into the monitor port. Not only could it sample the analogue output and upscan it to HDMI, it could use a trick similar to the Amiga high-res monitor to boost the resolution. Display each of the four quadrants of a big screen in ST high, one quadrant per retrace. Then the hardware combines the four quadrants together into a 1280x800 display. No internal soldering needed!

A better idea would be to extend the CosmosEx with some new software. VDI calls could be trapped and sent over the ACSI interface to the Raspberry Pi. The Pi then uses its powerful GPU to draw the screen using an off-the-shelf graphics library, outputting HDMI in full HD. This would probably be the fastest graphics card solution for the ST. All the needed hardware is there already - it just needs suitable software.

But I have no idea if anyone is developing any upgraded video hardware. My experience with PLDs is so far limited to schematic entry. I can solder CPLDs, but not FPGAs! I don't know enough about the internals of VDI to implement such a Raspberry Pi based solution - but I'm sure some people do. It doesn't sound like a huge amount of effort since VDI doesn't have a vast number of drawing primitives. It just needs the necessary know-how to tap into it.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:35 am

what you think of this = my friend has this going on :).

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... lFblNGeExn

I would love this for TT030 if possible

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:27 am

edingacic wrote:what you think of this = my friend has this going on :).

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipM ... lFblNGeExn


Now I'm very curious! How were the two monitors achieved? Is there a Radeon PCI card with two outputs? Can SuperVidel do it? I figure you could support two monitors if you fit a video card to a MegaST/MegaSTE/TT/Falcon, one via the video card and the other via the on-board video. But you'd need special software support for that and I'm sure it wouldn't work in Cubase. I know they've done a similar thing on the Amiga.

Come to think of it, you could probably get up to three monitors on any video card (or on-board video) by hooking one to red, one to green, and the other to blue. Then a fourth monitor on the on-board video. But again I think you'd need special software support or a fancy VDI driver. It would be pretty crazy to hang four monitors off a MegaST!

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby czietz » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:45 am

Some short comments because I'm a bit in a hurry right now:

- The ET4000's output is not interlaced. Where did you read otherwise?
- The ET4000 is limited to 1 Meg of video memory, so even if you could clock it fast enough for 1366x768, you would be limited to 16 colors then. (I will try later on my ET4000 if it would accept such a video timing.)
- There are plenty of people who use a Mach32 or Mach64 in their machines. They should be able to answer your questions about that.
- Back in the old days there was in fact a solution that combined the output of multiple frames into one giving you a higher resolution screen as you envisioned. However, of course the screen then updates much slower. (EDIT: E.g. the ODIN: https://www.maedicke.de/atari/galerie/d ... ngraka.htm)
- Not all software will run on third-party graphic cards.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:00 pm

i will get the guy that patched cubase to work on his falcon so he can answer these technical questions. I know its cracked version question is would it run on vanilla cubase with dongle and midex+ and mo4.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:04 pm

https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipN ... RDVkRudmFR

here are internal pictures of his setup

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Beetle » Sat Feb 17, 2018 3:25 pm

Edin, the album you linked is actually not my Falcon, but one i set up for an Atarian in the USA.
But my own Falcon has the same setup. The gfx card is a SuperVidel, which has a DVI-I output,
carrying both, digital and analog signal. It also has 128MB Video RAM for extraordinary resolutions.
The largest one is 2560x1440 @ 30 Hz in true color (16.7M). FullHD also will work at 60Hz.
Then there is the possibility to use a DVI-I to DVI-I/VGA cable (splitter cable) and have two
video outputs. Normally the Screen would be mirrored, but a hack makes it possible to have a
twice as large resolution and put one half on digital, the other half to analog output.
TOS does not know about that and just thinks it has a screen with up to 2048x1024 (two 4:3 1280x1024
screens) or even 3360x1050 (two 16:10 168x1050 screens) pixels of resolution.

Works in plain TOS+NVDI, with Magic or FreeMiNT. I see no problem running the new available
Geneva/NeoDesk system, too, its not yet tested, though :)

My Test install of Cubase audio (with the crack) seems to be totally happy with that.
Key feature is a native NVDI driver for SuperVidel that doesn't put a new custom VDI on top of TOS.


IMG_20180217_161200.jpg


At the moment, SuperVidel is not available (unless you find a used one for sale) but
Willy, that guy who also brought the ct60e back to life, is possibly making SV as well.
At least the permission was given by Nature brothers.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.
What Atari do you want to modify today?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:24 pm

is this possible with TT also?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby czietz » Sat Feb 17, 2018 4:50 pm

czietz wrote:- The ET4000 is limited to 1 Meg of video memory, so even if you could clock it fast enough for 1366x768, you would be limited to 16 colors then. (I will try later on my ET4000 if it would accept such a video timing.)


OK, in terms of pixel clock, it is possible to do 1368x768 @ 65 Hz with an ET4000. I can also create such a video mode in Nova VDI. However, my monitor will recognize it as 1024x768 and it thus looks very blurry. This may very well be an issue with the monitor, though, e.g. it might think that everything with 768 lines is 1024x768.

On the other hand, I can now confirm that the ET4000 is not limited to 1024x768, because I have it running in my TT right now with 1280x800, 16 colors @ 65 Hz, non-interlaced, of course. That mode is recognized correctly by my monitor.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 7:10 pm

czietz wrote:Some short comments because I'm a bit in a hurry right now:

- The ET4000's output is not interlaced. Where did you read otherwise?
- The ET4000 is limited to 1 Meg of video memory, so even if you could clock it fast enough for 1366x768, you would be limited to 16 colors then. (I will try later on my ET4000 if it would accept such a video timing.)


Interesting, I could have sworn I saw people talking about interlaced modes. Are all ET4000s equal in that regard? I know they made a few different versions over the years.

16 colours would be completely fine for music use - I could even live with monochrome.


czietz wrote:- Not all software will run on third-party graphic cards.


I've heard some people are using Cubase and a few other music programs successfully on a graphics card, but I've not been able to confirm this 100%. Naturally I'll make sure any music software I write will be graphics card compatible. AFAIK all I need to do is not make assumptions about screen size and colour depth, not try to switch framebuffers, and don't hit the framebuffer directly. I imagine line A calls are out of the question too?

Beetle wrote:Then there is the possibility to use a DVI-I to DVI-I/VGA cable (splitter cable) and have two
video outputs. Normally the Screen would be mirrored, but a hack makes it possible to have a
twice as large resolution and put one half on digital, the other half to analog output.
TOS does not know about that and just thinks it has a screen with up to 2048x1024 (two 4:3 1280x1024
screens) or even 3360x1050 (two 16:10 168x1050 screens) pixels of resolution.


Amazing! I had no idea such a trick was possible on SuperVidel! Sadly, a Falcon with SuperVidel is so hard to find and so expensive I'm not sure I'll ever own one.


Beetle wrote:Works in plain TOS+NVDI, with Magic or FreeMiNT. I see no problem running the new available
Geneva/NeoDesk system, too, its not yet tested, though :)


Does Cubase or Cubase audio run under any of the multitasking systems? I've never got around to experimenting with them.


edingacic wrote:is this possible with TT also?


I'm not 100% sure, but I don't think there's any way of attaching SuperVidel to the TT. I suppose it could be done in theory, but I haven't heard of anyone doing it yet.

What you could do in theory is fit a graphics card and then drive three monitors from R, G and B with a simple splitter cable. But to do that is going to require someone much more knowledgeable than me to make the necessary modifications to the VDI driver. You'd need to fool it into thinking the desktop is three times wider, and then drawing each third of the screen on each channel. Using a 16 colour mode would give you monochrome on each monitor, and a 256 colour mode would give you four grey levels on each monitor.

Now assuming I succeed in making my own sequencer - what I could do is easily add support for such a three monitor mode into the program itself. That won't help you run other TOS programs, but at least the sequencer will run on three monitors. But that assumes anyone is crazy enough to want to use my sequencer instead of Cubase!

What I'm not sure about is how on earth I'd lay the interface out with three monitors. I was going to go with a single-window design with different panes, so you can split the screen vertically to view several tracks simultaneously. Adding more width to that wouldn't necessarily help much, what you need is more height (and I reckon few people are willing to try and stack multiple monitors vertically). I don't think splitting horizontally only would be very good - trying to view two tracks in a piano roll / grid view side-by-side on a single monitor doesn't give you enough width to see a decent number of bars. You also wouldn't be able to line them up vertically to see what notes are playing together.

So I guess I'd need to add a special mode which splits both horizontally and vertically. Perhaps there could simply be three instances of the sequencer main screen, one on each monitor. Then you can choose which tracks to view independently on each screen. The other option is just to have a free-moving window interface like Cubase uses, but it can be more difficult to use (you spend so much time moving and resizing windows). The interface I have in mind makes it as easy as possible to flip between tracks and the arrangement view just by clicking the track names/numbers down the side of the screen.


czietz wrote:OK, in terms of pixel clock, it is possible to do 1368x768 @ 65 Hz with an ET4000. I can also create such a video mode in Nova VDI. However, my monitor will recognize it as 1024x768 and it thus looks very blurry. This may very well be an issue with the monitor, though, e.g. it might think that everything with 768 lines is 1024x768.

On the other hand, I can now confirm that the ET4000 is not limited to 1024x768, because I have it running in my TT right now with 1280x800, 16 colors @ 65 Hz, non-interlaced, of course. That mode is recognized correctly by my monitor.


Thanks for doing the tests! This is good news, I think I already have a 1366x768 LCD somewhere, and they're certainly easier to find than 1024x768 LCDs. Are all the timings and pixel clock completely programmable through Nova VDI?

What resolution do you usually use? I assume you have a monitor with a suitable native resolution?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby czietz » Sat Feb 17, 2018 8:21 pm

Foxie wrote:Interesting, I could have sworn I saw people talking about interlaced modes. Are all ET4000s equal in that regard? I know they made a few different versions over the years.


There is the ET4000 and the newer ET4000W32. Both support progressive (i.e. non-interlaced) 1024x768 and above.

Foxie wrote: I imagine line A calls are out of the question too?


Depends whether the VDI in question emulates them. Nova VDI does.

Foxie wrote:Thanks for doing the tests! This is good news, I think I already have a 1366x768 LCD somewhere, and they're certainly easier to find than 1024x768 LCDs. Are all the timings and pixel clock completely programmable through Nova VDI?

What resolution do you usually use? I assume you have a monitor with a suitable native resolution?


The Nova VDI comes with a Video Mode Generator that allows for very flexible configuration of the timing. You are of course restricted by the available video memory (1 MB for the ET4000, maybe more for the ET4000W32) and by the pixel clocks supported by the clock generator and the RAMDAC on the card. That's where ET4000-based graphic cards differ.

Generally, I use 1024x768 with 256 colors, or 800x600 with 32k colors when some app requires high-color. My TT w/ Nova is more a less a test machine for development of hardware addons. I don't mind at all that my monitor upscales the picture, hence I didn't spend any time looking for monitors with matching native resolution.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby joska » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:33 pm

czietz wrote:- The ET4000's output is not interlaced. Where did you read otherwise?


ET4000 also supports interlace. I remember using interlace to get decent resolutions in 16-bit with Crazy Dots in my old TT.
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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:35 pm

czietz wrote:The Nova VDI comes with a Video Mode Generator that allows for very flexible configuration of the timing. You are of course restricted by the available video memory (1 MB for the ET4000, maybe more for the ET4000W32) and by the pixel clocks supported by the clock generator and the RAMDAC on the card. That's where ET4000-based graphic cards differ.


Oh, so not all ET4000 cards have a RAMDAC capable of the same frequency? Is there a list anywhere of recommended cards with their maximum supported frequencies? Or is it a matter of looking up datasheets for the RAMDACs?

Maybe it's a safer bet to find a W32 card, being newer I would guess the RAMDAC would be faster?

I suppose the acceleration features built into the W32 aren't supported in Nova VDI? If not, I suppose one way of boosting performance could be to try and interface a VLB card to an accelerated Atari. I'd need to do some serious reading up about the 486 bus timings though! Though if the same chip is used on ISA and VLB cards, it might be possible to crank the ISA timings up. I think the Mach32 also has acceleration, but I've never heard of anybody talking about it on the Atari.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby arf » Sat Feb 17, 2018 11:10 pm

Foxie wrote: But as far as I understand, the ET4000 maxes out at 1024x768?


Yes: https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_t ... 0_11230195

Foxie wrote:This is a bit of a problem. I could probably live with 1024x768 (though higher would be nice). But where on earth do I find an LCD with a 1024x768 native resolution?


Eizo L365 and many other 15" LCDs of that time do 1024x768 natively. The ET4000 can do it non-interlaced.

Foxie wrote:So, what about the Mach32? I have heard there are Atari drivers, but I know much less about it than the ET4000. From my understanding, the Mach32 chip itself is capable of 1280x1024. Getting a 1280x1024 LCD is no problem at all. I don't know if it uses interlacing. But does the Atari driver allow selecting such a high resolution?


Yes.

Foxie wrote:Frustratingly, the MIST supports a high resolution. It also has some decent speed. But the killer - it has no legacy ports at all. I need those for MIDI stuff. Without legacy ports I may as well use Hatari on a Raspberry Pi.


"no at all" isn’t true, there are Joystick and optional MIDI ports.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:47 am



This seems to suggest the maximum pixel clock is 65MHz, so how is 1366x768 possible? (85MHz pixel clock?) Is it just a matter of taking it out of specification on cards which allow that? I assume the clock generator must be separate and completely programmable if that's possible.

arf wrote:"no at all" isn’t true, there are Joystick and optional MIDI ports.


By legacy ports I meant the cartridge, printer and modem ports - those are critical for music use. The cartridge port especially - since it's home to not only MIDI expanders, but essential dongles too. That's why various hardware expansions that plug into the cartridge port aren't very useful for musicians.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby czietz » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:11 am

arf wrote:
Foxie wrote: But as far as I understand, the ET4000 maxes out at 1024x768?


Yes: https://archive.org/details/bitsavers_t ... 0_11230195


Well, no, as I have written above: it runs e.g. 1280x800 quite nicely.

Foxie wrote:This seems to suggest the maximum pixel clock is 65MHz, so how is 1366x768 possible? (85MHz pixel clock?) Is it just a matter of taking it out of specification on cards which allow that? I assume the clock generator must be separate and completely programmable if that's possible.


I must be lucky that the makers of the graphic card I use didn't read that. :wink: My card has a 90 MHz RAMDAC, a 90 MHz clock generator and memory speed to match this. If you look further into the datasheet, you'll see that in fact the ET4000 is specified up to a MCLK (= PCLK = pixel clock) frequency of 84 MHz. So even 90 MHz is only slightly overclocking it.

Foxie wrote:Oh, so not all ET4000 cards have a RAMDAC capable of the same frequency? Is there a list anywhere of recommended cards with their maximum supported frequencies? Or is it a matter of looking up datasheets for the RAMDACs?


You have to lookup the RAMDAC (and clock gen) anyway, because not all of them are supported by the Nova drivers. To give you an idea: I have four ET4000 cards. TwoThree work, one doesn't at all. One works but behaves erratically. So careful selection of the card is needed, anyway.
I don't know of a list of supported cards though. (EDIT: There are some pictures of cards on the Nova drivers page, https://silicon-heaven.org/atari/nova/, but they won't tell you the maximum pixel clock.)

Foxie wrote:Maybe it's a safer bet to find a W32 card, being newer I would guess the RAMDAC would be faster?


I also have one ET4000W32 card; didn't get that to work at all. Maybe the card is broken, maybe it's not supported by the driver...

Foxie wrote:I suppose the acceleration features built into the W32 aren't supported in Nova VDI? If not, I suppose one way of boosting performance could be to try and interface a VLB card to an accelerated Atari. I'd need to do some serious reading up about the 486 bus timings though! Though if the same chip is used on ISA and VLB cards, it might be possible to crank the ISA timings up. I think the Mach32 also has acceleration, but I've never heard of anybody talking about it on the Atari.


As far as I know -- but I might be wrong here -- the W32's additional capabilities are indeed not used by the driver. However, I think that some of the Mach's acceleration is in fact used by Nova VDI. Maybe someone with a Mach32 or Mach64 can help you here?
Last edited by czietz on Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby frank.lukas » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:23 am

A ET4000/W32 must be a W32i ...

Idek has one that work with a Plus_2 GAL. I have the same card but an other rev and it do not work. Also other two cards will not work.

The W32 cards can have a 110Mhz RamDAC and 2MB Videoram.

-> http://www.microlabs.com
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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:36 pm

czietz wrote:You have to lookup the RAMDAC (and clock gen) anyway, because not all of them are supported by the Nova drivers. To give you an idea: I have four ET4000 cards. TwoThree work, one doesn't at all. One works but behaves erratically. So careful selection of the card is needed, anyway.
I don't know of a list of supported cards though. (EDIT: There are some pictures of cards on the Nova drivers page, https://silicon-heaven.org/atari/nova/, but they won't tell you the maximum pixel clock.)


This looks like it's going to be more difficult than I first thought! I suppose the Mach32 has the same issue with different variations of the card? I'd certainly prefer to have some kind of acceleration.

I'd have thought someone would have done some comparison benchmarks between the Mach32 and ET4000, but I've been looking for about an hour and I just can't find any trace of anything at all. I saw one screenshot of a benchmark running on an ET4000, but nothing for the Mach32 to compare to. The ET4000 was a bit quicker than standard VDI with the Atari video output, but not an enormous difference. A faster processor would still be needed to get a really responsive interface.

I must say, I'm a bit surprised only one other person seemed interested in the idea of using the CosmosEx as an accelerated graphics card. It seems the obvious solution really, considering all the hardware exists. Is there some hidden complexity to redirecting the VDI commands out the ACSI port that I'm not aware of?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby joska » Sun Feb 18, 2018 10:49 pm

czietz wrote:However, I think that some of the Mach's acceleration is in fact used by Nova VDI. Maybe someone with a Mach32 or Mach64 can help you here?


Correct, Nova Mach32/64 driver use hardware acceleration. The ATI-cards are a *lot* faster than ET4000.
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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sun Feb 18, 2018 11:24 pm

we really need some modern gfx interfaces that will be fast and cheap. i am also surprised that there is little interest in this. I would love a two monitor solution for my TT030 running Cubase or your future midi sequencer.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Mon Feb 19, 2018 12:06 am

edingacic wrote:we really need some modern gfx interfaces that will be fast and cheap. i am also surprised that there is little interest in this. I would love a two monitor solution for my TT030 running Cubase or your future midi sequencer.


It's frustrating, because I know there are people out there who have the knowledge and skills to do the necessary VDI mods in their sleep! The simplest hack would be to support three monochrome monitors on the R/G/B outputs, it should be so easy to do for someone who knows about VDI. But I guess those people have other priorities right now, or don't realise there's demand for high resolution monochrome displays. A lot of people seem to connect the idea of graphics cards with boosting the number of colours, but for a lot of productivity users that's unnecessary.


joska wrote:Correct, Nova Mach32/64 driver use hardware acceleration. The ATI-cards are a *lot* faster than ET4000.


I guess a Mach32/64 will be my go-to option then, if nothing gets off the ground with the CosmosEx. Are there any compatibility pitfalls to watch out for with card selection?

I also wonder if the Mach32/64 acceleration will work if interrupts are turned off (or perhaps just vertical blanking enabled). A sequencer might need to play around with interrupts to meet the necessary interrupt latency requirements. The timer C handler in TOS seems to be particularly slow, blocking interrupts for pretty long.

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby joska » Mon Feb 19, 2018 9:06 am

Foxie wrote:The simplest hack would be to support three monochrome monitors on the R/G/B outputs, it should be so easy to do for someone who knows about VDI.


While this would be possible, it would be far from easy.

There are two ways to do this with ET4000:

1. Use it's bitplane mode. However, that would limit resolution to something like max 800x600 on each monitor, as each bitplane is only 64Kb.
2. Use 8/16 bits modes. Would work with any resolution supported by the card, but would also be very slow as each pixel written would require a read, logic operation and then write.

And this won't be easy, as every function that writes a primitive to the screen would have to be rewritten.

Foxie wrote:I also wonder if the Mach32/64 acceleration will work if interrupts are turned off (or perhaps just vertical blanking enabled). A sequencer might need to play around with interrupts to meet the necessary interrupt latency requirements.


It is completely self contained and does not need any interrupts.
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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:30 pm

I have been trying for long to find out what is the best solution for TT030 and Cubase to run highest possible resolution in monochrome is totally fine and if there is a solution for dual screen mode? Problem is no one knows how would these gfx cards work with CuBase. I would also love if somone makes a FPGA clone with legacy ports so we can run CuBase and other MIDI programs with good timings on new hardware .... because as we all know PC and MACs today don't have a solution for MIDI sequencing that actually works. To be honest I can live with my TT030 and TT195 monitor but would love to have even more space on screen and faster scrolling if possible. I don't know if the scrolling on the screen is limited to CPU speed or Graphics redraw maybe someone can answer this?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby Foxie » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:31 pm

joska wrote:1. Use it's bitplane mode. However, that would limit resolution to something like max 800x600 on each monitor, as each bitplane is only 64Kb.
2. Use 8/16 bits modes. Would work with any resolution supported by the card, but would also be very slow as each pixel written would require a read, logic operation and then write.


I was thinking along the lines of the logical operation idea. Wouldn't it be possible to write a "shim" that goes between the OS and the underlying drawing routines? I thought perhaps it could force every drawing operation to be done with logic OR or AND enabled. It will slow it down a fair bit but hopefully something like the Mach32's acceleration will offset this.

From my fuzzy memory of the DOS days, some video cards allowed the non-standard configuration of a 128KB window by using both A0000 and B0000. I don't know if the ET4000 or Mach32/64 are among such cards, but if so it would allow a much better 1366x767 resolution in bitplane mode.


edingacic wrote:I have been trying for long to find out what is the best solution for TT030 and Cubase to run highest possible resolution in monochrome is totally fine and if there is a solution for dual screen mode?


I think there's a chance the Mach32/64 could be configured for 1920x1080i which would be a useful resolution boost. The pixel clock is acceptable, the only question is whether the Mach32/64 timing registers allow the full 1920 pixels to be selected.

If the monitor won't accept an interlaced input at 1920x1080, you could use a TV instead and feed it into the component Y input (need some simple circuitry to inject the sync). The good thing about LCDs is you can use an interlaced signal without any flicker.

Whether the Mach32/64 would work with Cubase, I'm not certain. I've heard mixed reports about the ET4000, it works for some people and not others. Probably depends on the driver used and other variables like NVDI. Cubase doesn't seem to be very well written, that's for sure - it's quite easy to trip up if any of the assumptions the programmers made about the hardware are wrong. Master Tracks Pro is much more cleanly written and will work at any resolution, but unfortunately the grid/piano roll editor seems nearly useless compared to Cubase.

edingacic wrote:I don't know if the scrolling on the screen is limited to CPU speed or Graphics redraw maybe someone can answer this?


Not owning a TT, I'm not entirely sure. It feels pretty quick in Hatari at 32MHz, but I think Hatari emulates a 32MHz bus which is probably faster than the TT bus. If the bottleneck is actually drawing to the screen (and assuming Cubase uses VDI), a Mach32/64 would probably provide a decent performance boost. If Cubase is spending lots of time "thinking" about what to draw, then you'll need a faster processor instead. Do you have any fast RAM fitted?

Speaking of scrolling, it would be nice to have scroll wheel support! Has anyone implemented it, I wonder? Not sure if it would work with Cubase because it doesn't seem to use much of GEM. I don't think Cubase has any way of scrolling windows using the keyboard?

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Re: Resolution boosting thoughts

Postby edingacic » Sat Feb 24, 2018 3:30 pm

Not owning a TT, I'm not entirely sure. It feels pretty quick in Hatari at 32MHz, but I think Hatari emulates a 32MHz bus which is probably faster than the TT bus. If the bottleneck is actually drawing to the screen (and assuming Cubase uses VDI), a Mach32/64 would probably provide a decent performance boost. If Cubase is spending lots of time "thinking" about what to draw, then you'll need a faster processor instead. Do you have any fast RAM fitted?

Speaking of scrolling, it would be nice to have scroll wheel support! Has anyone implemented it, I wonder? Not sure if it would work with Cubase because it doesn't seem to use much of GEM. I don't think Cubase has any way of scrolling windows using the keyboard?


It is really fast but I am going all in with a lot of sequences tracks and showing all events on the tracks with names and notes. For example when you have like 20+ tracks with many events drawn on the tracks with names and so on and you zoom in the arrange windows using hotkeys G and H and Shift G,H you can zoom in and out and vertical horizontal. This is all about display performance and graphics. So when its zoomed in and you hit play the play locator is smooth as butter but when it reaches the edge of the screen where it has to scroll once to draw new parts that are not displayed there is a little lag in that redrawing. When i turn off the display of notes and names then its two times faster. It is something really small and its not like its a show stopper but I would love to speed this thing. One more thing is that scrolling backwards is usually slower then going forward on the timeline.

I have 4 megs of ST and 4 megs of TT ram running NVIDI 5.03. I heard that some older version is better for cubase so I am going to try to find some older NVIDI and run the test.

It would be really cool if someone implements a new CPU booster for TT030 it seems it never gets the love it deserves in boosting it.

You can scroll windows using keyboard shortcuts the ( , ) keys will let you do that and holding shif+( or ) let you speed the scrolling. There is a option not to follow certain events so it can be optimized to be a bit faster. It is actually really fast i am just saying when you zoom in all the way pretty close and it has to redraw every few seconds.


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