TT Hi res in colour?

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mrbombermillzy
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TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 8:53 am

I see elsewhere on this forum, Codekiller is selling ECL to VGA adapters for the TT.

A while ago, a few of us on the C128 forums were discussing the possibility of improving the low/weird colour output of the RGBI video output.

One possibility that was discussed was the use of a CLUT/RAMDAC system.
Has someone ever tried this for the TT with a ECL to VGA adapter?

An 8-bit CLUT would be fairly doable or perhaps a 12-bit if you want the full TT colour range to be covered.

Im surprised, no one has tried this before or at least not discussed it. :shrug:

I can only suppose that VME GFX cards are probably a more straightforward upgrade.

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby Cyprian » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:51 am

mrbombermillzy wrote:Has someone ever tried this for the TT with a ECL to VGA adapter?

what do you mean? TT hardware modification or an interface between unmodified TT and VGA?
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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:58 am

Well, there seems to have been another ECL>VGA adapter made for the TT (the tenox). I was just wondering if someone with one of these (or equivalent) had tried to 'inject' colour information into the signal by adding a RAMDAC colour board.

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby frank.lukas » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:16 am

You mean something like a ODIN Graphic Adapter -> http://www.maedicke.de/atari/galerie/di ... ngraka.htm

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 10:32 am

Yes, similar. The C128 had lower dotclock (~16Mhz) so I cant see a problem speed wise, but could not a more modern (i.e. faster speed) implementation be made in a modern PLD device fairly simply for the higher (~70Khz) scan rate?

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mfro » Sun Aug 20, 2017 2:45 pm

As there is no way to increase the bandwidth, that would mean you had to send 8 TT High mono frames to get one 1280x960 256 colour frame.

You'd end up with something like 7 Hz frame rate. Sure you'd want that?

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Sun Aug 20, 2017 9:32 pm

Actually, what I was thinking about doing was perhaps a little too complex. A VME>ISA bridge with a PC GFX card would be alot less hassle! :mrgreen:

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby edingacic » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:12 pm

did you try anything?

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Sun Jul 08, 2018 6:36 pm

Not ATM.

Im tied down with looking after my newborn baby, so I have not even set up the Atari machines in their new home. However, I have been reading up on my 'shifter theory' and hope to achieve something in that direction when I do manage to let loose on the TT! :)

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby ctirad » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:39 pm

mfro wrote:As there is no way to increase the bandwidth, that would mean you had to send 8 TT High mono frames to get one 1280x960 256 colour frame. You'd end up with something like 7 Hz frame rate. Sure you'd want that?


For the desktop usage? Definitely!
Actually it will be more like 8-9fps, because of the 71.somehing refresh rate. Even for the ST, 640x400 in either 16 or 256 colors wilud be a huge improvement.

Talking pure mono, the needed hardware would be pretty simple. A small CPLD with a SRAM for the framebuffer, simple resistor output "DAC" for video output and that whole directly driven from the Hsync/Hsync and mono out signal thru a level shifter or ECL/CMOS3.3 converter.

The pallete could be either fixed (easiest way) or transmitted via dedicated scanlines, that will be masked on the device side.

For the ST/ST low and medium, it gets more complicated, because the RGB would have to be converted to the digital domain. On the other side, the device then can work also as an scan dobubler.

But the question is, who will write the software driver?

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Mon Jul 09, 2018 7:31 pm

If the resolution was made to be a bit lower this could have a fairly practical framerate along with 8bp+ colours. Anything above 320x480x8 would be good! :lol:

ctirad wrote:But the question is, who will write the software driver?


If you can design the thing, then I will volunteer to write the drivers! Hows that? :D

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby ctirad » Mon Jul 09, 2018 10:09 pm

I don't have an TT, unfortunatelly, but I'm definitely going to make expriments on the ST.
For the pure external device, the hardest part would be to sychronise the device with the (TT)SHIFTERs pixel clock and to know exact position of the first visible pixel on the line. However, the ODIN existence proves it is possible.

BTW, any ODIN users here? No driver anywehere? I'd like to analyse its output with logic analyser.

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:06 pm

@ctirad: Yeah on second read of your post I realized you were talking St/e shifter rather than the TT monochrome shifter chip.

Still, if you can do something with the ST one, it can probably be used to improve the TT!

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby ctirad » Tue Jul 10, 2018 7:25 am

I'm talking about some general solution. The TT one would need an additional ECL level shifter, more RAM for a framebuffer and much precise timing.

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby edingacic » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:13 am

it would be really really cool if someone can make TT go full HD 1080p in mono for CuBase. that would be a dream setup for me.

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby mrbombermillzy » Tue Jul 10, 2018 5:48 pm

I expect the reason no one has tried too hard to do this is....VME GFX cards. lol

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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby joska » Wed Jul 11, 2018 6:52 am

ctirad wrote:Talking pure mono, the needed hardware would be pretty simple. A small CPLD with a SRAM for the framebuffer, simple resistor output "DAC" for video output


You don't really need much more than a CLPD or FPGA and some RAM to make a proper graphics card with much better performance. E.g. for the ST you could create one with ST-compatible bitplane modes to achieve "big" resolutions with the built-in VDI or NVDI. Or a 256 colour card with a chunky mode, which would need a custom VDI but should give better performance in 256 colours than NVDI could do on stock/bitplane hardware in 16 colours.
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Re: TT Hi res in colour?

Postby ctirad » Wed Jul 11, 2018 7:06 pm

Yes, I know and it is in my TODO list for a years.
I already did a Spartan6 FPGA based 8bit Atari GTIA chip with upscaled HDMI+VGA output https://github.com/ctirad/FPGtiA . It is incomplete (no dedicated HW, just a FPGA devboard wired to the motherboard trhu 3.3V level shifters; also no PMG support), but it does work better than expected. No time to finish an interface hardware design for the ST/MEegaBUS/VME, thoug.

However, I also very like the ida of an external plug&play device, that would support modes like 800x600x16 colors or 320x240x256 color (25 fps possible, good even for games/demos!).


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