VOGONS


A 286 computer, is it totally useless?

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Reply 180 of 229, by Scali

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appiah4 wrote:

Interesting. Did Voodoo use any kind of texture compression? If not, I guess the raw screen buffer would have to fit in Voodoo's memory? What kind of resolution limitations did that imply, I wonder.. Could it handle DVD quality video?

It's called VooDooMovie, and can be found here: http://falconfly.3dfx.pl/tools.htm
It was written by a former colleague of mine.
There is 'texture compression' in that it can use tiles with 8-bit palette. So there's only 256 colours per tile.

This program is an addon for microsofts direct show (formerly known as active movie). It replaces the original video renderer. T […]
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This program is an addon for microsofts direct show (formerly known as
active movie). It replaces the original video renderer. The video
renderer is a part of the direct show system and is responsible of
showing the frames of a movie on the screen in a window. When
VooDooMovie is enabled it will do the job instead. It shows the frames
stretched fullscreen on your 3d card. The software doesn't have to
stretch the frames anymore and the 3d card uses the bilinear filtering
to make the movie look better. If you have a tv output you can even show
the video on the tv. Because this program only replaces the video part
the rest will be processed by the default parts. You can still use the
standard microsoft media player or active movie player to play your
movies.

Last edited by Scali on 2019-12-12, 11:21. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 181 of 229, by HanJammer

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Grzyb is right - Voodoo is just for the games.

You guys clearly don't see the difference between niche, experimental software which shows how the tech can be used (tech demos) and mainstream applications people actually use the tech for. And in case of the 3dfx products this mainstream applications are - exclusively - the games.

Check out my AmiBay and eBay for ISA and PCI card, 286/386/486 Pentium motherboards and more.

Reply 182 of 229, by Scali

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HanJammer wrote:

Grzyb is right - Voodoo is just for the games.

I think you're turning the argument around though.
It was not about VooDoo, it was about the Amiga's custom hardware. And in the case of the Amiga, the argument certainly holds: the custom chips were not *only* used for graphics.
The blitter was also used to encode/decode MFM data for floppy access, and it was often used to move memory around, or to initialize memory to a certain value.

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Reply 183 of 229, by Grzyb

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appiah4 wrote:

What kind of resolution limitations did that imply, I wonder.. Could it handle DVD quality video?

Voodoo 1 supports 800x600, DVD-Video - 720×576, so probably no problem here.
But... Voodoo 1 only supports 16-bpp, and I think DVD-Video works best at 24-bpp.

Anyway, it all doesn't make sense.
In the Voodoo era, even the cheapest S3 Trio64V+ did support video scaling, as well as YUV->RGB colorspace conversion.

Scali wrote:

And in the case of the Amiga, the argument certainly holds: the custom chips were not *only* used for graphics.
The blitter was also used to encode/decode MFM data for floppy access, and it was often used to move memory around, or to initialize memory to a certain value.

OK, but was that useful for anything other than games/demos?

My point is: in games, that poor 7 MHz CPU was heavily aided by the custom chips, so they run the same (or better) as on a PC with a much faster CPU.
Was that also true for databases, spreadsheets, photo editing, CAD, raytracing, and other applications?

Reply 184 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
OK, but was that useful for anything other than games/demos? […]
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Scali wrote:

And in the case of the Amiga, the argument certainly holds: the custom chips were not *only* used for graphics.
The blitter was also used to encode/decode MFM data for floppy access, and it was often used to move memory around, or to initialize memory to a certain value.

OK, but was that useful for anything other than games/demos?

My point is: in games, that poor 7 MHz CPU was heavily aided by the custom chips, so they run the same (or better) as on a PC with a much faster CPU.
Was that also true for databases, spreadsheets, photo editing, CAD, raytracing, and other applications?

Well... That is how the machine works. You could let the hardware do what it was designed to do, or make something software layer. Like.... You were not forbidden to program something, that used a software layer to do a task, that was already working in the hardware natively. Of course you had to be a good programmer, and second, there is no point in doing it.

I think you can look at it in a different way. Back in the 1980's, you had IDE right? It relied heavy on CPU power for writing and reading. As compared to SCSI back then, that had it's own CPU, that took over in order to free up the CPU. Right? At least that was how IDE versus SCSI was explained in the late 1980's and well into the 1990's.

So... Using that terminology on a complete platform/architecture. Then the PC was IDE and the Amiga was SCSI. And that explains why PC was not used for everything professional and work related. The right tool for the job. In some segments, the PC were better, and other it was the Amiga.

EDIT:
Like... My parents had this 286 that they bought in late 1987 or early 1988. 640k Ram, EGA GFX, 20mb MFM HDD and 3.5 inch 1.44 mb Floppy. And we all used it for text editing (and games). We used Word perfect and the last version we got, was version 5.0 or 5.1. Looking at the Amiga, there were a version of Word perfect released as well. Same user interface, just less features. Yet still the right number of features, that was needed for home use. The problem was not that it had lesser features. And the problem was indeed not the user interface, as they worked/operated in the exact same way. Nope... The problem was, that these two hardware platforms had trouble with crossover file sharing. You were able to mount a 720k Dos floppy in an Amiga at that time, yet you were out of luck, if the disk was formatted on an amiga in 880kb Fast File system. And you still are today. So people just chose the PC platform instead, as there were more versions of Word Perfect for the PC. Just one example of work related stuff, that were a plus for the PC. Yet that is a software related talk and not hardware.

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Reply 185 of 229, by Errius

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I think the Orem people complained about rampant piracy on the platform? That's apparently why they didn't release more versions for the Amiga.

“Your mission is to attack and destroy the Apple Computer manufacturing plant. You are allotted 35 bombs and 60 lasers."

Reply 186 of 229, by Scali

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Grzyb wrote:

OK, but was that useful for anything other than games/demos?

As I say, Commodore used the blitter to encode/decode MFM, so every floppy access uses the blitter.
Clearly that is 'useful'.
And yea, memset() and memcpy() could also be done with the blitter instead of the CPU, which any program will benefit from, especially business software dealing with large amounts of data.

Grzyb wrote:

Was that also true for databases, spreadsheets, photo editing, CAD, raytracing, and other applications?

For some of them, certainly. Photo editing (or well, in the days of the Amiga, we didn't have photorealistic images yet) was very popular on the Amiga. Electronic Arts' Deluxe Paint was like the PhotoShop of the 16-bit era, and many artists used Deluxe Paint even to draw artwork for other platforms. It was just that good.
DPaint made excellent use of the Amiga's hardware, allowing you to paint with custom brushes etc (which were blitter objects).

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Reply 187 of 229, by Grzyb

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Edit: in response to brostenen's post, of course.

Sure, I know about offloading stuff from the CPU to specialized chips.
But in Amiga, obviously it wasn't enough for efficient work with real-world applications.

You mention a word processor - which doesn't need a lot of processing power.
But what about all those heavy applications I mentioned earlier?

There must have been some reason why people did choose expensive PCs for real work.
Any why those few who did it on Amigas purchased all those accelerator things with faster CPUs.

Reply 188 of 229, by Scali

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Grzyb wrote:

Sure, I know about offloading stuff from the CPU to specialized chips.
But in Amiga, obviously it wasn't enough for efficient work with real-world applications.

I don't think you can make that argument, really.
When the Amiga was originally introduced in 1985, it certainly outperformed Macs and pretty much every PC, except perhaps for the early 386 at 16 MHz (but even then only barely). Which is no surprise given the difference in price.

The Amiga was never positioned to be a high-end, high-performance workstation. So comparing it to PCs which essentially are, doesn't make a lot of sense.
The fact that the machine is based around a CPU from 1979 should be an obvious clue.

Grzyb wrote:

You mention a word processor

I didn't mention any word processor.

Grzyb wrote:

But what about all those heavy applications I mentioned earlier?

As I said, if memory needs to be moved around a lot (such as in a paint program), the blitter gives you extra performance.

Grzyb wrote:

There must have been some reason why people did choose expensive PCs for real work.

Because of different market segments.
By the time the Amiga came to market, PC was already established as a workhorse.
The Amiga never got its 'killer app' like WordPerfect, dBase, Lotus 1-2-3 etc.
It's the apps that drive the choice for most business users. If the question is: "What machine runs Lotus 1-2-3 best?", the answer is: the fastest PC you can afford. Because the application simply wasn't available on other platforms to begin with.

The Amiga's 'killer app' could be the VideoToaster by NewTek. It was successful in that niche, and people bought expensive souped-up Amigas for that market.
Had there been more 'killer apps', then the whole Amiga landscape could have looked different. Commodore may have focused more on high-end models, offer more variations with faster CPUs, more memory etc. There may have been more add-on boards... Basically what happened to the PC world.

Grzyb wrote:

Any why those few who did it on Amigas purchased all those accelerator things with faster CPUs.

Aren't all PCs essentially based on 'accelerator things with faster CPUs'?
I mean, a real PC is the IBM PC 5150, which runs on an 8088 at 4.77 MHz.
Why does nobody use those for business applications?

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Reply 189 of 229, by Grzyb

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Scali wrote:

The Amiga was never positioned to be a high-end, high-performance workstation. So comparing it to PCs which essentially are, doesn't make a lot of sense.

OK, so we do agree.
It's brostenen who I can't agree with:

brostenen wrote:
Grzyb wrote:

I consider 1992 as the turning point - primarily because of Wolfenstein 3D, and Links Pro was also pretty important.
These were where Amiga finally failed.

True if we are talking games only. On other points, the Amiga were still ahead of the PC.

Reply 190 of 229, by Scali

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Grzyb wrote:

It's brostenen who I can't agree with:

Not sure what he refers to specifically, but he does have a point.
The Amiga came with a pre-emptive multitasking OS with a GUI since 1985. It also had various advanced features for its time, such as using hardware abstraction and dynamic link libraries.
This sort of technology didn't become mainstream on the PC until 1995.

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Reply 191 of 229, by the3dfxdude

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Scali wrote:

Aren't all PCs essentially based on 'accelerator things with faster CPUs'?
I mean, a real PC is the IBM PC 5150, which runs on an 8088 at 4.77 MHz.
Why does nobody use those for business applications?

Actually, the 5150 was hugely popular for business. At least until the souped version of the PC came out with the 286 processor -- this thing could address up to 16MB directly and had a 16-bit system bus, and at least twice as fast. Pretty useful. Everyone should get one of these.

*NOTE: Just using a little humor here based on the topic discussion. I like all types of computers for what they do. No, you don't have to buy a 286.

Reply 192 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
Edit: in response to brostenen's post, of course. […]
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Edit: in response to brostenen's post, of course.

Sure, I know about offloading stuff from the CPU to specialized chips.
But in Amiga, obviously it wasn't enough for efficient work with real-world applications.

You mention a word processor - which doesn't need a lot of processing power.
But what about all those heavy applications I mentioned earlier?

There must have been some reason why people did choose expensive PCs for real work.
Any why those few who did it on Amigas purchased all those accelerator things with faster CPUs.

There are some talks in the different Amiga documentations out there, about why the Amiga failed on Cad/Cam and other heavy business stuff. One of them being the fact that many file type technologies, were heavily patented back then. Like, those with key patents blocked the use on specific platforms. Like if you had a patent for something that were Dos based, you simply only alowed that file type on PC and sometimes on Mac as an exclusive thing.

Another is, that even though Sun expressed extreme interest in using Unix Amiga's in their lineup, just in another form. Then Commodore were like ducebags, and said no to SUN in the end or was it Sun that gave up because of Commodores slow reaction time. Anyway. Sun wanted to sell machines, based on the Amiga hardware design, instead of their own produced hardware at that time. It was that well designed.

The reason for accelerator cards, are naturally to get something faster. Just as in the PC world. Instead of buying a new machine, when you move from one CPU generation to the next, you simply bought an accelerator. It is just the way things are done in the Amiga world. Just think of it, as these ISA slot CPU upgrade boards that "turns" a 286 into a 386. Or an overdrive CPU with extra stuff like IDE controller and RAM or BIOS selector on it. There is nothing magical about it. Just a different aproach to upgrading.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 193 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
OK, so we do agree. It's brostenen who I can't agree with: […]
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Scali wrote:

The Amiga was never positioned to be a high-end, high-performance workstation. So comparing it to PCs which essentially are, doesn't make a lot of sense.

OK, so we do agree.
It's brostenen who I can't agree with:

brostenen wrote:
Grzyb wrote:

I consider 1992 as the turning point - primarily because of Wolfenstein 3D, and Links Pro was also pretty important.
These were where Amiga finally failed.

True if we are talking games only. On other points, the Amiga were still ahead of the PC.

I know you can not agree with me. All I say is that obsolete for games, does not make a complete platform obsolete. To me it would be the same as someone tell me, that I need to buy a new computer for work, just because it can not run that brand new game that was released the other day.

First we need to agree on what degree of obsolete we are talking about. And I have a feeling that you have not understood that point.

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Reply 194 of 229, by Grzyb

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brostenen wrote:

First we need to agree on what degree of obsolete we are talking about.

Heh, "obsolete" is indeed pretty ambiguous, so I don't want to use this word here.
What I mean is: inadequate for major contemporary software, for the stuff that was mass-sold at given time.

In 1991, the #1 game was Lemmings - originally for Amiga, and I think slightly better.
In 1992, the #1 game was Wolfenstein...

When it comes to #1 applications... if Amiga was ever adequate for them, it ended long before 1992.

Reply 195 of 229, by Grzyb

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brostenen wrote:

Another is, that even though Sun expressed extreme interest in using Unix Amiga's in their lineup, just in another form. Then Commodore were like ducebags, and said no to SUN in the end or was it Sun that gave up because of Commodores slow reaction time. Anyway. Sun wanted to sell machines, based on the Amiga hardware design, instead of their own produced hardware at that time. It was that well designed.

I would like to read more about this - any sources?
I'm really puzzled why was Sun interested in Amiga...
It must have been in 1990, when the A3000UX was out - and Sun already dropped 68K in 1987, with very good results, late 80s/early 90s was the golden era of RISC, why would they want to go back to 68K ?

Reply 196 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
Heh, "obsolete" is indeed pretty ambiguous, so I don't want to use this word here. What I mean is: inadequate for major contempo […]
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brostenen wrote:

First we need to agree on what degree of obsolete we are talking about.

Heh, "obsolete" is indeed pretty ambiguous, so I don't want to use this word here.
What I mean is: inadequate for major contemporary software, for the stuff that was mass-sold at given time.

In 1991, the #1 game was Lemmings - originally for Amiga, and I think slightly better.
In 1992, the #1 game was Wolfenstein...

When it comes to #1 applications... if Amiga was ever adequate for them, it ended long before 1992.

Obsolete to me, is when a platform or computer generation is no longer the best for most jobs.
They still used the Amiga big time in the television sector and other places in 1993.
And TV was as we know, a big industry and still is.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 197 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
I would like to read more about this - any sources? I'm really puzzled why was Sun interested in Amiga... It must have been in 1 […]
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brostenen wrote:

Another is, that even though Sun expressed extreme interest in using Unix Amiga's in their lineup, just in another form. Then Commodore were like ducebags, and said no to SUN in the end or was it Sun that gave up because of Commodores slow reaction time. Anyway. Sun wanted to sell machines, based on the Amiga hardware design, instead of their own produced hardware at that time. It was that well designed.

I would like to read more about this - any sources?
I'm really puzzled why was Sun interested in Amiga...
It must have been in 1990, when the A3000UX was out - and Sun already dropped 68K in 1987, with very good results, late 80s/early 90s was the golden era of RISC, why would they want to go back to 68K ?

It was indeed during the Amiga 3000ux launch, that they had talks with Commodore. Yet there are no traces or stories out there, that supports if they had their eyes on Amiga technology or did not have their eyes on Amiga technology, during the days of the Amiga 2000 UX.

Why it went nowere? Well... One name: Mehdi Ali.

mehdi-ali-commodores-last-president.jpg

You can read more on the topic HERE under Mehdi's mistakes. Let's just say that he was universally HATED in the hardware designer and hardware engineers department of Commodore. And rightfully so. Even David Haynie foresaw the fall of Commodore around 1991.

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Those cakes make you sick....

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Reply 198 of 229, by Grzyb

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brostenen wrote:

Obsolete to me, is when a platform or computer generation is no longer the best for most jobs.
They still used the Amiga big time in the television sector and other places in 1993.
And TV was as we know, a big industry and still is.

I suspect that in this area the best was SGI.
OK, Amiga was good for simple video editing with genlock.
But for non-linear editing, you needed lots and lots of CPU power, and in that era it usually meant RISC.

Reply 199 of 229, by brostenen

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Grzyb wrote:
I suspect that in this area the best was SGI. OK, Amiga was good for simple video editing with genlock. But for non-linear editi […]
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brostenen wrote:

Obsolete to me, is when a platform or computer generation is no longer the best for most jobs.
They still used the Amiga big time in the television sector and other places in 1993.
And TV was as we know, a big industry and still is.

I suspect that in this area the best was SGI.
OK, Amiga was good for simple video editing with genlock.
But for non-linear editing, you needed lots and lots of CPU power, and in that era it usually meant RISC.

I don't know... Depends on how much you want to edit and how many special effects you want to make.
The reason SUN wanted to use Amiga technologies, was for their low end Unix systems.
For special effect's, then try and watch this video about Babylon5 from 1994.

Don't eat stuff off a 15 year old never cleaned cpu cooler.
Those cakes make you sick....

My blog: http://to9xct.blogspot.dk
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