VOGONS


First post, by Ozzuneoj

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

What an odd one this is! I've posted about this in a few places, but now that I've got the card I feel like I should make a thread for it. What makes it interesting, to me, is that it's certainly one of the latest ISA VGA cards sold, and likely one of the latest ISA TIGA cards as well. Since the posts about this card are scattered all over vogons, I'm just going to quote and paste them here in order rather than try to summarize all of them. Thank you PC Hoarder Patrol for your help with this card. 😀

20210218_111954.jpg
Filename
20210218_111954.jpg
File size
1.65 MiB
Views
181 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
20210219_210730.jpg
Filename
20210219_210730.jpg
File size
1.86 MiB
Views
181 views
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Ozzuneoj wrote on 2021-02-12, 05:06:
It is a Salient Systems AT3000. It has a Sierra Falcon 64 (only ever seen on PCI cards EDIT: And VLB apparently!), coupled with […]
Show full quote

It is a Salient Systems AT3000. It has a Sierra Falcon 64 (only ever seen on PCI cards EDIT: And VLB apparently!), coupled with a 175Mhz Ti DAC... and a TMS34020APCM (marked 340x) TIGA processor, on an ISA card with two video outputs.

The only mention I can find of the card is a single line in a .doc file here: http://bigbro.biophys.cornell.edu/internal_in … are_Catalog.doc

Salient Systems Corporation			AT3000 TIGA drivers v2.20.2.30 (8/9/96)

Seller says it came from an ADE CR8X system, which Google tells me is a "Wafer Inspection System" from 2002! (Not text searchable, but it is mentioned near the bottom of the 13th page of the PDF).

PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-02-12, 06:23:

There are some pics / BIOS dumps? on bitsavers

http://ww.bitsavers.org/pdf/salient/at3000/

A search for AT3000 + Salient links to a number of science / research articles, some of which mention it's use in PC-based systems

Ozzuneoj wrote on 2021-02-12, 06:35:

Those pictures are amazingly clear! Looks like it has 4MB of VRAM for the TIGA and 1MB of FPM for the Falcon 64. Both look to have room for more memory... though there's probably little practical use for an ISA card with 2MB of VRAM and a 10MB TIGA.

PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-02-12, 06:57:
Yours appears to be the AT3000 Rev D (Sierra Falcon 64 on-board VGA) whereas the previous versions used the CL-5429 instead […]
Show full quote

Yours appears to be the AT3000 Rev D (Sierra Falcon 64 on-board VGA) whereas the previous versions used the CL-5429 instead

https://web.archive.org/web/20000609114056/ht … 80/at3000d.html

They mention drivers, but can't find any trace 🙁

https://web.archive.org/web/19980624150340/ht … com/driver.html

Ozzuneoj wrote on 2021-02-12, 07:07:
I'm hopeful that the Falcon 64 makes this a fairly decent card. Compatibility for that chip seems decent based on what I found, […]
Show full quote

I'm hopeful that the Falcon 64 makes this a fairly decent card. Compatibility for that chip seems decent based on what I found, and unless there is some issue with the implementation on this card, the performance is probably among the best on ISA, simply because it's a much newer chip.

I've tried a few of the usual sites\archives looking for files or directories including at3000 but haven't come up with anything.

EDIT: Found a post from 2007 referring to a usenet post from 1995 that mentions the card...
https://tech.slashdot.org/story/07/01/09/2011 … ll-on-pc-gaming
Salient says it can take 10MB. 😁

PC Hoarder Patrol wrote on 2021-02-12, 07:21:

Hope you didn't pay full price 😀 😀 😀

https://web.archive.org/web/19990922031537/ht … m:80/price.html

$1700 new for this model with 4MB of TIGA memory and 1MB on the Falcon64

Ozzuneoj wrote on 2021-02-19, 17:50:

This post lead me to here. Thanks Cyclone3D. 😁

I have the card now and I've tested it as best as I can with somewhat compatible Windows 95 drivers from an STB Horizon 64 PCI (also Falcon 64 based), but I could really use the original Salient drivers if anyone can find them. Supposedly there's an "at3000.zip" floating around out there in cyberspace, but I haven't been able to find it.

Windows compatibility is up in the air because I get crashes\corruption when changing resolutions in 98SE, but problems are to be expected when using a driver for a card on a different interface. Performance wise it does run surprisingly well at 1024x768 in 16color mode. Dragging windows around is quite smooth (showing contents while dragging) for an ISA card in my opinion. This is on a totally overpowered PIII 850 440BX system though. Once I get an ISA VGA test bench up and running again, I think we'll get a better idea of how it compares.

Attachments

  • 20210219_210514.jpg
    Filename
    20210219_210514.jpg
    File size
    1.14 MiB
    Views
    181 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • 20210218_112018.jpg
    Filename
    20210218_112018.jpg
    File size
    1.95 MiB
    Views
    181 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • 20210218_112008.jpg
    Filename
    20210218_112008.jpg
    File size
    1.91 MiB
    Views
    181 views
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

Now for some blitting from the back buffer.

Reply 1 of 4, by pentiumspeed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Dumb frame buffer that software loads into this vast vram but with a TMS34020 engine for some graphic job which is for CAD.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 2 of 4, by Grzyb

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
pentiumspeed wrote on 2021-02-21, 20:10:

Dumb frame buffer

Falcon64 isn't a dumb frame buffer - it's a 64-bit accelerator, made in the PCI era.
Should be very fast by ISA standards.

Reply 3 of 4, by pentiumspeed

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Not really. The TMS34020 is made for accelerating basic vectors and raster images to allow it to draw complex graphics example for CAD designs being worked on. It can be used on windows 3.x but other than that very limited support. And it is hard, low level programmed using assembler or C to make the calls.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TMS34010, it does mention about the '020.

Note this arcade "Revolution X" how the motions is limited, example the wheels is repeated 2 places back and forth etc. This is based on TMS34020 processor for images.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE9k2ED2aw8

Compare this even the TNT 2 and later graphics was drawn and accelerated the 3D differently.

Cheers,

Great Northern aka Canada.

Reply 4 of 4, by Grzyb

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Neither Falcon64 nor TMS34020 can be called "dumb frame buffer".

As already stated, the former is a typical GUI accelerator, supporting a bunch of fixed functions, like BitBlT.
The latter is a coprocessor.

It's a strange card, indeed.
TMS34020 was a powerful chip for its time - ie. before VLB.
Falcon64, however, is a product of the PCI era - safe bet much faster than TMS34020, even though not as flexible.
So, what's the point of adding the TMS34020 ?
I guess that card was made for some niche application designed especially for TIGA, which proved to be too complex to quickly port it to generic graphics cards.

Also, comparing TMS34020 (1988) with TNT2 (1999) doesn't make sense.