VOGONS


Reply 42 of 78, by rasz_pl

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clb wrote on 2023-07-10, 20:32:

unlike with ISA VGA cards which all have had the Feature Connector enabled at boot that we have seen, e.g. the S3 Trio 64 PCI card needs the use of a separate config program (which S3 shipped) to enable the Feature Connector bus, so it will need an autoexec.bat launcher to enable video. This means it won't get video right from the boot (or from BIOS), maybe people will want to stay away from that card. Although curiously, I have a second copy of a S3 Trio 64 PCI which did not need this config program but it has an always-on FC bus, so go figure..

sounds like video bios mod could fix it if someone really wanted to use uncooperative S3trio

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction

Reply 43 of 78, by clb

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Yeah, that's a good point. It might just be a BIOS difference on the cards.

Glancing at the S3 Trio manual, http://www.bitsavers.org/components/s3/DB018- … rator_Jul95.pdf , it reads on page "Table A-1. VGA Registers (continued)" a "Extended Sequencer 0 (SRD)" register, which has bit zero with "Enable feature connector operation". Maybe some S3 video BIOS versions have that defaulting to a different value, so swapping a BIOS might do the trick; or maybe a BIOS could be expanded to do the necessary outport command to enable bit 0 of that sub-register.

Btw, chapter 12.5 FEATURE CONNECTOR INTERFACE there has more interesting info about that particular card. There a max clock rate of 37.5 MHz is mentioned, which corroborates the information on this page https://www.epanorama.net/documents/pc/vafc.html , which also states max 37.5 MHz. So it is likely that the actual VAFC spec has had that figure. I have emailed the VESA consortium asking for them to release the obsolete VFC and VAFC standards out to the public, would be interesting to see if they might make that happen.

Reply 45 of 78, by doublebuffer

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Not sure if this helps in any way, but it seems some Eizo monitors are able to do integer scaling natively. I do not own this monitor so I cannot confirm but the manual seems to be quite clear about it. If any 4k or 2k monitors have this feature, it could upscale the image even further, without stressing the FPGA too much.

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Reply 46 of 78, by clb

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In an exciting new development, it does look like CRT Terminator will after all be able to support PCI graphics adapters as well. It turns out that PCI-SIG made VGA palette snoop part of the PCI specification itself, so practically all PCI VGA adapters will support it, although it is disabled by default on ~98% of all PCI adapters. As luck has it, snooping can be easily enabled and disabled at runtime from DOS without visiting the BIOS.

I am now writing a configuration utility, SNOOP.EXE, which can be used to enable VGA palette snooping on PCI adapters, intended to be launchable from AUTOEXEC.BAT. This will enable 8-bit palettized modes to work with CRT Terminator. The motherboard will need a free 8-bit ISA slot though.

I've opened a dedicated thread at SNOOP.EXE: (S)VGA adapter info tool and CRT Terminator config utility to discuss SNOOP.EXE in detail.

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Reply 47 of 78, by Pierre32

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That is an excellent development!

clb wrote on 2023-08-07, 18:20:

The motherboard will need a free 8-bit ISA slot though.

This feels like a silly question, but does it have to be an 8-bit slot? The CRT Terminator will be happy in a 16 won't it?

Reply 49 of 78, by clb

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Pierre32 wrote on 2023-08-08, 03:59:

That is an excellent development!

clb wrote on 2023-08-07, 18:20:

The motherboard will need a free 8-bit ISA slot though.

This feels like a silly question, but does it have to be an 8-bit slot? The CRT Terminator will be happy in a 16 won't it?

Oh my bad, did not mean to stress 8-bit there, just that CRT Terminator card is only 8-bits ISA wide. An 8-bit or 16-bit ISA slot will do.

Reply 52 of 78, by Pierre32

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clb wrote on 2023-08-08, 05:31:
Pierre32 wrote on 2023-08-08, 03:59:

That is an excellent development!

clb wrote on 2023-08-07, 18:20:

The motherboard will need a free 8-bit ISA slot though.

This feels like a silly question, but does it have to be an 8-bit slot? The CRT Terminator will be happy in a 16 won't it?

Oh my bad, did not mean to stress 8-bit there, just that CRT Terminator card is only 8-bits ISA wide. An 8-bit or 16-bit ISA slot will do.

Nice. For a moment I was concerned about the overlap between systems with 8-bit ISA and PCI video. Not a compelling venn diagram 😁

Reply 53 of 78, by clb

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badmojo wrote on 2023-08-08, 04:39:

This is a very interesting development indeed! My PCI TNT2 is ready to go digital 👍

Nice! In our test bench and development of SNOOP program, we have had the following PCI cards visit,

ATi PCI 3D Rage II (Mach64 GT)
ATI PCI Mach64 VT ATI-264VT2 1996
ATI PCI Mach64 VT ATI-264VT2 1997
Avance Logic, Inc. ALG2302.A
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5430-QC-C
Cirrus Logic CL-GD5446BV-HC-B
Creative Graphics Blaster MA200 CL-GD5446-HC-A
Diamond Speedstar 64 CL-GD5434
Hercules Stingray Pro ARK1000PV
Jazz Multimedia G-Force 128
Matrox Millenium IS-MGA-2064W-R3
MiroVideo 12PD v1.02 Alliance Semiconductor ProMotion 3210
MiroVideo 12PD v2.00 Alliance Semiconductor ProMotion 6410
S3 Trio64 86C764x
S3 Trio64 V2/DX 86C775
S3 Trio64V+ P1C3BF
S3 ViRGE 86C325
S3 ViRGE/DX 86C375
S3 Vision864 GACD2
Trident TGUI9440

each with varying degrees of quirks. But no RIVA TNT2 yet. Maybe at the end of the year we'll know how well nVidia did.

Reply 54 of 78, by moog

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@clb I'd give an arm and a leg if:
- CRT Terminator was available as a PCI device because I've used up all my ISA slots
- CRT Terminator would support resolutions up to 1280x1024x32
- CRT Terminator would take stereo jack (or coaxial) input along with the VGA Feature Connector, to combine them into HDMI signal that includes audio and video

Swear on me arm and leg mate

That way, I could have my DOS machine with AGP Voodoo 5500 as a permanent resident in my KVM's list of connected machines 😀

Audigy 2 ZS in FreeDOS
LinLin adapter documentation
+ various capacitor list threads

Reply 55 of 78, by clb

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moog wrote on 2023-09-16, 19:18:
@clb I'd give an arm and a leg if: - CRT Terminator was available as a PCI device because I've used up all my ISA slots - CRT Te […]
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@clb I'd give an arm and a leg if:
- CRT Terminator was available as a PCI device because I've used up all my ISA slots
- CRT Terminator would support resolutions up to 1280x1024x32
- CRT Terminator would take stereo jack (or coaxial) input along with the VGA Feature Connector, to combine them into HDMI signal that includes audio and video

Swear on me arm and leg mate

That way, I could have my DOS machine with AGP Voodoo 5500 as a permanent resident in my KVM's list of connected machines 😀

Thanks for the feedback. These points have definitely come up.

Doing a PCI variant of CRT Terminator might be possible, although that will depend on the demand. It might be that this will be a one-off niche thing, or it might be a project with a planned continuation - all contingencies are still possible, and we'll just have to see how it goes after the ISA variant is through the finish line.

Unfortunately 1280x1024x32 resolution is beyond the max limit of the Feature Connector bus, which VESA set at 37.5 MHz. 1280x1024x8bpp would be 109 MHz (DMT video timings of the time), well beyond the max throughput of the bus. Also, Voodoo 5500 did not have the 24-bit 80-pin VAFC connector, but only a 8-bit VESA Standard VGA Passthrough Connector ("VSVPC", what a mouthful VESA came up with), so for that connector, the required pixel clock speed through the cable (assuming there was BIOS support) would be 3*109MHz = 327 MHz. Yikes 🙁

Finally, we actually haven't been able to make the feature connector of *any* AGP card work with CRT Terminator. We don't know why that is, but no AGP card *outputs* a video signal through feature connector that we know of. It might be that
a) there is some unknown mechanism that is needed to enable it, or
b) there was some change that adjusted the Feature Connector to only work as video input on AGP cards.
At this point we don't know. But for now, only ISA, VLB and PCI cards will work (VLB card support is somewhat quirky, there was no palette snooping standardization at that time, so it will be a YMMV thing).

Reply 57 of 78, by clb

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Hey Pierre,

good timing to ping, since I just got off a call with our components redistributor earlier today. Development-wise things have been in a good state for a while now, playing a waiting game mostly. However unfortunately there is a bit of bad news that our original goal for getting first sold boards out before the end of the year is slipping, as we have had a FPGA shipping delay. It looks like our original November date has now turned into a January-February date, with a "6-8-10 week delay" being estimated. 😒 We are sorting out the revised FPGA shipping estimates with the manufacturer, but it does look like December is going to be somewhat quiet still.

We have been pondering on how to do the actual orders and shipping and all that, contemplating about setting up a PayPal mechanism on the web page and that sort of thing. We will want to give people the opportunity to get cards in the order they set up on the "I'm interested to order" list, so I'll probably start mailing people there once we get closer to production runs.

So, looks like a couple of months of ZZzzz... until things will hopefully finally get going!

Reply 59 of 78, by rasz_pl

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If you are still being jerked around about FPGA availability then you chose poorly and it wont get any better. After consolidation two bigwigs AMD and Intel cut volume and old lines to concentrate on fat expensive models. Old cheaper ones will NOT return, you will be waiting for eternity for small batches at constantly rising prices.

Look at Gowin, Efinix, Lattice in that order. Those companies are still in the business of actually shipping product and making money selling it.

Open Source AT&T Globalyst/NCR/FIC 486-GAC-2 proprietary Cache Module reproduction