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Interware GrandVimage 24-21s Info Dump

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
Through a lucky Yahoo Auctions Japan find, I've got my mitts on one of the most competent video cards for the SE/30 (and IIsi).

Resolution support is extensive, it supports resolution changes without reboot, respects sense lines, and goes up to 1152x870 at 24 bit or 1280x1024 at 8 bit. This is also quite possibly the only video card for 030 PDS machines that features acceleration. It helps a lot - even an CPU-accelerated SE/30 crawls trying to push pixels at 24 bit. As a dumb framebuffer, it is just slightly slower than the micron, but with acceleration on the GrandVimage is far faster at QuickDraw, especially at higher bit depths/resolution.

It came with a mystery bracket along with a bracket to mount the rear bracket in an IIsi - not quite sure what the mystery bracket fits. Maybe also for the IIsi. I've attached highres pics and more fun info.
  • Manual, google translated (better than nothing)
  • MacBench 3.0 comparison runs between both acceleration and no acceleration at 1152x870 24bit
    • It is clear which functions have acceleration and which don't
  • MacBench 3.0 comparison between Micron Color 30HR and GrandVimage at 640x480 8bit
  • Color and res support tables
  • VDR4 A21 V1.1.1 ROM Dump
    • IMPORTANT: This was performed from Mac OS and is ideal for reverse engineering, but may require transformations (inversions, etc) before writing to a ROM chip.
  • GrandVimage v1.4.1b2 control panel
PXL_20230911_221100639.jpg
 

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  • GrandVimage17DU_v1.4.1b2.sit
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  • grandvim color support.png
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  • Interware GrandVimage Manual Translated.pdf
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Arbee

Well-known member
I've never heard of this card before but it sounds pretty amazing. Would it be possible to get an untranslated scan of the manual for completeness, and possibly to run by a human translator?
 

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
I've never heard of this card before but it sounds pretty amazing. Would it be possible to get an untranslated scan of the manual for completeness, and possibly to run by a human translator?
I've been quite impressed with the card so far. Games obviously aren't going to benefit as they don't use quickdraw, but for desktop apps the acceleration makes it much more responsive.

There are also 24-16S (I know a few other forum members have those), and in theory, a 24-19S version, both of which have the acceleration but lower max resolution/bit depth, the charts in manual lay out the details.

Untranslated manual attached. Not my scan - found on the net - but it matches my manual.
 

Attachments

  • Interware GrandVimage Manual.pdf
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nickpunt

Well-known member
Thanks for compiling everything! I have the 24-16s with less vram. I always wondered whether soldering some vram on the empty pads would bump it up but I'd never seen a 24-21s til now. Seems like the only differences are the vram and a capacitor on the back, and possibly a 21s ROM.
 

Attachments

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nickpunt

Well-known member
Here's what I have in my archive of interware stuff. I saved PDFs of webpages that showed how to make one of the earlier models' video cables. I don't remember how I got the zips but they're from the japanese sites and I think are archived hqx files of various drivers for various Interware products. One contains a note:

Interware2_IA.zip
These files downloaded were done so using the following command
wayback_machine_downloader -s -d Interware2_IA -c3 --only "/\.(hqx|sit|sea|bin|tar|z|gz|uue|dmg|dd|pkg|pdf)$/i" iijnet.or.jp
Many PDFs came down, none of them mentioned interware so they were deleted.

I also have a "GrandVimage_v1.3.1b_fixed.sit.hqx" file but I don't know if that means its a newer driver. Hope this is helpful!
 

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  • Interware Vimage settings via marushin-web.pdf
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  • tips_Vimage.pdf
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  • www.iijnet.or.jp.zip
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  • Interware2_IA.zip
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zigzagjoe

Well-known member
Thanks for compiling everything! I have the 24-16s with less vram. I always wondered whether soldering some vram on the empty pads would bump it up but I'd never seen a 24-21s til now. Seems like the only differences are the vram and a capacitor on the back, and possibly a 21s ROM.
I'm pretty sure that'd do the trick as long as you swap the RAMDAC out for the faster chip also (happily, it's socketted).

The ROM would be the annoying part. You'd have to desolder the flash and read it out (to know what, if any, transformation is required) then write the 21s ROM to it and resolder. Or, install a DIP socket and write to an appropriate chip for that socket. Given that it's a flash ROM, it may be programmable in situ, but it'd require even more work to reverse engineer that mechanism unless a ROM update utility surfaces.

I'm assuming 1.3.1 is an older version - I didn't try it as 1.4.1 worked just fine for me.

I have a slightly interesting failure on mine - it fails the VRAM test of MacTest Pro as there's a byte that does not read back correctly. However, that byte does store data correctly on writes and is read out correctly via the serial data output (used for display) so it's not actually seen when the card is in use.

Rather curiously, I have that same single mismatched NEC VRAM chip as yours does. I wonder why interware did that?
 

shadedream

Well-known member
There's also NUBUS and LC versions of these cards in similar configurations. I have the 24-16 NUBUS card, but haven't actually seen an LC one before. I've had issues with my NUBUS card chronicled here. Neat cards for sure for general desktop use. Requires a reboot for resolution switching which would be a bit annoying for games. They also support a weird "zoomed" extended desktop mode where you have a much larger desktop, but a segment of it the resolution of your screen is show and you scroll it with your cursor at the edges of the screen.
 

macuserman

Well-known member
Is there an interware thread somewhere on the forum where we can document these various products? I have some stuff I'd like to add, but I am not sure if there is already one. I know there is the BUG thread but I haven't seen an interware one.
 

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
There's also NUBUS and LC versions of these cards in similar configurations. I have the 24-16 NUBUS card, but haven't actually seen an LC one before. I've had issues with my NUBUS card chronicled here. Neat cards for sure for general desktop use. Requires a reboot for resolution switching which would be a bit annoying for games. They also support a weird "zoomed" extended desktop mode where you have a much larger desktop, but a segment of it the resolution of your screen is show and you scroll it with your cursor at the edges of the scree
As long as you pick a multisync monitor mine supports dynamic resolution changes. Acceleration is also a live toggle too. However, switching between monitor types (to Apple 13", for example) requires a reboot.

The "virtual desktop" is was done by a few other vendors - at least micron does it too - but the zoom functionality they added is really well implemented in that it allows you to dynamically go from native res to zoomed in with scrolling.

Not sure if there is a collected thread anywhere.... I figured I'd at least create one for this product line since I wanted to post up a copy of the ROM somewhere. Perhaps someday someone will tackle upgrading their 16s to a 21s.
 

shadedream

Well-known member
As long as you pick a multisync monitor mine supports dynamic resolution changes. Acceleration is also a live toggle too. However, switching between monitor types (to Apple 13", for example) requires a reboot.

Huh I'll have to mess with it more. I was using it with a Dell LCD, so I had to fidget around with the "monitor" a lot to get something that worked well on my LCD. I never could get a good 1024x768 resolution because it'd be all washed out seemingly because it was pushing too high a refresh rate to the LCD (anything over like 60hz if I remember correctly)
 

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
Huh I'll have to mess with it more. I was using it with a Dell LCD, so I had to fidget around with the "monitor" a lot to get something that worked well on my LCD. I never could get a good 1024x768 resolution because it'd be all washed out seemingly because it was pushing too high a refresh rate to the LCD (anything over like 60hz if I remember correctly)

I see what you mean now. Most refresh rates are above 60hz, and on an assortment of monitors this manifests as flickering horizontal noise/lines on colors (esp black/gray). Sometimes color tints or shadowing too. There is a VGA setting that is 60hz that does work fairly well, beyond that expect to fiddle. I find adjusting the Phase control on the monitor helps minimize the flicker on the higher resolutions. More often than not, my monitors don't auto-adjust well with the signals it puts out and in some cases won't sync. I guess I've been spoiled by modern digital signals!

Note that the dynamic resolution changes only works from the Macintosh Monitors control panel when a multisync is selected.

I did find that the lone electrolytic cap near the RAMDAC was leaky on mine. This is an appropriate replacement: https://www.digikey.com/en/products/detail/chemi-con/APXF6R3ARA221MF61G/1826627 You will need a fairly fine tip to sneak between it and the RAMDAC. I can't say if it changed anything on the image quality, but good to have done just in case.
 

shadedream

Well-known member
Hmm I'll have to play with the controls manually. I use the auto generally which seems to mostly work. I don't get flicker or lines, it just makes it washed out and gray at the higher refreshes for me.
 

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
I did have two of the coax cables on my interware develop issues requiring replacement. This seems to have been the root for flickering and later caused color tinges.

Symptom: good cable measures low impedance on the central conductor, <1ohm, bad coax cable measures 1+ ohms (tens or more, usually) and varies as flexed.

1701184867992.png

I released the cables at each ends by poking into the appropriate release holes, pried open the crimp that secure the cable insulation and removed the original coax. Then solder in replacement coax (from a random CRT...) and re-crimped the tabs.

1701184964903.jpeg
 

zigzagjoe

Well-known member
Okay, to close the loop on this: flickering output was/is caused by poor 5V supply and poor connections on the minifit JR connections.

This machine is loaded, going from 5V at the seasonic PSU across three minifit JR connectors ends up around 4.75v at the LB. I haven't really come up with a great solution other than wiggle the main cable about until the voltage is as high as possible. It seems to just be a limit of the mini fir JR connectors with two +5v lines and 6 amps or so across them. I may make a special cable to take a couple extra +5v lines from the seasonic straight to the LB connector.

On the topic of GrandVimage cards, though, I came across this fellow: GrandVimage 17AV

1708368271613.jpeg
1708368803215.jpeg

1.5MB of VRAM, 80mhz maximum pixel clock. Pixel clock is likely an restriction due to VRAM as RAMDAC is rated 110, there are 10 RAM packages currently populated and room for another 6 packages.

This in itself is interesting info, as each RAM is 256K * 8 bit, so it actually has 2.5MB of VRAM onboard with 10 installed. While I haven't traced things out, it is looking like the the 4 chips towards the end of the board are at least partially wired to the mystery BT895 "Video Controller" that I haven't been able to find any info about. Info on the BT812 and BT885 isn't thick on the ground either, but there are at least data briefs available.

The two interware ASICs are the usual suspects for bus interfacing, acceleration, and VRAM handling. CN402 at the top is a connector for a companion card, Power Video AV which is a MJPEG hardware acceleration card.

The card definitely has video capture ability, and I have an inclination it likely supports analog output & video overlay functionality. I have only been able to get basic acceleration working with the GrandVimage driver. The later driver does have what would appear to be an option to change the active display output, but it remains grayed out. I'm not sure if it has sense lines to detect if a breakout cable is attached or what. Tried a few variations on SVideo and composite with no change.

Probably won't be able to get much farther with this one, though, as I say that, pins 5 and 7 on the MiniDin-8 connector seem to be of interest as they look like sense lines.
 

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chiptripper

Well-known member
Oh I’ve been waiting for a GrandVimage thread!

A while back I picked up a lot of GrandVimage Nubus cards. Mostly 24-16. The lot also included five of what look to be demo or prototype boards. Two are labeled 24-21, while the other three are 24-HV.

I can’t find any real info on the HV, just one advert, in Japanese. The blurb translates to “high definition display card”, or something to that effect. There are twice the number of RAM packages on the HV as on the 24-21. Given that, and the original price tag, I assume it’s quite a heavy hitter, though I wonder if any HVs actually made it to production. I’ve never seen one anywhere.

I have not dared to apply power to any of these. Several have visibly bent pins and shorts all over the place.
 

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zigzagjoe

Well-known member
Oh I’ve been waiting for a GrandVimage thread!

A while back I picked up a lot of GrandVimage Nubus cards. Mostly 24-16. The lot also included five of what look to be demo or prototype boards. Two are labeled 24-21, while the other three are 24-HV.

I can’t find any real info on the HV, just one advert, in Japanese. The blurb translates to “high definition display card”, or something to that effect. There are twice the number of RAM packages on the HV as on the 24-21. Given that, and the original price tag, I assume it’s quite a heavy hitter, though I wonder if any HVs actually made it to production. I’ve never seen one anywhere.

I have not dared to apply power to any of these. Several have visibly bent pins and shorts all over the place.
Nice find!! There is some information on the resolutions supported by them in the charts in the first post. Seems like they are intended for HDTV and do high-res interlaced displays.

I haven't seen any other HV cards in the wild, but given the relative scarcity of interware cards that doesn't surprise me. Those definitely look like prototypes, I'm not sure I'd be able to resist trying to bring one to life.
 
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