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What to do with a NUBUS DSP Card? (besides Photoshop)

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What can be done with a NUBUS DSP card besides speeding up Photoshop? Anything? I've heard that they will speed up JPEG operations. Are there any other operations they can be utilized in?

Edited by Guest

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You need special software for Jpeg compression. Some audio apps use the DSP. Video editing apps used DSP for video compression but those were proprietary boards for each brand needing special cables.

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Some audio apps use the DSP.

While there were Nubus DSP cards made for audio - notably the Digidesign Audiomedia series - and audio apps that used the AV Quadra's motherboard DSP, I'm unaware of any audio apps or drivers that were able to use the far more common (and in some instances, far more powerful) Nubus cards made for visual DSP work - the Photoshop and QuickDraw accelerators and the like. If you know of any, I would be very keen to hear of them.

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I think the Storm dsp card that was later absorbed into/by Radius used the same dsp chips as are found in the 840av, and as the system software was multi-processor aware in the case of the AV Quadras, such a machine could simultaneously use all the dsp cards you can pop in.

 

As for software, Picture Press, a copy of which has been on eBay forever, used the Storm card for photo compression and for photoshop filter add-ons.

 

I have one of these Storm cards in a Q650, in which the acceleration is very noticeable. I suspect, however, that the card might be better suited to a 68030, where the speed would be even more impressive.

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SETI Work unit

Now that would awesome!

 

I think the Storm dsp card that was later absorbed into/by Radius used the same dsp chips as are found in the 840av, and as the system software was multi-processor aware in the case of the AV Quadras, such a machine could simultaneously use all the dsp cards you can pop in.

So adding DSP cards (as long as they use the same type of chip) to a 840AV will add a speed boost? So the apps that are 'DSP aware' are Photoshop (see question below) and Picture Press. Does anyone know of others? I always wondered if anything actually used the DSPs in the 68K AV Macs.

 

Which versions of Photoshop support DSP cards? From what I understand it's 2.5 and 3.0. Any later versions work with them?

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Dunno about my 840AV offhand but the NuBus Card in front of me:

 

SuperMAC

c1992 STORM TECHNOLOGY, INC.

 

. . . has two DSPs on it that say:

 

45871

C 88 AT&T M

WE DSP16A

M14 033

9232S 40

 

. . . on them.

 

I also have the Storm Technology Software package for it, might be PicturePress, I got that from macmetex a while back.

 

Do they match the 840AV DSP spec?

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Photoshop 2.5 and 3.0 use the DSP if you have the device drivers installed. My IIfx has a Supermac Thunder/24 with DSP add-on and a Storm Technologies (also sold under other names)Nubus card and the control panel sees all of the DSP chips.

 

I think the 840AV uses an AT&T DSP 3210 , the Supermac branded Storm card uses the AT&T DSP 16A, Supermac GX card for the Thunder/24 (and others?) uses AT&T DSP 3210, Spectral Inovations MacDSP uses AT&T DSP32C, Digidesign Audiomedia II uses Motorola DSP 5600.

 

Don't recall if DECK II uses just built in DSP chips or ones on add-on cards.

 

Some of the very early quickdraw video accelerator add-on cards were just a Nubus card with 2 DSP chips on them (sometimes with RAM cache).

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Some of the very early quickdraw video accelerator add-on cards were just a Nubus card with 2 DSP chips on them (sometimes with RAM cache).

 

Hmm. I know that Apple made a QuickDraw accelerator that was a PCI card with no outputs. Was that what that card was?

 

I wish the chips on these cards could be used for the same purpose. :)

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the system software was multi-processor aware in the case of the AV Quadras

It was? Are you suggesting that any app which can access the onboard AV-Quadra's DSP can transparently access DSPs on a Nubus card?

such a machine could simultaneously use all the dsp cards you can pop in.

For audio work?

 

The reason I am looking for specific confirmation here (ie, beyond "I think") is that all the research I have done (admittedly, which was a while back now) indicated that there were no drivers or apps which could use a card created for PShop/QT as an audio DSP - and that the abstraction layers between the OS, Nubus and DSP cards essentially made this impossible without a card specific driver.

 

See for comparison:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A/ROSE

 

This is one of those situations where I would be delighted to be proven wrong!

 

Don't recall if DECK II uses just built in DSP chips or ones on add-on cards.

It can use the 56001 on the AudioMedia/AMII card for real-time effects on output, and compression/limiting/EQ on input while recording. It may be able to use other Digidesign/ProTools DSP cards, but I don't recall.

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Well, I am chastened because it turns out that I was wrong about the DSP being identical on the Storm card and on the 840av, so take that as a sign that I do not know what I am talking about half the time (as my wife would happily tell you).

 

However, it is certainly the case that the Control Panel (or was it Vu-meter? I forget, it was a long time ago) shows all DSPs as active in Photoshop in an 840av with a Storm card inside. So there would appear to be some sort of load balancing under ARTA (Apple Real Time Architecture) in effect, that is to say, for DSP-aware Photoshop filters. I am not sure how efficient it was, but I remember a technical paper from the engineers that I read years ago that explored the question of ARTA capabilities, so one could go a-googling for more info.

 

I also don't know about audio, except that there there were very few programs that were DSP-aware. Digitrax, maybe?

 

Another piece of evidence that supports the notion that more than one DSP could be used is the fact that more than one DSP was often present on these accelerators.... They must have popped two on the Storm card for a reason.

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What can be done with a NUBUS DSP card besides speeding up Photoshop? Anything? I've heard that they will speed up JPEG operations.

With the correct software installed they will speed up Photoshop, specifically in opening, saving, changing the file format and compressing files within photoshop. Back in the day these were being made and used, Photoshop was horribly slow when manipulating, opening and saving large high resolution images. I think a lot of people forget just how slow the processors were and just how horribly expensive even moderate amounts of RAM was - and Photoshop gobbles RAM like there's no tomorrow.

 

Just to put things into perspective I personally (through the company I was working for) purchased some 16Mb SIMMS for a Apple Macintosh Quadra 950 for the specific purpose of speeding up Photoshop (or in this instance making it actually useable for practical photographic retouching) and each 16Mb SIMM cost about £600, that's just under $1,000 for one 16Mb SIMM. Now work out how much it would have cost to put 16 x 16Mb SIMMS into that machine.

 

The DSP accelerator card and software to go with it was relatively cheap compared to installing so much RAM and any speed boost you could get when running photoshop was vital given how hungry Photoshop was in terms of resources.

 

Are there any other operations they can be utilized in?

Erm, what else do you want to do with a DSP card designed specifically to speed up Photoshop?

Edited by Guest

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Erm, what else do you want to do with a DSP card designed specifically to speed up Photoshop?

Well, I was hoping that there were more uses for the card. After all, those DSP chips weren't designed for Photoshop, companies just wrote the code to make Photoshop filters use them. I was also hoping there were more uses for the chips in the AV Macs. I do realize that with any specialty hardware that unless the code is compiled for the chips then they simply aren't going to work.

 

This has also turned into an awesome discussion. :)

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companies just wrote the code to make Photoshop filters use them.

Yes and there's the rub.

 

To use them for anything else, you need the software to interface with them and the most common software that does that was written for Photoshop filters.

 

They're not much good for anything else if you can't find the software that use them.

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Hence, my suggestion for somebody doing the programming necessary to do unit crunching code for the SETI project on 68k once more! :o)

 

That A-Rose link seems to fit well into this scenario.

Edited by Guest

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Well, I was hoping that there were more uses for the card. After all, those DSP chips weren't designed for Photoshop, companies just wrote the code to make Photoshop filters use them. I was also hoping there were more uses for the chips in the AV Macs. I do realize that with any specialty hardware that unless the code is compiled for the chips then they simply aren't going to work.

 

There is a substantial amount of information in the "The Macintosh Quadra 840AV and Macintosh Centris 660AV Computers" Hardware Developer Note: http://developer.apple.com/legacy/mac/library/#documentation/Hardware/hardware2.html. Pages 231 to 289 or about 68 pages of information titled "DSP Operating System".

 

I would start there. I think that was probably the documentation for developers who wanted to make use of the on-board DSPs. I don't think it will clearly tell you how to use DSPs on NuBus cards, but it might give you some ideas of what to look for.

 

You'll also need datasheets for the model of DSP with which you are interfacing. And absent developer tools, I imagine most of the work you'd be able to do will be in assembly (or machine code) for the DSP(s) in question.

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Avid VideoShop 3 came with a Photoshop Plug-In. I believe through the use of it you could indirectly accelerate VideoShop when it was using Photoshop for various effects.

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From the developer document trag referenced, I see that the DSP ran on a separate operating system that made calls on the Mac Toolbox. The document makes some rather large claims that may be relevant:

 

"... the architecture supports the implementation of NuBus cards to make configurations of multiple DSPs possible." (p. 61)

and

"A sound driver provides the interface between the Macintosh Sound Manager and the Real Time Manager by means of a set of standard sound modules, including sound input and output, compression, filtering, sample rate conversion, and mixing." (p. 66)

 

Putting two and two together, a multiprocessing machine for sound work would appear to be possible.

 

What's more, p. 66 continues with an interesting observation:

"The purpose of the various toolbox drivers is to provide access to the capability of the DSP at the highest possible toolbox level. This allows applications that are not written for the DSP to use it automatically when it is available. Even with this level of toolbox support, it is clear that many applications will work better by directly accessing the DSP using the DSP API. Such applications provide significantly more functionality or speed when a DSP is available. However, an application that uses the DSP API either cannot run on a platform without the DSP, or must provide alternative main processor programming if a DSP is not available."

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Cool! We've already had more than a bit of collaborative Hardware/FirmWare/EmulationWare activity going on already.

 

I can't help, but maybe some of you competent comrades might like to form up a SkunkWorks Project Team to develop the DSP supported 68k SETI WorkUnitCruncher?

 

Bunsen's, Audio Card DSP Enabler sounds like a fabulous project. My Automedia Card could use some help running MPEGDEC on 68k. :approve:

 

Does anyone have another notion for a DSP project? :?:

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My Automedia Card could use some help running MPEGDEC

I spoke to the developer of MPEGDec a long while back. He was working on porting to the AudioMedia cards - the problem he ran into was that there is insufficient RAM attached to the DSP.

 

DSP supported 68k SETI WorkUnitCruncher

As a stepping-stone to something useful? Sure, why not. :p

 

ARTA (Apple Real Time Architecture)

Thanks, beachycove. That was the acronym I was trying to remember. Searching for more info now, and I'll add links here to what I find.

 

840AV uses an AT&T DSP 3210 / Supermac GX card for the Thunder/24 (and others?) uses AT&T DSP 3210

Well that sounds promising then, for audio routines, as they are already known to exist for the AV Quadras.

 

And absent developer tools, I imagine most of the work you'd be able to do will be in assembly (or machine code) for the DSP(s) in question.

They might be available in gcc or other open toolchains - worth checking. With a bit of luck, there might even be open-source routines floating around for re-use.

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And on a mod note,

 

Nearly every thread on this board is, by definition, focused on old things. Could we please avoid getting diverted into extended whines about how the modern world is rubbish, and just get on with it?

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Link dump:

/not all checked: will add more as found/

 

Two New Programmer's Tools for Digital Signal Processing - 1995 B.Hon thesis using Quadra AVs

Digital Synthesis of Musical Sounds - 1992 M.Sc. thesis using Moto56000 on Digi SA Nubus on IIci

 

comp.dsp FAQ

This is the README file for the GCC based DSP3210 C compiler

Any use for AT&T 3210 DSPs? - an old mailing list post

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Motorola_56000

a56 - a freeware Motorola DSP56001 assembler

ftp://ccrma.stanford.edu/pub/DSP/ - the "DrBub" file is a collection of files from Moto's old DSP BBS, and other things ... like the promisingly-named "disasm56"

doc.ic.ac.uk/computing/systems/motorola/digital-signal-processing/dr.bub.sources is supposed to be a more complete archive, but it appears to be lost.

 

ftp://ftp.cs.tu-berlin.de/pub/mac/report/av-pmac-audio.rtf

Audio capabilities of AT&T 3210- and PowerPC-based Macintosh products

    This document covers the audio capabilities of the following products:
  • 040 AV Macs: Apple Macintosh Centris 660AV; Quadra 660AV & 840AV
  • Power Macs:
    • AV Power Macs: Apple Power Macintosh 6100/60AV, 7100/66AV, 8100/80AV
    • Plain Power Macs: Apple Power Macintosh 6100/60,7100/66, 8100/80

    [*]SI tools: Spectral Innovations’ DSP3210/ARTA Developer Toolkit

    [*]SI board: Spectral Innovations’ AT&T3210-based, ARTA-compliant NuBus card

    [*]ARTA Macs: 040 AV Macs & any Apple Macintosh with the SI board

 

MpegDec - discussion with developer, here, in 2002. Mentions Quadra AV DSPs, 56001s, and Photoshop cards.

 

http://groups.google.com/group/comp.dsp/tree/browse_frm/month/1993-09/46e02a515a425f58?rnum=71&_done=/group/comp.dsp/browse_frm/month/1993-09?&pli=1

>Apple uses the AT&T DSP3210 in the new Macintoshs. The DSP runs in

>the Apple Realtime Architecture (ARTA) under a so called DSP OS.

>Is this identical to VCOS ?

 

VCOS and ARTA are extremely similar DSP OS's for the DSP3210/DSP3207,

but not identical. Both are real-time, multitasking, multiprocessing

DSP operating systems. Both have similar roots and ARTA is probably

best described as a "superset" of VCOS. The OS's are similar enough

to require minimal effort to port DSP modules from one domain to

the other. Thus, you have a solution if you are looking to do

cross-platform DSP development. ARTA runs on DSP-equipped

Macintoshes and VCOS predominantly runs on Windows systems but is

also supported on some others.

 

/ETA 29 May 2012/

 

Low End Mac's Radius Index

Vintage Mac World - Vintage Radius Documention

Nubus DSP-capable video cards

NuBus PPC vs. DSP - old Applefritter thread with some clues.

PhotoEngine - old thread here

 

 

radius.vintagebox.de

  • Radius Vintage Product list
  • Radius Software Downloads
  • Product Details:
    • PowerDSP Upgrade for video cards
      * This daughterboard has twin (2) AT&T 66Mhz DSP chips on board
      * More than 10x faster than built-in video on a Quadra 950.

    [*]PhotoBooster & PhotoEngine Q&A

    The PhotoEngine is a NuBus card with 4 DSPs. The PhotoBooster (pictures) is an 040 PDS card with 2 DSPs.

    You need two files to use a PhotoEngine or PhotoBooster. The first file is a System Extension entitled "•Radius DSP". The second file is a Photoshop Plug-in, entitled "PhotoEngine Plug-in" or "PhotoBooster Plug-in"

    [*]ThunderStorm, Thunder II, and all DSP-based Image Processing Accelerators Q&A

    This document pertains to all Spectrum Power w/DSP, ThunderStorm, Thunder II, Thunder II•GX, PhotoSpeed, and upgraded Thunder/24 cards.

     

    (IPA = Image Processing Acceleration) This software is the 'DSP code' that accelerates Photoshop resamples and filters on all SuperMac & E-Machines graphics cards with twin DSP16A chips, as well as the ThunderStorm Photoshop accelerators. The IPA software consists of a control panel and two plug-ins.

     

    Q: What is the difference between the "ThunderStorm for Adobe Photoshop" NuBus card, the Thunder II Upgrade, the Spectrum Power DSP Upgrade, and the DSP daughtercard on the Thunder II family of cards?

     

    A: Physical form is the only difference. The advantage of having the image-processing accelerator as a daughtercard is that this solution does not require an additional NuBus slot. The Spectrum Power DSP Upgrade is for the Spectrum Power•1152, as well as some E-Machines Ultura and Futura II cards.

Edited by Guest

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audio / programs that were DSP-aware. Digitrax, maybe?

Digitrax, yes.

 

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/1995_articles/may95/applenotes.html

the latest acquisition by Opcode: DigiTrax from Alaska Software, founded by the Apple engineers who developed the core of the Apple Real-Time Architecture (ARTA) signal processing engine. DigiTrax 1.2 is a multitrack digital audio recording and editing package

 

Also:

/not all checked: will add more as found/

 

Opcode Studio Vision Pro

Opcode Max with DSP objects from CNMAT also mentioned here.

Digidesign ProTools (various versions, mostly locked to their own hardware)

Digidesign TurboSynth - and possibly Antares Infinity?

Deck II (as mentioned upthread)

UniSon (same thread as Max)

Syd (formerly "SoundSynth")

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However, it is certainly the case that the Control Panel (or was it Vu-meter? I forget, it was a long time ago) shows all DSPs as active in Photoshop in an 840av with a Storm card inside.

I would be thrilled to learn that it was in fact VU Meters:

 

    VU Meters 1.0
     
    Measure the sound level at the input and output of the DSP (Digital Signal Processing) sections of the Macintosh AV computers. Should also work with any DSP card that runs the Apple Real Time Architecture (ARTA).

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