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Thunder, Thunder, Thunder, ThunderCards... HO!


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I have been fortunate to acquire some very awesome Radius/SuperMac cards this year. Here are some of the Thunders.

 

First one is a new old stock SuperMac Thunder II GX 1600 - COMPLETE!

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Next up is a Radius Thunder IV GX 1600, the card to finish up my Radius System 100 dream.

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Followed by the little baby brother, the Radius Thunder 24 GT 1152, note the missing vram:

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Next up is classic yet trusty SuperMac Thunder II GX 1360, but this one predates the GX moniker. I have not even tried this card yet. :p 

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To top of the Thunder madness I even got a copy of the official Thunder IV Manual, soon to be scanned and posted online.

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But... there is one more thing worth showing...

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This somewhere rare SpigotPro AV will be going into my 840AV for some old school AV work, whenever I get to it.

 

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The SpigotProAV was an improvement on the Spigot PowerAV that offered better video capture at 24-bit. I wanted one of my 840AVs to be as authentic to the era as possible. For anything more serious, I got the VideoVision Studio to use. If I ever around to it.

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Nice stuff! I had an 840av back in the day. It was the first new Mac I ever purchased. I flogged it for about three years and replaced it with an 8500.

I sold the 840av for about $1100 to a guy who had a recording studio. He had about four 840's he was using as DAW's. (His software needed the DSP.)

I ran into the guy about five years later and he was still running his 840av setup in his studio.

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2 hours ago, uridium said:

Nice cards! Hope the drivers are archived and available somewhere for future generations :)

 

Luckily the drivers have been floating online for a while, but I will scan the manuals and post them on the repository just in case bundled with disk images.

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Wow :O

That's Nubus dreamland right there.

 

Reminds me I have to check my Thunder IV 1360 for differences to the 1600. If it's only missing VRAM that's not going to stop me. :evil:

 

 

 

Edited by Bolle
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Interesting... Bolle, does yours look like this? I thought I had a 1152 but it doesn't look like omidomo's 1152 - it looks like a 1600 with half the ram. Maybe this is a 1360? Never found an image online of this particular Thunder IV variant. 

 

EDIT: looks like mine is a Thunder/24 GT because of the assembly number, according to this Radius Thunder FAQ.

IMG_1406.jpg

IMG_1407.jpg

Edited by nickpunt
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The 840av card is a pre-processor used to allow the 840av to do 640x480 30fps video capture, which is something a stock 840av cannot actually do. I think it's at 256 colours, even with the card, but that is from memory.

 

I have one in my 840av, which I too am going to return to, once I get a round tuit. Recapping the thing is needed to start with. Years ago, the board was washed but not more. It worked that way for a while, and then started to misbehave. I put it on the shelf until I had better soldering equipment to hand -- did not want to ruin the thing. Now that I have the equipment, all I need is the time!

Edited by beachycove
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This Spigot on paper did a lot for the 840AV... see the box says so, and we all know boxes never lie! :p

 

img003.thumb.jpg.084c401a6c3efaf981e8cd09239de920.jpg

 

I know its mostly a gimmick of a product, but the 840AV was to my LC what a Ferrari was to a Honda, so its nice to have a period-perfect unit, but having said that I stuck in an AsanteFast 10/100 card in there, so maybe I broke my own rules. 

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On 3/4/2018 at 1:00 AM, Bolle said:

Wow :O

That's Nubus dreamland right there.

 

Reminds me I have to check my Thunder IV 1360 for differences to the 1600. If it's only missing VRAM that's not going to stop me. :evil:

 

 

 

 

I have a couple of 1360s.   I took a stab at this several years ago, and decided it was not simple, but I don't remember what I found at the time.   The VRAM probably would have been easier to find back then.

 

Please let us know what you figure out.

 

The Thunder 24/GT should be the same as the Thunder IV GX 1152 without the DSP accelerator daughtercard, according to someone (Radius, Mac mags) way back in the 90s.   Darn, my memory is growing holes.

 

Edit   Oh, just read further down and according to the table that omidimo posted, the 1600 and the 1360 have the same amount of VRAM.   That would seem to make very little sense.    Different RAMDACs maybe?    Need to peel up the shiny label near the monitor connector and check.

 

Edited by trag
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There was a similar problem when I tried to "jailbreak" the Radius PrecisionColor 8-XJ to do something somethingorother that should have been possible given its VRAM complement. Swapping in the Declaration ROM from the PrecisionColor Pro 24AC didn't do the trick. IIRC the RAMDAC part Numbers were different. IIRC the card worked fine as an 8XJ with the 24AC ROM on board.

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Yes, supporting the high resolutions at greater color depth means converting more bits from digital to analog at high data rates.  That's a function of faster/bigger/better RAMDAC chip.

 

You'd be lucky to find the old RAMDACs they used any more, I would guess, though I haven't looked.  The thing that really stabs the irony poignard into one's heart is that TI sells a line of ridiculously capable RAMDACs (24 bit X HD resolution capable) for less than $10/chip these days.  THS8133, THS8134, THS8135, and THS8200.  Almost certainly not pin compatible with what's on the old video cards and it would be a miracle if the CLUT and internal registers were compatible, I think. 

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The Spigot Pro AV box has some tricky wording on it. It can only preview video at 640x480. It can't capture that high, but they omitted how high it can go and just claims "up to 30fps" capture. Outside of the very specialized Avid systems with SCSI RAID drives and hardware codecs, no one was really doing NLE on 68k Mac hardware.

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VRAM and RAMDAC capacities are intertwined. VRAM is the reservoir and RAMDAC is its floodgate. VRAM may be capable of runoff in the spillway, but the connector is only fed through the floodgate.

 

We're losing sight of the fact that the 1360 isn't a glass half empty, it's over three quarters full in the Radius/SuperMac UltraCard lineup and overflowing the brim in the world of Macintosh NuBus display. [;)]

Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
the usual
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55 minutes ago, beachycove said:

I think the card's functionality depended on the vram installed in the machine. It couldn't, for instance, operate a maximum capacity in the 660av, because its vram isn't expandable.

Now that is interesting! I wonder how Apple lamed the 840AV's little cousin? If the circuitry and RAMDAC are nearly the same as in the 840AV you could be in business.

 

1) stacking VRAM ICs onto the 1MB of (soldered? ) VRAM ICs could work

2) you'd almost certainly need to patch the additional address line

3) if the RAMDAC is the same part you might be good to go?

4) if the RAMDAC is a less capable part

 ---- it could be similar to the Radius PrecisionColor 8-XJ vs. 24AC jailbreak attempt

______ part number/capability may be different, but they're likely to be pin compatible

______ might be necessary to double the data bus width in the case of the 8-XJ? Doesn't sound right somehow.

______ dunno about how that might go on the 660AV board?

___ SMT rework might fix the RAMDAC limitation of the 660AV

______ there seem to be plenty of DOA 840AV donor boards in the wild, I know mine is almost certainly in that category. :-/

 

@trag: Radius' PCI Thunders(?) were a simple rehash of the NuBus Card, that was the accusation held against them. Methinks there a breastplate from the armory to deflect the poignard's killing thrust might be.

 

That TI RAMDAC might be identified on any number of PC VidCards of the era as well. :ph34r:

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