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Working a collection of 68K thru G4 Macs into a current tech 2K/1440p/QHD desktop environmet for classic OS playtime?

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The Anyone find CRTs hard to look at? thread we've got going in the lounge is great, raising a lot of good questions already. So I figured working our collections into current tech daily driver setups might make for a good technical discussion here in Peripherals. I've been watching 30"+ 2K displays rapidly come down in price and was pleasantly surprised to see VGA ports featured!


Quite a number of you have mentioned using 2K and 4K displays for work and unfortunately now forced work from home workstations. Has anyone intertwined the hobby with such setups?


How was it done?

How has it worked out?

How should we begin planning for it?


How well can we get our 30 to 20 years old Micro-Iron into the Ultra HD age environment for fun and pleasant distraction?


Who's running Apple II in 4K? :grin:



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A Mac with a VGA or DVI output should do just about the max of what that Mac will do on a big LCD display, timings and cablings considering.


In general, you can't run dual-link DVI graphics cards on Mac OS 9, so you'll be scaling something like 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 (depending on what the monitor offers) up regardless. If you're interested in avoiding non-integer scaling, you might be able to run a 2560x1440 display at 1280x720, or a 2560x1600 display at 1280x800.


My Dell U2711, for example, will display single-link digital video up to 1920x1080, for example. I haven't tried a VGA device on it yet, I've got a QS'02 here I can probably do that on in the mid-term, I'm expecting it'll land at 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 as well.


If you wanted to run Classic MacOS software at high resolutions and you didn't really care if you were doing it on Mac OS X 10.2/3/4, you could put Classic Mode on a G5 (or a late G4, if they'll run any of the dual link cards). Any modern high-end ~ish~ display should accept dual link DVI with no trouble. (And, if you are shopping in the ~decade-old range, it's what they will expect almost exclusively.)

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Yeah, that's why I top ended the discussion at G4/OS9. MDD and G5 are kinda up there in high resolution territory as is.


What I'm curious about would be:


Running NuBus cards in integer scaled windows to the top tier NuBus cards' 1600x1200 1:1 in a window.

How well such displays handle the oddball flicker-free Apple resolutions all the way back to IIci built-in video?

The PDS VidCard menagerie from Killy-Klipped cards for 128K and on up to HPV.

Running two 68K - G4 Macs in their own windows from two outputs on a 2K or higher screen.

______ for that last, we've got a thread about using an Extron Scaler for converting oddball resolutions/freqs to HDMI inputs.


I don't have all the questions worked out yet, those are for the rest of the gang to pose. Thanks for the input so far, this could get interesting. [:)]





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Ah. That kind of stuff is probably possible, one of the Dell 43-inch displays that exists accepts four unique 1920x1080 inputs and you can use it for four unique feeds (instead of as a single big display), I think some of the ultrawides might be able to do this as well, but otherwise that kind of stuff is restricted to very very high end stuff.


If you wanted to insist on pixel perfection it would be cheaper and easier to use 1920x1080 or 1920x1200 displays (or smaller) with DVI and VGA inputs and just have your vintage computers be a separate setup or a separate, perhaps dedicated, display within the overall setup. (I guess unless you lived in the bay area or some similarly tech-heavy area and have a good relationship with your local recyclers.) (At least if you want to simulate two displays)


(looking at the menus) The Dell U2711 does have a 1:1 display for one input, and it has a PBP mode, which will scale two inputs down to be side-by-side, there's no affordances for running two inputs side-by-side at 100% pixels, so you couldn't use this for, say, two DVI sources at 1280x1440, which should fit within single-link DVI. (That would be a clever way to use it with a PowerMac G4 though, even if you had to run one side analog.)


So, that'd be "fine" for one monitor. It's a fairly high end display from 2011. 1440p has come down in price since then and if I had to guess, whatever 1440p you can get for cheap at best buy won't have either of those features, though, the user manual should document it if they do, so that's a place to look.

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I think we've got that one licked by using the Extron Scaler @cheesestraws used to get his Macs onto a current hardware setup:





I only documented the near perfect output I got on my 42" 1080p Toshiba TV my with the SuperMac Spec/8 SI:




I got it dialed in to what I'd call all but perfectly at 1152x870 in 8-bit w/rounds all around, placed right where I wanted it in the lower right corner of 1080p at 1:1. Not bad at all for a IIsi PDS VidCard, I've never seen anything the equal. Someone said they had a card in their IIsi that did better, but it was a NuBus card in the IIsi adapter. Here's the link to the scaler thread starting at page 2 results.



I'm all but positive I can get the Radius TPD Card in the SE dialed in on 1080p, but 1440p will be interesting to try. While I was poking around for a next Christmas wish list I was very surprised to see a 4K display for $350 on Amazon, so there is that coming along too. Now that we've got ADB Wombat and usable scalers becoming available, there's no stopping the old Macs coming from back when into the future. Lets see what we can come up with.


Has anyone else tried getting their collection hooked up to current workstation tech?

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  • 68kMLA Supporter

I'm still using the eBay Extron scaler, and it's still fantastic.  Only one computer I've got that's got RGB output won't talk to it, and it's not an Apple (it's an old Acorn).  My only tiny complaint about it is that it doesn't auto-remember as many settings as I'd like, so if I've had a day fiddling with lots of machines with different settings, I have to manually re-load the old preset (oh, what a hardship).  I actually picked up another one and have done dual-screen with both the screens in the above photo.  This is probably still the road I'd recommend for a semi-permanent integration.


13 hours ago, Unknown_K said:

The problem with vintage video is that the high end resolutions sometimes have very weird refresh rates that modern LCD monitors will not sync to and you end up with a black screen.


FWIW, the scaler thingy linked above seems to have no problem with any of the ones I've thrown at it, anyway.  It's been much more successful than I thought it was going to be when I bought it.

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Cool, did you get it to work with the IIsi? I hooked it up, but didn't just work on a baseline indicator like the Radius TPD/SE setup. But I haven't played with the Extron at all since then.


I'm thinking we should either revive that old thread for working out that RGB to HDMI conversion solution to the problems @Unknown_K identified or maybe better to start a new one for exploring any such hardware hitting fairly reasonable pricing on eBay?


The input connector availability and scaling issues @Cory5412 brought up seem directly on topic for this one, especially so 1:1 option availability on relatively inexpensive 2K and 4K displays. As @Gorgonops has often pointed out, such has only been a feature of displays at higher end/pricing levels.


VGA input appearing on inexpensive displays would be the flexibility indicator that set me off on this quest.


Edited by Trash80toHP_Mini
apparently I can no longer type/spell.
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