Jump to content

BUG Pickles XA v2 Nubus graphics card


Recommended Posts

I recently picked up a Nubus video card that I'm trying to track down more details about. I've seen it called a BUG Pickles XA v2, and there appears to be a PCI version of nearly the identical card (except the memory is all on one long board instead of stacked daughtercards) called the BUG XA-Pro/PCI. At one point I found a table in a PDF someplace that said this Nubus card supported resolutions up to 2048x1536, which is pretty impressive for a Nubus card, and also that it supports some kind of QuickDraw acceleration.

 

Later today I'll put putting it in a 7100/80 to try and see what I can figure out about it. I currently have no software or anything for it, so I assume the functionality will be limited. I'm half tempted to try to pop those heatsinks off to see what's underneath, but I'm weary of damaging the ICs or the card because they seem pretty well affixed.

 

 

PXL_20210316_195342723.jpg

PXL_20210316_195333408.jpg

PXL_20210316_195216457.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter

Cool looking card! Even without software, most Nubus video cards will present their full array of supported resolutions/color depths to Mac OS. Usually acceleration and other bonus features are enabled by the third party driver.

 

Not sure where to start looking for the driver, though I've yet to see BUG mentioned on any of the sites I usually look.

On rare occasion, I've found one vendor's driver will accelerate a different vendor's card, so it may be worth trying other late Nubus drivers like Radius' QuickColor, SuperMac's SuperVideo, 'RasterOps Graphics Install,' and perhaps even the E-Machines Futura software or the Apple 24AC extension.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, Byrd said:

That's one cracking card - dual heatsinks, weird name, interesting mystery DIP switches - is it of Japanese origin?

 

It absolutely is :-)

 

I lost out on a Thunder IV GX as the price climbed to ridiculous heights, and this little gem was in the "Similar Items" carousel. I immediately started scouring the internet for any information, and while I couldn't find much detail, the detail I could find made me intrigued and happy I snagged it instead of the Radius card.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, in my first attempt to reach out to BUG I came up mostly empty handed.

 

Thank you for inquiring about our products.
Certainly it seems "Pickles-XA/Pro".
But unfortunately, I couldn't find any material because it was too old.
I'm sorry I can't help.

Sincerely,
Masumi Teramachi
Public Relations Officer
DMG MORI B.U.G. CO., LTD.

 

At least this gives the name of the card and strongly implies that it's the Nubus sibling to the PCI version of nearly the same name. Though that's not entirely useful considering the PCI version has only barely more information about it than the Nubus one. So, I need to see what I can figure out next.

 

I was able to get the card working without issue in a PM 7100/66 (that I thought was a 7100/80, since that's what's on the case, but that's a whole other story). The display connected to it only supports 640x480, so I couldn't test other resolutions. Though interestingly the card offers up a 2048x1024 resolution too. Selecting it doesn't appear to do much of anything though. There are also some built-in gamma entries which have "pickles" in the name. All color depths worked great from B&W up to Millions.

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/19/2021 at 10:02 PM, Nathan_A said:

Well, in my first attempt to reach out to BUG I came up mostly empty handed.

 


Thank you for inquiring about our products.
Certainly it seems "Pickles-XA/Pro".
But unfortunately, I couldn't find any material because it was too old.
I'm sorry I can't help.

Sincerely,
Masumi Teramachi
Public Relations Officer
DMG MORI B.U.G. CO., LTD.

 

At least this gives the name of the card and strongly implies that it's the Nubus sibling to the PCI version of nearly the same name. Though that's not entirely useful considering the PCI version has only barely more information about it than the Nubus one. So, I need to see what I can figure out next.

 

I was able to get the card working without issue in a PM 7100/66 (that I thought was a 7100/80, since that's what's on the case, but that's a whole other story). The display connected to it only supports 640x480, so I couldn't test other resolutions. Though interestingly the card offers up a 2048x1024 resolution too. Selecting it doesn't appear to do much of anything though. There are also some built-in gamma entries which have "pickles" in the name. All color depths worked great from B&W up to Millions.

 

Totally OT, but it's intriguing to me that BUG were bought by DMG Mori (presumably Mori Seiki at that time as the DMG merger hadn't happened yet).

 

DMG Mori / Mori Seiki make CNC metalworking machines - that's my field of work.

 

I wonder what they got from that acquisition? Seems a strange match.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, olePigeon said:

https://web.archive.org/web/19990508214504/http://www.bug.co.jp/products/download.html

 

I did a search on Archive.org.  I found some software drivers, but I'm not sure if any of them apply to the NuBUS version.  Also, can't download them as they were stored on FTP and weren't archived.

 

Thanks for the attempt!  I came across the same roadblock when foraging around archive.org for old versions of their site.

 

I'm trying to find a spreadsheet (mostly in Japanese) that made reference to the card, but I forgot to bookmark it, and now my trail of mental breadcrumbs seems to have been picked over by birds.

 

My next attempt will probably be to find additional vintage computing communities (especially any that lean more japanese) to see if anyone has any leads. I really want to get this thing running properly and benchmark it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
20 hours ago, olePigeon said:

There's a full-size version on Yahoo Japan auctions, but it doesn't have those cool stackable RAM cards.  I wonder how many you can reasonably stack on.  Probably 4.

 

Link? I'm having a hard time tracking it down.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)

Separately, I think I may have found something like the online resume of a person who worked on several of the BUG video products: https://tshinba.web.fc2.com/job/jobs.html

 

From there I downloaded this PDF, which looks like a potential treasure trove of details:

eizo1994_8.PDF

 

This is a very rough translation of that PDF piped through pdftoppm -> tesseract -> Google Docs -> Google Translate

https://docs.google.com/document/d/13zhNRas7Hp6pJncRbrzMFPeALFqdrb5Zmw3_aDNWG8k/edit?usp=sharing

Edited by Nathan_A
Link to post
Share on other sites

@Nathan_A Seeing as how your video card is marked XAP, I'm assuming it's the XA-Pro NuBus version.  If that PDF is accurate, then I think you might have arguably the most powerful NuBus video card for Mac. :cool:  I'd be keen to see benchmarks and if it can really drive those resolutions if we can ever find the drivers for it.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
20 hours ago, olePigeon said:

@Nathan_A Looks like a completed auction.  Oops.

 

https://page.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp/auction/x748456507

 

Ah. Yeah, that one is an earlier and/or lower-end card in their line from what I can tell. I am curious about those switch settings shown in the manual though, because my card has a similar switch block.

 

20 hours ago, olePigeon said:

@Nathan_A Seeing as how your video card is marked XAP, I'm assuming it's the XA-Pro NuBus version.  If that PDF is accurate, then I think you might have arguably the most powerful NuBus video card for Mac. :cool:  I'd be keen to see benchmarks and if it can really drive those resolutions if we can ever find the drivers for it.

 

Indeed. :-) 

 

From my photos the big chip under the RAM is ca BUG ASIC of some kind, from the PDF I linked it's clear (I mean it's incredibly blurry, but you can make out the shape of the logo) that the larger of the two heatsinked chips is also a BUG ASIC. The smaller of the two heatsinked chips looks like a Texas Instruments chip. You can see the TI logo and the word "VIDEO" written next to it. Which, given the lack of a clearly identifiable alternative, its relative position to the output connector, and some Google Images searching for "texas instruments video RAMDAC", leads me to believe it's probably the RAMDAC.

 

Edited by Nathan_A
Link to post
Share on other sites

Will it be helpful? There is a copy of the BUG Piclkes 24AW manual for different models.
There is no software, but there is information on the DIP switch on 24AW card.

It may be different, but it seems worth trying.

 

                               1 2 3 4
19inch mode ON OFF OFF OFF
21inch mode ON ON OFF OFF
Pickles 1152 OFF ON OFF OFF
2Page Mode

i-img1200x900-1607231365prjam0725061.jpg

Link to post
Share on other sites

It looks like the RAM daughtercards were pretty ubiquitous among several of BUG's products of the late-Nubus and early-PCI era. As their PCI products evolved, and as they added PCI-e products, it looks like they moved to standard DIMM and SO-DIMM sockets.

 

https://photos.google.com/u/1/share/AF1QipNGJMhuWjQhBb1R4i_fmEDl4_lkZC_rXw5GdO89bXKz2ab8S3kat9a4nKW03EgyYg?key=WF96eEJnRnlQd2xBcnBtT3Z3aVJPZ0d5ZVRVTDV3

 

It does make me wonder if I could acquire a few more of the "PGC-VMM" daughterboards since the longevity of their PCI products was seemingly quite long.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
22 hours ago, Nathan_A said:

It looks like the RAM daughtercards were pretty ubiquitous among several of BUG's products of the late-Nubus and early-PCI era. As their PCI products evolved, and as they added PCI-e products, it looks like they moved to standard DIMM and SO-DIMM sockets.

 

https://photos.google.com/u/1/share/AF1QipNGJMhuWjQhBb1R4i_fmEDl4_lkZC_rXw5GdO89bXKz2ab8S3kat9a4nKW03EgyYg?key=WF96eEJnRnlQd2xBcnBtT3Z3aVJPZ0d5ZVRVTDV3

 

It does make me wonder if I could acquire a few more of the "PGC-VMM" daughterboards since the longevity of their PCI products was seemingly quite long.

 

What a great product gallery!

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'd love to get the same card you have.  I need to put a eBay watch out.  Or more than likely, I need to check Yahoo Japan more often.  Theoretically they sold the card in the U.S., at least according to their product history.  Hopefully track down the software.

 

Maybe one of our Japanese speaking members could ask on a Japanese userboard if anyone has a copy of the software.  I think @JDW lives in Japan.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/21/2021 at 1:46 PM, taddy said:

Will it be helpful? There is a copy of the BUG Piclkes 24AW manual for different models.
There is no software, but there is information on the DIP switch on 24AW card.

It may be different, but it seems worth trying.

 

                               1 2 3 4
19inch mode ON OFF OFF OFF
21inch mode ON ON OFF OFF
Pickles 1152 OFF ON OFF OFF
2Page Mode

i-img1200x900-1607231365prjam0725061.jpg

 

Hi, just picked up two BUG Pickles NuBus videocards: 24AW and 24A - I am still waiting them to be shipped, but the seller was showing in the auction (see pic) that the card was correctly recognized, so I hope I can get some driver from him. Anyway here's one more interested in knowing more about these pieces of hardware ;)

Schermata 2021-04-05 alle 22.03.42.png

Edited by micheledipaola
Link to post
Share on other sites

@micheledipaola  Holy cow!  Those are some serious freaking video cards.  I really hope you can get the software.  I'd love to see the BUG Pickles XA v2 as well.  I think this pretty much proves these little cards can push those insane resolutions.

 

Absolutely at the top of my list holy grail NuBus video card.  I want a BUG Pickles XA v2 with dual memory cards. :shocked:

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
Posted (edited)

After a bit more speculation and some goose-chasing I was able to secure this guy even after missing the auction. TattleTech identifies it as the XA/Lite. The base board looks identical to @Nathan_A's example (save for some bodge wires likely due to it being rev C,) but the memory modules are not populated on the stacking side. 

IMG_8609.thumb.jpg.20501ae61b7510d3a1fd517b1aa448ad.jpgIMG_8610.thumb.jpg.02718e3c02db11e44e34f15a5c05e740.jpgIMG_8611.thumb.jpg.0d47bef3fde1149191caaa57e10f25fd.jpgIMG_8612.thumb.jpg.d5cd9db93040ee253124602db6b8d347.jpgIMG_8613.thumb.jpg.6e2cc71f4aa048df48169603d82c88cc.jpg

This card presents a 1024x1024 max resolution, though changing it from 1024x768 simply moves the bottom of the screen off my LCD, likely for a panning desktop but inoperable without drivers. 

IMG_8608.thumb.jpg.d93c8a90157000c4add99bab975df3a0.jpg

In the eizo1994_8.PDF document linked above it does specify a max of 1024x768 rather than 1024x1024, but the latter is exactly 3MB of framebuffer. From this it seems logical that the 2048x1024 max resolution would be 6MB, hence double the populated RAM on those cards. Stick all four of these cards together and you get 9MB, perfect for 2048x1536 at 24-bit color which is on the chart, so it's probably not just a panning virtual resolution. This also seems to be the RAM setup on the card in the PDF.

262849182_ScreenShot2021-04-06at2_58_46AM.thumb.png.a6834405e76a0d2463eea300de293dd1.png

My biggest question is: other than the stacking modules and probably the ROM, could the rest of the card be identical? The low-end cards would have needed to include the more expensive RAMDAC but perhaps this streamlined manufacturing scheme provided for this overhead.

 

I'll see if I get lucky and can dig up any drivers that affect the quickdraw performance. First impressions were noticeably unaccelerated :)

 

Edited by jeremywork
Link to post
Share on other sites

Since the product description by BUG was attached, I translated only the part of "2.1 display resolution".

 

2.1 Display resolution
PicklesXA / Lite is a conventional so-called high resolution resolution, and there are many products on the market such

as those for Windows / Macintosh that can handle full color at this resolution even on a personal computer.


PicklesXA can handle up to 1376x1024 pixels in full color, including the resolution of 1280x1024 pixels

that has traditionally been used as standard on workstations. Since 1280x1024 pixels,

which are common in workstations, have an aspect ratio of 4: 5, displaying on a 3: 4 monitor

with an aspect ratio of 1: 1 leaves a little extra left and right display area.

 

Therefore, if you fix the number of vertical pixels to 1024 and display it with an aspect ratio of 3: 4, the horizontal will be 1365.3 pixels.

However, due to the feasibility of the circuit, the number of horizontal pixels must be a multiple of 16 or 32, and as a result,

1360 pixels or 1376 pixels is the optimum number of pixels. The error of the aspect ratio from 1: 1 at this time is about 0.8%,

which can be completely ignored even when considering the curvature of the display tube surface. The resolution of 1280 pixels is

intended to use as little memory as possible by interleaving 256 pixels on five sides.

 

However, now that the bit unit price of image memory is not so high, it will not be a big restriction.
In addition to these resolutions, Pickles XA / Pro, the top model in the series, enables ultra-resolution display in RGB 24-bit full color,

such as 1600x1200, 1600x1280, 1920x1080, 2048x1536 pixels, which has been used only for special purposes in the past.

It is a product that has been made.
In particular, 1920x1080 pixels are so-called high-definition non-interlaced, and specifications are assumed in

"Ultra-high-definition digital video system: UDTV (Ultra Definition TV) level 0" stated in the report of the Telecommunications Technology Council.

 

The resolution is. Here, the vertical display resolution is different from the NHK high-definition (1920x1035 pixels)

in order to obtain an accurate 1: 1 aspect ratio on a 16: 9 monitor.


PicklesXA / Pro realizes such an ultra-high performance frame buffer as an add-on board for MAC,

and this ultra-resolution display is possible with a single board with a board size of 177.8x101mm.
The use of MAC as a platform has made it extremely easy to use all of the best color applications out-of-the-box in this ultra-high resolution environment.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...