Jump to content

ix Micro (IMS) TwinTurbo | partially working | driver issues?


Recommended Posts

  • 68kMLA Supporter
Posted (edited)

SO, I finally got ahold of a decently priced ix Micro TwinTurbo 128M8 graphics card. (thought I had picked one up previously, but turned out to be a ix3D UltimateRez)

 

I'm having some issues with the drivers. I initially went hunting in a few places including MacintoshGarden, as well as: https://eshop.macsales.com/tech_center/index.cfm?page=other_ixmicro.html&title=Other | IXMicro  and http://system7today.com/drivers . Originally I went with the last version released (v4.06), but I would just get both extension and control panel "X"d out at boot time, and MacBench scores confirmed there was nothing beyond the basic system drivers operating. Opening the control panel would just show a "no TwinTurbo is connected top the PCI bus" message. I tried every PCI slot just in case, but then thought it might be a version issue.

 

Since I'm running system 7.6, I'm assuming whatever was released around that system version is the driver version I should be using.  Luckily, I found v3.8 on the Power Computing PowerCD 7.6 CD image, which I had handy. I installed it, and now the extension loads just fine, but the control panel does not—still "X"d. I definitely got a higher score on MacBench 4's publication graphics test, but it's still roughly half of the 9500's score. Opening the control panel with this version just yields an error message with nothing helpful in it.

 

Anyhow, I'm wondering if there's something I'm not doing w/re: getting the TwinTurbo 128M8 operating optimally...

 

What surprises me is that the StarMax 5000, in which I'm testing this card, could come configured with this card from Motorola, but even the StarMax 7.6 CD image doesn't have the drivers on it... Did it and, say, the PowerMac 9500 & 9600 have separate floppy disks with the drivers? I searched for the drivers on the 9600 CD (I could find) on Macintosh Garden, examined each installation tome and didn't find any of the drivers. You would think that a driver for one machine would work for another, but with how quirky this whole process has been, I'm not ruling anything out... I suppose I could try the Umax Supermac S900 disc images, but I'm not entirely convinced.

Edited by jessenator
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, taddy said:

The driver seems to be different for Macintosh clone and PM9x00. 

Thanks for the insight.


Interesting... Well that complicates matters: according to the listing, mine came from a 9600, but it's plugged into a StarMax... hm though, if the driver is the same for all clones, then that v3.8 I got off of the PowerCD should be the correct one. Right? Maybe I'll try getting the PowerComputing Mac OS 8 CD image and see what version is on there. (I'm guessing it's either 4.02 or 4.06)

 

I suppose, too, I could double-test it, by installing it into my PowerTower as well. *sigh* I wish the PCC case was as nicely accessible as the Motorola case is :lol: 

 

I wonder then if the ROM ver. also plays into this... lol

Edited by jessenator
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
On 4/16/2021 at 1:23 AM, jessenator said:

I wonder then if the ROM ver. also plays into this

 forgot to mention, mine has a label "ROM VER 3.8.1"

 

Didn't have time to download the 8.0 image last night before bed (thanks, 10baseT), but I'll see if a later version will work.

 

I wonder if there's some identifier in the ROM that makes it "Apple" vs the clone and off-the-shelf flavor.

 

I guess I'd also still like to know what the deal was on the Apple side for drivers, if it turns out it's more to do with the ROM than the machine it's in... I wonder if I need to go back through and see if there are duplicate QuickDraw elements or something on that 9600 disc: maybe Apple decided rather than having any IMS I.P. show up on the computer, they'd do a deal and re write their own drivers special with their code? IDK.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter

Well... I'm still stumped. I'm actually a tad more enlightened now...

 

I've gone as far as installing the Power Computing licensed version of Mac OS 8.0L, then installing the IMS drivers (v4.0.2P) separately off of the CD, and I'm back to the card not being "detected" on the PCI bus. I sort of threw my hands up (rolled my eyes rather), but not wanting to give up, I pressed on. I tried every version I could get ahold of to test, Apple-centric or for retail/clone markets. Nothing.

 

There was, however, an extension added in during system installation called "9600 Graphics Accelerator" (different from the "7200 Graphics Acceleration" it installs on Catalyst reference) And since the 9600 didn't have on-board graphics, I surmise that this might just be a driver of some sort... I just didn't think to give it a second look until after I had puttered around trying to get various versions of the driver to work with the card I've been able to download. A get info and it's "© Integrated Micro Solutions 1996-1997"  my brain::scrambled: It even has a v. number of 3.8.1, to cap it all... But in the end, my card only worked with ix Micro driver v3.8, out of all the others I had tried, system software version notwithstanding.

 

So without a driver at all, the graphics performance is obviously lackluster for a machine of this era. With the only working version of the IMS drivers installed (no control panel access), it's within a margin of error with the results of that of the "9600 Graphics Accelerator" enabled instead. And while it doesn't quite live up to the MacBench results of the 9500/200, I think  there's definitely utilization of the card properly. How much utilization? Well, a normie like me will likely never know beyond the numbers on screen :tongue: While a PowerTower isn't quite a PowerTower Pro, or a Power Macintosh 9600, one would think the gap wouldn't be this large, but IDK.

 

The MacBench 4 tests to reflect the findings above (yes I'm using my G3 card in the PowerTower again...):

Gy5AtsH.png

 

 

So unless anything else comes to light, or I ever get ahold of a PowerComputing/other clone maker's card ROM to test with, I'm going to be settled with this as the official working quality.

 

The versions I'm seeing on other ix Micro Twin Turbo cards from ebay: one v.3.6; a load of v.3.7 versions; and 3.8.1 like mine... interesting trend: the v3.7 (and that one v3.6) cards have both DA-15 and DB-15 connectors, while the v.3.8.1 have only the DA-15, Apple monitor connector... I could reasonably hypothesize that these are the retail/clone versions... Many PCC models had both video connectors, at least. Hm... something to think about.
 

If anyone else has a clone that shipped with a v3.7 ROM, I'd be interested to know if theirs has dual connectors (some ebay listing calls it dual output, but it won't do that)...

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

refer to Alex's writing.

Well bugger me—if I'd just searched...

 

On 7/12/2019 at 5:33 PM, trag said:

Apple sold off a large stock of OEM Twin Turbos when they discontinued the 9600 -- well sold them as a batch and then resellers sold them retail.   They were very cheap at the time.   Many folks wanted the more extensive controls provided by the IxMicro software.   So ROM swapping happened.   There were about 30 people on the SuperMacs email list alone who bought programmed Flash or EEPROM chips with which to convert the OEM TT cards.

 

And from his post the Macos9lives post:

Quote

3.   Twin Turbo Video Card:   

The Twin Turbo card was sold in two different versions.  The OEM version sold by Apple only works with Apple's 9600 Graphics Extension and limits one to Apple's selection of resolutions in the Monitors CP.   IxMicro's retail version of the card works with IxMicro's Extensions and Control Panel and provides much more extensive control of the card's abilities.

The only difference between them (two differences?  does the IxMicro version have a VGA connector?  can't remember) is the ROM on board the card and it is easily swapped, as it is in a socket.   If one copies the ixMicro ROM to a Flash or EEPROM the chip can then be installed in the Apple version of the card making it more versatile.

 

So, I suppose the next step is to either a) buy one of the v3.7 cards with the "universal" ROM, or b) find someone to flash the ROM to a compatible EPROM for me... Seems that if I get it, I can use that latest version of the driver without any issues...

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

I'm curious why you didn't want to just use the ix3D? It's not as good as the comparable Number 9 Revolution IV cards, but as far as iX Micro cards go, it should be better than a Twin Turbo.

 

I need to go back and check the driver situation with that card as well... now that I have a better grasp on how the cards were marketed, as well as a source for its drivers... but yes, it should be a better performing card. I did note this comment from trag in that older thread:
 

On 7/11/2019 at 2:53 PM, trag said:

The Ultimate Rez card was a later card from IxMicro and had somewhat better performance.   I think it may also have had some rudimentary 3D support, but I could be misremembering.  Such old memories.

 

Anyway, in my experience, the TT was a little slower but more solid.  The Ult. Rez. had somewhat better performance, but had a few bugs still floating around they never squashed.   The bugs mainly only come up on a Umax S900 or J700 though, so probably don't matter to most folks.

 

I think in my fret of revelation that it actually was an Ultimate Rez I didn't fully explore it, but back-burner'd it :tongue: I'll compare results when I get it up and running!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter

Well that didn't take long... got the latest one to work first try, which was nice. Impressive results :D 

EUsCkv4.png

 

Now, that Hi-Res Publishing Graphics test score is... a bit unbalanced-looking, as they didn't record a score for the 9500, but it certainly blows away the Twin Turbo. Funny story, though, but the control panel actually just calls my card "Twin Turbo 128-3D" :lol: 

ZusaBrw.png

 

I'll need to do another round with the Rage128 to confirm as well. I have a few benches on my PowerTower I think were done with it, but I didn't label it as such, so it may not be. 3D wise, it smoked the ix3D series for sure, but they may not have had much need to accelerate 2D at that point in time.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice! Twin Turbo 128-3D is the ASIC on that board IIRC, so that makes sense.

 

I have a non-Mac 3Dfx Voodoo 5 PCI that I'm considering trying to get working in my PowerCenter 150 to replace the XCLAIM 128 that's in it now. Though if that doesn't work, then my next bet was an ix3D + Voodoo2. The Revolution IV cards are rare and too expensive. The ixMicro cards have good era appropriate performance and cost a lot less.

 

That "High-res Publishing" benchmark is almost certainly little more than high bit depth pan & zoom and/or color space conversion, all of which are supported in hardware on that card, so I'm not surprised it performs so well.

Edited by Nathan_A
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Nathan_A said:

pan & zoom

I was curious about that feature and what it's supposed to do... I tried it and it just seems to crop on my screen as I zoom in? Although, my PowerTower is odd in that it seems to think there is a monitor connected to the internal chipset, whether there is or not, causing ...issues, to say the least. Do all the Catalyst/PowerCurve-based PCC machines do this? Anyways, I don't know if that's causing issues with the Pan & zoom or if I just don't understand that functionality :lol: 

 

Edit: oHH okay, I see now... I suppose that would be beneficial for presentations, old projectors that could do 640x480 on a good day :tongue:  I'd be curious to know other ways to use it, though. Smaller monitors but still be able to reach a full-sized canvas?

Now I want to try this on my ViewSonic monitor!

Edited by jessenator
Link to post
Share on other sites

The PowerTower machines are Tsunami architecture. The PowerCurve and PowerCenter machines are Catalyst.

 

I don't know what their Pan & Zoom is for in the control panel. Kind of seems like an Accessibility thing. Sort of like Crtl-Scroll in OS X (I could be wrong about the key combo). I more meant that High-res desktop publishing in terms of synthetic benchmarks back in the day usually had to do with how much smarts there were in the ASIC to manipulate and shift around big buffers of data in and out of the actual framebuffer without the CPU needing to intervene to move memory around itself or retransfer bits from main memory back across the bus to the framebuffer.

 

My PowerCenter 150 doesn't treat it like there's a display attached to the internal "7200 Accelerated Video" when the only display is attached to the ATI XCLAIM 128 card, FWIW.

Edited by Nathan_A
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Nathan_A said:

The PowerTower machines are Tsunami architecture.

PowerTower Pro ;) 

 

Mine is the Non-pro version. It's funny, their boards even still have "PowerCurve" screen printed on them :lol: I don't think it changed until the PowerCenter Pro revision came along, and put the graphics chipset into the PCI riser, which is interesting.

 

21 hours ago, Nathan_A said:

My PowerCenter 150 doesn't treat it like there's a display attached to the internal [video]

Is your jumper set for the Apple DA-15 or DB-15 VGA output? It's called "VGA Enabler" in this diagram:
powercurve.gif&f=1&nofb=1

Edited by jessenator
Link to post
Share on other sites

Geez, I didn't realize the first PowerTower's were Catalyst machines. PowerComputing sure got some mileage out of that architecture. I always preferred them to their Tsunami siblings for the decent on-board video and the faster bus speeds. They lacked memory interleaving, but that didn't seem to be much of a value add on machines of that era outside of niche circumstances. Otherwise, faster bus speeds tended to show obvious benefits.

 

On my PowerCenter the VGA Enabler jumper is in the open position.

 

Lastly, I don't think MacBench ever had 3D tests in it from what I can recall. I'm not all that surprised that the ix3D performs so well in 2D benchmarks. I'd be curious to see a Number Nine card for comparison.

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

I agree as far as my now-gone PowerWave was concerned... it hated anything but its Mach64. If you did this crazy process of installing drivers THEN installing a Rage128, it would work, but if you reset the PRAM: blank monitor... 

 

I just found this while searching in MacWorld back issues on Archive.org for results—obviously not on MacWorld, but I saw the Mactell Vision3d II lite card getting praise :
https://barefeats.com/2Dking.html

MacBench 5 must have really stepped up the graphics tests like they did the CPU tests (only one I tried briefly), because the Ultimate Rez's score is ...quite different from the one I got in MacBench 4.

Edited by jessenator
Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting. I wonder why the big disparity. It could also be differences in drivers. Both Number Nine and iXMicro had large variations in performance depending on driver versions. Curious to see what you find using MacBench 5. Thus far this is doing a pretty good job of motivating me to snag an ix3D or Revolution IV card and pair it with a 12MB Voodoo 2 card. As of last night, I've not had much luck getting the VGA-only PCI Voodoo 5 5500 working with a Mac ROM flashed to it. Part of me wonders if the Mac ROM defaults the primary output to be the DVI port that the Mac version of the card had, and since none of the components or controllers for the DVI version are populated on the board maybe something borks out in the ROM when used on a VGA-only version. But that's an issue for a different thread.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter

3ZnJBTF.png

TwinTurbo driver for this test was "PowerPC Monitors" extension library and the "9600 Graphics Accelerator" version of the TT driver, both from Mac OS 8.0L running on System 7.6.1

 

No 3D tests, so that would have to some from elsewhere... I didn't bother with the whole suite of draw, line, geometry type tests, because ixMicro brags in its readme file about how its performance causes the MacBench (v4.0, admittedly) DrawString or DrawText test to overflow the register :lol: but, fair point, that does happen with version 4. Still, interesting to see the disparity between the cards close a bit. FWIW MB5 automatically performs a publishing graphics test based on the current resolution, so the above results (including reference machines) are all "hi-res" 1152x870


TvhruWX.png

 

 

Oh, and I removed the jumper on the PowerTower motherboard and that disabled the on-board video from thinking a monitor was attached... Counter intuitive that un-jumpering it actually "enables" the VGA monitor port to work vs the Apple style one...

Oh, also, I won an ix3D Mac Rocket (not the Game Rocket) for five hundred pennies on eBay last night :lol: so that will show up next with the MB5 results next time. It's admittedly a budget card, with only 4MB of SGRAM, but I'm curious if it out-performs the Twin Turbo, despite half the VRAM.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The MacBench benchmarks are almost a little too impressive from iX3D ....

 

3DFX Mac cards performed terribly in 2D tests usually, but of course you didn't buy them for that.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
On 4/18/2021 at 2:12 PM, Nathan_A said:

Geez, I didn't realize the first PowerTower's were Catalyst machines. PowerComputing sure got some mileage out of that architecture.

 

Nitpick:   *All* "PowerTower" were Catalyst based machines.

 

The PowerTower Pro was PowerSurge or Tsunami based.  The architecture is actually "PowerSurge".  Tsunami was one of the implementations (9500/9600) of PowerSurge.

 

It was confusing because if you bought a PowerTower **Pro** you were getting a very different machine from a PowerTower.

 

Original Power Computing Catalyst machine was the PowerCurve which shipped with a 120MHz PPC601 card.   Interesting card.

 

Then the PowerCenter (desktop) and PowerTower (mini-tower) -- essentially the same machine in different cases, and really, both were just slightly updated PowerCurves with better CPU cards.

 

Then came the PowerCenter Pro.

 

The PowerWave and the PowerTower Pro were PowerSurge architecture.

 

And the PowerBase was something else again, but I don't remember what as I never paid much attention to it.

 

Now that I'm done nitpicking, :-), nice work with the video card tests.   I did not realize or remember that the Ultimate Rez card had that many legs on the Twin Turbo.   They cleared the Ult. Rez out at like $50 a pop or something way back when.  I wish I could have afforded to buy more of them at the time...

 

On the other hand, I have a box full of Radeon 7000s waiting to have their Flash swapped for a bigger one, so I guess I'll never lack for PCI Mac cards.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
On 4/19/2021 at 8:39 AM, trag said:

And the PowerBase was something else again, but I don't remember what as I never paid much attention to it.

Alchemy :D and yeah, I don't blame you for lack of interest! It was mildly interesting to me only in that it still used a daughter card CPU, unlike the 6400 et al. (I suppose the Umax C500 had it at least socketed PGA 603e...) My PowerLogix PowerForce G3 says it works in a PowerBase, and there's a special jumper/switch setting specifically for PowerBase. So doubfult one could swap in other PCC CPUs in there, but we've already been down that road! But I'm satisfied in my 603-lust with the StarMax, TBH. 

 

But I never jumped on any that have cropped up on eBay recently. I think I'll still be on the lookout for an LPX case to put spare 4400/StarMax guts into in order to satisfy my "desktop" form factor in the collection :tongue: (and to play a good joke one day).

 

w/re: cards and tests... I might just do the tests again in the StarMax, my spare 5000 skeleton, to see how its Rage II+ chipset compares as well. Now that I've seen my results, I don't want to take those BareFeats results at face value.

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 68kMLA Supporter
On 4/18/2021 at 7:08 PM, jessenator said:

won an ix3D Mac Rocket

Well, sadly this was a bust. I can't get the card to post video on any PCI mac I have :scrambled:

 

CUDA, PRAM resets: nothing :/ well it wasn't much skin off my back, but I had hoped to have another entry card to test.

 

Another weird thing. I was going to do the whole round of tests on the StarMax/4400, but some weird things were happening: neither the 9600 accelerator, the ix Twin Turbo extension that sort of worked in the PowerTower, seemed to drive the Twin Turbo at all. I even had problems with the ix3D drivers with the vanilla install of 7.6.1 I was using, even though it had zero problems on the PowerTower. Installing OS 8 seemed to fix that issue, but the TT card was still cold molasses, underperforming even against the built-in ATi chipset... After pulling the Mac Rocket and trying it in the PowerTower with the same result, I gave up for the day. Can't have everything, I suppose :tongue:

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...