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AuthorTopic: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...  (Read 1393 times)

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Offline darksun9210

Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« on: October 21, 2019, 02:23:25 PM »
So, with the re-juvination of my A4k, comes the mediator installation, and i'm sorry if i'm going over old ground. i did find a mediator thread from about 2003, but i figured i'd try to stay on point with a new thread.

I think i have the 5volt version of the mediator, but it looks like a jumper wire would be easy enough to run for 3.3volts to a slot.
so, what do you guys recommend as a graphics card to work with the mediator?

i see there is the radeon9250, and it looks like 5volt notched pci versions, are fetching about £40 on fleabay, but are "only" the 128meg versions. the 256meg versions look like they are notched for 3.3volts and as such, i guess won't work in a non 3.3volt mediator with out some work.
any real down side to running the 128meg card verses the 256?
also, from what i can see, there are no warp 3d drivers for the radeon 9250 on OS3.x. is this right?

the voodoo3 2000 and 3000 seem to have hit "retro/collector" status and are fetching £300 for a boxed example. to think of all the voodoo3 agp cards i've thrown in the bin years ago... also only 16meg onboard. but does have warp3d support? prices seem to start at about £150(!)

voodoo4/5 no chance now i guess :)

also seems you NEED to have a graphics card on the PCI bus to supply some local ram to the PCI side for, say, the NIC and Soundcard to be able to work?

I have an A4000Di mediator (circa 2002). I'm pretty sure this definitely 5volt only? i tried to buzz the 3.3volt pins on the board and got nothing. I'm pretty sure but is there anything else more obvious like a label i can look for to confirm?

Many thanks,

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline amiadudeorwat

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2019, 02:34:06 AM »
Quote
any real down side to running the 128meg card verses the 256?
Not really.  You aren't likely to need that much VRAM without Warp3D.  Even then you aren't going to run high enough resolutions to run out of VRAM, even with Warp3D.  If you ever think you might want to install a PPC PCI card you want the Video Card to use less of the 512MB of Mediator memory space for the PPC memory space.  So 256MB of VRAM means you can only have a maximum of 256MB on the PPC card.  At least this is how I understand it works.

Quote
also, from what i can see, there are no warp 3d drivers for the radeon 9250 on OS3.x. is this right?
There are some youtube videos that suggest someone is working on this.  But no not yet.

Quote
also seems you NEED to have a graphics card on the PCI bus to supply some local ram to the PCI side for, say, the NIC and Soundcard to be able to work?
Yes, but not a 10MB NIC.

Quote
I have an A4000Di mediator (circa 2002). I'm pretty sure this definitely 5volt only? i tried to buzz the 3.3volt pins on the board and got nothing. I'm pretty sure but is there anything else more obvious like a label i can look for to confirm?
Yes, if it's from 2002.  The A4000 3.3V Mediators only came out in the last 6 years and they have a Black PCB.  Except the A1200 Mediators they have had 3.3V support via ATX power supply for a long time. 

The unofficial mediator guide is worth reading.
https://mediators.github.io/
 
The following users thanked this post: darksun9210

Offline darksun9210

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2019, 09:35:16 AM »
That explains a lot, many thanks again! that mediator guide is definitely worth a read.

i'll pick up a cheap radeon card to get going for now, and i'll keep an eye out for a voodoo3 for reasonable money.

I think if ever i do go for a PPC board it'll be a chance find of one of the "killer nic" solutions... but i can dream...

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline darksun9210

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2020, 02:52:42 PM »
Just been playing at plugging in a Rapid Road USB card into the x-surf100

of course the machine would crash everytime i tried to initialize the card...

so just a bit of an FYI here, but of course, YMMV...
1. on the mediator backplane, the X-surf100 has to be in Z2 mode for the Rapidroad to come up - even without with mediator logicboard plugged in
2. setting winsize on a mediator to 512meg with probably have it show up as defective with a red early start up screen if you have a 256meg zorro ram board installed

i've not tried with the normal A4k zorro daughterboard yet... and probably wont in the immediate time frame.
i've pulled out the BigRam256 card out and i'll only put it back in if i need it.

of course now when i try to jump on aminet to download something using a web browser, the machine crashes *sigh*.
given everything it's taken, i'm now toying with the idea of just offering up the mediator and radeon card for swap for a cybervision64/3d card...

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline darksun9210

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2020, 10:48:45 PM »
continuing my experiments.
i recently acquired another CV64/3D card to compare against the radeon9250 or whatever it is.
well that didn't go well at all. a crashy nightmare. even unplugging the CV64/3D from the mediator didn't really help things.
so ran as much as i could benchmark wise on the radeon between crashes, and then pulled out everything including the mediator and PCI backplane.

put the original Zorro3/ISA backplane back in, installed the CV64/3D and Xsurf-100+RapidRoad back in.

everything FEELS so much quicker. setpatch doesn't take 4 years to complete each time you reboot. and i'm sure there are other things that would get stuck on boot;- i imagine paging through all of the mediators allocated address space to see what's there.
but a Ctrl+A+A doesn't mean getting up for a gentle wander off to the kitchen to see if a plate of cold sausages has magically appeared in the fridge.

not crashing at every excuse blah blah blah. Re-installed P96 for the cybervision card and it actually feels like i have a connection to the desktop again, instead of icons taking about 5-10 seconds to decide to redraw themselves when you move a window.
so i re-ran the benches and compared what i could. turns out they are pretty similar in raw numbers - the cybervision to the radeon. so that hints at a zorro issue, and sure enough, a bustest of the cybervision was almost a carbon copy of the radeon numbers.

now as i mentioned in another thread, i distinctly remember getting north of 14meg a second over Zorro3 to a cybervision card with a decent CPU board.

so as and when i get a decent CPU, maybe i'll re-visit the mediator in the future.
but for now the mediator and radeon is all packed up and i'm back to the original Zorro3 backplane with a Zorro3 graphics card.

it's not a complete home run. i still need to run the Xsurf-100 in zorro2 mode to be able to have the rapidroad do anything. but at least now in Z3 mode i can see the RapidRoad whinging in the prefs program instead of a straight up crash.

[edit] and my bigram256 is showing as defective HAH! ;D sorry bigram....
« Last Edit: February 12, 2020, 10:58:43 PM by darksun9210 »

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline cehofer

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Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2020, 02:43:37 PM »
Which Mediator do you have?  I have the PCI new Mediator PCI 4000D 3V MK-III BLack.  I have had to heavily modify a PC tower case to fit the A4000D MB and Mediator card.  I have it up and running Amiga side with a GVP 2000 Impact HC+8 SCSI and my original 040 C3640 board.   I am wanting to upgrade the 3640 to 3660 but waiting for the kit.  I also have a CV64.  My big stumbling block right now is I am waiting from Amigakit to get my ATX to Amiga cable.  As soon as I get the power cable, I will start fully testing the Mediator side with Spider usb and ethernet card.

On the V3 it does require P9 from the ATX PS to give it 3.3V for PCI bus.  I have been running it as a regular daughter card without the core logic board installed with WB3.1.  It is stable so I think I will install the CV64 and see what happens.  It is really stable and runs just like a regular Amiga 4000 040.  I am running 16M of RAM on the MB and 8M on the GVP Impact with 2M chip.   I have ran the new Sysinfo and all readings come back a regular A4000 040.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2020, 03:12:13 PM by cehofer »
 

Offline darksun9210

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2020, 10:05:52 PM »
Hi there,
A lot of things have kinda come together on my quest for A4000 res-erection, and it's little adventure, so this is going to probably be a bit of a story!  ::) stream of consciousness ramble coming up... 

i have the 5volt version of the mediator A4000Di Mk-II, and it's all in the original A4k Desktop case. the reason i've pretty much only relatively recently got round to playing with it (enough time for Elbox to release a new version of the mediator since i bought my meditator way back when), was i thought my actual machine was toast. it had a relatively recent - in it's life at least - flexATX psu installed pre-me getting hold of the machine. only a couple of months later in my hands it died. Of course i didn't suspect the brand new PSU, so i was buzzing traces/sockets, cleaning any non-existent Battery corrosion. trying anything to get life. but nothing.
cue house move, cue kids, time (years) pass.
then for some reason i test the PSU. and wouldn't you know it, it's dead as a door nail. Turns out the original A4k PSU is able to push 180Watts on the 5Volt Rail. PC PSU's usually drive most of their juice on the 12Volt lines. so the FlexATX PSU i *was* using could only drive 40-50Watts on the 5Volt rail. Amiga's are all about the 5Volts. 12Volts is just really for audio op-amps, and drives. So the flexATX psu had thrown in the towel.

so i bit the bullet and picked up a SFX PSU that could run at least 200Watts on 5 volts - turns out you have to go to around 500W-600W range to get that. and boom, we have life. amigakit pretty much next-day'd me an ATX to A4k PSU adapter and we're back in business - and i was pretty ecstatic about it all too!  ;D

so. if you are going for a modern PSU swap, check the 5Volt rail output.

now, i was doing some benchmarking for another forum. Everything i've got with an FPU got ran, and results dumped into Excel. The only thing that threw a major question mark was the A3640 - it... was.. so... SLOW... tested in both my a3k and a4k. same numbers. same results.
the only thing i could put it down to was the ram performance of the A3640, which... quickly turned out to be pretty disappointing. it didn't take too much digging to find that this little dog and pony show of access and transfer speed was repeated on the Z3 bus as well.

Now, i just want to stress this, but. PERSONALLY, and this is PURELY MY OWN OPINION, on what i've figured out during my time with the kit i've had access to, that i think the 060 conversion of the A3640 card is a waste of an 060 CPU. I really don't mean to pee on anyone's parade, and i bow down and grovel to the guys with the skills to create the A3660 cards.  but think see the A3660's as a stepping stone to creating a new better card. like how the TerribleFire cards were created. first there was a TF020 card with no ram, no IDE or FPU and performance sucked. but it was a learning experience. then there was an 030 card with 2 meg ram and IDE, then step by step. up to to where they are today, and where they are going.
Do i think the A3660's cards are worth the money i'm seeing them go for? yeah maybe. in regard to someones time, awesome skill, effort and just all round dedication to bring one to life. Do i think they are worth it in regard to actual performance? no. Should they be regarded as a worthwhile performance upgrade? sure, if all you've got is an 030. otherwise.... :-\

I mean, yeah an A3660 can put up some pretty numbers in sysinfo or whatever you run, and also of course, an the A3640 show a clean batting average as to where you'd expect a 25Mhz 040 to be. but then if the cpu test loop fits in the cpu cache, it's going to show the CPU performing absolutely spot on to where it should be. however, the fact an A3640 can be troubled by a Blizzard 50Mhz 030 running something that needs the cpu code to rely on external ram. this should not be a thing.
10mips 030 verses 20mips 040, i should see twice the performance. not  around 10%.
i am willing to bet anyone with the ability to test it, and i will happily revise my above ideas if proven otherwise, ten post-brexit Great British pounds stirling, that an A3660 or 060 converted A3640 will get worse FPS in quake, a worse povray render benchmark test, or anything else you care to throw at it, than an 040 card backed with it's own local ram. be it a warp engine, or cyberstorm, at 25Mhz clocks whatever. first one to prove it's better numbers wise gets the cash.  ;)

so, moving on. the A3640.
bustest Mediator Zorro3 performance to radeon9250. lets pick the best number. 6meg a second.
bustest cybervision64/3D Zorro3 performance. again, best numbers. 6 megs a second.
bustest bigram256 Zorro3 performance. 6megs a second.
drive speed test of a USB thumb drive on a rapidroadUSB card on an XSurf100 in Zorro3 mode (yes i did finally sort it out, and yes it was my fault for not reading the advice on the website). But anyway, co-incidentally, would you believe it, 6meg a second.
hmmmm.

P96 speed on Radeon vs CV64/3D. the numbers were not the same, but pretty darn close. same for the graphics bench in SysSpeed. so i'm feeling a bottle neck somewhere. how on earth can a Radeon chip from this century be honestly going toe-to-toe with a chip from the last century? reading up on the Radeon Driver. i'm willing to put a good amount down to driver maturity - its no small blessing that this driver even exists at all. I suspect then it's a case of; if you can, get the Voodoo3 card. voodoo3 driver and support has been around a lot longer - and hey, Warp3D support too. My understanding is that Warp3D is pretty much NEVER going to be a thing on the Radeon under OS3.x . EVER. which is a shame - and that's something i 'm pretty gutted about... we have the hardware. just not the software to open that floodgates.

anyway. bottle neck. Radeon roughly equals CV64/3D in performance... so why have i pulled my Mediator card...
the mediator does nothing that i now don't already have a decent zorro solution for. originally when i first got my A4k, i had nothing, so i bought the Mediator to fill that RTG graphics card feature that my loaded A3k has spoiled me with - as the mediator was pretty much the only game in town. Plus a Lan card, and sound card (which i've lost somewhere). Anyway. before my Mediator arrived, my A4k "died" so i thought, and i ploughed on with my A3k. in that time the xsurf-100 and rapid road were released. big Zorro Ram cards became available, and pretty much because my mediator experience was overall so .... frigging fraught with little gotcha's and the like. and the boot time! good grief! setpatch! the floppy stopped clicking for so long and no video output i thought the machine was dead! only when i accidentally left the machine for long enough i realised it was just the "normal" boot process.
so i got hold of another CV64/3D last week "just to see" if running a 4meg virge chip was any better than the pain of the mediator and radeon combo. no boot time hold ups, no weird crashing. machine is solid as a rock seemingly so far, and usability is back to par.
also tested the lan card performance. the 100meg card on the mediator's PCI is, just like the graphics cards, like-for-like speed wise with the xsurf-100 i've got in there. so yeah. again, suspect bottleneck.

don't get me wrong, i LOVED having a massive amount of graphics ram, and not having to care about display resolution, refresh or depth. but an amiga's workbench and display environment just starts to get a bit silly at anything over 800x600 or 1280x1024. icons, and window elements too small etc. and stuffing a 24bit display with 8 bit alpha channel over a 6meg/s link? no. just fuggedaboudit... 8bit depth to be useable. on the radeon, even then icon redraw sucked. and i'm talking countable seconds to refresh a window after moving another window out of the way so it was visable.
The Lan card "just worked" which was great.
i never got a USB card. that whole thing about the "wipe the disks RDB" in the Elbox drivers if a non-legit USB card was plugged in or something; left me with a sour taste in my mind - so i'd never get a PCI USB card for that risk/reason.
The sound card would have been the only redeeming feature of having a PCI bus available, and i lost that card. i even bought a terratec something off ebay, that was dead on arrival. so blah. whatevs.

How to fix the bottleneck.
I distinctly remember getting 14+meg a second on bustest from a cybervision64/3D card, back when i was running a cyberstorm2/040 card. So i recon, any card backed by some of it's own ram is going to crank up the Z3 performance, and therefore your mediator experience should also pretty dramatically get better. I did consider the revised set of PAL's or GAL's you can get for the A3640 which take a couple of clock cycles out of a ram/bus wait delay or something. but again, effort outlay for return. further discussion on the subject convinced me not to get to involved or hang too much hope on this avenue of inquiry. Seems to just make the A3640 a "little less crap" than a "make it what it should have been" sort of thing.

So i won't sell my mediator. But it's put away for now, and i'll MAYBE re-visit it once i have something of worth in the CPU slot. i just cannot be arsed to strip down my A3k for the Mk3 that's tucked under the drive tray for another round of testing...

i hope you have a more pleasant experience than i did, and i wish you luck in your endeavours going forwards :) 

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline darksun9210

Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2020, 06:19:44 PM »
Hey there, just read again what you've got going on.
ok. to run 100megabit lan card, you'll need a PCI graphics card to provide some form of local ram on the PCI bus that the PCI NIC card can DMA into - or something. a 10meg card doesn't have this problem.
you may find a lot of the capabilities of the Mediator are locked down until a graphics card is 1. present, and 2. the monitor driver configured and loaded.

is the ram on the GVP zorro2 16bit ram? thinking about it, having a PCI graphics card will probably lend itself to some extra system ram. the max graphics ram i could allocate to graphics functions on my 128meg radeon was 64 meg. this left the remaining 64meg mapped as zorro ram - with the relevant performance. so i kinda lost sight of the relevance of having a 256meg graphics card beyond providing 192meg of slow zorro ram?  maybe that'll relegate the ram on the GVP to a DMA buffer for the disks hosted on that card? what sort of transfer speeds do you get from the drive hosted on the GVP?

yeah, i agree, the actual PCI backplane card doesn't seem to have any issues in direct comparison to the original zorro backplane. in fact, it's probably a little better engineered size wise, as with the mediators busboard, i didn't have to either 1. remove the plastic card guides from the front of the case, and 2. bend the card's back plates a fraction to line up with the backplate screw holes - as i did with the commodore zorro back plane. (same for the A3k).

A500 Vampire2/minimegachip/lazarus/indyECS, (+GVP A530,SupraTurbo28,GVP HD8)
A600 Vampire2/604n/subway/IndyECS, (+ACA630)
A1200 Vampire2/IndyAGA, (+Bliz030+scsi)
A1200 Bliz040+scsi/subway/indyAGA
A1200 BlizPPCscsi/Bvision/subway
A3k CSmk3-060/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Zoram256/acard scsi-ide-CF/IndyECS,
A4k C=040/CV64-3D/Xsurf100+RRoadUSB/Bigram256/IndyAGA, (also mediator+pci cards)
CD32 TF330/IndyAGA
Plus an SGI O2 & consoles.
 

Offline cehofer

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Re: Mediator recommended Graphics card + related queries...
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2020, 02:00:06 AM »
I have upgraded the GVP ROM to the latest of 4.15.  I have two of them and 4.0 and 4.4 would not boot.  It wasn't until I burned the 4.15 EProm that I got it to work on the A4000.  I get around 1M/s SCSI2 according to SysInfo.  I want to get the SCSI2SD V6 card.  I have them in my other A4000s.  The GVP Impact 2000 HC8 Series II has 8MB of RAM it says as 24bit.  It is definitely Z2 because I was testing an A2091 with 2Meg RAM and it wouldnt see it until I configured the GVP to 6MB.

How this Amiga came about was I bought a "dead" A4000 MB on ebay.  I figured I could fix my original A4000 from the capacitors leaking and killing the audio.  Come to find out, somebody put Buster in wrong.  I don't know how they forced it in there but they did.  I put it in correctly and it booted up.  I then bought a new Buster chip and it ran fine.  I then recapped my other A4000s and switched MBs around all in good working order.  Even the clock battery works.  So I had this A4000 MB with no home.  I saw a daughter card is so expensive and good luck finding a case to fit it so I went with the new Mediator III card.  I would get to experiment with PCI cards, NICs, USB, etc that Elbox drivers are written for.

I didn't know you could allocate Radeon memory for the Amiga.  I tried to install my CV64 but it appears to be dead.  You can read my other post asking for help troubleshooting it.  I tried it in my Amiga with CyberVisionPPC and showCGXconfig sees "0 devices" but the boot screen and showconfig sees the Phase5 CV64 with 64meg of memory. 

I have installed OS3.9 up to BB2 a couple times now troubleshooting the CV64.  So I am just waiting on my PS cable.  Good advise there on the ATX PS.  When I was troubleshooting the CV64, I noticed 5V does a lot in the machine.  On the CV64, 12V and -12V are only for the video switching chips from passthru to CV64 video out.