XP1000 - which Graphics Card

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by MrSigno » Tue, 19 Dec 2000 06:27:27



Hi,

   I was offered an XP1000 with a PowerStorm 300 graphics card, only to
learn later
   that in fact the machine has a ELSA Gloria Synergy card.

   2 - questions...

   Q1) What is the difference between the two cards ?

   Q2) I intend to run TRU64 + OpenVMS, is one card better than the other /
          better suited for my choice of OS's

  thanks inadvance

-Fred

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Fred Kleinsorg » Wed, 20 Dec 2000 02:33:46



>Hi,

>   I was offered an XP1000 with a PowerStorm 300 graphics card, only to
>learn later
>   that in fact the machine has a ELSA Gloria Synergy card.

>   2 - questions...

>   Q1) What is the difference between the two cards ?

A P300 is a several thousand dollar 3D graphics card.  A ELSA card is a
several hundred dollar commodity card with only 2D support.

Quote:

>   Q2) I intend to run TRU64 + OpenVMS, is one card better than the other /
>          better suited for my choice of OS's

They will both work on both VMS and Tru64.  The ELSA is a
not-too-great-performing 2D card, the P300 (and the more expensive P350) is
a well performing mid-range 3D graphics card.

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by David Math » Wed, 20 Dec 2000 04:04:47



>A P300 is a several thousand dollar 3D graphics card.  A ELSA card is a
>several hundred dollar commodity card with only 2D support.

The Elsa Gloria Synergy is a 2D card on VMS because that's all the
_drivers_ support - it is not an intrinsic limitation of the card itself.
Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers. We use a
very similar card to teach a protein structure course.  That card, the
Diamond Fire 1000GL pro, not only has an OpenGL driver, it also has the
hardware to drive Stereographics (thats a company name) shutter glasses and
so provide "true" 3D views.  It's only got 8Mb of memory but that's enough
to spin either a reasonably complex solid or a very complex wire frame in
real time and true stereo.

Any chance that we're ever going to have an affordable (<=$300) graphics
card for OpenVMS with a decent OpenGL driver?  Or will the Elsa replacement
card (should one ever appear) also be crippled by the lack of an OpenGL
driver?   It seems Compaq's strategy is to force customers into spend many
thousands for these cards in order to get OpenGL.  But that strategy is
deeply flawed because all it really does is to force them to buy PCs
instead.   Outside of the military (and maybe not even so much there) who
can justify the expense of using VMS for 3D graphics???  

Regards,

David Mathog

Manager, sequence analysis facility, biology division, Caltech

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Fred Kleinsorg » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 03:03:31


I doubt that anything I say will make you very happy.

There isn't some sinister plot to force people to buy expensive 3D
controllers.  What you are seeing is the collision between commodity
graphics cards, and traditional "workstation" graphics cards.  In terms of
raw performance, there is now little difference between the two.  There are
some serious quality and feature problems however.

Yes, our strategy is to move to off-the-shelf "industry standard" cards.  We
no longer design our own graphics, and the P300/350 is probably the last OEM
card we will buy.

There is an internal struggle among the engineers and management who have to
deliver graphics on Alpha (VMS and Tru64).  The struggle is between those
who believe that it is only worth doing the fastest graphics (and that takes
time), and those who would trade off performance for time-to-market.  Unlike
the NT market, we don't just get the software for free from the board
vendor, nor is there uniform quality in SW or HW on NT - many so-called
OpenGL implementations are really designed for full-screen simulation
(*).  We are looking to leverage work being done for Linux and
xFree86 - but frankly, *high-quality* and *high-performance* Linux 3D
drivers are not readily available, and this market is in it's infancy.

Having said all that, we are in the final stages of qual for a replacement
for the ELSA card that will phase in as the ELSA inventory is used up.  It
will also only be 2D, although the card is quite capable of being a fine
entry/low-mid 3D card.  Rather than spend the limited 3D budget on this
card, instead we are working on support (in late 2001) for a family of cards
that will span low-end to high-end 3D -- and are off-the-shelf commodity
graphics.

VMS is tied to Tru64 for graphics.  We are not driving it.  We will get
whatever the Tru64 market gets.

_Fred




>>A P300 is a several thousand dollar 3D graphics card.  A ELSA card is a
>>several hundred dollar commodity card with only 2D support.

>The Elsa Gloria Synergy is a 2D card on VMS because that's all the
>_drivers_ support - it is not an intrinsic limitation of the card itself.
>Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers. We use a
>very similar card to teach a protein structure course.  That card, the
>Diamond Fire 1000GL pro, not only has an OpenGL driver, it also has the
>hardware to drive Stereographics (thats a company name) shutter glasses and
>so provide "true" 3D views.  It's only got 8Mb of memory but that's enough
>to spin either a reasonably complex solid or a very complex wire frame in
>real time and true stereo.

>Any chance that we're ever going to have an affordable (<=$300) graphics
>card for OpenVMS with a decent OpenGL driver?  Or will the Elsa replacement
>card (should one ever appear) also be crippled by the lack of an OpenGL
>driver?   It seems Compaq's strategy is to force customers into spend many
>thousands for these cards in order to get OpenGL.  But that strategy is
>deeply flawed because all it really does is to force them to buy PCs
>instead.   Outside of the military (and maybe not even so much there) who
>can justify the expense of using VMS for 3D graphics???

>Regards,

>David Mathog

>Manager, sequence analysis facility, biology division, Caltech

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by David Math » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 05:46:32



>I doubt that anything I say will make you very happy.

That's a safe bet!

Quote:

>There isn't some sinister plot to force people to buy expensive 3D
>controllers.  What you are seeing is the collision between commodity
>graphics cards, and traditional "workstation" graphics cards.  In terms of
>raw performance, there is now little difference between the two.  There are
>some serious quality and feature problems however.

Going off on a tangent for a second - this "quality" argument keeps raising
its head.  Now I'll agree that VMS is a small market without much pull but
Compaq _also_ sells about a bazillion PCs a year.  Ok, the consumer grade
ones are really crappy but supposedly the commercial grade ones are better.
Is there some reason Compaq can't throw its weight around a little bit more
by requiring a certain quality level for the parts it buys?  And couldn't
some of that spill over into VMS land, with the standard having been set
high enough that the SCSI cards, disks, and Graphics boards which go out on
the commercial PCs will be stable enough to use on VMS as well?   It seems
like a win/win proposition for Compaq - they obtain more stable components
for the PCs _and_ lower cost components with acceptable quality for VMS.
Heck, it's probably even a win for the vendors because if the standards are
precisely defined they know exactly what they must produce and who's
responsible if something does or doesn't work.

Quote:

>Yes, our strategy is to move to off-the-shelf "industry standard" cards.  We
>no longer design our own graphics, and the P300/350 is probably the last OEM
>card we will buy.

>There is an internal struggle among the engineers and management who have to
>deliver graphics on Alpha (VMS and Tru64).  The struggle is between those
>who believe that it is only worth doing the fastest graphics (and that takes
>time), and those who would trade off performance for time-to-market.

Ah very much like the Genome project!  The public guys insisted on a level
of accuracy that was attainable but extremely expensive and slow to obtain.
Meanwhile Celera came along and quickly cranked out a rough draft which has
98% of the utility at a fraction of the cost.  Now the public guys are
playing catchup and are wondering how they're ever going to get funding to
move from the 98% good enough that Celera delivered to the 99.999% that
they wanted to deliver.  You see, the big questions in genetics can all be
pretty much answered with the rough draft, so the cost/benefit analysis
does not favor ever reaching the level of accuracy that the public camp
favored.

In the case at hand we have the "better nothing than perfect" camp again,
versus the "better something than nothing."   Right now we've (most of us
anyway) effectively got nothing, and we want something.  Perfect can wait.
Perfect may not even be needed.

Quote:>  Unlike
>the NT market, we don't just get the software for free from the board
>vendor, nor is there uniform quality in SW or HW on NT - many so-called
>OpenGL implementations are really designed for full-screen simulation
>(*).  We are looking to leverage work being done for Linux and
>xFree86 - but frankly, *high-quality* and *high-performance* Linux 3D
>drivers are not readily available, and this market is in it's infancy.

This comes back to the argument I was making before.  Why does Compaq have
to accept the situation that the board vendors get to deliver only a driver
for one OS but not another?   REQUIRE them to produce the driver in such a
form that it will "make" to an NT driver, and also "make" under a different
OS to VMS or  XFree86 driver.  I know I'm grossly simplifying things here,
but what I mean is hardware acceleration of any particular 2D or OpenGL
function might as well shove the same series of bytes into the card no
matter what the OS is.  Sort of a universal driver interface.  There's no
such thing now, and Microsoft would prefer that one never exist, but
everybody else would certainly benefit from its existence.  Maybe Compaq
has the oomph to make it happen.  Again - this may not be the perfect
OpenGL driver, but if we can get 90% of it using the standard, that's
probably good enough for most people.

Quote:

>Having said all that, we are in the final stages of qual for a replacement
>for the ELSA card that will phase in as the ELSA inventory is used up.  It
>will also only be 2D, although the card is quite capable of being a fine
>entry/low-mid 3D card.  Rather than spend the limited 3D budget on this
>card, instead we are working on support (in late 2001) for a family of cards
>that will span low-end to high-end 3D -- and are off-the-shelf commodity
>graphics.

Now I'm just confused.  The half life of a graphics card seems to be about
9 months, so if these cards exist now this means Compaq will be coming out
with support just as the cards reach their end of life (in the PC market,
anyway.)   Or has Compaq found a way around that problem, for instance, with
drivers which are somehow guaranteed to be compatible with newer variants
of the card?  If not this strategy leaves you perpetually behind the curve
(and uncompetitive) in the graphics arena.

Quote:

>VMS is tied to Tru64 for graphics.  We are not driving it.  We will get
>whatever the Tru64 market gets.

That's really too bad  - graphics there are only (very) marginally better
than under VMS.

It would really be nice to see Compaq work with the graphics card vendors,
the Xfree86 folks, and even Sun, Apple and Be to arrive at some sort of
"portable graphics card driver".   It benefits nobody but Microsoft that
the drivers for the cards must now be hand crafted on an OS by OS basis.
A lot of the graphics card vendors' windows drivers are pretty iffy as they
are - but they might as well be iffy on all platforms as on that one!

Regards,

David Mathog

Manager, sequence analysis facility, biology division, Caltech

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Paul A. Jacob » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 06:49:39



Quote:> Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers.

Most gamers found the OpenGL implementation on Permedia 2 card to be
inadequate to play Quake.  If the Permedia 2 was not even sufficient for
games, it would probably do even worse in real 3D applications.

Paul A. Jacobi
Compaq Computer Corporation
OpenVMS Systems Group, ZKO3-4/U14
110 Spitbrook Road
Nashua, NH 03062-2698

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Shane.F.Sm.. » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 09:51:58


I can tell you this is not so, from personal experience. Using the correct
OpenGL DLL from Diamond my old Permidia 2 based FireGL card did a lovely
job of Quake 2 on a PII 400. It actually kicked my old Voodoo 2's *at
Forsaken, too - a fraction slower but far better looking because of the
32bit colour depth.

The Permidia 2 chipset makes a good low-end 3d accelerator, if the drivers
are right.

Shane



cc:

Subject:  Re: XP1000 - which Graphics Card


Quote:> Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers.

Most gamers found the OpenGL implementation on Permedia 2 card to be
inadequate to play Quake.  If the Permedia 2 was not even sufficient for
games, it would probably do even worse in real 3D applications.

Paul A. Jacobi
Compaq Computer Corporation
OpenVMS Systems Group, ZKO3-4/U14
110 Spitbrook Road
Nashua, NH 03062-2698

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Mike Burc » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 11:34:39






> > Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers.

> Most gamers found the OpenGL implementation on Permedia 2 card to be
> inadequate to play Quake.  If the Permedia 2 was not even sufficient for
> games, it would probably do even worse in real 3D applications.

I don't know what you are trying to say here!?  Did it not work?  Was it too
slow?

OK, here's the facts:

First of all, 'gamers' are *not* running NT!!!  They are running Win9x,
because most games require full Direct X support (DX 2 or 3 was the last
version on NT and it was pretty worthless).

The Permedia 2 chipset was developed by 3DLabs as an attempt to enter the
low cost PC graphics market (*?).  Their primary market is high-end
workstation cards (e.g. Oxygen) which sell for several thousand dollars.
The same group that developed the Permedia 2 also did the Permedia 3 which
is their current version.  Both of these cards were disappointing at the
time of their release and I doubt that 3DLabs will stay in this market
(which is dominated by Nvidia and 3DFX).

Quake gamers (Quake I and II that is) prefered 3DFX Voodoo cards because of
its so-called mini-GL driver which was optimised for Quake and would NOT run
true OpenGL applications.  At the time time, a pair of Voodoo2s SLIed
together was the fastest Quake rig you could buy.

OK, all of this is relavant only to Window9x!  However, on Window NT, to
which Mr. Mathog is referring, the Permedia drivers *are* quite good
compared to the competition.  There used to be benchmarks on 3DLabs web site
which showed that the Permedia 2 is 20-30% faster than other low cost cards
of that time (TNT, RagePro, etc.) when running applications on NT (such as
3D Studio Max).  Take a look at similar benchmarks of the Permedia 3 Create
and you'll see what I mean!

http://www.veryComputer.com/).

The 3DLabs NT drivers are extremely well optimised for NT whereas, you are
lucky to get any NT drivers at all for other low cost cards.  Plus you get a
full OpenGL ICD.  They are even multithreaded and can take advantage of SMP.

So actually, a Permedia 2 based card is a good choice for a low cost NT
based workstation.  Of course, both are not obsolete having been replaced by
Permedia 3 and Win2K ;)

Michael Burch
Supersonic Systems

> Paul A. Jacobi
> Compaq Computer Corporation
> OpenVMS Systems Group, ZKO3-4/U14
> 110 Spitbrook Road
> Nashua, NH 03062-2698


 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Alan Grei » Thu, 21 Dec 2000 18:54:45




Quote:

>First of all, 'gamers' are *not* running NT!!!  They are running Win9x,
>because most games require full Direct X support (DX 2 or 3 was the last
>version on NT and it was pretty worthless).

Maybe on NT 4 but I have Direct X 8.0 on Windows 2000

--
Alan Greig

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by David Math » Fri, 22 Dec 2000 01:33:14





>> Permedia 2 cards on NT have perfectly adequate OpenGL drivers.

>Most gamers found the OpenGL implementation on Permedia 2 card to be
>inadequate to play Quake.  If the Permedia 2 was not even sufficient for
>games, it would probably do even worse in real 3D applications.

We use the Fire GL1000 Pro cards with Swiss PDB Viewer for real time 3D
display of molecules - in true stereo no less at 1024 x 768 resolution.
Full screen or "stereo in a window". It works extremely well.  MolMol,
another molecule viewer also works correctly through this OpenGL driver.
These are pretty typical OpenGL applications, more or less like a CAD/CAM
program, except they show molecules instead of cars or machine parts. The
OpenGL examples from the OpenGL organization web site also worked
correctly.

I've not tried Quake but for the applications I have tried this card has
been fantastic.

The only problem now is that there's no W2K driver, and there's probably
never going to be one, so unless we change cards we're never going to W2K.
(Not that I'm in a hurry to get there!)

David Mathog

Manager, sequence analysis facility, biology division, Caltech

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Bart Z. Lederm » Fri, 22 Dec 2000 02:48:25



>In the case at hand we have the "better nothing than perfect" camp again,
>versus the "better something than nothing."   Right now we've (most of us
>anyway) effectively got nothing, and we want something.  Perfect can wait.
>Perfect may not even be needed.

>Now I'm just confused.  The half life of a graphics card seems to be about
>9 months, so if these cards exist now this means Compaq will be coming out
>with support just as the cards reach their end of life (in the PC market,

Unfortunately, there is an interrelationship between these
two factors.

People here do realize that we need to get some products out
quickly, and that it may not be necessary to support every
whiz-bang feature of a video card in order to make a lot of
customers happy (or at least reasonably satisfied).

However, our (VMS) customers do expect systems that contain
video cards will run well: at least, that they won't crash,
that the video card won't interact with the other device drivers
(moving the cursor won't corrupt data on a SCSI disk, for example),
that the screen won't do anything really 'funny' like going into
reverse video when you drag a window, and so on.  This requires
a significant amount of development and testing, especially
testing.  Testing takes time, and VMS is tested very completely
because it's what our customers want.  This is a problem when,
as you noted, cards don't have a very long production life.

As Fred noted, there are quite a few people here who are looking
into a better long-term solution to the entire problem.  Doing
cooperative development with Tru64 helps spread the work load and
could help leverage our buying power with the vendors.  There are
other solutions in the works.  But the bottom line is, if you want
VMS quality it takes longer than some of the slap-together
alternatives out on the market.

--
 B. Z. Lederman   Personal Opinions Only

 Posting to a News group does NOT give anyone permission
 to send me advertising by E-mail or put me on a mailing
 list of any kind.

 Please remove the "DISABLE-JUNK-EMAIL" if you have a
 legitimate reason to E-mail a response to this post.

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Fred Kleinsorg » Fri, 22 Dec 2000 04:21:58


David Mathog wrote in message <91ohf8$...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>...
>In article <91o7u9$7bi...@lead.zk3.dec.com>, "Fred Kleinsorge"
<kleinso...@star.zko.dec.com> writes:
>>I doubt that anything I say will make you very happy.

>That's a safe bet!

>>There isn't some sinister plot to force people to buy expensive 3D
>>controllers.  What you are seeing is the collision between commodity
>>graphics cards, and traditional "workstation" graphics cards.  In terms of
>>raw performance, there is now little difference between the two.  There
are
>>some serious quality and feature problems however.

>Going off on a tangent for a second - this "quality" argument keeps raising
>its head.  Now I'll agree that VMS is a small market without much pull but
>Compaq _also_ sells about a bazillion PCs a year.  Ok, the consumer grade
>ones are really crappy but supposedly the commercial grade ones are better.
>Is there some reason Compaq can't throw its weight around a little bit more
>by requiring a certain quality level for the parts it buys?  And couldn't
>some of that spill over into VMS land, with the standard having been set
>high enough that the SCSI cards, disks, and Graphics boards which go out on
>the commercial PCs will be stable enough to use on VMS as well?   It seems
>like a win/win proposition for Compaq - they obtain more stable components
>for the PCs _and_ lower cost components with acceptable quality for VMS.
>Heck, it's probably even a win for the vendors because if the standards are
>precisely defined they know exactly what they must produce and who's
>responsible if something does or doesn't work.

The problem here is that the PC market is mostly a component integration
business.  A number of vendors make high-quality options and drivers for
them -- but it really is a matter of what they are targeted at.  3DLabs for
instance makes graphics for the "professional" market, and their PC OpenGL
implementations tend to be quite good.  nVidea on the other hand, targets a
gaming market - and their products do not tend to work good if you are doing
CAD/CAM instead of running Quake.

A lot of "quality" (as well as performance) in the PC world depends on the
software the vendor supplies - not just the HW.

So when someone puts together a PC configuration, they simply pick from a
palette of available options, cost, functionality, and quality for the
market for their PC.  A PC with an Oxygen VX1 on it will make a fine CAD/CAM
system, an nVidea won't (I just helped a friend though just this exact
situation not long ago).  But it makes a fine system for games.

But the PC market also does not make use of functionality that might be
required in a traditional UNIX/VMS CAD/CAM or server.  Sticking with
graphics, most commodity graphics cards do not offer multiple-simultanious
pixel formats, and their overlay plane support tends to be limited
(actually, overlay planes are making a comeback here and there on some
boards).  Moving away from graphics, to say SCSI - VMS and SCSI clusters
push disks in ways that require a strictly correct implementation of the
standard.  A lot of them cheat - but they cheat in ways that are not
material to how PCs use the disks or even how UNIX uses them.

- Show quoted text -

>>Yes, our strategy is to move to off-the-shelf "industry standard" cards.
We
>>no longer design our own graphics, and the P300/350 is probably the last
OEM
>>card we will buy.

>>There is an internal struggle among the engineers and management who have
to
>>deliver graphics on Alpha (VMS and Tru64).  The struggle is between those
>>who believe that it is only worth doing the fastest graphics (and that
takes
>>time), and those who would trade off performance for time-to-market.

>Ah very much like the Genome project!  The public guys insisted on a level
>of accuracy that was attainable but extremely expensive and slow to obtain.
>Meanwhile Celera came along and quickly cranked out a rough draft which has
>98% of the utility at a fraction of the cost.  Now the public guys are
>playing catchup and are wondering how they're ever going to get funding to
>move from the 98% good enough that Celera delivered to the 99.999% that
>they wanted to deliver.  You see, the big questions in genetics can all be
>pretty much answered with the rough draft, so the cost/benefit analysis
>does not favor ever reaching the level of accuracy that the public camp
>favored.

>In the case at hand we have the "better nothing than perfect" camp again,
>versus the "better something than nothing."   Right now we've (most of us
>anyway) effectively got nothing, and we want something.  Perfect can wait.
>Perfect may not even be needed.

Well, let's not try to extend personal needs/wants to a generalization of
what "most" need/want.  For the most part, the P300/350 satisfies the target
customer base that are currently using 3D on VMS.  It could be better,
faster, cheaper.  That is always the case.  The wide difference between what
you can get on a PC in price/performance will shrink when we finally replace
the P300/350.  2D graphics (which, by-the-way, is what more than 90% of what
VMS users need/want based on research) will get better performance
real-soon-now.

The compromise we reached internally was to pass up the opportunity to put
low-end 3D onto the next "2D" card, to allow us to eventually do away with
the need to have a 2D versus a 3D card, and have a family of cards that do
both 2D and 3D and span low-end to high-end.  That is, just what you want.
To do that meant *not* doing 3D on the ELSA follow-on.

- Show quoted text -

>>  Unlike
>>the NT market, we don't just get the software for free from the board
>>vendor, nor is there uniform quality in SW or HW on NT - many so-called
>>OpenGL implementations are really designed for full-screen simulation
>>(gaming).  We are looking to leverage work being done for Linux and
>>xFree86 - but frankly, *high-quality* and *high-performance* Linux 3D
>>drivers are not readily available, and this market is in it's infancy.

>This comes back to the argument I was making before.  Why does Compaq have
>to accept the situation that the board vendors get to deliver only a driver
>for one OS but not another?   REQUIRE them to produce the driver in such a
>form that it will "make" to an NT driver, and also "make" under a different
>OS to VMS or  XFree86 driver.  I know I'm grossly simplifying things here,
>but what I mean is hardware acceleration of any particular 2D or OpenGL
>function might as well shove the same series of bytes into the card no
>matter what the OS is.  Sort of a universal driver interface.  There's no
>such thing now, and Microsoft would prefer that one never exist, but
>everybody else would certainly benefit from its existence.  Maybe Compaq
>has the oomph to make it happen.  Again - this may not be the perfect
>OpenGL driver, but if we can get 90% of it using the standard, that's
>probably good enough for most people.

Actually, some of that is happening.  The problem is that the Linux graphics
market is still in it's infancy.  The PC option makers are recognizing the
need to offer both Windows and Linux software - but to date, there are few
vendors out there with *real* Linux OpenGL implementations (especially 3D)
that are anywhere near as good as their NT/Windows implementations.  The
system vendors are, or will be, moving to XFree86 to take advantage of the
Linux DDX/Drivers... that is likely to be the case for VMS and Tru64 --
although I think everyone wants x.org and XFree86 to merge their code bases
first.  In any case, what we have found, and are finding, is that it is
taking time for the vendors to catch up to Windows with their Linux
implementations.

We are looking to leverage the xFree86 code for the next set of boards as
much as possible (even to the point of porting XAA and FB back to the MIT
server from xFree86).

- Show quoted text -

>>Having said all that, we are in the final stages of qual for a replacement
>>for the ELSA card that will phase in as the ELSA inventory is used up.  It
>>will also only be 2D, although the card is quite capable of being a fine
>>entry/low-mid 3D card.  Rather than spend the limited 3D budget on this
>>card, instead we are working on support (in late 2001) for a family of
cards
>>that will span low-end to high-end 3D -- and are off-the-shelf commodity
>>graphics.

>Now I'm just confused.  The half life of a graphics card seems to be about
>9 months, so if these cards exist now this means Compaq will be coming out
>with support just as the cards reach their end of life (in the PC market,
>anyway.)   Or has Compaq found a way around that problem, for instance,
with
>drivers which are somehow guaranteed to be compatible with newer variants
>of the card?  If not this strategy leaves you perpetually behind the curve
>(and uncompetitive) in the graphics arena.

The way to do it is to target initial delivery for the start of, or mid-life
of an "architecture".  Even the option makers are having trouble keeping
up - so while a specific card, or chip may have a 9-month lifetime, the
"architecture" it uses tends to last at least 1-2 years.  The new versions
are faster, smaller, bug fixed, and with added functionality -- all around a
core that isn't far removed from the previous incarnation.  Look at S3 as an
example.  They took the 864 to the Trio32, the Trio64, the Trio64+, the
Trio64V+, and the Trio64V2.  All pretty much compatable, but spanning a
multi-year life.  The same is true for 3DLabs, ATI, and others.  They will
then have periodic "new" architectures to break through bottlenecks.

- Show quoted text -

>>VMS is tied to Tru64 for graphics.  We are not driving it.  We will get
>>whatever the Tru64 market gets.

>That's really too bad  - graphics there are only (very) marginally better
>than under VMS.

>It would really be nice to see Compaq work with the graphics card vendors,
>the Xfree86 folks, and even Sun, Apple and Be to arrive at some sort of
>"portable graphics card driver".   It benefits nobody but

...

read more »

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Shane.F.Sm.. » Fri, 22 Dec 2000 05:28:17


nVidia's GeForce gaming series are also sold (with a slight board tweak) as
their professional Quadro series. There's some hacks on the net to turn
GeForce cards into the more expensive Quadro's with a little soldering. I
believe the drivers are interchangeable. nVidia have a unified driver
design, so the same ones work on all the cards they've produced since the
TNT mk1. I know they get some flack for being a little fuzzy at the highest
resolutions (although my cards seem fine), but I still think that
supporting these cards would be a good idea. One set of drivers coded fro
VMS buys you an awful lot of options from several suppliers ranging from
sub-$100 to $500+, and a head start on forwards compatability.

Shane

Fred Kleinsorge <kleinso...@star.zko.dec.com> on 12/20/2000 11:21:58 AM

To:   Info-...@Mvb.Saic.Com
cc:

Subject:  Re: XP1000 - which Graphics Card

David Mathog wrote in message <91ohf8$...@gap.cco.caltech.edu>...
>In article <91o7u9$7bi...@lead.zk3.dec.com>, "Fred Kleinsorge"
<kleinso...@star.zko.dec.com> writes:
>>I doubt that anything I say will make you very happy.

>That's a safe bet!

>>There isn't some sinister plot to force people to buy expensive 3D
>>controllers.  What you are seeing is the collision between commodity
>>graphics cards, and traditional "workstation" graphics cards.  In terms
of
>>raw performance, there is now little difference between the two.  There
are
>>some serious quality and feature problems however.

>Going off on a tangent for a second - this "quality" argument keeps
raising
>its head.  Now I'll agree that VMS is a small market without much pull but
>Compaq _also_ sells about a bazillion PCs a year.  Ok, the consumer grade
>ones are really crappy but supposedly the commercial grade ones are
better.
>Is there some reason Compaq can't throw its weight around a little bit
more
>by requiring a certain quality level for the parts it buys?  And couldn't
>some of that spill over into VMS land, with the standard having been set
>high enough that the SCSI cards, disks, and Graphics boards which go out
on
>the commercial PCs will be stable enough to use on VMS as well?   It seems
>like a win/win proposition for Compaq - they obtain more stable components
>for the PCs _and_ lower cost components with acceptable quality for VMS.
>Heck, it's probably even a win for the vendors because if the standards
are
>precisely defined they know exactly what they must produce and who's
>responsible if something does or doesn't work.

The problem here is that the PC market is mostly a component integration
business.  A number of vendors make high-quality options and drivers for
them -- but it really is a matter of what they are targeted at.  3DLabs for
instance makes graphics for the "professional" market, and their PC OpenGL
implementations tend to be quite good.  nVidea on the other hand, targets a
gaming market - and their products do not tend to work good if you are
doing
CAD/CAM instead of running Quake.

A lot of "quality" (as well as performance) in the PC world depends on the
software the vendor supplies - not just the HW.

So when someone puts together a PC configuration, they simply pick from a
palette of available options, cost, functionality, and quality for the
market for their PC.  A PC with an Oxygen VX1 on it will make a fine
CAD/CAM
system, an nVidea won't (I just helped a friend though just this exact
situation not long ago).  But it makes a fine system for games.

But the PC market also does not make use of functionality that might be
required in a traditional UNIX/VMS CAD/CAM or server.  Sticking with
graphics, most commodity graphics cards do not offer multiple-simultanious
pixel formats, and their overlay plane support tends to be limited
(actually, overlay planes are making a comeback here and there on some
boards).  Moving away from graphics, to say SCSI - VMS and SCSI clusters
push disks in ways that require a strictly correct implementation of the
standard.  A lot of them cheat - but they cheat in ways that are not
material to how PCs use the disks or even how UNIX uses them.

- Show quoted text -

>>Yes, our strategy is to move to off-the-shelf "industry standard" cards.
We
>>no longer design our own graphics, and the P300/350 is probably the last
OEM
>>card we will buy.

>>There is an internal struggle among the engineers and management who have
to
>>deliver graphics on Alpha (VMS and Tru64).  The struggle is between those
>>who believe that it is only worth doing the fastest graphics (and that
takes
>>time), and those who would trade off performance for time-to-market.

>Ah very much like the Genome project!  The public guys insisted on a level
>of accuracy that was attainable but extremely expensive and slow to
obtain.
>Meanwhile Celera came along and quickly cranked out a rough draft which
has
>98% of the utility at a fraction of the cost.  Now the public guys are
>playing catchup and are wondering how they're ever going to get funding to
>move from the 98% good enough that Celera delivered to the 99.999% that
>they wanted to deliver.  You see, the big questions in genetics can all be
>pretty much answered with the rough draft, so the cost/benefit analysis
>does not favor ever reaching the level of accuracy that the public camp
>favored.

>In the case at hand we have the "better nothing than perfect" camp again,
>versus the "better something than nothing."   Right now we've (most of us
>anyway) effectively got nothing, and we want something.  Perfect can wait.
>Perfect may not even be needed.

Well, let's not try to extend personal needs/wants to a generalization of
what "most" need/want.  For the most part, the P300/350 satisfies the
target
customer base that are currently using 3D on VMS.  It could be better,
faster, cheaper.  That is always the case.  The wide difference between
what
you can get on a PC in price/performance will shrink when we finally
replace
the P300/350.  2D graphics (which, by-the-way, is what more than 90% of
what
VMS users need/want based on research) will get better performance
real-soon-now.

The compromise we reached internally was to pass up the opportunity to put
low-end 3D onto the next "2D" card, to allow us to eventually do away with
the need to have a 2D versus a 3D card, and have a family of cards that do
both 2D and 3D and span low-end to high-end.  That is, just what you want.
To do that meant *not* doing 3D on the ELSA follow-on.

- Show quoted text -

>>  Unlike
>>the NT market, we don't just get the software for free from the board
>>vendor, nor is there uniform quality in SW or HW on NT - many so-called
>>OpenGL implementations are really designed for full-screen simulation
>>(gaming).  We are looking to leverage work being done for Linux and
>>xFree86 - but frankly, *high-quality* and *high-performance* Linux 3D
>>drivers are not readily available, and this market is in it's infancy.

>This comes back to the argument I was making before.  Why does Compaq have
>to accept the situation that the board vendors get to deliver only a
driver
>for one OS but not another?   REQUIRE them to produce the driver in such a
>form that it will "make" to an NT driver, and also "make" under a
different
>OS to VMS or  XFree86 driver.  I know I'm grossly simplifying things here,
>but what I mean is hardware acceleration of any particular 2D or OpenGL
>function might as well shove the same series of bytes into the card no
>matter what the OS is.  Sort of a universal driver interface.  There's no
>such thing now, and Microsoft would prefer that one never exist, but
>everybody else would certainly benefit from its existence.  Maybe Compaq
>has the oomph to make it happen.  Again - this may not be the perfect
>OpenGL driver, but if we can get 90% of it using the standard, that's
>probably good enough for most people.

Actually, some of that is happening.  The problem is that the Linux
graphics
market is still in it's infancy.  The PC option makers are recognizing the
need to offer both Windows and Linux software - but to date, there are few
vendors out there with *real* Linux OpenGL implementations (especially 3D)
that are anywhere near as good as their NT/Windows implementations.  The
system vendors are, or will be, moving to XFree86 to take advantage of the
Linux DDX/Drivers... that is likely to be the case for VMS and Tru64 --
although I think everyone wants x.org and XFree86 to merge their code bases
first.  In any case, what we have found, and are finding, is that it is
taking time for the vendors to catch up to Windows with their Linux
implementations.

We are looking to leverage the xFree86 code for the next set of boards as
much as possible (even to the point of porting XAA and FB back to the MIT
server from xFree86).

- Show quoted text -

>>Having said all that, we are in the final stages of qual for a
replacement
>>for the ELSA card that will phase in as the ELSA inventory is used up.
It
>>will also only be 2D, although the card is quite capable of being a fine
>>entry/low-mid 3D card.  Rather than spend the limited 3D budget on this
>>card, instead we are working on support (in late 2001) for a family of
cards
>>that will span low-end to high-end 3D -- and are off-the-shelf commodity
>>graphics.

>Now I'm just confused.  The half life of a graphics card seems to be about
>9 months, so if these cards exist now this means Compaq will be coming out
>with support just as the cards reach their end of life (in the PC market,
>anyway.)   Or has Compaq found a way around that problem, for instance,
with
>drivers which are somehow guaranteed to be compatible with newer variants
>of the card?  If not this strategy leaves you perpetually behind the curve
>(and uncompetitive) in the graphics arena.

The way to do it is to target initial delivery for the start of, or
mid-life
of an "architecture".  Even the option makers are having trouble keeping
up - so while a specific card, or chip may have a 9-month lifetime, the
"architecture" it uses tends to last at least 1-2 ...

read more »

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by David Math » Fri, 22 Dec 2000 08:13:06



>The compromise we reached internally was to pass up the opportunity to put
>low-end 3D onto the next "2D" card, to allow us to eventually do away with
>the need to have a 2D versus a 3D card, and have a family of cards that do
>both 2D and 3D and span low-end to high-end.  That is, just what you want.

Yes, it is!

Quote:>To do that meant *not* doing 3D on the ELSA follow-on.

Ok, win some, lose some.

Now for the million dollar question - will this line of cards have PCI
variants or will we have to junk the existing machines and moving to some
future Alpha model that offers AGP?

David Mathog

Manager, sequence analysis facility, biology division, Caltech

 
 
 

XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Post by Paul Repachol » Sat, 23 Dec 2000 06:00:22



> time of their release and I doubt that 3DLabs will stay in this market
> (which is dominated by Nvidia and 3DFX).

As Nvidia have swallowed 3DLabs, that's a safe bet.

And a few more options gone.

--
Paul Repacholi                               1 Crescent Rd.,
+61 (08) 9257-1001                           Kalamunda.
                                             West Australia 6076
Raw, Cooked or Well-done, it's all half baked.

 
 
 

1. XP1000 - which Graphics Card

Hello,

B. Z. Lederman wrotes:

However, our (VMS) customers do expect systems that contain
video cards will run well: at least, that they won't crash,
that the video card won't interact with the other device drivers
(moving the cursor won't corrupt data on a SCSI disk, for example),
that the screen won't do anything really 'funny' like going into
reverse video when you drag a window, and so on.  This requires
a significant amount of development and testing, especially
testing.  Testing takes time, and VMS is tested very completely
because it's what our customers want.  This is a problem when,
as you noted, cards don't have a very long production life.
<<<

If they tested the graphic cards so hard, why does the  (long time
onliest supported card) Elsa Gloria Synergy have sometimes problems
with OpenVMS? Sometimes we will see a green moire background during
LOGIN window is displayed and splitted magenta characters after
login, which should be black and readable. Where is a sheaper
successor of the PowerStorm 4D20, which was the expensive (>4.000,-DM)?

Regards Rudolf Wingert

2. Selling Indigo/Softimage/Accom

3. OpenGL on a Compaq XP1000 w/ Elsa Gloria Synergy card

4. How to get Rez to work?

5. VAXStation 4000-90 without graphics card will not load VMS licenses

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7. graphics card problem

8. Calculated column

9. knowing which graphics card I have without opening the box?

10. Mystery of the misreported graphics card

11. What graphics cards are supported by OpenVMS on a AlphaServer 4004/233?

12. Want used graphics card for Jensen DEC 2000

13. Broken SPX graphics card, code 15 FCC interrupt