Subject: Advice - Cybervision card ?
To: None <amiga-x@NetBSD.ORG>
From: David Crooke <>
List: amiga-x
Date: 04/07/1995 16:16:42
Does anyone have any info on this? Has anyone got / seen / used /
smelled one?

I heard by personal e-mail that someone was planning to do a NetBSD
driver and X support for it - are they here?

I want to buy a card v. soon, but since the Picasso (the obvious
choice among existing products, if, like me, you use AmigaDOS too) are
on back order I thought this one might be worth the wait. Specs/prices
of the main options over here are (Cybervision specs from pre-release

Card     ADOS Compat.  Z2/Z3  Blit  EGS   PassT      Price (2MB)   
                                                  UKL     US$ approx

Picasso        10       Z2     ?     ?     Y     299.00      495.00
Piccolo         6      auto    64    Y     Y     329.00      540.00
Retina          7       Z2     32    Y     ?     359.00      590.00
Retina BLT      7       Z3     64    Y     ?     469.00      770.00
Cybervision*   10       Z3     64    ?     Y     299.00      495.00

* All specs. are as claimed in current advertising by UK distributor

My priorities are:

1. Works with cheapo SVGA multisync
2. X11 under NetBSD
3. Retargeting Workbench and some productivity apps (mainly ProPage)
4. Passthru for output from the A3000 VGA connector
5. "AGA emulation" (e.g. 256 colour Workbench) on A3000

I'm not worried about EGS (could never afford the software anyway :)

Most cards should work well with the monitor. The Retina is well
supported under NetBSD but the AmigaDOS software is less helpful (last
time I saw a review it still used a lot of ChipRAM copying which is
totally unacceptable on a non-AGA machine). Even if the software is a
lot better now, it is also too expensive.

The Piccolo is not a bad deal, but the Intuition support seems flaky:
a large number of programs can't be retargeted - notably from my
standpoint, ProDraw (which shares code with ProPage) and DPaint;
Workbench is only in 16 colours on a non-AGA system even under 3.1,
etc. I *believe* it is supported by NetBSD-current.

The software support on the Picasso is second to none, but it is
unlikely to be great in the speed department (Z2 etc.)

On the assumption that it can and will be supported under NetBSD, and
that all the claims in the advert are true (almost all of the
Picasso's software features), clearly the Cybervision will be the best
deal when it becomes available.

In any event, I plan to wait until the Cybervision is available and
talk to a techie type about it - one of the more professional and
competent distributors said they expect some in "any day now" to test.


1. Is anything I've assumed above wrong?

2. Is there any problem with Z3 cards if you have the old "broken"
Buster/DMAC? I'd assume there isn't since I can't imagine them using
DMA, but I'd like to hear it from someone who knows for sure.

3. Is the speed difference between the Picasso and the Z3 cards really
noticeable? If not, then there's little point in risking the devil you
don't know and getting something else.

4. The advertising for the Cybervision says "planar to chunky pixel
conversion is performed in hardware on the card, 6-8 faster [ sic ]
than copying methods". How would you interpret this:

   a. The copywriter was confused and it merely uses a chunky pixel
      screen and the blitter on the card, with its own graphics

   b. It maps the screen memory into the CPU address space so that 
      normal Intuition operations (except those using the Agnus
      blitter) can work, and the hardware re-maps write's to the
      appropriate video RAM in chunky pixel format

   c. ??????

I find b. rather unlikely, but it's not impossible to have implemented
it, and it would be nice for compatibility :)

5. What would you do?

Cheers for your help

My Current System:

   A3000/25, 2Mb Chip, 8Mb Fast, old Buster/DMAC
   PPI Mercury 68040/28, no RAM
   Quantum LPS 49Mb HDD, SCSI id 2, 1 partition = AmigaOS 49Mb
      "     "   "    "     "  id 0, "    "      "    "     " 
   Maxtor 7345S 330Mb HDD, SCSI id 6, 5 partitions = 
      AmigaOS 50Mb, NetBSD swap 32Mb, NetBSD /local 120Mb, NetBSD /usr 100Mb,
      NetBSD root 20Mb
   Wangtek 5150ES tape, SCSI id 4 (external)

David Crooke, Department of Computer Science, University of Edinburgh
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