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#1 2016-04-10 23:07:19

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 101

VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24 Nubus Video Card

Have any of you ever had the chance to try this card?

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VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24

Spec sheet PDF

  I'm curious how it would compare in performance to a standard PDS HPV 4MB card, and more importantly in terms of system stability.  I already have a Radius ThunderIV GX1600 card and ran into no end of problems with it apparently hogging the bus and not playing nice with other expansion cards.  I had to remove its DSP daughter-board, not because I wasn't interested in using ancient Photoshop, but because it seemed to be eating so much wattage that the rest of the system would starve for power.  (This card runs HOT!!!!)

  My goal with these cards was to have reasonable screen redraw and scrolling rates purely in 2D while exceeding the resolution limit of the PDS HPV cards.  The ThunderIV GX1600 achieves 1600x1200, as the model number implies - Great if the system would be stable, useless if not.  The really cool thing about the Sonata Pro not is so much that it offers higher resolutions, but that it actually supports some 16:9 monitor proportions in its resolution table.  1920x1080 on a Nubus mac (despite limited to thousand-color depth) would be fantastic and opens the door to using many modern LCD monitors in native resolution.    It even offers a ludicrous, hardware accelerated 4:3 ratio 'pan-and-scan' mode of 2432x1712 (I don't know the resolution the monitor itself has to run at).  That seems highly impractical but novel none-the-less.  I assume I would be pushing my luck trying to run two of these cards in the same system.

  I kinda doubt I'll ever find one of these cards nowadays, but I am looking around.  Even if it didn't work out for my needs it feels like enough of a novel mac oddity to want it in my collection.  (Explaining why I bothered to keep that obnoxious Radius card around. wink)

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#2 2016-06-07 14:23:33

jimjamyaha
Member
Registered: 2015-01-08
Posts: 23

Re: VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24 Nubus Video Card

I used to have one of these - found performance mediocre - that was way back (secondhand/EOL) in 2001/4ish.

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#3 2016-06-07 16:14:59

MacOS Plus
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Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 101

Re: VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24 Nubus Video Card

Thanks for the response.  Are you certain it was running with video acceleration properly functioning when you tried it?  I'm still hard-pressed to believe it can work as well for basic re-draw and scrolling performance as a PDS card, but certainly if acceleration via an extension wasn't enabling then it would be all the more worse.  I'm still curious to try one out purely for the ability to support a 1920x1080 screen natively.  For what I want to be able to do screen real estate is the most important to me.

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#4 2016-07-08 17:26:41

trag
Member
Registered: 2015-01-07
Posts: 12

Re: VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24 Nubus Video Card

In MacBench tests performed by myself and Kaye Yum many years ago in Power Computing Power 120s and Power Macintosh 9150, the Villagetronic MacPicasso 340 had very similar performance to the Radius Thunder IV GXnnnn.   The two cards had some different strengths as far as which particular graphics test which card scored best in, but overall, the comparison was a draw with no especially notable outliers in performance.

That said, those two cards are good for business type functions that can benefit from QuickDraw acceleration.  For applications that require high bandwidth/high frame rates (i.e. games) neither card can hold a candle to the unaccelerated HPV card.   There is simply no way that the 10 MHz, 32 bit NuBus interface can sling frames as fast as the 33 - 40 MHz, 64 bit PDS slot interface can.

If you want to accelerate Photoshop under OS 7.6.1 (IIRC) then a Thunder IV GX with PhotoEngine card is the way to go, or the MacPicasso 340.   If you want to play Marathon with the textures at full detail, get the HPV card.

IIRC, after 7.6.1 the PhotoEngine extensions don't work.  Might have been 7.5.mumble.

Also, the MacPicasso 320 is not nearly as good as the 340.   It's more like a Radius mumble, mumble, can't remember the darned name of their consumer line.   PrecisionColor Pro?   I think that's it.

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#5 2016-07-10 04:54:49

MacOS Plus
Member
Registered: 2015-12-09
Posts: 101

Re: VillageTronic MP340 / Sonnet Sonata Pro 24 Nubus Video Card

Good information, thanks!  I won't be gaming or Photoshop'ing on Nubus.  I just need maximum screen area without suffering from piss-poor scrolling or window redraws.  The ability to run a native 1920x1080 resolution on a modern LCD is quite 'appetizing'.  I have a couple very specific older digital audio workstations that are the target for this.  As I mentioned, I already have a ThunderIV GX1600 and it seems to be a serious power and bus hog.  Hopefully the MacPicasso is better-behaved.

  Now if I could just get my hands on an MP340...

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