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High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:17 am
by Irinikus
I'm about to buy an Indigo2 Impact system with the following specs:

hinv:

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FPU: MIPS R10010 Floating Point Chip Revision: 0.0
CPU: MIPS R10000 Processor Chip Revision: 2.6
1 195 MHZ IP28 Processor
Main memory size: 256 Mbytes
Secondary unified instruction/data cache size: 1 Mbyte
Instruction cache size: 32 Kbytes
Data cache size: 32 Kbytes
Integral SCSI controller 0: Version WD33C93B, revision D
  Disk drive: unit 2 on SCSI controller 0 (unit 2)
Integral SCSI controller 1: Version WD33C93B, revision D
On-board serial ports: 2
On-board bi-directional parallel port
Graphics board: High Impact
Integral Ethernet: ec0, version 1
Iris Audio Processor: version A2 revision 1.1.0
EISA bus: adapter 0


gfxinfo:

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Graphics board 0 is "IMPACTPC" graphics.
   Managed (":0.0") 1280x1024
   Product ID 0x0, 1 GE, 1 RE, 1 TRAM
   MGRAS revision 3, RA revision 5
   HQ rev A, GE11 rev B, RE4 rev A, PP1 rev A,
   VC3 rev A, CMAP rev DMC rev D
   unknown, assuming 19" monitor (id 0xf)

   Channel 0:
    Origin = (0,0)
    Video Output: 1280 pixels, 1024 lines, 60.00Hz (1280x1024_60)


My question is:

Is it worth sourcing a Max Impact card for the machine at a later stage, or are there option cards available which can be fitted into the available slots that would make this machine more interesting with these card fitted?

The High Impact card that's currently fitted doesn't have the 4Mb optional T-RAM card fitted, so If it makes sense to rather keep this card in the machine due to the available expansion options, then I will have to source a T-RAM module for it at a later stage.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:24 am
by robespierre
It depends on how you want to use the machine: if you want to use it for (standard definition) video capture or output, and also transfer captured files over the network, then it would be helpful to have 2 spare slots, one for Impact Video and the other for a 100Mbit ethernet card (either the G160 or the 3C597). There are other option cards that are interesting (FDDI, Fibre Channel, or Ultra SCSI) but all of the GIO64 ones are hard to find, and support for EISA cards is limited unless you roll your own drivers.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 7:38 am
by Irinikus
robespierre wrote:It depends on how you want to use the machine: if you want to use it for (standard definition) video capture or output, and also transfer captured files over the network, then it would be helpful to have 2 spare slots, one for Impact Video and the other for a 100Mbit ethernet card (either the G160 or the 3C597). There are other option cards that are interesting (FDDI, Fibre Channel, or Ultra SCSI) but all of the GIO64 ones are hard to find, and support for EISA cards is limited unless you roll your own drivers.


My thought exactly: It would be interesting to fit a 100Mbit ethernet card and Impact video to the machine rather than go for the Max Impact.

I just want the machine as an example for collectors purposes, so I just want the machine to be as interesting as possible. (The best graphics option might not be the best option if it limits the machine in other ways)

I just wonder what the best option is, hence the question?

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:02 am
by Trippynet
Personally, I'd say the 100Mb Network has to be a high priority. 10Mb is decidedly slow, and I'm very glad I've got a 100Mb NIC in my own Indigo2. Ultimately though, it depends on your use. IMPACT Video is interesting, but would you use it? Personally I only see the point of adding a card to a machine if you have plans to actually use it.

For Max IMPACT, I'm not sure if it's worth it unless you definitely need the power. With Max IMPACT, you need twice the TRAM modules to upgrade it to 4MB (and both TRAMs and Max cards are scarce and pricey), plus Max IMPACT uses a LOT more power than Solid or High IMPACT. My own Indigo2 only has Solid IMPACT, but that suits me fine as I can get away with quieter fans, and I use my Fuel if I need texturing or more potent pixel-pushing power.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 9:09 am
by Irinikus
Trippynet wrote:Personally, I'd say the 100Mb Network has to be a high priority. 10Mb is decidedly slow, and I'm very glad I've got a 100Mb NIC in my own Indigo2. Ultimately though, it depends on your use. IMPACT Video is interesting, but would you use it? Personally I only see the point of adding a card to a machine if you have plans to actually use it.

For Max IMPACT, I'm not sure if it's worth it unless you definitely need the power. With Max IMPACT, you need twice the TRAM modules to upgrade it to 4MB (and both TRAMs and Max cards are scarce and pricey), plus Max IMPACT uses a LOT more power than Solid or High IMPACT. My own Indigo2 only has Solid IMPACT, but that suits me fine as I can get away with quieter fans, and I use my Fuel if I need texturing or more potent pixel-pushing power.


The High Impact card is already in the machine and I certainly don't want to waste it!

The Impact video card gives you the capability of using the IndyCam with the machine and I think that's rather cool! :D

I will definitely put a 100Mb NIC into the machine.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sat Feb 10, 2018 12:08 pm
by Trippynet
Well, if you're going to use an Indycam with it, then it makes sense to try and get an IMPACT Video card for it. I remember using the Indycam back when I had my Indy, it was quite impressive for an early 90s PC, much better than PC webcams of the time.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 12:56 am
by jan-jaap
Irinikus wrote:I will definitely put a 100Mb NIC into the machine.

Beware that the 3com EISA 100Mbit card is a disappointment. It is relatively slow (~ 35Mb/s, half duplex iirc) and pulls 100% CPU load on top of that.
You want something on the GIO64 bus, like the Phobos G160 card, which does the full 100Mb with little CPU load. The same is true for the GIO64 FDDI card, but FDDI cannot directly connect to ethernet.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 1:10 am
by Irinikus
jan-jaap wrote:
Irinikus wrote:I will definitely put a 100Mb NIC into the machine.

Beware that the 3com EISA 100Mbit card is a disappointment. It is relatively slow (~ 35Mb/s, half duplex iirc) and pulls 100% CPU load on top of that.
You want something on the GIO64 bus, like the Phobos G160 card, which does the full 100Mb with little CPU load. The same is true for the GIO64 FDDI card, but FDDI cannot directly connect to ethernet.


Jan, thanks very much for the heads up regarding the poor performance of EISA network cards in the machine. I will keep a good lookout for a Phobos G160 card then.

Re: High Impact or Max Impact?

Posted: Sun Feb 11, 2018 6:31 am
by Trippynet
It's the EISA card I have in mine. Jan-jaap is correct that it does pull some CPU (I tend to get around 30% CPU load when transferring stuff). Performance wise, I get around 5MB/s from it - which is due to the limitations of the EISA bus. Advantages, well it's easier to find and cheaper than the Phobos G160 card. I might get a Phobos one at some point, but even the EISA one is a big upgrade from the built in network (where around 1MB/s is pretty typical).