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 [ 11 posts ] 
 Millipede's Prisma 3 video engine - powered by 63484 
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Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1647
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A very fancy piece of kit from the 1990s, or maybe even earlier:
Quote:
The Millipede Prisma 3 Graphics system was almost the ultimate TV graphics add on for use, originally with the BBC B and later, for A300 / A400 / Risc PC series computers running RISC OS 3. The system is an 8 bit RGB 768 pixel x 574 lines interlaced display which is fully broadcast genlockable. It is supplied as an external mains powered system box, with a podule control card connected by 50 way ribbon cable. The system had a 64 bit internal graphics bus for high speed graphics processing and a Hitachi HD63484P98 9.8MHz Advanced CRT controller. It has 6 MB RAM which could be used to provide up to 14 frames worth of animation.

- http://www.computinghistory.org.uk/det/ ... -Prisma-3/

See also Chris' Acorns on the Prisma 3.

That Hitachi chip is quite a beast: must have a CPU inside as it can draw circles and do flood fill. It has a FIFO for queuing up commands, each of which can take many clock ticks.

Datasheet available from this page:
http://www.alldatasheet.com/datasheet-p ... 84P98.html
or here.

Video within the above link is a chat about the Prisma 3's capabilities and use.
Image


Fri Dec 15, 2017 2:45 pm

Joined: Sat Feb 02, 2013 9:40 am
Posts: 1531
Location: Canada
I remember reading about the 63484 in a BYTE article (volume 11 #12), it was used along with companion chips in a Z180 computer I think. A very nice chip.

_________________
Robert Finch http://www.finitron.ca


Sat Dec 16, 2017 3:36 am WWW

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1647
Oh, good memory! Seems to be Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar article "Build the GT180 Color Graphics Board"
https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazin ... #page/n118


Sat Dec 16, 2017 7:31 am

Joined: Tue Jan 15, 2013 10:11 am
Posts: 114
Location: Norway/Japan
BigEd wrote:
Oh, good memory! Seems to be Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar article "Build the GT180 Color Graphics Board"
https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazin ... #page/n118

I remember reading that article back then. I wonder if the chip is still available.


Sat Dec 16, 2017 9:53 am

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1647
It would be a nice one to reverse-engineer!


Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:13 am

Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 6:22 pm
Posts: 61
Tor wrote:
BigEd wrote:
Oh, good memory! Seems to be Steve Ciarcia's Circuit Cellar article "Build the GT180 Color Graphics Board"
https://archive.org/stream/byte-magazin ... #page/n118

I remember reading that article back then. I wonder if the chip is still available.


There is one on eBay, a bit on the expensive side though.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/x/322518518652

There is one seller on AliExpress selling in lots of five, for a reasonable price.
I decided to put this guy to the test, I'll post the result, though don't expect it soon (China shipping over Christmas).
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/x/32806704655.html


Sat Dec 16, 2017 10:21 am

Joined: Mon May 22, 2017 12:11 am
Posts: 23
Location: NW Scotland
A good chip,
Well designed, well behaved, lots of features, line, arc,circle,rectangle,polygon,paint,fill,char rotation
in 45 degree increments, not fast but way ahead of cga/ega and the NEC7220. I have a few Hitachi Parts
and SCC63484 Clones which are excellent, The 8Mhz part, can all be overclocked to 10Mhz, with no
increase in heat output. But refuse to perform @ 12Mhz.
The video memory size is 16 bit wide, so say if you want 256 colours+, up to 16bit colours,you need
16 off fast shift registers, I used 74F166's but I've seen 74F299's used as well
All explained in in Hitachi's ACRTC application note II Circuit and Software doc # ADE-502-006A.
I have an original copy I liberated ( stole ) from Hitachi UK too many years ago than I care to remember.
I think it's still downloadable from Bitsavers.

Best Regards and Merry Christmas to all

Ian Hughes ( carronjack )


Sun Dec 17, 2017 1:45 am

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1647
Ah, I see the 7220 is a couple of years before.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NEC_%C2%B5PD7220

and also:
Quote:
The NEC µPD7220, also known as the 7220, was the first true graphics processing unit (GPU), designed as a microprocessor, with VLSI, the first implemention of a graphics processor as a single Large Scale Integration (LSI) integrated circuit chip. This enabled the design of low-cost, high-performance video graphics cards, such as those from Number Nine Visual Technology, and was the basis for clones such as the Intel 82720. The 7220 project was started in 1979, and a paper was published in 1981. It debuted in Japan with NEC's PC-9800 series of personal computers in 1982, and then released independently. The 7220 had a fillrate of 1.25 megapixels per second and a rasterisation rate of 125 polygons (100-pixel by 100-pixel) per second, faster than central processing units (CPU) at the time. The 7220's high resolution color graphics led NEC to market it as a "resolution revolution". By 1983, it was used in NEC's APC computers, and other computers from Digital Equipment Corporation and Wang Laboratories.
The 7220 and its clones led the early GPU market for several years, and was still the best known GPU in 1986. It was eventually surpassed by the more powerful Hitachi HD63484 ACRTC, released in 1984.


Sun Dec 17, 2017 5:46 am

Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 6:22 pm
Posts: 61
carronjack wrote:
The video memory size is 16 bit wide, so say if you want 256 colours+, up to 16bit colours,you need
16 off fast shift registers, I used 74F166's but I've seen 74F299's used as well
All explained in in Hitachi's ACRTC application note II Circuit and Software doc # ADE-502-006A.

Thanks for the info Ian.

I've also found Signetics AN1081, which goes into great detail on modifying Niklaus Wirth's Lilith workstation to add an SCC63484 driven graphics subsystem.
Lots of useful schematics in are included in AN1081.
AN1081 starts at pg. 445, the actual SCC63484/Lilith modification info starts at pg. 454 at "WORKSTATION APPLICATION".
https://ia600406.us.archive.org/33/item ... _Video.pdf


Sun Dec 17, 2017 7:59 am

Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 6:54 pm
Posts: 1647
Oh, that's a really detailed application note - thanks!

I got a tip-off about another, rather well-endowed, machine which uses a 63484:
Quote:
The Deckel/Maho 'Dialog 12' CNC controller (manufactured by Grundig.)

The controller itself was a 19" box, with double extended Eurocard sized multilayer PCBs inside.
When it came out, it probably was in the same price range as a Mercedes, and not a small Mercedes.

68020 (16MHZ) for interpolation and motor control.
68020 (12MHz) plus 68881 as the main CPU.
68000 (8MHz) plus HD63484 just for graphics.
68000 (8MHz) for communication (and maybe to tie those three VME bus systems together.)
A Z8000 or similar for the PLC subsystem (maybe manufactured by Klöckner/Möller.)

Rumours said that the engineers had used Pascal for writing the code for those 68k systems.

Video of the machine:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2fUXCk6F3A

Later, there was a failed 'Dialog 13' prototype at Grundig.


Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:44 am

Joined: Fri May 08, 2015 6:22 pm
Posts: 61
The "Dialog 12" is an interesting find. A search for schematics wasn't really successful, though in the process I did uncover another system using the HD63484.

The ELTEC PIG1/68K.

A 68000 VMEbus machine running OS-9/68000 and utilizing a HD63484 based display system.
Lots of info in the manual, along with some rather nice schematics in the back.
The document also contains an HD63484 datasheet after the manual, though it's a different release
than the one linked in the top post.

https://archive.org/stream/bitsavers_el ... _68K_May86


Wed Dec 20, 2017 2:13 pm
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