Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

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PlasticParty
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Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by PlasticParty »

Hi there,

I have a 520STfm that I will be using solely in Hi-Res mode and Primarily for sequencing my MIDI gear. I am looking into 4MB upgrade, Cloudy and Lightning ST. Id like to try out EMUTOS and TOS 2.06

Would there be any benefits to TOS and MIDI sequencing programs with a blitter? I do recall seeing a video on youtube where the user switched on/off the blitter and showed it moving windows around in TOS. There seemed to be an improvement.

As Blitters are hard and expensive to fine, would I just be better off getting an STe? I seem to have a feeling that Cloudy and Lightning ST don't work on STe?

Any input would be appreciated.
czietz
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Re: Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by czietz »

Originally the Blitter was intended to speed up OS graphics calls, like window moving and scrolling or text drawing. Presumably, sequencer software makes use of these calls [1] and would therefore feel much "snappier" with a Blitter. That being said, there are also software solutions that offer a much improved graphics performance without Blitter, most notably NVDI [2].

Then, some software uses the Blitter to accelerate other things. For example, the Lightning ST driver can transfer data from USB up to 30% faster when a Blitter is installed. The same goes for IDE hard disk access, when using the latest version of HDDRIVER.

In the end, you have to decide if it's worth it for you. Blitter chips seem to have become quite expensive recently.

About the STe: technically, Lightning ST and Cloudy would work. It's a mechanical design decision that complicates their use in an STe: The boards were designed for systems with a DIL64 CPU (ST, STf, MegaST), while the STe has a PLCC68 CPU.

[1] In contrast, most games draw to the screen directly without OS and thus would not automatically make use of a Blitter, unless they were specifically programmed to do so.
[2] Sadly, there is no legal way to acquire NVDI. It's not being sold anymore and afaik the authors are not interested in making it freeware or open source. Hence your best option might be a warez site.
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mrbombermillzy
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Re: Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by mrbombermillzy »

Also, does every version of the 520STFM actually have a blitter socket? I was under the impression some had just the pads (which would then beg the question are you any good at soldering?) or some nothing at all. Cant remember exactly now. :shrug:

However, if you have the socket there, I would say go for it.
tzok
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Re: Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by tzok »

The socket is a tricky part. I've bought a regular THT-PLCC68 socket and... bend its pins to fit pads on the board.

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Eero Tamminen
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Re: Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by Eero Tamminen »

As you're interested in EmuTOS, unlike with ST, it's easy to switch STE to use EPROM, as STE ROM sockets are large enough for EPROM and you just need to solder two jumpers to change board ROM use to EPROM mode (more pins).

Vincent Riviere posted a video about that few days ago.
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Re: Blitter for STfm worth it/needed?

Post by DarkLord »

The blitter to me is one of those things that you don't miss until you have a
machine with it. When you go back to a machine without out, you miss it.

Same way with accelerators - I don't have an ST that's running at less than 16
mhz. When I go to a stock ST @ 8mhz, it seems strange...and sluggish. :)
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