EGS-28/24 Spectrum Product Info

www.gvp-m.com



Description

 The EGS-28/24 Spectrum the second member of GVP's EGS family of graphics boards is a high-performance, high-resolution, 24-bit graphics board that will take any Amiga 2000, 3000, or 4000 beyond AGA! Following the same philosophy as the first member of the EGS family, the powerhouse EGS-110/24, this entry level graphics board provides power and performance at an affordable price.

 The EGS-28/24 Spectrum is capable of displaying video resolutions (NTSC, PAL, and SECAM) as well as workstation-like high resolutions like Next (1120 x 832). It also adapts automatically to either a Zorro-II (16-bit A2000) or Zorro-III (32-bit A3000/A4000) bus and supports Workbench 2.04, 2.1, and 3.0 to take maximum advantage of its environment. (Capable of supporting Commodore's RTG graphics standard when it becomes available.)

 For the ultimate in convenience and functionality, the EGS-28/24 Spectrum has a built-in pass through for the native Amiga RGB display. When working with a native EGS screen, the EGS-28/24 Spectrum displays its contents on the connected monitor, and when working with a native Amiga screen, the EGS-28/24 Spectrum simply passes the Amiga display out to the monitor! While others may claim to be a one-monitor solution, there will always be incompatible software that requires the use of a second monitor the EGS-28/24 Spectrum is truly a one-monitor solution!

 As if that weren't enough, our unique MultiGFX™ technology allows multiple EGS-28/24 Spectrum boards to be installed in the same machine, and the device libraries handle all of the necessary details. Multiple applications can be running on multiple EGS-28/24 Spectrum boards, each visible on a separate monitor simultaneously in stunning full 24-bit color at any resolution. This is a blessing for those who need to see a lot of different things all at the same time. For example, consider the 3D animator who needs to see a high-resolution wireframe display of the scene being edited, an NTSC (or PAL) color preview of the animation in progress, and a control panel screen with all of the needed commands available at the click of a mouse!

 The EGS-28/24 Spectrum system uses the new Enhanced Graphics System (EGS) device libraries. These device independent libraries allow high-resolution, 24-bit software to be written for ANY graphics board that supports these libraries. To date, a number of graphics boards on the market already support the EGS libraries, and all software written for those boards will run on the EGS-28/24 Spectrum. Likewise, any software written to support the EGS-28/24 Spectrum will run on any of the other display boards that support the EGS libraries. Programmers are no longer committed to a single graphics board; by programming for the EGS system, programs can run unmodified on any display board that support the libraries!

 The EGS libraries were painstakingly checked and rechecked by programmers around the world to make them as close as possible to existing Amiga graphics calls, differing only when necessary to support new features. This effort was taken to make porting applications as easy as possible for programmers. (Some function calls were made so identical that the only difference is the addition of an E_ in front of the function name, with all parameters and return values the same!)

 The EGS libraries also provide some new and very useful additions to the basic array of graphics programming features that native Amiga programmers are used to, for example: Tear-Off menus, Menu gadgets, and more.

 Description (cont.)

 However, realizing that good software takes time, GVP has provided a Workbench driver for the EGS-28/24 Spectrum. This driver allows Workbench to run on the EGS-28/24 Spectrum board in any supported resolution, with up to 256 colors Workbench limits the color depth to 256 colors for itself and Workbench-compliant software. Any software that opens its display on Workbench will automatically run on an EGS-28/24 Spectrum Workbench. The only restriction is that no direct Amiga Blitter operations be performed by programs running on the EGS-28/24 Spectrum display, since the Amiga Blitter operates on Chip RAM and the EGS-28/24 Spectrum has its own blitter that operates on the display maintained entirely in its own DRAM. (By the way, this means that ALL Chip RAM normally used by Workbench is free for other use.)

 It is also important to realize that the EGS display subsystem is entirely separate from the normal Amiga display. A two-monitor configuration allows the EGS-28/24 Spectrum monitor to display a high-resolution display (from a CAD system for example) on the EGS monitor and the native Amiga output system to display something completely different, and even from a completely different program! An interesting and extremely useful example would be running a high-resolution paint program in the EGS display while a video application (like the IV24™, the Video Toaster™, or OpalVision™) runs on the native Amiga display. As pictures are framegrabbed and saved, an EGS Paint system can load them in for touchup, while the video framegrabbing continues maximum productivity and efficiency!

 The EGS-28/24 Spectrum hardware and the EGS system software take the Amiga platform beyond AGA, and into the true-color world of high-end graphics workstations. The already installed base of A2000 and A3000 owners, and the fresh new base of A4000 owners can leap past the limitations of AGA and enter a new world of high-resolution, true-color, hardware-independent graphics. Keep in mind that when writing applications for the EGS system, they are not just for a single graphics board, they will run on any current and future graphics boards that support the EGS system libraries!
 
 

Features and Benefits
 
 
ITEM FEATURE BENEFIT
EGS-28/24 Spectrum Hardware Zorro-II / Zorro-III autosensing The EGS-28/24 Spectrum takes full advantage of whatever Amiga it is installed in. Installed in a Zorro-II bus it uses a 16-bit interface, and installed in a Zorro-III bus, it opens up to a full 32-bit interface for maximum speed and performance.
Zorro-II FORCE option Useful when running in early Zorro-III Amiga's that still have bugs when using Zorro-III DMA. This guarantees compatibility in any Amiga.
Hardware Blitter The EGS-28/24 Spectrum has a built-in hardware blitter to rapidly move chunks of data from one area of memory to another. This makes the EGS-28/24 Spectrum the perfect tool for real-time animations and 24-bit paint applications. Fills, brush pastes, region operations, image manipulation can all be performed by the blitter leaving the processor free to perform other work.
Amiga RGB Pass-Through Single-monitor technology Other graphics boards often require two monitors (one for the Amiga display and one for the custom graphics display), and some others like the Video Toaster™ require three monitors. The EGS-28/24 Spectrum has special circuitry that takes the Amiga display as input and allows software control over whether the Amiga or the EGS screen is displayed. It is truly a one-monitor solution.
MultiGFX™ device sharing technology Other graphics boards often expect to be the only graphics board in the system, and if more than one is installed, the controlling software may become confused. EGS' device sharing allows multiple EGS-28/24 Spectrum boards to function independently while the libraries handle all of the work to keep things running smoothly.
2MB of onboard display memory This allows for high-resolution 24-bit displays that are rock-solid and flicker-free. Using more memory for larger displays would result in flicker that can cause headaches. Boards claiming 4MB or more of 24-bit display memory often flicker because the graphics chip is not capable of displaying 4MB of data fast enough to be flicker free. Other graphics boards may claim that the extra memory is used to keep multiple screens open at the same time. The EGS-28/24 Spectrum uses a smarter technique that swaps out non-visible display data to standard system RAM to conserve display memory for crisp, stunning displays. Adding memory beyond 2MB is inefficient and needlessly expensive.
Programmable Resolutions, Refresh Rates, and Scanning Frequencies Allows the Amiga display to be as large as the monitor will allow. For example, a Commodore 1950 can be used with the EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM now, and a larger IDEK, NEC, or other monitor later; the EGS-28/24 Spectrum will increase its displayable resolutions to match the monitor. (Or you can start with a high-resolution monitor and enjoy the benefits immediately.)
Custom GVP Workbench driver Allows Workbench (and programs that run on Workbench) to be displayed on a high-resolution screen without requiring a software re-write. Existing software will run today!
Uses built-in hardware "pixel packing" techniques Only the absolute minimum amount of RAM to store a display is used, so that larger displays can be stored in a smaller amount of RAM, without affecting quality.
Does not use the Amiga's Video Slot EGS-28/24 Spectrum can be used with other video products like the IV24™, the Video Toaster™, or OpalVision™.
EGS Retargetable Graphics Libraries Fully re-targetable graphics operating system Programs written using the EGS libraries will run on ANY graphics board that supports EGS. Programmers can concentrate on writing bug-free, feature-filled software without worrying about which particular graphics board it will run on it will run on them all (with EGS libraries).
Complete true-color, 24-bit environment All graphics applications in the EGS libraries are treated as 24-bit, true-color applications, even if the display device can't support 24-bit. Editing and painting in 8-bit, 16-bit, or any other mode will still maintain the quality and clarity of a 24-bit image!
Support for 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 16, and 24-bit screens The EGS libraries allow any color-depth screen to be opened, from a black & white 1-bit screen, to a 256 color 8-bit screen, to a 16 million color 24-bit screen. Use as much or as little memory as needed by a specific application.
Automatic dithering to current color depth In most graphics operating systems, opening a 24-bit application on an 8-bit screen would result in the 24-bit application failing to open. The EGS libraries automatically dither the 24-bit display using extremely fast and accurate dithering algorithms to provide a crisp display and allow the 24-bit application to continue working in 24-bit (i.e. all actions occur in 24-bit and are only displayed in 8-bit). If a 24-bit screen is used later, all of the quality and clarity of the 24-bit application is preserved.
Scaleable Graphics User Interface (GUI) Gadgets, fonts, and all Graphics User Interface items are completely scaleable. If a smaller display is used, the appropriate items get smaller. If a larger display is used, the appropriate items get larger. All GUI aspects are completely user controllable.
Fully functional Console-Handler Allows CLIs/Shells to open on an EGS screen with command history. Completely compatible with all programs that use standard output (stdout or stderr) or standard input (stdin).
EGS SpectraPaint 24-bit, real-time paint package Allows instantaneous painting and manipulating of an image or images. Say good-bye to the "paint-and-wait" days!
Window based environments Images are loaded into windows rather than screens. This allows multiple images to be in memory and on-screen at once for easy comparison or compositing with the Pantograph™ tool.
Resizable control panel The Control Panel and all Toolboxes scale with the system to take as much or as little room as desired. Small displays with limited screen space can shrink the toolbox for more image area, and large displays can expand the toolbox for easier gadget selection.
Runs on the default EGS screen The default EGS screen is a standard ground for window-based applications. Multiple programs can open on the default screen to make data sharing and data comparison simple and easy. For example, an independent palette program can be used to generate a precise color, and that color can be "copied" into the paint programs pen color for immediate use. Likewise, all sorts of other programs like clocks, word processors, etc. can be running side-by-side with the paint package.
Extremely FAST real-time paint routines 24-bit painting doesn't have to be slow and cumbersome. EGS-Paint uses extremely optimized logic algorithms to make painting quick and easy, even complex operations like Pantograph, airbrush, monochrome painting!
Pantograph™ Rub-Through Most paint packages allow a 'spare page' image to be rubbed through to the main image buffer with varying amounts of transparency, however the 'spare page' must be aligned with the main buffer and you can't arbitrarily rub through any section of a 'spare page', only what is underneath the main image. EGS-Paint's Pantograph™ tool allows any portion of another image, or even another portion of the same image to be 'rubbed through' to the main image with complete control!
EGS SpectraPaint Extremely powerful MagicWand Magic Wand control allows selection of areas based on color closeness. For example, all RED pixels, including maroon and pink, can be selected and altered without affecting the rest of the image. Tighter or looser controls allow more or less matches to the base color. This makes it extremely easy to select a blue sky background and replace or tint it with another color, and leave the rest of the image untouched.
Artist's Palette The palette is designed for an artist, not a computer user. Select a few main colors and mix them on a mixing pad, and choose the desired colors for painting from there. No need to memorize RGB values or pick colors forced into "Color Pots". Mix exactly the color you want and use it.
Lightening Fast Magnification Zooming in on an area is extremely fast, and painting can continue while the image is being zoomed in or out. Up to 16x magnification, and out to 1/4 scaling for a full picture view of an image that may be larger than the screen. Painting, manipulating, and stenciling can all continue in any zoom mode.
Multi-View mode Up to four different "views" of the same image can be opened, each fully active for painting functions. For example, open an image with two people in it, select 4-view, zoom one view in on the first persons face, the second view on the second persons face, and the third view on both faces side by side. Any edits to one face will show up in the fully unzoomed images, the close-up of both faces, as well as the zoomed in views. Any edits or changes can be seen in context immediately without sacrificing the precise control of a zoomed in view. This is a necessity for high-quality image manipulation and editing.
Intelligent Window Management All image windows open within the screen boundaries, even if the image is larger than the available screen size. Scroll bars allow movement within the window to get to different parts of the image, or zooming out will display the entire image within the available screen size.
Multiple DrawModes EGS-Paint contains many drawmodes to allow adding just the right touch to a painting. Drawmodes include normal, blend, Add, Subtract, AND, OR, XOR, Delta, Colorize, Complement, Tint, and Monochrome. 
Power Stencil Modes Stencils allow or restrict painting operations in different areas of an image. Stencils can be rectangular, freeform, or based on a Magic Wand. You can also add to or remove from a current stencil without starting over. If you select too little or too much, simply add or remove what you need and proceed with your painting.
IFF24 Load/Save module Supports loading of almost any IFF file, from 1-bit to 24-bit, HAM, HAM8, and Extra-Halfbright. Saves images in full 24-bit for maximum detail and color resolution.
JPEG Load/Save module Supports loading and saving of JPEG images for fast, convenient storage of high-resolution images.
 Comparison Checklist
 
 
Feature EGS-28/24 Retina Picasso II Piccolo
Supports older Zorro-II Interface (on Amiga 2000)
Takes full advantage of Zorro-III Interface
Zorro-II / Zorro-III AutoSensing
1MB RAM configuration
2MB RAM configuration
Onboard Blitter
Fully Programmable Display Resolutions
Hardware Sprite
EGS Retargetable Graphics Libraries
Supports Workbench
Uses valuable ChipRAM and DisplayRAM for Workbench and custom Intuition displays
Amiga RGB Pass-Through for One-Monitor solution
Support for linking multiple boards in a single system to create a large virtual display (i.e. 3200x2560x8)

Detailed Competition Analysis
 
 
Feature EGS-28/24 Retina Picasso II Piccolo
Maximum 24-bit Pixel Display Speed 28MHz 25MHz 28MHz 28MHz
Maximum 8-bit Pixel Display Speed 80MHz 70MHz 80MHz 80MHz
System Memory to Display Memory Transfer Speed up to 12MB/s up to 3MB/s up to 3MB/s up to 12MB/s
Blitter Data Transfer Speed 30MB/s 30MB/s
Horizontal Display Scan Rate 15 to 75KHz 15 to 75KHz 15 to 75KHz 15 to 75KHz
Vertical Display Scan Rate up to 200Hz 50 to 95Hz up to 200Hz up to 200Hz
Maximum 24-bit display resolution 800 x 600 1152 x 862 800 x 600 800 x 600
Maximum 16-bit display resolution 1152 x 900 1024 x 768 1152 x 900 1024 x 768
Maximum 8-bit display resolution 1600 x 1280 1600 x1280 1600 x 1280 1600 x 1280
At VGA 640 x 480 resolution.
Interlaced.
 Screen Sizes based on RAM Configuration
 
 

EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM 1MB



 
Resolution Bit Depth Number of Colors
320 x 200 24 16.7 M
640 x 400 24 16.7M
640 x 480 (VGA) 24 16.7M
736 x 480 (NTSC) 16 65,536
736 x 575 (PAL) 16 65,536
800 x 600 16 65,536
1024 x 768 (SVGA) 8 256
1120 x 832 (NeXT) 8 256
1280 x 1024 (Interlace) 4 16
1600 x 1280 (Interlace) 4 16

EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM 2MB



 
Resolution Bit Depth Number of Colors
320 x 200 24 16.7 M
640 x 400 24 16.7M
640 x 480 (VGA) 24 16.7M
736 x 480 (NTSC) 24 16.7M
736 x 575 (PAL) 24 16.7M
800 x 600 24 16.7M
1024 x 768 (SVGA) 16 65,536
1120 x 832 (NeXT) 16 65,536
1280 x 1024 (Interlace) 8 256
1600 x 1280 (Interlace) 8 256

NOTE1: The minimum and maximum resolutions indicated above are the system limits, however the EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM is completely programmable, allowing for any resolution between the minimum and maximum limits. The above are only a few examples of the most common screen resolutions possible.
 
 

NOTE2: For easy reference, the grey shaded resolutions represent 24-bit displays.
 
 

Applications

 The EGS-28/24 Spectrum can be used in a variety of applications where true-color and/or high-resolution are needed. Some examples include:

Software Compatibility
 
 
Native EGS Software
Software Title Manufacturer Description
EGS-SpectraPaint GVP 24-bit high-resolution multi-window paint package bundled with the EGS-28/24 Spectrum board.
ImageFX-EGS GVP Special version of ImageFX V1.5 that runs completely on the EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM! Image Processing package with scanner support, painting tools, user extensible operations, loaders, savers, and exhaustive ARexx support.
ADPro 2.5 ASDG Image Processing program.
Magic Lantern Terra Nova Development 24-Bit Animation creation/playboack application with sound support!
EMPLANT Utilities Unlimited Macintosh emulation hardware/software combination that provides a fully functional Macintosh environment that multitasks with the Amiga!
TVPaint 2.0 Tecsoft High-end 24-bit paint program with powerful feature set.
Rainbow Painter Omega Datentechnic 24-bit paint package bundled with the Rainbow board, but functional on any EGS supported board.
MPEG Player Public Domain Initial release of an MPEG playback program still in development; functional on any EGS supported board.
Connect Four (clone) Public Domain Clone of the popular Connect Four children's game written exclusively for the EGS native environment; functional on any EGS supported board.
NOTE: Many other small games and utilities exist in the public domain for the EGS environment, but are too many to name here.
EGS Workbench and Display Database Compatible Software
Software Title Manufacturer Description
LightRave Warm & Fuzzy Logic Allows LighWave to run on any Amiga without a Video Toaster. Supports rendering directly to an EGS-DEFAULT screen.
PageStream SoftLogik Publishing Desktop Publishing package, used internally by GVP for product User's Guides and Installation Manuals.
Art Expression SoftLogik Publishing Vector (object) drawing program for crisp, resizable artwork.
TypeSmith SoftLogik Publishing Vector based font editor.
Real 3D RealSoft International 3D modeling, rendering, and animation package with many high-end features and capabilities.
Final Copy Softwood Word processing package.
Electronic Thesaurus Softwood Online thesaurus.
Proper Grammar Softwood Online document grammar checker.
ProWrite 3.x New Horizons Word processing package.
QuickWrite New Horizons Starter version of the ProWrite 3.x word processing package.
Design Works New Horizons Vector (object) drawing program for crisp, resizable artwork.
Flow 3.0 New Horizons Outline program with some text processing features...
ProPage Gold Disk Professional desktop publishing package with AGA color preview.
ProCalc Gold Disk Professional spreadsheet package with charting features.
ProDraw Gold Disk Vector (object) drawing program for crisp, resizable artwork.
ProVector Taliesin Vector (object) drawing program for crisp, resizable artwork.
 Software Compatibility (cont.)
 
 
EGS Workbench and Display Database Compatible Software
Software Title Manufacturer Description
CygnusEd Professional ASDG Comprehensive text editor targeted for programmers, includes exhaustive ARexx interface.
TurboText Oxxi Comprehensive text editor targeted for programmers, includes exhaustive ARexx interface.
Superbase 4 Oxxi Powerful relational database for the Amiga and other platforms.
Ami-Back Moonlighter Software Comprehensive archival software package.
Ami-Tools Moonlighter Software Comprehensive disk error recovery and maintenance software package.
Quarterback 5.x Central Coast Software Comprehensive archival software package.
Quarterback Tools Central Coast Software Disk error recovery and maintenance software package.
DiskMaster Progressive Peripherals and Software Directory utility.
Directory Opus Inovatronics Directory utility.
TeX Previewer Public Domain Allows screen preview of a TeX document before printing.
TeX Special Text Set System Public Domain Allows graphical front-end for TeX document creation and processing.
JRComm Public Domain / Shareware Terminal emulation program.
Rotor Public Domain / Shareware Screenblanker.
KCommodity 2.5 Public Domain / Shareware Screenblanker.
MuchMore Public Domain / Shareware Text reader.
Leggi Public Domain / Shareware Text reader.
WBFed Public Domain / Shareware Font editor.
NOTE: Many other applications and utilities exist both commercial and public domain that work on the EGS Workbench or one of the EGS display modes in the Display Database.
System Requirements Recommended Additional Equipment

 The following equipment is not required to use the EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM board, but is recommended to make using the EGS-28/24 SPECTRUM as simple and enjoyable as possible: