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13W3 vs. VGA

Discussion in 'Sun Hardware' started by Wes Groleau, Jul 11, 2009.

  1. Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau Guest

    If I should decide to put a monitor on my Ultra 10, I have two options:

    - remove the frame buffer and use the VGA port with a PC monitor.
    - get a 13W3 to VGA converter and use the same monitor.

    What advantage is there, if any, of using the frame buffer?

    I've already tried out the monitor on the VGA port and was surprised at
    the quality of the fonts during boot. Nothing spectacular about the
    appearance of window frames and such, though.

    --
    Wes Groleau

    Curmudgeon's Complaints on Courtesy:
    http://www.onlinenetiquette.com/courtesy1.html
     
    Wes Groleau, Jul 11, 2009
    #1
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  2. Wes Groleau

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    On 2009-07-11, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    > If I should decide to put a monitor on my Ultra 10, I have two options:
    >
    > - remove the frame buffer and use the VGA port with a PC monitor.
    > - get a 13W3 to VGA converter and use the same monitor.


    One -- made by Sun for connecting a male 13W3 cable from a
    monitor or computer to a female HD15 (VGA) connector is the 530-2357-01
    which I have sitting beside me.

    Also ...

    - Get a monitor which uses the 13W3 directly. :)

    > What advantage is there, if any, of using the frame buffer?


    The VGA connector frame buffer built into the systems board
    (motherboard) is limited in memory, so you have the choice of either a
    fairly large pixel count, or a lot of colors, but not both at once.

    O.K. I found it in one of the PDF manuals which I had saved.

    Up to 1152x900 24-bit graphics
    Up to 1280x1024 8-bit graphics

    for the internal VGA (which Sun calls PGX24). The amount of internal
    framebuffer memory determines how large you can go with 24-bit graphics.
    1152x900 @ 24 bit depth requires 3,110,400 bits of graphics RAM, and
    that was pushing it for a built-in framebuffer in those days.

    This means that if you accept the default Sun resolution for the
    older computers you can get 24-bit graphics -- or 16, 777,216 colors
    including full white and full black.

    However, if you want higher resolution (up to 1280x1024 on the
    built-in framebuffer) you will be stuck with 8-bit graphics -- 256
    colors in the colormap. This will be vastly unsatisfactory with photo
    processing.

    > I've already tried out the monitor on the VGA port and was surprised at
    > the quality of the fonts during boot. Nothing spectacular about the
    > appearance of window frames and such, though.


    What resolution were you using? The default, or did you use
    fbconfig to increase the resolution for what your monitor will handle?
    If the latter, did you try displaying color photos? *There* is where
    the difference will be visible.

    Now -- I'm using a Creator3D (UPA bus framebuffer from an Ultra
    10) in my Sun Blade 2000. (The Ultra-10 is running OpenBSD and does
    not have X11 enabled -- a text screen is all that I need on it.)

    The resolution options on the Creator3D are (according to
    fbconfig -res):


    ======================================================================
    Valid values for -res option are:
    Not Set
    NONE
    1024x768x60
    1024x768x70
    1024x768x75
    1024x768x77
    1024x800x84
    1152x900x66
    1152x900x76
    1280x800x76
    1280x1024x60
    1280x1024x67
    1280x1024x76
    1280x1024x85
    960x680x112s
    960x680x108s
    640x480x60
    640x480x60i
    768x575x50i
    1440x900x76
    1600x1000x66
    1600x1000x76
    1600x1280x76
    1920x1080x72
    1920x1200x70
    1920x1200x75
    1600x1200x60
    1600x1200x75
    1600x1200x60d
    1920x1080x60d
    1920x1200x60d
    1280x1024x60c
    ?
    svga
    1152
    1280
    stereo
    vga
    ntsc
    pal
    ======================================================================

    and I'm using it with a LCD monitor at:

    Current resolution setting: 1440x900x76 Hi-res

    Some of these days, I'll get a higher resolution LCD monitor and change
    the configuration to use that higher resolution.

    The stereo options need a special pair of glasses which have a
    separate shutter in each eye, and thus can separately display different
    frames to each eye.

    And I do a lot of photo work on this system, so the 8-bit color
    would not be sufficient.

    Note that I also have a PCI bus XVR-500 framebuffer (which has a
    HD-15/VGA connector) in the system, and it offers:


    ======================================================================
    Valid values for -res option are:
    NONE
    1024x768x60 [1]
    1024x768x70 [1]
    1024x768x75 [1]
    1024x768x77 [1]
    1024x800x84 [1]
    1152x900x66 [1]
    1152x900x76 [1]
    1152x900x120s [1]
    1280x800x76 [1]
    1280x1024x60 [1]
    1280x1024x67 [1]
    1280x1024x75 [1]
    1280x1024x76 [1]
    1280x1024x85 [1]
    960x680x112s [1]
    960x680x108s [1]
    640x480x60 [1]
    640x480x60i [1]
    768x575x50i [1]
    1440x900x76 [1]
    1600x1000x66 [1]
    1600x1000x76 [1]
    1600x1200x75 [1]
    1600x1280x76 [1]
    1920x1080x72 [1]
    1920x1080x72 [1]
    1280x800x112s [1]
    1280x768x56 [1]
    1600x1024x60 [1]
    1600x1200x60 [1]
    800x600x75 [1]
    1920x1080x60 [1]
    1280x1024x96 [1]
    1440x900x60 [1]
    1680x1050x60 [1]
    1680x1050x60rb [1]
    svga [1]
    1152 [1]
    1280 [1]
    1280 [1]
    stereo [1]
    vga [1]
    ntsc [1]
    pal [1]
    1280 [1]
    Notes:
    [1] monitor may not support this resolution.
    ======================================================================
    (note -- since I don't have a monitor connected to it at the moment, it
    can't tell what is there, so it assumes that none of the choices match
    it. :)

    So -- if you get a reasonable PCI bus framebuffer, you can use that to
    avoid the 13W3 to HD-15 adaptor. Among choices which you should be able
    to find on eBay are the XVR-100 and XVR-500.

    I've got a couple of systems with XVR-100 framebuffers
    installed, and they came in a couple of Sun Blade 2000 machines. They
    are smaller than the Creator-3D, and thus presumably dissipate less
    power. :)

    I hope that this is a help.

    Good Luck,
    DoN.

    --
    Email: <> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
    (too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
    --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---
     
    DoN. Nichols, Jul 12, 2009
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau Guest

    DoN. Nichols wrote:
    > On 2009-07-11, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    >> If I should decide to put a monitor on my Ultra 10, I have two options:
    >>
    >> - remove the frame buffer and use the VGA port with a PC monitor.
    >> - get a 13W3 to VGA converter and use the same monitor.

    >
    > One -- made by Sun for connecting a male 13W3 cable from a
    > monitor or computer to a female HD15 (VGA) connector is the 530-2357-01
    > which I have sitting beside me.
    >
    > Also ...
    >
    > - Get a monitor which uses the 13W3 directly. :)


    You may have that option--I don't. :)

    >> What advantage is there, if any, of using the frame buffer?

    >
    > The VGA connector frame buffer built into the systems board
    > (motherboard) is limited in memory, so you have the choice of either a
    > fairly large pixel count, or a lot of colors, but not both at once.
    >
    > O.K. I found it in one of the PDF manuals which I had saved.
    >
    > Up to 1152x900 24-bit graphics


    Ah, so it can do more than any monitor I own can handle. :)

    > However, if you want higher resolution (up to 1280x1024 on the
    > built-in framebuffer) you will be stuck with 8-bit graphics -- 256
    > colors in the colormap. This will be vastly unsatisfactory with photo
    > processing.


    Since this machine's destiny is a headless DNS/proxy server
    (maybe firewall), this doesn't matter. In fact, the question
    was really more from curiosity.

    >> I've already tried out the monitor on the VGA port and was surprised at
    >> the quality of the fonts during boot. Nothing spectacular about the
    >> appearance of window frames and such, though.

    >
    > What resolution were you using? The default, or did you use
    > fbconfig to increase the resolution for what your monitor will handle?
    > If the latter, did you try displaying color photos? *There* is where
    > the difference will be visible.


    I plugged in an OLD and very heavy VGA that had never before been on
    that Sun or any other. And I had never been on that Sun except to
    give it a new root password in single-user mode with someone else's
    keyboard and monitor. So the resolution is whatever the previous
    owner left it at.

    > Now -- I'm using a Creator3D (UPA bus framebuffer from an Ultra
    > 10) in my Sun Blade 2000. (The Ultra-10 is running OpenBSD and does
    > not have X11 enabled -- a text screen is all that I need on it.)
    > ....
    > The stereo options need a special pair of glasses which have a
    > separate shutter in each eye, and thus can separately display different
    > frames to each eye.


    Wow, 3D. I have a creator3D according to teh front panel.
    If I could afford the extra hardware, I could really waste
    time playing with that.

    > I hope that this is a help.


    Since it's just curiosity, it is indeed helpful.


    --
    Wes Groleau

    "There ain't nothin' in this world that's worth being a snot over."
    -- Larry Wall
     
    Wes Groleau, Jul 13, 2009
    #3
  4. Wes Groleau

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    On 2009-07-13, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    > DoN. Nichols wrote:
    >> On 2009-07-11, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    >>> If I should decide to put a monitor on my Ultra 10, I have two options:
    >>>
    >>> - remove the frame buffer and use the VGA port with a PC monitor.
    >>> - get a 13W3 to VGA converter and use the same monitor.

    >>
    >> One -- made by Sun for connecting a male 13W3 cable from a
    >> monitor or computer to a female HD15 (VGA) connector is the 530-2357-01
    >> which I have sitting beside me.
    >>
    >> Also ...
    >>
    >> - Get a monitor which uses the 13W3 directly. :)

    >
    > You may have that option--I don't. :)


    Several possibilities there.

    + Can't find one. (I've found them on eBay, but larger ones only)

    + Can't afford one. (If you were local, I could give you one.)

    + Don't have room for one. (your problem, not mine. :)

    >>> What advantage is there, if any, of using the frame buffer?

    >>
    >> The VGA connector frame buffer built into the systems board
    >> (motherboard) is limited in memory, so you have the choice of either a
    >> fairly large pixel count, or a lot of colors, but not both at once.
    >>
    >> O.K. I found it in one of the PDF manuals which I had saved.
    >>
    >> Up to 1152x900 24-bit graphics

    >
    > Ah, so it can do more than any monitor I own can handle. :)


    You don't have a monitor which will do 1152x900? That is the
    default resolution on a Sun.

    >> However, if you want higher resolution (up to 1280x1024 on the
    >> built-in framebuffer) you will be stuck with 8-bit graphics -- 256
    >> colors in the colormap. This will be vastly unsatisfactory with photo
    >> processing.

    >
    > Since this machine's destiny is a headless DNS/proxy server
    > (maybe firewall), this doesn't matter. In fact, the question
    > was really more from curiosity.


    O.K. I'm sharing a single LCD monitor between three systems
    with a switch (each has its own keyboard, because the DIN keyboard
    connector systems tend to reset on connecting a keyboard to a system
    already booted, so switching keyboards without electronics to make it
    look as though the keyboard is there all the time. :)

    >>> I've already tried out the monitor on the VGA port and was surprised at
    >>> the quality of the fonts during boot. Nothing spectacular about the
    >>> appearance of window frames and such, though.

    >>
    >> What resolution were you using? The default, or did you use
    >> fbconfig to increase the resolution for what your monitor will handle?
    >> If the latter, did you try displaying color photos? *There* is where
    >> the difference will be visible.

    >
    > I plugged in an OLD and very heavy VGA that had never before been on
    > that Sun or any other. And I had never been on that Sun except to
    > give it a new root password in single-user mode with someone else's
    > keyboard and monitor. So the resolution is whatever the previous
    > owner left it at.


    Probably the default 1152x900 resolution. In single-user mode,
    the only way you will get something different is by adding a resolution
    specifier to the eeprom setting "output-device="

    If it is just "screen" as follows, you get the default resolution of
    1152x900:

    output-device=screen

    However, if there is more, like this:

    output-device=screen:r1440x900x76

    it specifies what the computer will use in single-user mode. Once
    booted to multi-user mode, other parameters take over -- if set via the
    fbconfig command.

    >> Now -- I'm using a Creator3D (UPA bus framebuffer from an Ultra
    >> 10) in my Sun Blade 2000. (The Ultra-10 is running OpenBSD and does
    >> not have X11 enabled -- a text screen is all that I need on it.)
    >> ....
    >> The stereo options need a special pair of glasses which have a
    >> separate shutter in each eye, and thus can separately display different
    >> frames to each eye.

    >
    > Wow, 3D. I have a creator3D according to teh front panel.


    If it has a card in it with a 13W3 connector and a DIN
    connector, yes, you probably do. (The DIN connector goes to the 3D
    shutter glasses.)

    > If I could afford the extra hardware, I could really waste
    > time playing with that.


    You will need both the special glasses and a recent Solaris (10
    is available for download) as the OS. I'm pretty sure that OpenBSD
    doesn't handle the 3D features. Not sure what the various flavors of
    linux might do. I'm using OpenBSD for both a firewall (on an Ultra-5),
    and a couple of web servers (on Ultra-10s).

    You probably want to remove the Creator3D board, and save it for
    use in another (Sun) system. That way, your Ultra-10 will run cooler.
    That is why the Creator-3D from an Ultra-10 is in my SB-2000. I can use
    the extra resolution for working on photos and such in the SB-2000,
    while I don't use the console of the Ultra-10s for anything other than
    booting and such -- and that not very often. The two Ultra-10s share
    the monitor with a Sun Fire 280R rack-mount server, and none of them
    have the monitor powered on most of the time -- only when I need to do
    some diagnostics.

    >> I hope that this is a help.

    >
    > Since it's just curiosity, it is indeed helpful.


    Good.

    Enjoy,
    DoN.

    --
    Email: <> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
    (too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
    --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---
     
    DoN. Nichols, Jul 14, 2009
    #4
  5. Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau Guest

    DoN. Nichols wrote:
    > On 2009-07-13, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    >> DoN. Nichols wrote:
    >>> - Get a monitor which uses the 13W3 directly. :)

    >> You may have that option--I don't. :)

    > Several possibilities there.
    > + Can't find one. (I've found them on eBay, but larger ones only)
    > + Can't afford one. (If you were local, I could give you one.)
    > + Don't have room for one. (your problem, not mine. :)


    The middle. You're quite generous. MAYBE I could afford shipping.
    (I'm in Indiana)

    > You don't have a monitor which will do 1152x900? That is the
    > default resolution on a Sun.


    I don't think so. Only very old and very heavy used monitors
    (and the ones built-in on my macs. But my comment referred not
    to teh default but to the amazing numbers near the end of your list.

    > Probably the default 1152x900 resolution. In single-user mode,


    Does it automatically switch the monitor's resolution?
    Because that had previously been on an old PC and so
    must have been 1024x768 or "worse"

    > it specifies what the computer will use in single-user mode. Once
    > booted to multi-user mode, other parameters take over -- if set via the
    > fbconfig command.


    But I have to have a monitor (or a terminal) to find the shell prompt
    and type the command.

    > If it has a card in it with a 13W3 connector and a DIN
    > connector, yes, you probably do. (The DIN connector goes to the 3D
    > shutter glasses.)


    Yep. And a VLSI chip from Rockwell and a VLSI from Sun.

    >> If I could afford the extra hardware, I could really waste
    >> time playing with that.

    >
    > You will need both the special glasses and a recent Solaris (10
    > is available for download) as the OS. I'm pretty sure that OpenBSD


    I'm half-joking. For me, it would indeed be just playing and I can't
    spare the time. [ I really should post less than I do on Usenet :) ]

    > You probably want to remove the Creator3D board, and save it for
    > use in another (Sun) system. That way, your Ultra-10 will run cooler.


    I _have_ to remove it. Can't use VGA with that card plugged in.
    But I don't have another Sun to use it in.

    --
    Wes Groleau

    Worksheet for “Central American Migrants†Video
    http://Ideas.Lang-Learn.us/russell?itemid=1009
     
    Wes Groleau, Jul 14, 2009
    #5
  6. Wes Groleau

    DoN. Nichols Guest

    On 2009-07-14, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    > DoN. Nichols wrote:
    >> On 2009-07-13, Wes Groleau <> wrote:
    >>> DoN. Nichols wrote:
    >>>> - Get a monitor which uses the 13W3 directly. :)
    >>> You may have that option--I don't. :)

    >> Several possibilities there.
    >> + Can't find one. (I've found them on eBay, but larger ones only)
    >> + Can't afford one. (If you were local, I could give you one.)
    >> + Don't have room for one. (your problem, not mine. :)

    >
    > The middle. You're quite generous. MAYBE I could afford shipping.
    > (I'm in Indiana)


    Hmm ... even the 17" one which I am offering (one of the two
    last non-LCD ones I have) is a bit heavy to ship -- and tricky to pack
    so it is not damaged. The original packing from Sun has the base
    dismounted from the monitor and separated by fitted foam plastic
    carriers (which I don't have). Once you snap them together, it is
    difficult to get them to separate.

    >> You don't have a monitor which will do 1152x900? That is the
    >> default resolution on a Sun.

    >
    > I don't think so. Only very old and very heavy used monitors
    > (and the ones built-in on my macs. But my comment referred not
    > to teh default but to the amazing numbers near the end of your list.


    Get a LCD -- or the 20" Sun CRT if you have room for a really
    heavy monitor with two inputs -- VGA and 13W3 which can be switched from
    the front panel. :)

    >> Probably the default 1152x900 resolution. In single-user mode,

    >
    > Does it automatically switch the monitor's resolution?
    > Because that had previously been on an old PC and so
    > must have been 1024x768 or "worse"


    Hmm ... it *may* recognize the resolution which the monitor
    encodes in some of the VGA pins, and switch to match -- but many VGA
    monitors will handle 1152x900 as long as they are multi-sync.

    >> it specifies what the computer will use in single-user mode. Once
    >> booted to multi-user mode, other parameters take over -- if set via the
    >> fbconfig command.

    >
    > But I have to have a monitor (or a terminal) to find the shell prompt
    > and type the command.


    Understood. And if you are using any other OS than Solaris,
    that command won't exist -- but the printenv and setenv at the OBP (Open
    Boot Prom) level will work to set the "output-device=" environment
    variable. Note that the '=' is a part of the variable name, to indicate
    that it holds a string. Those which end in '?' hold a true or false
    value, and those with a '#' at the end only hold a numeric value. One
    important one is:

    auto-boot?=true

    if it is false, the system will sit and wait for you to type "boot" at
    the "ok" prompt. This is useful when you're doing installation or
    diagnostics, but most of the time you want it set to true.

    >> If it has a card in it with a 13W3 connector and a DIN
    >> connector, yes, you probably do. (The DIN connector goes to the 3D
    >> shutter glasses.)

    >
    > Yep. And a VLSI chip from Rockwell and a VLSI from Sun.


    O.K. I don't have one out of a system to look at for the
    moment, but it is a full-length card, and it does *not* plug into a PCI
    slot. Instead, it goes into a UPA slot -- useful for framebuffers and
    for some systems (e.g. Ultra-2 and Ultra-60) for CPU modules.

    >>> If I could afford the extra hardware, I could really waste
    >>> time playing with that.

    >>
    >> You will need both the special glasses and a recent Solaris (10
    >> is available for download) as the OS. I'm pretty sure that OpenBSD

    >
    > I'm half-joking. For me, it would indeed be just playing and I can't
    > spare the time. [ I really should post less than I do on Usenet :) ]


    I would like to have them too -- and might actually get some
    real use out of them, with a CAD (Computer Aided Design) program.

    >> You probably want to remove the Creator3D board, and save it for
    >> use in another (Sun) system. That way, your Ultra-10 will run cooler.

    >
    > I _have_ to remove it. Can't use VGA with that card plugged in.


    Granted -- but you can use the TTYA serial port as long as there
    is no keyboard plugged in.

    > But I don't have another Sun to use it in.


    Yet! One may pop up later -- along with a nice LCD monitor for
    it. The one I am using here at present is an ENVISION at 1440x900
    resolution. It is a lot lighter than any of the CRTs (so I trust it on
    an arm partially over my lap), and warms up instantly. Also, it doesn't
    form ripples at the edges of the screen if there is a 60 Hz magnetic
    field near it. :)

    Enjoy,
    DoN.

    --
    Email: <> | Voice (all times): (703) 938-4564
    (too) near Washington D.C. | http://www.d-and-d.com/dnichols/DoN.html
    --- Black Holes are where God is dividing by zero ---
     
    DoN. Nichols, Jul 15, 2009
    #6
  7. Wes Groleau

    Wes Groleau Guest

    DoN. Nichols wrote:
    > Hmm ... even the 17" one which I am offering (one of the two
    > last non-LCD ones I have) is a bit heavy to ship -- and tricky to pack


    That's OK. The VGA 1024x768 is adequate for installation.
    Once I have it installed, I can re-direct to X11 on my
    1280x960 Mac

    --
    Wes Groleau

    Ostracism: A practice of sticking your head in the sand.
     
    Wes Groleau, Jul 15, 2009
    #7
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