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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Mon Aug 30, 2021 6:29 pm

This past weekend was a vintage Mac hardware weekend for me.

Many months ago I picked up a Paintboard Prism NuBus video card capable of 1024x768. Made in the US back in 1993, I purchased it from someone in Australia. Then procrastination set in as Amiga projects took my attention.
You can get a very high-quality video card for old macs for a fraction of what they cost in the Amiga world. Heck, the built-in video of old macs by their very nature can pump out pixel perfect text and graphics on LCD monitors even today, since they were never aimed at TVs in the first place.

My goal was to use my same beautiful 4:3 LCD monitor that looks insane with my Amiga 3000 & zz9000 card (using the same resolution, which is native). My Quadra 700’s built-in video offers 640x480 and 8x6 in millions of colors razor sharp. I wanted 1024x768 edge to edge.
The Beetronics 15” 4:3 LCD monitor never fails to impress when paired with my early 90s machines. It's so good.

No matter what I tried or drivers I installed the card would only ever show the default 640x480 option. It made no sense. But then a friend asked me about the VGA adapter I was using. “Same one I always do,” I said. He said to try the one with the dip switches he knew I had.
I typically will use a Mac DB15 Male to VGA (HD15) Female Adapter but it didn't do jack with the new video card except allow the default 640x480 to come through. That's a fail.

The Dip Switch adapter had a bunch of options. In Typical Me fashion, the correct solution was one of the last ones I tried (see the "Multisync" section).

After an hour of trying a bunch of combinations and countless reboots, I finally got close to glory. New resolutions finally appeared! The screen had Jail Bars and the colors were washed out, but this was progress.

Took another hour of monitor menu settings I’d never even heard of: Phase, Clock, as well as H shift, brightness, contrast, etc. Even a driver program to Pan the screen. Then… success! Text so sharp and beautiful it puts my CRT to shame.

The crispness and perfection I see via the A3000/zz9000 looks equally as good as with the Quadra. Granted the Q can pump out millions of colors and I don't notice any kind of slowdowns (I need to do more testing with Photoshop, etc.). So far so good.

I love my original little m1212 CRT monitor, but this is gorgeous. All the extra space feels so... roomy! Really nice when things fall into place like this.

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Zippy Zapp

Posted Mon Aug 30, 2021 8:39 pm

Quadra 700 has been on my list for a while. But I did somewhat recently find a decent Quadra 650 and thanks to the new purple VRAMs have maxed out the video memory. I will have to be on the lookout for a decent nubus video card for it.

As for VGA to Mac adapters I have used one that came with my Sony Multiscan 220GS for years but mostly with PowerPC Macs. I didn't get 68k Macs until some years ago. I found out that certain Macs, especially most Mac II varieties need a monitor and an adapter that supports Sync on Green. My IIsi does for sure. so I use this adapter , which supports SOG and multi-sync, etc:


It supports various sync modes and, like yours, a lot of standard and multi resolutions.

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Posted Tue Aug 30, 2022 6:12 am

I always wanted a Quadra 700 in my collection, IMHO one of the most beautiful Apple retro computer. Not to say I loved to see it in Jurassic Park ^^

Thanks for sharing your findings.

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Posted Wed Nov 30, 2022 5:36 am

Thanks for sharing intric8.

This was very timely as I've just bit the bullet and placed an eBay order for a 700. It was the Mac that originally got me Mac curious back when I using my A500 and appearing in Jurassic Park certainly helped give it that lust factor. I remember reading the specs for it in magazines at the time and my tiny teenage mind being blown at how powerful it seemed. Finally (fingers crossed) it will be mine.

I also just ordered one of those Mac2VGA adapters with the DIP switches to hook it up to the VGA port on my LCD TV unit. I've very limited space so all my retro machines hook into this versatile LCD TV unit (VGA, HDMI, Component, Composite, S-Video and RGB SCART).

My only quandary now is how to get software on and off it as it's the only Classic Mac I will own. I'm thinking of something like a RaSCSI to emulate an external CD-ROM and HDD will be the way to go.

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Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Tue Mar 12, 2024 5:52 pm


I think it's high time we got to see some of your cool hardware and projects. :bruce:

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