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PA-RISC Graphics Adapters

Overview

All HP 32-bit and many of the earlier 64-bit PA-RISC computers used HP-designed video adapters, based on a variety of buses (GSC, SGC, etc.), chipsets and form factors. Only with the later PCI-based adapters HP switched to using customized versions of mainstream graphics adapters from the Intel/i386 world. The following sections describe most of the older, HP-proprietary designs.

CRX

CRX graphics adapters were available in various different configurations for both the GSG and GSC bus in their different formfactors. All of these adapters were officially only supported in HP-UX up to 10.20, some may still work with 11.00.

The CRX cards output a fixed resolution of 1280×1024. cards with SGC bus in the DIO-II formfactor use either one (grayscale), three (R GB) or four (R GB and sync) BNC connectors, while cards for SGC and GSC in the EISA formfactor and the mainboard-integrated CRX adapters use HD15 VGA connectors.

HP CRX graphics adapters
Device Color
max<
Double-buffering 3D accel Bus/Formfactor
Part-number
GRX 8-bit grayscale software - SGC (DIO-II): A1924A
CRX 8-bit hardware - SGC (DIO-II): A1659A
Stinger (CRX)1 8-bit software - SGC (integrated)
Artist (CRX)2 8-bit hardware - GSC (integrated)
CRX-24 24-bit hardware
software
- SGC (DIO-II FF): A1439A
SGC (EISA FF): A2673A
CRX-24Z3 24-bit - yes SGC (DIO-II FF): A1454A
SGC (EISA FF): A2674A
CRX-48Z4 24-bit hardware
software
yes SGC (DIO-II FF) + ext.: A2091A
SGC (EISA FF) + ext.: A2675A
GSC (EISA FF) + ext.: A4073A/B + A4074A
  1. The Stinger CRX adapter, integrated into some of the older ASP-based workstations (older 715, 725), supports four different resolution/refresh-rate combinations, which can be changed via a DIP switch on the back of the machine or in the PDC.
  2. The Artist graphics adapter, as found on many LASI-based workstations, is technically identical to the CRX devices but supports much more resolutions and refresh rates, which can be configured in the boot ROM.
  3. The Z-suffix denotes a CRX board with an optional 3D-acceleration board, containing a hardware 24-bit Z-buffer. These combined adapters (e.g., CRX-24Z) support the same visuals as stand-alone versions (e.g. CRX-24) but always provide the 3D acceleration. The hardware acceleration can only be used in conjunction with the Starbase, PHIGS, PowerShade or PEX APIs.
  4. CRX-48Z adapters are GSC or SGC interface cards with a separate external processing box, which provides the R GB output connectors.

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HCRX

The HCRX are the successors to the CRX graphics adapters and were shipped in systems with the GSC bus, either integrated into the mainboard or as a separate expansion board. They output a fixed resolution of 1280×1024 and use a HD15 VGA connector.

HP HCRX graphics adapters
Device Color
max
Double-buffering 3D accel Bus/Formfactor
Part-number
HCRX-8 8-bit hardware
software
- GSC (EISA FF): A4070A/A4070B
GSC (GSC-M FF): A4315A
HCRX-8Z1 8-bit % yes GSC (EISA FF): A4079A/A4079B
HCRX-24 24-bit hardware
software
- GSC (EISA FF): A4071A/A4071B
GSC (GSC-M FF): A4316A
HCRX-24Z1 24-bit % yes GSC (EISA FF): A4179A
  1. The Z-suffix denotes a HCRX-board with an optional 3D-acceleration board, containing a hardware 24-bit Z-buffer. These combined adapters (e.g., HCRX-24Z) support the same visuals as stand-alone versions (e.g. HCRX-24) but always provide the 3D acceleration. The hardware acceleration can only be used in conjunction with the Starbase, PHIGS, PowerShade or PEX APIs.

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Visualize

The HP Visualize line of graphics adapters were used in a large number of PA-RISC workstations integrated onto the mainboard and in expansion cards of various types. All cards provide 2D hardware acceleration, used by HP’s X11 server on HP-UX. The 3D hardware acceleration is available in conjunction with either of the Starbase, PHIGS, PowerShade or PEX APIs.

The Visualize cards use either a HD15 VGA or EVC connector.

HP Visualize graphics adapters
Device Resolution
max
Color
max
Double-buffering 3D accel Bus/Formfactor
Part-number
Visualize-EG
(base)
1280×1024 8-bit software - GSC (EISA FF): A4450A
GSC (HSC FF): A3519A
PCI: A4977A
PMC (PCI mezzanine): A4979A
Visualize-EG
(dual)
1280×1024 8-bit software - GSC (EISA FF): A4451A
Visualize-EG
(ext. mem)
1600×1200 8-bit software
hardware
- GSC (EISA-FF): + A4452A
Visualize-8 1280×1024 8-bit hardware yes GSC (EISA FF): A4441A
Visualize-24 1280×1024 24-bit hardware
software
yes GSC (EISA FF): A4442A
Visualize-48 1280×1024 24-bit hardware
software
yes GSC (EISA FF): A4244A
Visualize-48XP 1280×1024 24-bit hardware
software
yes GSC (2-slot EISA FF): A4246A
GSC (HSC FF): A4455A

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Visualize-FX

The HP Visualize-FX graphics adapters were a more or less complete redesign in contrast to their Visualize predecessors. The architecture of the graphics processors is PA-RISC based, the higher-end models in fact include more than four PA-RISC CPUs to process the graphics. The FXs were the first HP cards to support the OpenGL X-Window Extension (GLX), in addition to the legacy 3D APIs (Starbase, PEX, PHIGS). These adapters were only available as PCI bus cards, with some using two slots.

The EVC connector present on some cards needs an adapter cable to connect to a HD15 VGA monitor. These cards support a maximum resolution of 1600×1200 or 1280×1024 on older monitors. Both Sync-on-Green and Digital-Sync output signals are supported.

HP Visualize-FX graphics adapters
Device Color
max
Double-buffering 3D accel Output Bus/Formfactor
Part-number
Visualize-FXE 24-bit hardware
software
yes VGA PCI 32-bit 66 MHz: A4982A1, A4982B1
Visualize-FX2 24-bit hardware
software
yes EVC PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A4552A
Visualize-FX4/FX62 24-bit hardware
software
yes EVC PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A4553A (FX4)
PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A4554A (FX6)
Visualize-FX5/FX10 24-bit hardware
software
yes VGA, DVI-D, stereo PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A1264A (FX5)3
PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A1264B (FX5pro)3
PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A1298A (FX10)3
PCI 64-bit 66 MHz: A1298B (FX10pro)3
  1. Two different FXE models with different memory subsystems were shipped:
    • A4982A: 18 MB SGRAM, (3.5 MB max for textures)
    • A4982B: 24 MB SDRAM, (9.5 MB max for textures)
    The A-version is slightly faster due to the use of SGRAM.
  2. The FX4 and FX6 cards support an optional 16 MB hardware texture memory module.
  3. The FX5/10pro models integrate the raster and texture-processor onto a single chip, resulting in a better performance than the standard FX5/10 models.
    The onboard RAM is used as unified buffer, Z-buffer and texture storage:
    • FX5[pro]: 64 MB (48 MB max. for textures)
    • FX10[pro]: 128 MB (110 MB max. for textures)

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FireGL-UX

The FireGL-UX high-end graphics adapter was based on ATI’s FireGL2 board, often used in Intel i386 PCs. It provides full OpenGL hardware acceleration under HP’s X server and is binary compatible with the Visualize FX10pro adapter.

Details:

It is about twice as fast as the Visualize FX10pro.

Supported resolutions and refresh rates:

HP FireGL-UX graphics adapter supported resolutions
Resolution Refresh rate Color depth
640×480 100Hz 24-bit
800×600 100Hz 24-bit
1024×768 100Hz 24-bit
1152×864 100Hz 24-bit
1280×960 100Hz 24-bit
1280×1024 100Hz 24-bit
1600×1000 85Hz 24-bit
1600×1024 85Hz 24-bit
1600×1200 85Hz 24-bit
1792×1344 60Hz 24-bit
1920×1200 76Hz 24-bit

References

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