product name: Picasso IV
manufacturer: Village Tronic, Germany
time of production: 1996 - 1999
Autoconfig ID: 2167 / 21, 22, 23 | 24 (Z2 | Z3)
UVP: 450 USD (1997)
The Picasso IV was the last graphic card of Village Tronic developed for Amiga computers.
As the successor of the PicassoII/II+ it was taking a different path for the passthrough of the Amigas own video signal.
It has a scan doubler and Flicker fixer built-in . That means that the Amigas own video signal will be captured by the Picasso IV and changed in a way that it can be displayed on a standard VGA CRT or LCD display. Expansions of this kind where already available for the Amiga at this time. But the Picasso IV made a difference in how it was done.
Conventional flicker fixers temporarily save the picture data of the Amiga line by line in a fast video memory and read them again at double the speed to increase the display frequency of the picture.
The Picasso IV uses its graphics controller. This controller has the ability to capture digital video streams into its frame buffer memory. The Picasso IVs flicker fixer is just generating the needed control signals for the graphic controller capture port which is writing the picture data directly into the frame buffer memory to directly output them on the VGA port.
This just happen at the programmed display rate as with every other screen mode which the card can handle. Unfortunately its not possible to synchronize the output display rate and the input rate. For that it might happen you see some screen tearing with moving pictures 1). The flicker fixer is only able to work in standard PAL or NTSC mode since the capture port of the graphics controller is not able work at higher data rates.
The PicassoIV has several expansion connectors for which some modules have been developed.
The cards manual also mentions a 3D, an MPEG and a PowerPC processor modul. Those where not built/developed for different reasons.
The 3D module was planned to have a Voodoo Graphics 2) chipset just like the Macintosh version the 3D Overdrive and 8MB of memory 3). It 'just' would have needed a pcb relayout to make the module fit the local PCI connector of the Picasso IV.
To have a better idea of peoples interest in purchasing such a card a poll was started online on Village Tronics website. 500 people declared their interest and the cards layout was done by an external developer. At the same time the Macintosh market was getting more difficult to handle and new products in this field drew time and money onto them.
Then Amiga main developer Klaus Burkert left the company, like many others at this point. He bought out all of the companies Amiga hard and software and the associated intelectual property. Soon he started to work at Metabox AG.
About one year later he passed away after a major heart attack with only 34 years of age. Following this event all development came to an halt.
The MPEG module was destined to use a chip by ST Microelectronics (STi3560) which never saw the light of day. Also a different chip fitting in size was not available.
The PowerPC module soon was discarded by the developers department since the processor would not have had access to important control signals through the Zorro bus and the added functionalty wouldn't have been much more than that of a PC bridge board like the A2386 of Commodore.
Cirrus Logic GD5446BV-HC-A/GD5446BV-HC-B (PCI bus)
integrated flicker fixer
AudioSwitcher for 4 signal sources (Amiga, CD, Paloma, Aux)
cutable area for use in machines without inline VideoSlot (z.B. B2000)
| working |
* with Zorro bus board
Software: Picasso96 or CyberGraphX 3/4
additional requirements: 68020-processor, Kickstart 3.x (flicker fixer working from Kick 1.3)
note: Linux/NetBSD support
known problems: –
|1||4MB memory default||2MB memory|
|2||Zorro II/Zorro III auto sense default||Zorro II mode|
|3||12 bit flicker fixer mode||12 or 24 bit FF auto sense default|
|4||Sync-on-green off default||Sync-on-green on|
|5||modified AGA flicker fixer timing||default AGA flicker fixer timing default|
|6||reserved, “This Jumper must always be open!” default||reserved|
|7||internal audio ground default||external audio ground|
|1.6||first public version, no AA FliFi support, the first batch of cards delivered had this|
|1.10||first version with AA FliFi support|
|1.11||small cleanups and cosmetics, factory default till end of 1997|
|4.x||version with Concierto support, included with the module|
|6.x||version with Concierto and Pablo support, included with the modules|
|7.1||version with Concierto and Pablo support and additional cleanup, factory default from 1/98|
|7.5||fixes a problem for wrong use of saved flicker fixer settings|
|1||first public release|
|2||First workaround for the Fusion40 (ignore function codes for Z2) (also for some Hardital boards), which is violating the A2000 CPU-Slot specs, it doesn't drive functions codes (see MC68k spec). It had a couple of other problems and wasn't released though..|
|3||Adressing the “Zorro-III DMA problem” which in fact is a bug in Buster -11 which cripples some CPU-initiated cycles clearly violating the Z3 Spec. As this forced major changes in the implementation of the Zorro-Interface, it took some time and had a lot of bug-ridden interim versions that didn't leave the lab.|
|4||Final one. In fact, it's a revision bump for clear identification from the last Rev 3 which was finally working according to specs and had no bugs found. As of the latest production run this was the factory standard. Due to internal changes, it requires FlashROM 7.1 or above (the boards come with 7.x) it definately drives you into problems, when running ( or trying to) a Rev 4 bridge with a FlashROM below 7.x. If it gets up at all with a Flash below 7.x, it may report a Rev 2 for the bridge because of internal reassignments… .|
|1||First working version used in-house in v1.1 prototype PCBs. They never (with some exceptions) shipped.|
|2||First version used in v1.2 production PCBs. There were some problems in AA machines and this version never shipped.|
|3||First shipped version. The AA problems are fixed. This version is still ECS/OCS (12 bit) only, AA (24 bit) isn't supported yet.|
|4||First AA (24 bit) support.|
|5||Fixed the color-phase-issue. When fipping the clock-phase jumper, the color-components (RGB) got out of phase in AA (24 bit) mode.|
|6||Second color-phase fix. The fix introduced with revision $5 made the Blue component come from the wrong pixel in AA (24 bit) mode, the picture appeared somewhat blurry. - This version fixed it, but due to some mistake it still reported revision $5 when queried by software…|
|7||Completely new from original spec. The design had a lot of side effects and was difficult to maintain. - All known problems and shortcomings are fixed. - Some compatibility stuff was introduced (clone suboptimal behaviour in some areas) was added to behave like a working version of former implementations and avoid the need of software changes.|