Thunder PCI Questions and Answers


Q: Which PCI machines are qualified to work with Thunder?

A: Check the Qualified Machines page.

Q: Are the Thunder 30 and the ThunderColor 30 and ThunderPower compatible with OS/8?

A: Yes. Note that when installing System 7.5.3 or higher, Virtual Memory is turned on by default. Users of ThunderColor cards will need to disable Virtual Memory to take avantage of the DSP acceleration provided by the ColorEngine daughtercard.

Q: What differentiates the Thunder 30 from the ThunderColor 30 and ThunderPower 30?

A: The Thunder 30 cards support up to 1600x1200 (Thunder 30/1600) or 1152x870 (Thunder 30/1152) Both cards offer Radius's 10 bit Digital Analog Converter (DAC) technology which, when used in conjunction with our PressView Monitor and ProSense Calibrator, offers true 256 level of blues at D50 white point, something cards with 8 bit DACs are not capable of. The Thunder Color is simply a Thunder 30 Card with a Digital Signal Processor (DSP) daughterboard attached that will accelerate Adobe Photoshop filters. ThunderPower provides faster QuickDraw acceleration than either Thunder 30 or Thunder Color 30, although there are no DSP's. ThunderPower offers the 10 bit DAC technology also, and supports millions of colors at the 1920x1080 resolution.

Q: When should I choose ThunderPower 30 over Thunder 30 or ThunderColor 30?

A: It depends on the applications you are running and the speed of your CPU. DSP's start to be outstripped by the Power PC Chip at about 132 MHz clock speed. This can cause an apparent slowdown when running the ThunderColor card, especially in the 150 MHz and faster CPU's. For those seeking top performance in all applications in PowerMac CPU's 132 MHz and faster, we recommend the ThunderPower. If you are on a CPU slower than 132 MHz, but your primary application is Illustrator or Freehand, not Photoshop, then we would also recommend ThunderPower. ThunderColor is best for Photoshop users on PowerMacs slower than 132 MHz.

Q: I have a Thunder 30, and the extension Radius DSP is not loading at startup and the Photoshop Plug-in ColorEngine is not loading when I open PhotoShop. What's wrong?

A: If you have a Thunder 30, you do not have the DSP hardware that that extension is trying to access. Remove it and the Color Engine Driver from your extensions folder, and the Color Engine PPC Plug-in from your Photoshop Plug-ins folder.

Q: I have a ThunderColor 30 and the extension Radius DSP is not loading at startup and the Photoshop Plug-in ColorEngine is not loading when I open PhotoShop. What's wrong?

A:If you have a ThunderColor 30, the DSP daughtercard may have come loose from the main board during shipping. Shut down, open the Mac, and remove the ThunderColor card. The DSP card is attached via several nylon spacers and the block connector that contains the electrical connection. Remove the daughterboard (the two sides of the nylon connectors can be squeezed together with a needle nose pliers and pushed through the hole) and reseat it again on the main Thunder board. Reinstall into the Mac. Radius DSP should then load on boot.

Q: What are the components of the DSP software for ThunderColor?

A: Radius DSP extension, ColorEngine Driver extension, and ColorEngine Plug-in PPC. All are version 1.0 except ·Radius DSP which is version 3.0

Q: Can you use the old PhotoEngine DSP and Plug-in Software with ColorEngine?

A: No , the software for our NuBus DSP's is not compatible with ColorEngine, and if you have the PhotoEngine plug in in you Photoshop Plug-ins folder along with the ColorEngine Plug-in you will get DSP errors in Photoshop.

Q: I have a ThunderPower 30/1920, and Quark and other applications are crashing with a "Type 11" error. Help!

A: Help is on the way. Download version 1.3.1 of Dynamic Desktop PCI and replace the original 1.3 version. Be sure to remove Dynamic Desktop PCI 1.3 from your control panels folder before running the "Install Dynamic Desktop" application.
A temporary work around is to select "QuickColor" in Dynamic Desktop PCI 1.3, hold down the control and option keys on your keyboard until the "functions" button appears in the lower right hand corner of the control panel. Click on the "functions" button, and uncheck the "slab blits" option. This will stop the crashing until you can load the new version control panel.

Q: Can I use Dynamic Desktop PCI 1.3.1 with older Thunder PCI cards such as Thunder 30 and ThunderColor 30.

A: Yes.

Q: I thought I remembered hearing somewhere that Thunder PCI cards can only be used in the bottom three slots of a Mac 9500. Is this true?

A: It was. This was fixed with an Apple software upgrade. But if you are still running System release 7.5.2 on your 9500 make sure the "System Enabler 701" is version 1.0.1. If it is an earlier version then you either need to get the upgrade from Apple or use only the bottom three slots.

Q: I have heard that I cannot use more than one Thunder PCI card in my 9500. Is this True?

A: It was. Same answer as above slots question.

Q: What is the "Mr. Flash PCI" ROM upgrade for?

A: This was to update the ROMs of early version (Rev A or B on box) Thunder 30 and ThunderColor 30 so they would work in the 7500, 7600 and 8500. Look at the label on the end flap of the box your Thunder card came in. If it says Rev A or B, then you will need to put the card in a 9500 and run the flash ROM before it will work in other CPU's. If it is Rev C or later, this is not necessary. At this late a date, it is doubtful that there are any Rev A or B cards left in the dealer channel.

Q: My Thunder 30 or ThunderColor 30 card won't wake up when I put my Mac in "Sleep" mode. I have to turn off the Mac and monitor and reboot. What's wrong?

A: There is a known problem with Sleep mode with Thunder 30 and ThunderColor 30. There is no fix available at this time, so do not use the sleep feature. Turn off all sleep features in the Apple Energy Saver control panel. Traditional screensavers that do not use "sleep" are fine.
This is not a problem with ThunderPower.

Q: What is a10 bit DAC? What is the advantage of 10 bit DAC's?

A: This is a definite advantage for Color Professionals. To quote the Dec. 11, 1995 MacWeek review of ThunderColor:
"Here's why that matters: Most monitors have a native white point of 9500 degrees Kelvin, but the two most common calibration standards (for Color Publishing) are D50 (approx. 5000 degrees Kelvin) and D65 (6500 degrees Kelvin)."
"Monitor calibrators simulate these white points by turning down the intensity of the blue channel in the display. With an 8 bit DAC, this means that you lose up top half of the possible 256 levels of blue. With a 10 bit DAC, however, you can reduce the blue signal strength while still delivering a full 256 levels of blue. The difference is subtle but easily observed once you are alerted to it."
Without 10 bit DACs, Color Publishers were forced to choose between running their monitor at a whitepoint that most closely resembles natural sunlight such as D50, or having a full range of blue available. With the 10 bits DACs of the Thunder Series, and our ProSense/PressView Color Reference monitor system, publishers can run their monitor at the D50 white point and still have the full range of blue available.

Q: I have a Radius Thunder PCI card in my UMAX SuperMac S900 and the CPU won't boot or hangs on boot. What's the deal?

A: On this CPU all Radius Thunder PCI cards must be installed in the top two slots or the System will not boot properly. Radius and UMAX are investigating this, but for now, top two slots only on this CPU.

Q: I am seeing intermittent blue lines across my screen attached to a Thunder 30 or ThunderColor 30 card. How do I make them go away?

A:This was a known problem with Dynamic Desktop PCI version 1.1. Upgrade to either Dynamic Desktop PCI 1.1.1 or 1.3.1 to eliminate this problem.

Q: How many different versions of Dynamic Desktop PCI are there and which one should I use?

A: The most current version is 1.3.1 and this works with all Radius PCI cards. For a Thunder 30 or ThunderColor 30 use either 1.1.1 (blue line fix) or the latest, 1.3.1. For ThunderPower, 1.3.1 is the recommended version. We do not recommend using 1.2 which shipped with the PrecisionColor 8/1600 v2 and 24/1600 on a Thunder PCI card, as it will cause the blue line problem again.

Q: My monitor has the proper cable and is powered on but will not sync up to the card. Help!

A: Holding down the "T" key immediately after booting the mac will force the card to cycle through it's available resolutions until it gets to one you r monitor is capable of displaying. At this point, release the "T" key and the Mac should reboot and come up with the Desktop.

Q: I have an older SuperMac monitor and I want to use it with my Radius Thunder PCI card. I plug it in but the monitor does not sync to the card, even with the "T Key" command you mention in your manual. What's wrong?

A: The cable on your old SuperMac monitor is probably model # 0009344-0001 or 0006939-0001 which do not have sense pins. You will need a sense pin adapter for the end of the cable. Call Radius Tech Support and let us know what cable and SuperMac monitor you are using and we can provide you with the part # for the proper adapter and a place to order it.

Q: I cannot T-key my card? or I T-key the resolution and it won't stick and scrambles after rebooting. What's wrong?

A: Some users have experienced times where the T-key nor U-key seem to function on their card, or, after T-keying to what is the appropriate resolution, the computer reboots into a garbled display again. This seems to be related to the Apple Display Manager technology. Trashing the Display Preferences in your Preference folder in the System folder will often solve this problem. If it is impossible to get a viewable image, it may be necessary to boot from a CD-ROM or bootable floppy disk (that has no preferences) in order to get a display to be able to trash the above preferences.


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