SUMMARY: >256 colors on Sun monitor

From: Colin J. Wynne (
Date: Sun Jan 05 1997 - 15:28:50 CST


Thanks to the many, many people who responded. Special recognition
goes to "Bruce Cheng" <> for being the first
one to respond---even before I saw my own post---and to "Birger
A. Wathne" <birger@Vest.Sdata.No> for answering some followup mail to
explain things in a little bit more detail.

The said answer is this---although every PC owner in the world can do
TrueColor on an $80 vid card, this $10k workstation and its overpriced
framebuffer only do 8bit color. The standard card is called TurboGX.
By running prtconf one can determine the installed framebuffer. Near
the bottom of the output is video information, and the string `cgsix'
denotes a TurboGX card.

For the more detailed information, here is Birger's reply to me:

- --------------------
From: "Birger A. Wathne" <birger@Vest.Sdata.No>
To: "Colin J. Wynne" <>
Subject: Re: >256 colors on Sun monitor?
Date: Sun, 5 Jan 1997 15:55:29 +0100 (MET)

The cgsix only supports up to eight bits of color information for each
pixel. That's a limitation in the card itself.

If you want a 24-bit card in your Ultra, I would recommend to wait a
few months, as new technology may soon send the price for the Creator
cards down to where they belong. Sun will be releasing some *really*
fast 24-bit cards.

The Creator cards will only fit in Ultra's with the UPA slot. Not the
cheapest ones with only SBus slots. Some of the new cards will not
even fit in the Ultra 1.

If all you need is 24-bit, but you don't need 3D acceleration, you
could get some 3rd party SBus card. There should be a lot of them out
there. You would have to check how serious the manufacturer is, so
you know you can get updated drivers in the future.

Another possibility is to wait for the soon-to-be-introduced Sun
workstation with PCI bus. I guess it will be launched as soon as
enough of the card drivers for Solaris x86 have been recompiled for
Solaris SPARC. This is a Sun workstation, but with a new UltraSPARC
CPU with built-in PCI controller. I guess most serious vendors of
graphics cards will offer drivers.

This PCI bus supports higher speeds than I have seen in current
implementations, so it should support PCI cards with speeds comparable
to the old SBus. But I don't know of any cards able to use this speed


- --------------------


- --
    /\ Colin J. Wynne Johns Hopkins University
   (()) Dep't of Mathematical Sciences
  /____\ ``Lunatic-at-Large'' E-Mail:
/________\ Save the whales. Collect the whole set.

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