SuperMac Thunder/24 & Thunder II Cards Q&A December 13, 1995Return to Radius Technical Q&AComments

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SuperMac Thunder/24 & Thunder II Cards Q&A

December 13, 1995

Q: When I connect my display to my SuperMac video card, instead of getting a usable picture, I get a distorted, scrambled image. I know the monitor is compatible with this card -- what else must I do?

A: SuperMac cards must be configured for the specific display to which they are connected. If you move the card to a different slot in your Mac, connect a different monitor to it, or zap your Mac's PRAM, you will need to reconfigure the card to output the proper signals and timings required by your display. To reconfigure your SuperMac card, hold down your keyboard's Option key at startup. Continue to hold down the Option key until the "Round Robin" configuration cycle begins. When you see an image of a keyboard that is clear, centered, and at the resolution you want to use, press the Space bar. The computer will then restart, and the card and display should now be properly configured.

Q: Are SuperMac Thunder cards compatible with System 7.5 and 7.5.1?

A: Yes, as long as your SuperMac card is being used with recent ROM and software versions. If, however, your card is too old to support the v3.0 or v1.7.2 ROMs, it may not be fully compatible. The exception concerns Apple's CloseView control panel, which does not work properly with SuperMac cards. It should be noted that CloseView feature is redundant since most SuperMac cards already have a faster zooming feature built-in. If CloseView was custom-installed during System 7.5 installation, you should remove it from the Control Panels folder.

Q: My display reverts to black & white mode whenever my Mac starts up, what could be the problem?

A: There could be one of two problems:

First, on a Power Macintosh with Monitors control panel versions prior to 7.3.2, the graphics card will revert to black and white mode each time the computer is started if the "Rearrange on Restart" feature is selected within the Monitors control panel. To fix this problem, simply open the monitors control panel and select the "Rearrange on Close" option.

Secondly, a SuperMac graphics card can start up in black and white mode if Apple's Display Enabler extension and Monitors control panel version 7.3.2 or later are used with a graphics card containing any ROM version prior to version 3.0. The solution to this problem is to upgrade the card, if possible, to ROM version 3.0 or greater. Upgradeable cards are the Thunder II GX•1360, Thunder II and Thunder II•1360, Thunder II Light, Thunder/24, and ThunderLight. This ROM upgrade will also ensure Power Macintosh compatibility. ROM upgrades are available by dialing 800-977-7060. For the Thunder II GX•1360, order upgrade part # SK0006. For Thunder II and Thunder II •1360, order SK0007. For Thunder II Light, order SK0005. For Thunder/24, order SK0004. For ThunderLight, order SK0010.

Q: Do Thunder cards support on-the-fly resolution switching?

A: Yes, SuperMac cards support "on-the-fly" resolution switching through the Monitors control panel, provided you have the following: SuperMac ROM version 3.0 or later, a multi-resolution display, Monitors control panel v7.3.2 or greater, and Apple's Display Enabler 1.0 or greater. The required Apple software files are part of Apple's MultipleScan Display software package which is available from Apple for download from AppleLink, eWorld, or (The only Thunder card that does not support this function is the Thunder/8.)

Q: What are the four open SIMM slots on my Thunder card used for? Can I add VRAM to them?

A: The four open SIMM slots on the Thunder/24, Thunder/8, and Thunder II Light are for GWorld SIMMs only, not regular RAM SIMMs. GWorld refers to a type of video memory that is used to store off-screen bitmap information for near-instantaneous retrieval by the computer. Since applications have to be specifically written to support GWorld memory, few customers benefit from adding GWorld SIMMs.

Q: Which applications take advantage of GWorld RAM on a Thunder/24 or Thunder/8 graphics card?

A: The Aldus Fetch application represents one of the best examples of an application which takes advantage of GWorld RAM installed on a graphics card. Other applications include the System 7.x Finder, Aldus PageMaker 4.0g (or higher), Adobe Premiere, and PixelPaint Professional.

Q: Which Thunder cards are compatible with the Power Macintosh line?

A: With ROM version 3.0 and the SuperVideo 3.1 and SuperPower 1.1 software, the following cards are compatible with the Power Macintosh 7100 and 8100 computers: Thunder/24, Thunder II , Thunder II•1360, Thunder II GX•1152, Thunder II GX•1360, Thunder II GX•1600, ThunderLight, and Thunder II Light. Due to expansion slot constraints in the Power Mac 6100, no Thunder card will fit in the 6100.

Q: Why do windows sometimes redraw incorrectly (as if they were transparent) on my Power Macintosh?

A: If you already have ROM version 3.0 on the card, check to make sure that you have SuperPower v1.0.1 installed within your Extensions folder in your System Folder. This problem did occur with version 1.0 of the SuperPower INIT and was fixed with the newer 1.0.1 version. You may download this newer version of the SuperPower INIT as part of the SuperVideo 3.0.2 package of compressed files available in the Radius areas on America Online, CompuServe, AppleLink, eWorld and the Radius On-line BBS at 408-541-6190.

Q: I have ROM version 3.0 on my card and SuperPower extension 1.1 installed, why does my graphics card run so slow when installed on my Power Macintosh computer?

A: In a Power Macintosh computer, the SuperPower extension enables QuickDraw acceleration for SuperMac graphics cards. In order for the SuperPower extension to work, the Modern Memory Manager feature of the Memory Control Panel needs to be turned ON. If you turn on this feature, then restart your Power Macintosh, the SuperPower extension will no longer show an "X" through its icon upon startup and QuickDraw acceleration will work correctly.

Q: I have a Thunder/24 with ROM version 1.601. Will this, or other SuperMac cards, be compatible with my Quadra?

A: As long as the actual Thunder/24 card is revision B or greater, it will be compatible with the Quadra line in general, and as long as it carries ROM version 2.0 or later, it will be compatible with the 840AV. Other SuperMac cards, specifically the ThunderLight and Thunder/8, are compatible with the Quadra 840AV if they carry ROM version 1.7.2 or later. The SuperMac Monochrome Card is compatible when it has the version 1.0.1 ROM. More recent cards, like the Thunder II line, are compatible if they carry ROM 2.0 or later.

Q: Why do I have to reconfigure the SuperMac card in my DuoDock every time I reinsert my Duo into the Dock?

A: SuperMac cards store their configuration settings in the Duo's PRAM. When you start your Duo once outside the dock (after having already configured the card), the information stored by the card in the Duo's PRAM is cleared. So, the next time you start up the Duo while it's in the Dock, you must reconfigure the card and display. The solution is to use the DD INIT (DuoDock INIT) v1.1. This INIT works in conjunction with the card's ROM, version 1.7.2 or 2.0, to preserve the PRAM settings for the card even when the Duo is used outside the dock. This INIT is available in the Radius areas on America Online, CompuServe, AppleLink, eWorld,, and the Radius Online BBS at 408-541-6190.

Please note:

(1) If your card carries ROM version 3.0 (or later), you must use DD INIT v1.2.

(2) Don'tt install the card into Slot C of the Dock. It will revert to 640x480 every time. Use Slot D instead.

Q: I am driving a non-SuperMac display with a SuperMac graphics card and there is a strong pink tint on the display. What's wrong?

A: The pink tint is occurring because the green portion of the RGB signal is not getting through properly with your current cable. You probably need a new SuperMac cable. The wiring schemes used by different vendors occasionally vary, but the differences are easily solved by getting a new cable. SuperMac recommends the use of the STD3555 display cable for use with SuperMac graphics cards and most Radius or RasterOps displays. NEC displays usually do not need this cable. The STD3555 display cable can be ordered by calling 800-977-7060.

Q: I'm using SuperVideo 2.49 with System 7, and my SuperMac card no longer seems to function or I get strange system errors. What's wrong?

A: If you're using System 7, you must use SuperVideo 2.7 or later. The current version of SuperVideo is 2.7.5 for ROM versions up to and including 1.7.2 and 2.0.0a, and version 3.1 for ROM 3.0 or later.

Q: I recently upgraded my version of SuperVideo to 2.7.5, and now my acceleration doesn't seem to be working properly. Did I forget something?

A: With earlier versions of SuperVideo, the control panel and the Accelerator INIT were two separate items. Since the Accelerator is now built into the SuperVideo control panel, you should trash any old copies of the Accelerator that may still reside in your System Folder.

Q: Why isn't the space bar or option key working when I try to configure my card?

A: If the boot blocks on the hard drive are damaged, the Macintosh System software may be unable to read any keys from the keyboard during the startup process. The work-around for this problem is to hold down the option key while starting the computer from a floppy disk such as a Disk Tools, which contains a System Folder. Since the boot blocks will likely not be damaged on the floppy, the configuration process will proceed normally and the space bar will work to lock in the monitor configuration. You should then use a hard disk utility to repair your drive.

Q: Is my card compatible with any of the new PCI Power Macs, like the Power Mac 7200, 7500, 8500, and 9500?

A: No. Since SuperMac cards are either NuBus or PDS cards and the new PCI Power Macs have only PCI slots, SuperMac cards cannot be installed in the Power Mac 7200, 7500, 8500, or 9500. No trade-ups to Radius PCI cards are available.

Q: What if I have a problem with my Thunder card which is not addressed in this Q&A document?

A: We recommend that you complete as many of the following general purpose troubleshooting steps as possible before calling Technical Support:

1) Has anything changed or been installed on this computer recently or since the card last worked correctly? Was the system software upgraded? Have any new Extensions or Control Panels been added? If so, try removing whatever was added and see if the problem goes away.

2) Make certain that you have the latest ROM and software for your Radius product. Some ROM upgrades are FlashROMs which can be downloaded with the software for the card from online services.

3) Remove all Extensions and Control Panels and test again. If the problem goes away, then one of the items which was removed may be outdated or incompatible.

4) Does the problem only occur with one application? If so, then throw away the preferences file for that application (Preference files are located in the Preferences Folder within the System Folder.) Does the problem go away after reinstalling the application? Do you have the latest version of the application?

5) If the problem occurs with multiple applications, clear PRAM (by holding down the Command, Option, P, and R keys simultaneously when you start up your computer). Allow the computer to restart three times, then release these keys.

6) Perform a "clean install" of system software. You may do this by holding down the Command-Shift-K keys when using Apple's installer program to install System 7.5 or later. To perform a clean install of system software with System 7.1, 7.1.1, or 7.1.2, you must start your computer from a Disk Tools disk or CD-ROM, put the System Folder in the Trash, and then run the Apple installer application.

7) If the Radius product is a card, test it in he other slots of the computer. Does the problem only occur in one slot? If so, then that slot may be defective. If the card does not work in any of the slots, then you need to consider the possibility that all of the slots in the computer are faulty.

8) If the Radius product is a card or monitor, test it with another computer. If the problem only occurs with one computer, then there may be a hardware or software problem with that particular computer which is causing the problem. Is there different hardware or software installed inside or attached to the computer where the problem is observed?