NuBus Video Cards

SuperMac Thunder/24

Physical Specs and Compatibility

The SuperMac Thunder/24 card is a 12" NuBus card compatible with 680x0 Macs running up to Mac OS 8.1 and PowerPC-based Macs running up to Mac OS 9.1. It may be compatible with higher versions of the Mac OS, but no information for Mac OS 9.2 or higher is available at this time.

Hands On: Chris Lawson

This card (with v1.601 ROM) feels a lot faster than either of the RasterOps cards tested so far, though I certainly prefer the RasterOps software and interface to the SuperMac stuff. Here are the numbers:

computer          1-bit  2-bit  4-bit  8-bit
IIcx, "Toby"      0.252                0.248
IIcx, ROPS 24XLi  0.245                0.242
IIcx, Thunder 24  0.296  0.283  0.276  0.398

The SuperPower extension, which enables all the nifty features in the Monitors control panel (click the Options button to see 'em), does not work with this card; I'm beginning to suspect that it only works with the v3.0 ROMs or higher.

Acceleration/Resolution/Colour Support

The card provides standard QuickDraw acceleration (as well as Photoshop acceleration via 2 AT&T 3210 DSPs with an optional daughtercard) and supports the following resolution/color combinations:

  • 640 x 480 up to 24-bit
  • 832 x 624 up to 24-bit
  • 1024 x 768 (at 75 Hz) up to 24-bit
  • 1152 x 870 up to 24-bit


Links to Radius and SuperMac software on Gamba's site.

Other Notes

  • An optional daughtercard, which adds twin AT&T 3210 DSPs, is available to make this card into a SuperMac Thunder II GX 1152. It is unknown if the DSPs are compatible with Mac OS 7.6 and higher.
  • ROM 1.161 and up are PPC-compatible; earlier versions may not be.
  • On-the-fly resolution switching requires ROM 3.0 or later.

Field Reports

"My SuperMac Thunder 24 now works very well with the SuperVideo 3.1 software and Mac OS 9.1 on an 8100/80 upgraded to G3 400 MHz/1 MB plus 264 MB RAM."

"I am happy to have acquired an old PM 8100/80 that had been running a Sonnet G3/266/1M upgrade, fairly successfully, which came equipped with a SuperMac Thunder/24 NuBus video card. The card does in fact work well with system 9.0.4 (I don't actually know if it "accelerates," but is not too slow, not quite as fast in window dragging as the 8100 on-board video, which speeds up nicely with the addition of the G3 processor and 1M of cache.

"I am currently running in 1152 x 870 mode, millions of colors on a 17" MagView monitor, so obviously that's alot more data to transfer, so I try not to be too frustrated since I don't have many options with this machine. (Should have gotten a PCI Mac, then the upgrade!) The little caps lock acceleration test provided in the monitor options panel didn't seem to work, but it seems faster than a standard NuBus video card."

"Well, I've just upgraded my Power Mac 7100/66 to Mac OS 9.1, and both the 1M PDS HPV video card and the SuperMac Thunder/24 NuBus video cards work fine."

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