NuBus Video Cards

RasterOps Paintboard Prism

The RasterOps Paintboard Prism is a 7" NuBus card compatible with 680x0- and PowerPC-based Macs running up to Mac OS 8.1. We also have a field report of compatibility with Sonnet's G3 upgrade in a 7100. It may be compatible with higher versions of the Mac OS but no information is available at this time.

Hands On: Chris Lawson

First off, the RasterOps Paintboard Prism works fine in a Mac IIcx, which probably means it will work fine in a II, IIx, and IIsi, though RasterOps won't support it. Then again, RasterOps isn't supporting much of anything these days. Seat-of-the-pants use tells me this feels faster than the Radius PrecisionColor 24XP in all color modes (and this one works right in millions of colors on the IIcx).

Card tested in a Mac IIcx running System 7.1.0. Here are the numbers:

The following video benchmarks were obtained at 640 x 480 resolution using Speedometer 4.02:

computer            1-bit   4-bit   8-bit  16-bit
IIcx, "Toby"        0.252     n/a   0.248     n/a
IIcx, Prism, off    0.273   0.257   0.246   0.227
IIcx, Prism, on     0.271   0.255   0.408   0.471
IIcx, PC 24XP, on   0.290   0.307   0.341   0.406
IIcx, 8•24 GC, on   0.421     n/a   0.422     n/a

The "Toby" card is Apple's unaccelerated Macintosh II Video Card. The Prism was tested with acceleration off and on. Performance improved with acceleration enabled only on the 8- and 16-bit settings. It is 66% faster at 8-bit, and a substantial 107% faster at 16-bit.

The card really shines in the 8- and 16-bit tests, where its accelerated scores are nearly (or more than) double the unaccelerated scores. I seem to recall hearing somewhere that the RasterOps chipsets accelerate only 8-bit and above; the numbers seem to bear this out.

The Radius PrecisionColor 24XP and Apple 8•24GC shown for comparison. On the more commonly used 8- and 16-bit settings, the Prism outperforms the PC 24XP by 20% and 16% respectively. However, Apple's 8•24GC outperforms both.

After playing with this a bit, I'm reasonably sure the software isn't required for acceleration, but it sure has some nice features. The standard Finder menu bar can be enabled as a popup menu with modifier keys in the RasterOps Controls control panel, and the acceleration switch is in the Paintboard Prism control panel. A bit-depth popup menu can also be enabled through the RasterOps Controls control panel.


The card provides standard QuickDraw acceleration and supports the following resolution/color combinations:


RasterOps video card drivers can be downloaded from the Mac Driver Museum, where ShrinkWrap disk images are available for RasterOps Graphics Install v3.2 and v3.3, MoviePak, MoviePak2, and VideoTime.