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Thread: what do you think of this?

  1. #1
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    Default what do you think of this?

    Hi guys,

    I was wondering, what do you think of this ebay item:


    http://cgi.ebay.com/Laser-Light-Show...QQcmdZViewItem


    Some of the quotes sound a bit strange to me, but, since I have no experience
    in this subject (yet :P ), I wanted to know wether this thing is for real. For example:

    Most laser software is hampered by the instability and low performance of Windows, generally requiring an additional co-processing computer board in order to get around Window's limitations. Accordingly, these systems are very expensive, often costing thousands of dollars.
    My guess it's a somewhat old design.

    cheers
    Remember the future?, That'd today, as you imagined it yesterday.

  2. #2
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    Looks interesting, Im not sure how OLD it is, I know that Pangolin uses its own board and processor so that it rund independantly from the computer..Your computer could lock up, but your show keeps playing!

    This computers software looks kinda like old Amiga software actually...Hmmm
    CREATIVITY AT THE SPEED OF LIGHT!
    www.laser-ad.com

  3. #3
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    Default Merlin laser show computer on E-bay

    I've seen several e-bay listings for that system. Here'e the website for the folks that make it:

    http://www.taiserver.com/merlin.shtml

    For sure it's *NOT* Amiga hardware. Trust me on this - I was very much into the Amiga scene back in the late 80's and well into the late 90's. (And yes, I cried my eyes out when the platform died, though I still have two Amigas in the house.)

    They talk about PCI cards being available for the unit. The Amiga never had PCI support. (There was *limited* ISA card support, but only on the 2000, 3000, and 4000 models, and then only if you were running the BridgeBoard IBM PC XT emulator, which was quite expensive and not nearly as popular as Amiga made it out to be.)

    Not only that, but the listing says they also offer laptops and rackmount PC's, none of which ever existed for the Amiga. So there's no way for it to be running on Amiga hardware. (There were a few Amiga laptop conversion kits out there, but they were wayyy to expensive, heavy, and bulky, and didn't work worth a damn. I doubt if there were ever more than 50 Amiga laptops on the entire planet.)

    My guess is that they are running a low-end PC based on either an Intel or AMD processor. (Figure Pentium III - 500 or so) Whether they've actually written their own operating system or not is open for debate. More likely they've installed either a DOS-only environment or a stripped-down Linux environment. Either way I'm sure it automatically launches their home-grown software and doesn't allow the machine to do anything else. (Much like the Eclipse Technologies Projectors used to do, and they ran on Pentium II hardware!)

    The software has the look and feel of a homebrew project, but that isn't always a bad thing. I haven't heard anyone talking about actually using it though.

    $750 doesn't sound like all that great a deal to me. Basically you're getting something akin to the Alphalite (IE: software and an 8-bit parallel port DAC that supports TTL blanking) with a very dated CPU thrown in. You could buy an Alphalite and a Pentum III - 900 and end up with a faster PC for the same money. (Though they do have a point about the Windows OS causing the parallel port to spaz out once in a while, so their "custom" solution would eliminate that problem that plagues the Alphalite.)

    Or - go one better. Buy a brand-new $300 E-machine PC (figure a 2Ghz Celeron) which comes WITH a monitor and has lots more horsepower than any Laser Show software will ever need... Add an EasyLase USB DAC and the Mamba software, and you'd be at about the same price as the Merlin unit with much better hardware.

    Bottom line: I'd say that it's pretty hard to justify the price they're asking.

    But hey - that's just me...

    Adam

  4. #4
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    Buffo, are you familiar with the commador laser show software setups. I have 2 sets of them and dont even want to touch it but hey, if your familar with it then I would love to pull it out of storage

  5. #5
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    Or - go one better. Buy a brand-new $300 E-machine PC (figure a 2Ghz Celeron) which comes WITH a monitor and has lots more horsepower than any Laser Show software will ever need... Add an EasyLase USB DAC and the Mamba software, and you'd be at about the same price as the Merlin unit with much better hardware.
    That's exactly what I thought at first. I could get a USB DAC for around $500 and use my computer, which I think has enough power to run the software. And still, I get the advantage of being able to use any other computer, which means I don't have to lug around a cumbersome box.

    Now the real question may be, is it better to run the shows off the parallel port or the USB port? Which offers the most benefits?
    Remember the future?, That'd today, as you imagined it yesterday.

  6. #6
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    Specifically, which ones? Are you talking about an Amiga 500 that had the output of the Paula chip modified to output DC, and is running the LSD 1000 software? Or a big-box Amiga (2000, 3000, or 4000) running Pangolin hardware? Or some other combination?

    I have an A500 that I've hung on to for years specifically so I can do the Paula modification above. Only problem with that is that you've got no blanking.... (Which is one of the reasons I haven't done the mod yet - the other being a shortage of free time!)

    What Amiga hardware do you have? You're only about 4 hours from my location, so maybe we could get together...

    Adam

  7. #7
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    i will take a picture of it all soon as it is in our storage facility right now, its commador based and the cartriges are modded with 9 pins coming out of them. I have like a 200 page book of how to use it. And guess what, because of the no blanking I have chosen not to even try. But it would be nostalgic to say the least.

  8. #8
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    Default USB vs Parallel DAC

    Now the real question may be, is it better to run the shows off the parallel port or the USB port? Which offers the most benefits?
    No question about it: The USB port is the better way to go. Higher bandwidth, support for multiple controllers, and no problems with the data flow to the port "freezing" while Windows does some routine housekeeping task... Of course, USB DAC's cost a little more - but it's worth it.

    Dreambeamz: Ok - let me know when you've got the pictures up and I'll have a look. From your description it sounds like the A500 mod I mentioned above, but I'm not 100% sure.

    Adam

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