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Alive 3
                             Eclipse Installation
                         Source : Joshua Kaijankoski

I had always lusted over the  Eclipse. When I first heard that  it was in
production I  couldn't wait to get my  hands on it. My Falcon at the time
was pretty stock and  slow for me  so I could have used some extra juice.
However, I was forced to sell my Falcon in Spring 2000 for a 3 month trip
to Finland. While  I  was  there  I  managed to  get  a good deal on a TT
equipped with a 16bit Crazy Dots card. It was great running an Atari at a
resolution of 1024x768x256, but it was still a little slow. I got back to
Canada, sold the TT because it was  too german  for me  and found another
german  Atari. This  time it  was a  MK-II Falcon  for a great  price and
shipping wasn't that bad either. I easily  changed the NVRAM settings  to
US-English but the keyboard is still german, oh well...

After having the Falcon for about three months I had already maxed out the
RAM and bought a CD-ROM and HD  and I was  quite happy with it. Out of the
blue I decided to to finally get  an Eclipse. I  wrote to  David Encill at
Cortex and asked  him if  he had any Eclipses in stock. He did and I wired
him the money. A week later I  was told  that there were no more ATI cards
in stock and that they had to be ordered in. I waited  for a few weeks and
David told me that the Eclipse was on its way. A few days later I received
a nice little package from England. I was so excited.

I opened up the package and neatly packed away was the PCI controller in a
anti-static bag and a little white plastic box containing the PCI slot and
the  ATI card.  There was  a ribbon  cable with  one end  as a 50 pin SCSI
connector and the other  end was split in  two. There  was a  manual  with
installation instructions that looked simple enough. There was also a disk
with the drivers in them. After reading  through the  manual a few times I
proceeded with the installation. No special tools were needed other than a
soldering iron. I took the Falcon apart (routine for me now) so that I had
the PDS  slot in clear  view. I took out the  jumper from  it and slid the
controller card in. I then  plugged in the ribbon  cable on the controller
card. One of  the wires  on the  ribbon had to  have +12V fed  to it and I
found it easily from the Falcon PSU. That's where the  soldering iron came
in. That was easy enough. I then  plugged the other end of the ribbon into
the white box containing the card.

Well, time to  try it out. I re-assembled the Falcon back together so that
the  ribbon came out through the  back. The  white box slept on top of the
Falcon case. I slapped  in the  floppy  disk and  turned on the Falcon. It
went through the regular motions and by  holding down the ALT key I booted
off the  Floppy. A program  called  PCIBIOS.PRG  loaded  up first and then
FVDI.PRG. Soon as FVDI.PRG loaded it  bombed on me. I then booted normally
to the desktop and installed the drivers to  my HD and edited the FVDI.SYS
file to make sure  everything was fine. I re-booted with the drivers. Same
thing. Soon as FVDI.PRG  loaded it  crashed. Crap. I  then went  to  Johan
Klockars website to get the latest drivers. I installed them and voila! It
worked. So the drivers on the disk were old crap. After extensive emailing
with Johan and Jo Even Skarstein, a  fellow Eclipse user, I got it working
somewhat how I wanted it to. I will write more on the fVDI side on another
review. I had quite a few un-explainable  problems and only after changing
the PCIBIOS.PRG were all my problems resolved.

Wow, now that it is working great I can really enjoy it. The speed is
phenomenal! Scrolling is  super fast and  smooth! Nothing  like  the Crazy
Dots on  the TT. It's so much  more fun  to use the Falcon now. Benchmarks
show a remarkable increase in VDI  operations. fVDI and  NVDI don't really
like to co-exist so I don't use NVDI anymore. I don't even have a printer.
I am a MagiC user with Jinnee 2.5 and there were  some issues  with colors
and palettes. I found that  installing ERS  Winframe the color problem was
rectified. So  now, in 1024x768x256 at 70Hz everything is perfect. I would
like to use 16 bit color  but the  icons in  Jinnee appear as black boxes.
Other  than  that, 16 bit  mode  works  perfect as  well. There  are  some
compatibility issues with some  programs, especially if  they require NVDI
to work. More on that in the 'Compatibility  Pages'. I have now transfered
the Falcon along with  all the HDs  and CD-ROM and Eclipse into a PC tower
case. It looks pretty good but it's so big  and heavy. All in all, Eclipse
is probably the best thing you can put your money on for a Falcon today. I
have enjoyed it immensely and I recommend it to everyone!


Alive 3