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© Knighthawks

 "A bug in the hand is better than one as yet undetected."

                 ST SOFTWARE REVIEW: WARP 9 3.80
                      by Richard Karsmakers

 A  few issues ago I did a comparative review of  several  screen
accellerators  -  programs  which speed  up  all  general  screen
display  routines and which make working with your computer  just
that  bit  more  comfortable.  In the end I  concluded  that  the
overall best of the selection ("NVDI", "Turbo ST", "Quick ST" and
"Warp 9") was "Warp 9",  at least on the ST. Quite a surprise, as
I   guess   everyone   would  have  thought   that   the   German
Gruendlichkeit  would have prevailed (I did, too).
 Not so.
 However,  "Warp 9" had a small disadvantage for those,  such  as
myself,  who  were  going  to switch to  the  Falcon.  It  wasn't
compatible.  Thank heavens they did an update, version 3.80, that
is  now  Falcon  compatible  even though it  does  not  speed  up
anything  in  true colour mode (all the other functions  such  as
screen blanker and mouse stuff still works though). I don't think
that's a problem,  though, as you don't use true colour mode that
often and if you do it's not for things that need a fast screen.
 As  in that aforemeant previous review,  I believe that  nothing
says  more than a load of benchmarks.  So I sat benchmarking  for
half a day and wrote down what you will find below.

 Remarks as to the following tables:

o Program versions used:  "NVDI" 2.50, "Warp 9" 3.80, "GEM Bench"
  2.5,  "GEM  Test" 2.0,  "Quick Index" 2.2 and "1st  Word  Plus"
  3.6TT.
o "Quick  Index"  percentages  are a lot less  than  the  others,
  because  "Quick Index" uses TT performances to  calculate  them
  whereas  the  others indeed use Falcon statistics.  The  TT  is
  quite  a lot faster,  especially because it runs at  twice  the
  speed.  Theoretically  they  should read around  100%  with  no
  speeder installed at ST High Resolution.
o "Quick Index" is the program you get with "Warp 9".  "GEM Test"
  comes  with the "NVDI" package.  "GEM Bench" is an  independent
  program by Ofir Gal.
o "1st Word Plus" means the time needed (mm'ss") to page down  an
  entire 75 page article. This benchmark has been provided to add
  some sort of practical touch.
Bold  figures  are the ones that beat the others  on  the  same
  horizontal line.
o All  percentages are approximate.  Each of the  given  programs
  tends   to  have  1-2%  worth  of  deviation  during   multiple
  calculations.  The  percentages indicate the  speed  percentage
  compared with a Falcon running ST High Resolution (except those
  of "Quick Index").

----------------------------------------------------------------
   256 COLOUR VGA |   NOTHING   |    WARP 9   |     NVDI
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEMBENCH ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEM Dialog     |      52%    |      77%    |      91%
   VDI Text       |      53%    |     205%    |     370%
   VDI Text fx    |      57%    |     355%    |     484%
   VDI Small text |      64%    |     276%    |     267%
   VDI Graphics   |      58%    |      58%    |     115%
   GEM Window     |      42%    |      32%    |      53%
   Blitting       |      13%    |      51%    |     110%
   VDI Enquire    |      78%    |      79%    |     162%
   GEM_TEST ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   Text output    |      57%    |     159%    |     368%
   Lines          |      39%    |      36%    |      79%
   Rectangles     |      26%    |      15%    |      28%
   Polygons       |      54%    |      53%    |      97%
   Circles/ellipse|      70%    |      69%    |     165%
   Raster Operat. |      12%    |      12%    |       7%
   Attrib.Function|      81%    |     448%    |     572%
   Result Function|      81%    |      70%    |     447%
   ESCAPES        |      21%    |      15%    |      22%
   BIOS Output    |      26%    |      21%    |      29%
   GEMDOS Output  |      33%    |      26%    |      35%
   AES Object Outp|      60%    |     121%    |     149%
   QINDEX22 ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   TOS Text       |      20%    |      27%    |      38%
   TOS String     |      28%    |      33%    |      44%
   TOS Scroll     |       4%    |       4%    |       5%
   GEM Dialog     |      47%    |      91%    |     103%
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   1st Word Plus  |     2'11"   |     1'59"   |     1'22"
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------
   16 COLOUR VGA  |   NOTHING   |    WARP 9   |     NVDI
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEMBENCH ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEM Dialog     |      76%    |     147%    |     162%
   VDI Text       |      76%    |     358%    |     622%
   VDI Text fx    |      78%    |     564%    |     690%
   VDI Small text |      83%    |     385%    |     343%
   VDI Graphics   |      81%    |      80%    |     215%
   GEM Window     |      62%    |      57%    |      99%
   Blitting       |      31%    |      73%    |     154%
   VDI Enquire    |      89%    |      91%    |     207%
   GEM_TEST ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   Text output    |      78%    |     234%    |     551%
   Lines          |      64%    |      67%    |     152%
   Rectangles     |      45%    |      29%    |      62%
   Polygons       |      76%    |      76%    |     168%
   Circles/ellipse|      88%    |      87%    |     261%
   Raster Operat. |      29%    |      29%    |      17%
   Attrib.Function|      92%    |     550%    |     675%
   Result Function|      92%    |      80%    |     513%
   ESCAPES        |      41%    |      60%    |      48%
   BIOS Output    |      47%    |      74%    |      62%
   GEMDOS Output  |      53%    |      63%    |      61%
   AES Object Outp|      80%    |     217%    |     230%
   QINDEX22 ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   TOS Text       |      37%    |      92%    |      73%
   TOS String     |      46%    |      76%    |      69%
   TOS Scroll     |      11%    |      11%    |      13%
   GEM Dialog     |      63%    |     159%    |     163%
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   1st Word Plus  |     1'29"   |     1'15"   |     0'58"
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------
   4 COLOUR VGA   |   NOTHING   |    WARP 9   |     NVDI
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEMBENCH ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEM Dialog     |      91%    |     386%    |     229%
   VDI Text       |      90%    |     533%    |     817%
   VDI Text fx    |      91%    |     759%    |     828%
   VDI Small text |      93%    |     673%    |     380%
   VDI Graphics   |      94%    |      94%    |     322%
   GEM Window     |      80%    |     133%    |     133%
   Blitting       |      91%    |      88%    |     184%
   VDI Enquire    |      96%    |     101%    |     228%
   GEM_TEST ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   Text output    |      91%    |     398%    |     700%
   Lines          |      84%    |     154%    |     225%
   Rectangles     |      68%    |     113%    |     105%
   Polygons       |      90%    |      89%    |     218%
   Circles/ellipse|      96%    |      96%    |     340%
   Raster Operat. |      54%    |      53%    |      33%
   Attrib.Function|      95%    |     627%    |     846%
   Result Function|      95%    |      83%    |     643%
   ESCAPES        |      65%    |      83%    |      89%
   BIOS Output    |      70%    |     108%    |     110%
   GEMDOS Output  |      73%    |      84%    |      90%
   AES Object Outp|      92%    |     559%    |     285%
   QINDEX22 ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   TOS Text       |      52%    |     120%    |     116%
   TOS String     |      61%    |      87%    |      91%
   TOS Scroll     |      25%    |      25%    |      28%
   GEM Dialog     |      72%    |     301%    |     204%
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   1st Word Plus  |     1'12"   |     0'51"   |     0'49"
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------
   2 COLOUR VGA   |   NOTHING   |    WARP 9   |     NVDI
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEMBENCH ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEM Dialog     |     100%    |     512%    |     262%
   VDI Text       |     100%    |    1265%    |    1018%
   VDI Text fx    |     100%    |     967%    |     902%
   VDI Small text |     100%    |     747%    |     399%
   VDI Graphics   |     101%    |     101%    |     470%
   GEM Window     |     100%    |     160%    |     133%
   Blitting       |      99%    |      96%    |     199%
   VDI Enquire    |      98%    |     104%    |     238%
   GEM_TEST ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   Text output    |      99%    |     632%    |     853%
   Lines          |     101%    |     220%    |     262%
   Rectangles     |     100%    |     171%    |     138%
   Polygons       |      99%    |      98%    |     291%
   Circles/ellipse|     101%    |     100%    |     409%
   Raster Operat. |      99%    |      97%    |      72%
   Attrib.Function|     100%    |     599%    |     762%
   Result Function|      99%    |      87%    |     588%
   ESCAPES        |      92%    |     228%    |     349%
   BIOS Output    |      93%    |     249%    |     238%
   GEMDOS Output  |      91%    |     123%    |     123%
   AES Object Outp|      99%    |     559%    |     307%
   QINDEX22 ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   TOS Text       |      65%    |     254%    |     223%
   TOS String     |      70%    |     116%    |     112%
   TOS Scroll     |      50%    |      51%    |      57%
   GEM Dialog     |      77%    |     394%    |     227%
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   1st Word Plus  |     1'06"   |     0'45"   |     0'46"
----------------------------------------------------------------

----------------------------------------------------------------
   ST HIGH VGA    |   NOTHING   |    WARP 9   |     NVDI
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEMBENCH ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   GEM Dialog     |     101%    |     515%    |     263%
   VDI Text       |     100%    |    1285%    |    1032%
   VDI Text fx    |     100%    |     972%    |     911%
   VDI Small text |     100%    |     754%    |     420%
   VDI Graphics   |     102%    |     102%    |     470%
   GEM Window     |     100%    |     160%    |     159%
   Blitting       |     100%    |      97%    |     201%
   VDI Enquire    |      99%    |     102%    |     243%
   GEM_TEST ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   Text output    |      99%    |     635%    |     939%
   Lines          |     101%    |     222%    |     268%
   Rectangles     |     100%    |     174%    |     139%
   Polygons       |      99%    |      98%    |     293%
   Circles/ellipse|     102%    |     101%    |     413%
   Raster Operat. |     100%    |      99%    |      73%
   Attrib.Function|     102%    |     604%    |     868%
   Result Function|     101%    |      88%    |     636%
   ESCAPES        |      97%    |     240%    |     384%
   BIOS Output    |      96%    |     270%    |     249%
   GEMDOS Output  |      94%    |     128%    |     127%
   AES Object Outp|      99%    |     563%    |     309%
   QINDEX22 ------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   TOS Text       |      65%    |     255%    |     234%
   TOS String     |      70%    |     116%    |     113%
   TOS Scroll     |      60%    |      60%    |      68%
   GEM Dialog     |      77%    |     398%    |     228%
   ---------------+-------------+-------------+-------------
   1st Word Plus  |     1'11"   |     0'51"   |     0'52"
----------------------------------------------------------------

 The following conclusions may be drawn from the above tables:

o "NVDI"  is fastest on resolutions with more colours.  "Warp  9"
  scores better with resolutions that have few colours.
o With  more colours,  the "NVDI" GEM dialog output routines  are
  barely faster than those in "Warp 9".  With few colours,  "Warp
  9" beats "NVDI" hands down on this.
o Neither  of  the  programs  succeeds  in  speeding  up   raster
  operations. "NVDI" even slows them down considerably.
o One of the most intense processes,  scrolling,  is not  notably
  improved  by  either program.  GEMDOS output is  only  improved
  slightly.
o "Warp 9" seems pretty good at outputting small text.
o The  "Warp  9"  blitting  routines are  slower  even  then  the
  Operating  System's  (remember:  The Falcon has a  blitter)  in
  resolutions with few colours.
o "Warp 9" does not speed up complex graphics operations such  as
  the  display of circles,  ellipses and polygons.  "NVDI"  does.
  "Warp  9"  beats  "NVDI" where the  display  of  rectangles  on
  resolutions with few colours is concerned, though.

 On  the  contrary to the ST benchmarks featured in  the  earlier
review,  it  seems that "NVDI" beats "Warp 9" - at least for  the
popular  16-colour  mode  as  well as  the  one  displaying  256.
Ideally,  one  would need both programs to satisfy  all  demands.
Each of the programs has other specific advantages.  With  "NVDI"
you  can  use custom fonts for every resolution that  get  loaded
from the AUTO folder.  The result is that all text (including the
small  icon  font,  for example) is adapted.  "Warp 9"  also  has
adaptable fonts but they get loaded much later so the icons  will
still have Atari's own font for example.  However,  "Warp 9" also
adds  dynamic mouse speeder,  hyper-flexible programmable  screen
saver, mouse functions and a totally flexible option at automatic
configuration. "NVDI" lacks all of these.
 "Warp 9" will have to do for me. It might not be the fastest but
it offers too much to let "NVDI" take preference.
 Be that as it may, I still have some wishes left for "Warp 9":

o    It would be smart if the mouse jump option would be disabled
     whenever you're in the file selector.
o    It  would also be nice if the automatic  configuration  file
     could  instruct  the  screen blanker  to  use  the  standard
     blanker (takes up little processor time) instead of  turning
     it off totally for a specific program.  Now you can turn the
     screen blanker off totally only. Some screen blanker modules
     freeze your system entirely,  taking up all processor  time.
     It would be nice to have such a middle option.
o    And it would be nice of you didn't need the "Warp 9" control
     panel accessory but a small "XControl" CPX module instead.
o    And,  of course, perhaps it could devote some speedy code to
     TOS scrolling.

 "Warp  9"  is  excellent,  easy to install,  and has  a  lot  of
extremely useful knobs on. I wouldn't want to live without it.

 Thanks  to Paul Glover of FaST Club for sending me  the  update.
"Warp 9" is available at £29.95 from the FaST Club:

 FaST Club
 7 Musters Road
 Notthingham NG2 7PP
 ENGLAND

 In the Netherlands, the program is available at ƒ 69.95 from ACN
(phone 023-351100).

 STOP PRESS:  A new version of the "Warp 9" Control Panel is  now
available,  version 1.6. A patch program to turn version 1.5 into
1.6 is available in the Public Domain. It adds, most importantly,
a "poor man's randomizer".  Simply bung all screen saver  modules
in a specific folder and a random module will be loaded each time
you  boot.  Quite perfect!  A shame that they haven't built in  a
poor man's font randomizer too...
 

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.