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display standard

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<hardware, standard> IBM and others have introduced a bewildering plethora of graphics and text display standards for IBM PCs. The standards are mostly implemented by plugging in a video display board (or "graphics adaptor") and connecting the appropriate monitor to it. Each new standard subsumes its predecessors. For example, an EGA board can also do CGA and MDA.

With the PS/2, IBM introduced the VGA standard and built it into the main system board motherboard. VGA is also available as a plug-in board for PCs from third-party vendors. Also with the PS/2, IBM introduced the 8514 high-resolution graphics standard. An 8514 adaptor board plugs into the PS/2, providing a dual-monitor capability.

Graphics software had to support the major IBM graphics standards and many non-IBM, proprietary standards for displays. Either software vendors provided display drivers or display vendors provided drivers for the software package. In either case, switching software or switching display systems was fraught with compatibility problems.

 Display    Resolution Colours Sponsor	Systems

 MDA	    720x350 T	  2   	IBM     PC
 CGA	    320x200	  4   	IBM     PC
 EGA	    640x350	 16   	IBM     PC
 PGA	    640x480	256   	IBM     PC

 Hercules   729x348	  2   non-IBM	PC

 MCGA	    720x400 T
	    320x200 G	256		PS/2

 VGA	    720x400 T
	    640x480 G	 16

 SVGA	    800x600	 16	VESA

 XVGA	   1024x768	256	(IBM name: 8514)

T: text, G: graphics.

More colours are available from third-party vendors for some display types.

See also MDA, CGA, EGA, PGA, Hercules, MCGA, VGA, SVGA, 8514, VESA.

[What were the corresponding "mode" numbers"?]


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