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IBM 8514

An IBM graphics computer display standard supporting a display resolution of 1024x768 pixels with 256 colors at 43.5 Hz (interlaced; 87 fields per second), or 640x480 at 60 Hz (non-interlaced). 8514 usually refers to the display controller hardware (such as the 8514/A display adapter.)

IBM 8514 is an IBM graphics computer display standard supporting a display resolution of 1024x768 pixels with 256 colors at 43.5 Hz (interlaced; 87 fields per second), or 640x480 at 60 Hz (non-interlaced). 8514 usually refers to the display controller hardware (such as the 8514/A display adapter.) However, IBM sold the companion CRT monitor (for use with the 8514/A) which carries the same designation, 8514.

8514 used a standardized programming interface called the "Adapter Interface" or AI. This interface is also used by XGA, IBM Image Adapter/A, and clones of the 8514/A and XGA such as the ATI Technologies Mach 32 and IIT AGX. The interface allows computer software to offload common 2D-drawing operations (line-draw, color-fill, and block copies via a blitter) onto the 8514 hardware. This freed the host CPU for other tasks and greatly improved the speed of redrawing a graphics visual (such as a pie-chart or CAD-illustration).

8514 was introduced with the IBM Personal System/2 computers in April 1987. It was an optional upgrade to the Micro Channel architecture based PS/2's Video Graphics Array (VGA), and was delivered within three months of PS/2's introduction.

Although not the first PC video card to support hardware acceleration, IBM's 8514 is often credited as the first PC mass-market fixed-function accelerator. Up until the 8514's introduction, PC graphics acceleration was relegated to expensive workstation-class, graphics coprocessor boards. Coprocessor boards (such as the TARGA Truevision series) were designed around special CPU or digital signal processor chips which were programmable. Fixed-function accelerators, such as the 8514, sacrificed programmability for better cost/performance ratio.

Later compatible 8514 boards were based on the Texas Instruments TMS34010 chip.

Even though 8514 was never a best-seller, the product created a market for fixed-function PC graphics accelerators which grew exponentially in the early 1990s.

The ATI Mach 8 and Mach 32 chips were popular clones, and several companies (notably S3) designed graphics accelerator chips which were not registered compatible but were conceptually very similar to the 8514/A. 8514 was superseded by IBM XGA.

Key Terms

boards
definition
graphics
hz
ibm
ibm graphics computer
interface
introduction
usage
xga

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IBM 8514
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Last modified on May 8 2020
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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