IBM 8514

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IBM 8514 is an IBM graphics computer display standard supporting a display resolution of 1024×768 pixels with 256 colors at 43.5 Hz (interlaced), or 640×480 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 standardised programming interface called the "Adapter Interface" or AI. This interface is also used by XGA, IBM's 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, BITBLT) 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 at the same time as VGA (1987).

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 IBM's PGC and the TARGA Truevision series) were designed around special CPU or DSP chips, which in theory could execute a compiled program. (IBM PGC used a variant of the Intel 8086 processor. At least one Truevision model used the Texas Instruments TMS34010.) Fixed-function accelerators, such as the 8514, sacrificed programmability for better cost/performance ratio.

8514 was later superseded by IBM XGA.

Clone hardware

Third-party graphics suppliers did not clone IBM's 8514 as extensively as VGA. Nevertheless, ATI did develop 8514-compatible graphics controllers: the Mach8 and Mach32. Both were sold in ATI-branded graphics boards.

See also

Further reading

  • Richter, Jake; Smith, Bud (April 1990). Graphics Programming for the 8514/A: The New PC Graphics Standard. M & T Books. ISBN 1558510869. 
  • Sanchez, Julio; Canton, Maria P. (February 26, 2003). The PC Graphics Handbook. CRC. ISBN 0849316782. 

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