Video Graphics Array

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Video Graphics Array (VGA) refers specifically to the display hardware first introduced with the IBM PS/2 line of computers in 1987,[1] but through its widespread adoption has also come to mean either an analog computer display standard, the 15-pin D-subminiature VGA connector or the 640×480 resolution itself. While this resolution was superseded in the personal computer market in the 1990s, it is becoming a popular resolution on mobile devices.[2]

VGA was the last graphical standard introduced by IBM that the majority of PC clone manufacturers conformed to, making it today (as of 2010) the lowest common denominator that all PC graphics hardware can be expected to implement without device-specific driver software.[citation needed] For example, the Microsoft Windows splash screen appears while the machine is still operating in VGA mode, which is the reason that this screen always appears in reduced resolution and color depth.

VGA was officially superseded by IBM's Extended Graphics Array (XGA) standard, but in reality it was superseded by numerous slightly different extensions to VGA made by clone manufacturers that came to be known collectively as Super VGA.


Technical details


VGA is referred to as an "array" instead of an "adapter" because it was implemented from the start as a single chip (an ASIC), replacing the Motorola 6845 and dozens of discrete logic chips that covered the full-length ISA boards of the MDA, CGA, and EGA. Its single-chip implementation also allowed the VGA to be placed directly on a PC's motherboard with a minimum of difficulty (it only required video memory, timing crystals and an external RAMDAC), and the first IBM PS/2 models were equipped with VGA on the motherboard. (Contrast this with all of the "family one" IBM PC desktop models—the PC [machine-type 5150], PC/XT [5160], and PC AT [5170]—which required a display adapter installed in a slot in order to connect a monitor.)

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