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Epox EP-8KHA+ with Socket 462 Mainboard
The pages contained within this section explain concepts associated with PC video cards.
   
On This Page:
OnPageLink Video Card Standards At A Glance
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Introductions And Overviews Overview Of Desktop Resolution History Of The Video Card Introduction To Video Ram Troubleshooting Video Card Manufacturers
Video Card Interfaces Buyer's Guide To Video Cards How To Replace A Video Cards Video Card Troubleshooting Conclusions  
   

Video Standards Comparison: A Look At The Past

Acronym

Real Name

Year Introduced

Supported Resolution:

Introduced By:

No. Of Colors

Description and Notes

MDA Monochrome Display Adapter 1981 256 special characters in set positions IBM 2 – Black and White This standard was used for text only; there was no support for color. It’s the oldest display standard for the PC.
CGA Color Graphics Array 1981 320 x 200 or 640 x 200 (2 colors) IBM 16 colors (4 at a time) Worked with RGB monitors using bit-mapped method.
EGA Enhanced Graphics Array 1984 Unknown IBM 64 (only 16 shown at a time) Memory expansion board available in this standard increased the amount of graphics memory (approximately 256K of memory with appropriate add-on modules.) Most EGA based cards were standardized with 256K of video memory.
PGA Professional Graphics Array 1984 640x480 IBM 256 Intended for scientific/engineering applications. Included a built-in 8088 processor. Too expensive for the average PC owner (close to $5,000 for this type of card).
MCGA Multicolor Graphics Array 1987 640 x 480 IBM 256 Basis for VGA and SVGA standards. Integrated into old PS/2 models 25 and 30. Required proper IBM display system. Changed from 9-pin connector to 15-pin connector on the video board.
8514/A 8514/A 1987 Support for very high resolutions. IBM Up to 256 Introduced to work with the MCA bus. Processing is done by the video card after receiving instructions from the CPU. Lack of support caused an early death for this standard.
VGA Video Graphics Array 1987 320 x 400 or 640 x 480 (16 colors) IBM 8, 16, or 256 using palette of 262,144 colors. VGA has become the standard for desktop video. Very similar to MCGA technology. Requires VGA monitor or one capable of accepting analog output of a VGA card.
SVGA Super Video Graphics Array 1987 + Millions of colors @ variety of resolutions Multiple Sources 8, 16, 256, 16 and 32 bit color SVGA needed video drivers to function correctly. No actual SVGA standard exists. All SVGA cards comply to the VESA standard.
XGA Extended Graphics Array 1990 640 x 480 or 1024 x 768 IBM 8, 16, 256, 16- bit and 32-bit color support Designed to replace 8514/A standard. XGA allows monitors to be non-interlaced.
SXGA Super Extended Graphics Array 90’s 1280 x 1024 Multiple Sources 8, 16, 256, 16- bit and 32-bit color support Capable of displaying approximately 1.3 million pixels.
UXGA Ultra Extended Graphics Array 90’s 1600 x 1200 Multiple Sources 8, 16, 256, 16- bit and 32-bit color support Capable of display approximately 1.9 million pixels. Good for LCD monitors.

Listed below is a chart oulining a comparison of the various different video card standards available for use by a standard personal computer:


DISPLAY SPECKS & MAXIMUM SUPPORTED RESOLUTION: MANUFACTURER RELEASE YEAR

MDA

Monochrome display type.
Text display at 80 x 25.
Maximum resolution of 720 by 350.
Developed by the IBM Corporation 1981
CGA
Color
Graphics Adapter
Maximum of 640 x 200 (Monochrome)
Maximum of 160 x 200 (16 colors) in Graphics Mode.
Maximum of 80 x 25 resolution in Text Mode.
Developed by the IBM Corporation 1981, a few months after the MDA release.
EGA
Enhanced Graphics Adapter
Maximum of 640 x 350 (16 colors, 60Hz) in Graphics Mode.
Maximum of 80 x 25 resolution in Text Mode.
Developed by the IBM Corporation. 1984
PGA
Professional Graphics Adapter
Maximum of 640 x 400 Developed by the IBM Corporation. 1984
VGA
Video
Graphics Adapter
Maximum of 640 x 480 (16 colors) in Graphics Mode.
Maximum of 320 x 200 (256 colors) in Graphics Mode.
Maximum of 720 x 400 resolution in Text Mode.
Developed by the IBM Corporation. 1987
XGA
Extended Graphics
Array
Upgrade to the VGA video card.
Maximum of 1,024 x 768 (256 colors) in Graphics mode.
Developed by the IBM Corporation. 1990
SVGA
Super Video
Graphics
Array
Dependent upon the amount of video memory on the graphics adapter..     
SXGA
Super XGA
Maximum of 1400x1050 in graphics mode    
UXGA
Ultra XGA
Maximum of 1600x1200 in Graphics Mode    
WSXGA
Wide SXGA
Supports resolution of 1600 x 900 pixels or 1600 x 1024 pixels    
WUXGA
Wided UXGA
     
WXGA
Wide XGA
Maximum of 1366x768 resolution.    
Table 1.1 - History Of Video Card Display Standards
 
What's On Board?

A video card is equipped with a number of connectors which are summarized in the list below:

  1. SVGA 15 Pin monitor connector.
  2. Video card chipset.
  3. Video card heatsink.
  4. Video card fan.
  5. Bus connector.
  6. Chip circuitry.

Click on any area of the video card pictured to the right to get more information about how the part works.

Typical Nvidia Based Video card
 
Video Card Troubleshooting:

The following documents will help you troubleshoot some common video card related problems.

DOCUMENT REFERENCE DOCUMENT DESCRIPTION URL
VCTS_01 This document outlines the most common video and graphics card system problems. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_02 This document outlines  basic requirements required for AGP support in a system. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_03 This document attempts to answer the problem of a system booting into safe due to a of a compatibility issue between the video card drivers and DirectX 9 system files. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_04 This document outlines the different voltages and frequencies used by different kinds of AGP based video cards. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_05 This document outlines some common problems installing adapter cards in a Windows XP based computer system. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_06 This document outlines possible solutions to an AGP video card working in PCI mode only. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_07 This document outliness why using a riser card is a good way to free up space in a computer's tower. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_08 This document attempts to explain why a new AGP video/graphics card may cause a working PC to randomly freeze or not boot up properly. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_09 This document attempts to explain why a new video display adapter causes various types of distortion to occur. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_010 This document attempts to explain analog video signals. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_011 This document attempts to explain concepts associated with analog and  digital video as well as DVB based peripheral devices. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_012 This document attempts to explain what a VGA-to-DVI adapter is and why you might need to purchase one?  View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_013 This document attempts to explain why a particular PC game may cause the system to shut down randomly without any errors or warning messages. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_014 This document attempts to explain why an installed wireless network card causes a startup problem and why the video system in the PC might be to blame. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_015 This document attempts to explain why Windows Movie Maker will not work properly. View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_016 Why can't I install a Hauppauge TV tuner card? View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_017 A video/graphics card problem problem caused by a buggy BIOS View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_018 I can't update the video/graphics card drivers for my Tiny notebook/laptop computer View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_019 How is a projector connected to a notebook/laptop computer? View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_020 Why can't I use Windows Movie Maker to play my home movies? View this article now by clicking this go button.
VCTS_021 What to do when video files in the AVI format won't play View this article now by clicking this go button.
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