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Chuckster_in_Jax
August 14th, 2010, 09:51 AM
I have noticed in threads that there is a great value put on EGA monitors and video adapters. As I recall EGA was a very fleeting moment in computer history. It was quickly replaced by the far superior VGA which to this day is the default minimum resolution for booting modern machines.

Personally, I had a monochrome monitor on my first 8088 machine, updated to an RGB and continued to use it when I bought a 286 (I only had that a year). I completely skipped CGA and EGA and went to VGA on a 386 machine.

My question is:

How relevant was EGA in it's time. Were there really enough programs and games written for it to make it so valuable? Or, is it over hyped?

Chuck(G)
August 14th, 2010, 10:07 AM
You're right; EGA was fairly brief. Compared to CGA and MDA, however, it was pretty cool--and many manufacturers added "extensions" to their cards which extended their life quite a bit. My Everex EGA cards, for example, will do Mode 12H--640x480, which was pretty spiffy. One barrier was that the monitors were still very expensive and the market pretty much demanded that a multi-use monitor be offered. So you have the Multisyncs, Multiscans and DiamondScans that could be used with anything from a CGA to an early VGA. So when VGA came in, adoption was rapid.

But Hercules graphics were of equal resolution to EGA if you could tolerate monochrome. For the people who absolutely had to have higher resolution color graphics, Plantronics (640x200x4), EGA or PGC were pretty much the only answers. It's noteworthy that the Japanese NEC PC98 series had high-resolution color graphics long before the IBM PC did.

EddieDX4
August 14th, 2010, 10:47 AM
I absolutely love EGA... Why, you might ask? Well, to fully comprehend my feelings towards EGA you'd have to have lived with MDA, and subsequently CGA graphics for a few years before the upgrade to EGA...

You know how long it took to convince my dad to upgrade our XT machine?? Countless Christmases come and gone, with no EGA card and monitor under the tree...

So when that fateful day came where FedEx dropped off a shiny new EGA monitor at our doorstep, I felt as if a rainbow casted over our house. Not unlike the double rainbow guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI

basman74
August 14th, 2010, 06:52 PM
I absolutely love EGA... Why, you might ask? Well, to fully comprehend my feelings towards EGA you'd have to have lived with MDA, and subsequently CGA graphics for a few years before the upgrade to EGA...

You know how long it took to convince my dad to upgrade our XT machine?? Countless Christmases come and gone, with no EGA card and monitor under the tree...

So when that fateful day came where FedEx dropped off a shiny new EGA monitor at our doorstep, I felt as if a rainbow casted over our house. Not unlike the double rainbow guy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OQSNhk5ICTI

I'm with EddieDX4 on this one, though in my case the original
CGA card/monochrome monitor combo was traded in for a
Everex EGA/Thomson-CSF monitor setup just six months after buying our XT clone (reason: absolutely HATED the green screen!).

One of the biggest reasons not to go the VGA route ( circa early 1988 ) was cost; at the time of purchase the above EGA hardware retailed @ ~AUD$1300, while an equivalent VGA setup was going to cost more than double!

But as far as hype was concerned, it was a really sweet upgrade in my opinion.. Maxis Simcity and Dr Halo III (@ 640x350 color hires mode) alone were probably two good reasons to buy into EGA ;)

Of course, the PC landscape changed dramatically as the VGA standard became more affordable and widely supported, less than 2 years later..

Regards,
Valentin
PS: I regret selling that Thomson monitor, it was the best CRT I have ever owned!

Chuck(G)
August 14th, 2010, 08:56 PM
For me, the coup de grāce was being able to get monochrome VGA monitors (mostly Tatung) for about the price of a standard monochrome monitor. If mono EGA monitors were around, they were far less ubiquitous than the VGA variety.

Programming-wise, plain-Jane VGA isn't much different from EGA. And many VGA cards came in 16-bit ISA--the speed improvement was quite noticeable.

vwestlife
August 14th, 2010, 09:27 PM
EGA was really most relevant to the business world, where it finally gave the PC enough resolution and colors on the screen to run graphical design programs like CAD and desktop publishing.

But PC games pretty much ignored EGA, because the much cheaper and more widely used Tandy 1000 series and IBM PCjr could match EGA's ability to do 16 colors at 320x200 and 640x200, and EGA's hi-res 640x350 graphics required a special and expensive multi-synch monitor, which was priced out of the reach of most home computer users.

And as others have mentioned, most of the monitors sold for use with EGA were equally adept at displaying VGA when it was introduced, so most EGA users took the quick and easy upgrade path to VGA and never looked back.

mikey99
August 15th, 2010, 07:23 AM
I think one of the main reasons EGA is popular among vintage IBM PC collectors is that it
is the best graphics available in the original IBM PC display style case. You retain the classic
IBM look, and have the superior text/color graphics. The Professional Graphics display
is closer to VGA, but they are nearly impossible to find.

snq
August 15th, 2010, 08:35 AM
I don't know if any actual EGA cards this this, but in my 5170 I have an ATI VGA Wonder which makes it possible to use EGA modes on RGB monitors, using some interlacing technique. The manual says this may introduce some "flickering", which was probably the understatement of the year. It also says it's not recommended for prolonged use. But, it does work and you wouldn't have to buy an expensive EGA monitor.

vwestlife
August 15th, 2010, 09:19 AM
I don't know if any actual EGA cards this this, but in my 5170 I have an ATI VGA Wonder which makes it possible to use EGA modes on RGB monitors, using some interlacing technique. The manual says this may introduce some "flickering", which was probably the understatement of the year. It also says it's not recommended for prolonged use. But, it does work and you wouldn't have to buy an expensive EGA monitor.

Given enough video RAM, interlacing can double the vertical resolution. The ATI Small Wonder card uses it to emulate 720x350 MDA/Hercules monochrome video on a standard CGA monitor. It works quite well, if you can tolerate the flickering. It's not too bad if you're just displaying green text on a black background, but any kind of inverse video (black text on green background) will be annoying to look at. I posted an example of it here:

http://www.vintage-computer.com/vcforum/showthread.php?17357-ATI-Small-Wonder-Graphics-Solution-v1&p=131935#post131935

Chuck(G)
August 15th, 2010, 09:26 AM
Interlaced video--yuck. :tongue2: Remember when the only way to get 1024x768 was to use interlaced video? The chips just weren't fast enough back then and the results always looked fuzzy.

But any 6845-based video card is capable of generating interlaced video--not that you'd like it much.

gerrydoire
August 15th, 2010, 10:35 AM
When I went from mono to EGA, even though it was 16 colors, it was nice.

Then when MCGA came out, i noticed even though it was 256 colors, it wasn't as sharp as EGA.

EGA is digital
MVGA/VGA is analog ewwww

Anonymous Coward
August 15th, 2010, 12:55 PM
EGA is not over hyped...have you really used CGA? CGA did indeed display graphics, but whether or not it's fair to say it did "colour" is debatable. EGA came out in 1984, and was pretty standard until 1990. I'd call six years a pretty good run, and even after 1990 a lot of software supported EGA modes until 1993. There were more than a few games that used EGA graphics. I would guess that there must be just as many EGA games out there as there were VGA.

mikey99
August 15th, 2010, 06:39 PM
CGA text mode was very painful on the eyes and almost unreadable. I recall several
CGA monitors where the convergence was a bit out of whack you could see three separate
red/green/blue characters instead of a white character :-)

EGA text mode was almost as clear as VGA text mode.

The IBM Professional Graphics Adapter/Display provide a very nice emulated CGA mode.

Maverick1978
August 15th, 2010, 06:50 PM
There were more than a few games that used EGA graphics. I would guess that there must be just as many EGA games out there as there were VGA.

As the resident Sierra nut, I can tell you that everything Sierra produced for the PC was essentially done for EGA up to roughly 1990. EGA was the standard, MCGA/Tandy/CGA and sometimes even Hercules were supported. By 1990, they had moved on to VGA, while still producing EGA versions of games until 1992, I believe - EGA versions of VGA-standard Sierra games are considered somewhat rare, although they are still around.

I want a true EGA to pop onto my IBM AT to use for retro gaming on those Sierra classics. I could certainly use a VGA as I always have, but (whether true or not) I've read that EGA modes on VGA don't produce true EGA colors, that they're off. Hence my desire for EGA.

Chuckster_in_Jax
August 15th, 2010, 07:09 PM
Even though EGA was released in 1984, I don't remember anyone in 1984 or 1985 having an EGA monitor. At that time I bought my PC's from a Zenith Data Systems store here in town. They didn't even carry any EGA monitors then. I bought a 386 machine and a VGA monitor in April of 1988 (VGA was released in 1987). There was no other monitor in the store that came close to it.

Before the 386 purchase I tried running "The Bard's Tale" on a 286 with a RGB monitor. Looked like crap and slow as hell. Going from that to the 386 and VGA was a quantum leap in performance.

It's not that I think EGA was poor quality! It's much harder to find an EGA monitor on eBay compared to RGB and CGA which makes me think there weren't as many sold.

mikey99
August 15th, 2010, 07:54 PM
I recall when the IBM EGA first came out it was around $1K for the monitor and adapter card ......
That's probably at least part of the reason not many folks had one.....

It would be cool to see an original price list for the IBM PC and peripherals. Does anyone have
this or a link ?

Chuckster_in_Jax
August 15th, 2010, 08:16 PM
I could certainly use a VGA as I always have, but (whether true or not) I've read that EGA modes on VGA don't produce true EGA colors, that they're off. Hence my desire for EGA.

From the WIKI link below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Video_Graphics_Array

As well as the standard modes, VGA can be configured to emulate many of the modes of its predecessors (EGA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enhanced_Graphics_Adapter), CGA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Graphics_Adapter), and MDA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_Monochrome_Display_Adapter)). Compatibility is almost full at BIOS (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BIOS) level, but even at register level, a very high value of compatibility is reached. VGA is not compatible with the special IBM PCjr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_PCjr) or HGC (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hercules_Graphics_Card) video modes.

modem7
August 16th, 2010, 02:20 AM
It would be cool to see an original price list for the IBM PC and peripherals. Does anyone have this or a link ?
There's a price list at http://cd.textfiles.com/rbbsv3n1/pc_s/partpric.doc
From that:

Enhanced Color Display:
5154001 Enhanced Color Display ----------- $ 849
1501200 Enhanced Color Graphics Adapter -- $ 524
1501201 Graphics Memory Expansion Card --- $ 199
1501203 Graphics Memory Module Kit ------- $ 259

mAJORD
August 16th, 2010, 02:24 AM
I never used EGA back in the day, as I was using CGA and then Hercules (yes I dumped CGA for hercules it was that bad) well into VGA era. and when I had the money as a teen, just jumped straight to VGA

But as a nerdy kid I often dreamed of having an EGA monitor for my XT, and recall seeing them up for sale 2nd hand back in the early 90s.


recently I managed to score a TVM EGA monitor recently though, which i've partnered with my AT clone, and It's great! Must have been such a step up from CGA. Reminds me a lot of hercules in GFX mode, just colourful :)

Anonymous Coward
August 16th, 2010, 07:31 AM
Even the EGA card with the CGA monitor was light years ahead of having a CGA card. I didn't own a PC in the 80s, but I definitely would have rather had Hercules than a CGA setup.

EddieDX4
August 16th, 2010, 12:59 PM
Even the EGA card with the CGA monitor was light years ahead of having a CGA card. I didn't own a PC in the 80s, but I definitely would have rather had Hercules than a CGA setup.

For a while, I ran a machine with an EGA card and a Tandy CM-11 CGA monitor. It supported 320x200 16 color EGA mode, and the rare 640x200 16 color mode that some applications had (hmm, I think PC Paintbrush or whatever it was called supported this). Unfortunately, the aspect ratio made everything look hedious in 640x200.

per
August 16th, 2010, 01:35 PM
and the rare 640x200 16 color mode that some applications had (hmm, I think PC Paintbrush or whatever it was called supported this).

Didn't ATI make something like that? I have an ATI SW/GS with that (or a function-wise similar) mode, so I expect that they'd include it in their EW cards too...

Chuck(G)
August 16th, 2010, 02:00 PM
A lot of third-party EGA cards had all sorts of interesting modes--most depended on a multisync monitor, however. Everex cards could go to 640x480, 16 color, which was, for a time, VGA territory.

But Plantronics was the originator of the 640x200 4-color mode. Many EGA cards with this capability refer to it as "Plantronics" mode for that reason.

vwestlife
August 16th, 2010, 02:20 PM
CGA text mode was very painful on the eyes and almost unreadable.
Tandy's CGA helped a lot by adding an extra blank scan line between each row of text, so that the bottom of a "g" wouldn't touch the top of a "T" on the line below, for example. This made text mode 225 lines of resolution instead of the standard 200, which was fine on an computer monitor, but sometimes using the composite output on a TV set, the image would go beyond the edge of the screen, so you could type MODE 200 or hold a function key while booting in order to switch to standard 200-line mode.

Moonferret
August 16th, 2010, 02:24 PM
Back in the early 90's I had an Amstrad PC1640 with CGA monitor. System came bundled with GEM desktop and Dr Halo paint package. Both of which supported the Amstrad's 640x200 resolution in 16 colours. I do remember the text being rather blocky in text mode though :)

vwestlife
August 16th, 2010, 02:26 PM
Didn't ATI make something like that? I have an ATI SW/GS with that (or a function-wise similar) mode, so I expect that they'd include it in their EW cards too...

The ATI Small Wonder emulates Plantronics graphics, which gives you (I think) 16 colors at 320x200 and 4 colors at 640x200. And it expands upon this by adding ATI's own 16-color 640x200 mode. Unfortunately, these modes are not register-compatible with either EGA or Tandy CGA, so in order to use them, you need software which specifically supports Plantronics or ATI graphics.

tezza
August 16th, 2010, 04:54 PM
At work I started with MDA, then went to hercules. Colour was just sooo expensive!

However, I did eventually get EGA at work. I'm not sure what the monitor was but I thought it was pretty cool. I remained monochrome'hercules at home until the early 1990s, again largely because of the cost.

Tez

vwestlife
August 16th, 2010, 05:19 PM
I'll have to dig it up, but I'm pretty sure that in the 1989 CompuAdd catalog, an EGA monitor and card cost more than a VGA monitor and card.

The dual scan rates and two sets of RGB lines simply made EGA complex and costly to implement. Meanwhile, VGA quickly became cost effective by using the same DAC technology which reached the consumer mass market in CD players in the late '80s.

Even the cost of CGA-spec RGB monitors didn't fall that dramatically as they became obsolete. In the early '90s, Radio Shack was still trying to sell their CM-11 CGA monitor for the same price as their mid-grade VGA monitor (not counting their awful low-budget 0.52 mm dot pitch :eek: eyestrain-inducing VGA monitor!).

mikey99
August 18th, 2010, 12:08 PM
I'm surprised no one has grabbed this , seems like a reasonable BIN for a working EGA !

And being the industrial model its more rugged for the journey by UPS.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-IBM-EGA-Color-Monitor-Model-7534-A01-INDUSTRIAL-/290465129335?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0

EddieDX4
August 18th, 2010, 01:34 PM
I'm surprised no one has grabbed this , seems like a reasonable BIN for a working EGA !

And being the industrial model its more rugged for the journey by UPS.

http://cgi.ebay.com/Vintage-IBM-EGA-Color-Monitor-Model-7534-A01-INDUSTRIAL-/290465129335?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0

I just picked it up! I was watching it before when it was Auction style at $125 plus shipping... Your tip made me aware of the relisting with BIN.

Thank you!

The only thing is that it's missing the IBM bade on the front/top... Wonder if I could find one somewhere.

But, the seller states it has a fan built into the housing... I'm hoping that translates to much better longevity. :-D

mikey99
August 18th, 2010, 04:49 PM
I just picked it up! I was watching it before when it was Auction style at $125 plus shipping... Your tip made me aware of the relisting with BIN.

Thank you!

The only thing is that it's missing the IBM bade on the front/top... Wonder if I could find one somewhere.

But, the seller states it has a fan built into the housing... I'm hoping that translates to much better longevity. :-D

Thats great ! ..... those industrial monitors look nice and having a fan in there will certainly help keep things cool.
Most 5154's I've worked on have bad capacitors in the power supply , mainly because these monitors run so hot.

Unknown_K
August 18th, 2010, 05:04 PM
How hard is it to change out those bad capacitors? Also how pricey?

mikey99
August 18th, 2010, 05:23 PM
Actually there are two versions of the Industrial Display.

7534 - EGA
7544 - VGA

I made a couple of scans from my IBM hardware manual.....

43184319

mikey99
August 18th, 2010, 05:32 PM
How hard is it to change out those bad capacitors? Also how pricey?

I think all the caps cost me around $15 or so from partsexpress.com. I used ones rated at 105 degrees C.
I didn't replace the two large 220 uf 250V caps because they didn't appear to be leaking. Also those ones
cost about $4 each. The nice thing about the 5154 EGA is that the power supply is on a separate card, which
attaches to the main board with a large connector. So you can fairly easily remove the power supply unit, then
the cover , and work on the power supply separately.

Once you have the power supply out on your bench, changing the capacitors is easy, just do them one at a time
and make sure the polarity is correct. Sometimes it helps to take a few pictures of the supply with a digital
camera before you start just in case......

EddieDX4
August 18th, 2010, 11:28 PM
Actually there are two versions of the Industrial Display.

7534 - EGA
7544 - VGA

I made a couple of scans from my IBM hardware manual.....

43184319

Thank you! :-D

I'm pretty excited about this purchase... I used to have a 5154 a few years back, long lost now... The 7534 should fill that void.

mikey99
August 20th, 2010, 10:47 AM
Which EGA card(s) do you plan to use to run this display ?

EddieDX4
August 20th, 2010, 11:34 AM
Which EGA card(s) do you plan to use to run this display ?

http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphics-cards/E-H/EVEREX-SYSTEMS-INC-CGA-EGA-Monochrome-MICROENHANCE-60.html

That one...

Unknown_K
August 20th, 2010, 01:05 PM
I think I have an EVEREX EGA card as well

ibmapc
August 21st, 2010, 03:35 PM
http://stason.org/TULARC/pc/graphics-cards/E-H/EVEREX-SYSTEMS-INC-CGA-EGA-Monochrome-MICROENHANCE-60.html

That one...

I checked out the "stason.org" link and saw that it listed the connector as "15-pin analog video port". Shouldn't that be a 9-pin ttl port?

Greg

EddieDX4
August 21st, 2010, 05:17 PM
I checked out the "stason.org" link and saw that it listed the connector as "15-pin analog video port". Shouldn't that be a 9-pin ttl port?

Greg

Yes, that was a mistake on stason.org's part... Also, I'm not so sure that the connector on the top edge of the card truly is a "VGA feature" connector...

Does anyone know what this connector was used for?

Chuck(G)
August 21st, 2010, 06:08 PM
I have the manual for that Everex card. J4 is identified only as a "feature connector" and the RCA plugs are said to be connected to that connector--and nowhere else.

My VEGA VGA (which can connect to either an analog or digital monitor) manual sheds a bit of light on the subject:


The VEGA VGA Feature Connector is compatible with those found on the IBM EGA. The 32-pin Feature Connector supports add-on feature adapters made to enhance the VEGA VGA or IBM EGA

Further, the RCA jacks are commented upon:


The RCA video connector header is connected to the Feature Connector and may be used to support video output from future feature adapters available from third party hardware vendors

So there you have it--IBM-compatible support for the mythical feature adapter.

Raven
August 23rd, 2010, 04:11 PM
But PC games pretty much ignored EGA

I must say you're wrong about this one. Most of the games that people think of as "VGA" are actually EGA games. VGA was backwards compatible with EGA, and to a lesser extent CGA. This allowed a developer to target EGA for pretty good graphics while maintaining some compatibility with the higher end systems that enthusiasts still had at the time (plus, though this is an assumption, I believe EGA graphics would take less computational power on part of the CPU, allowing the requirements to remain lower on the games.. since there was little in the way of hardware acceleration then..).

A notable example of an EGA game that most people think is VGA is the Commander Keen series (yes I know there's a CGA version too, before somebody points it out).

I was born 1990, so in my first few years of computer use (1992-1993) EGA games were the bulk of what I played - on VGA systems.

Edit: http://members.chello.at/theodor.lauppert/games/ega.htm

According to this page, while it fell out of popularity with retail developers fast, it was popular for shareware titles and homebrew games for a long time, which explains the abundance of EGA games that I remember, and your position. Guess we're both right in a way. :D

commodorejohn
August 23rd, 2010, 04:33 PM
(plus, though this is an assumption, I believe EGA graphics would take less computational power on part of the CPU, allowing the requirements to remain lower on the games.. since there was little in the way of hardware acceleration then..)
While I'll admit to not having done much down-and-dirty programming for either, at a guess I'd say it was probably about even, depending on the kind of game and the programmer's ingenuity. EGA graphics were planar, which is a more complicated approach to deal with when trying to do free-ranging bitmap graphics, but lends itself quite nicely to console-style tiled graphics - plus, there's less data to push around for 16-color graphics than for 256-color graphics, and the EGA and VGA have some minimal assistance hardware for dealing with planar graphics and scrolling. On the other hand, the standard VGA mode 13h, which most VGA games used, is chunky, which is a lot simpler conceptually and lends itself a lot more easily to bitmap graphics, but the VGA doesn't have any assistance hardware for chunky mode, so the speed is pretty much dependent on the kind of game and the programmer's cleverness.

EddieDX4
August 23rd, 2010, 04:33 PM
I must say you're wrong about this one. Most of the games that people think of as "VGA" are actually EGA games. VGA was backwards compatible with EGA, and to a lesser extent CGA. This allowed a developer to target EGA for pretty good graphics while maintaining some compatibility with the higher end systems that enthusiasts still had at the time (plus, though this is an assumption, I believe EGA graphics would take less computational power on part of the CPU, allowing the requirements to remain lower on the games.. since there was little in the way of hardware acceleration then..).

A notable example of an EGA game that most people think is VGA is the Commander Keen series (yes I know there's a CGA version too, before somebody points it out).

I was born 1990, so in my first few years of computer use (1992-1993) EGA games were the bulk of what I played - on VGA systems.

Edit: http://members.chello.at/theodor.lauppert/games/ega.htm

According to this page, while it fell out of popularity with retail developers fast, it was popular for shareware titles and homebrew games for a long time, which explains the abundance of EGA games that I remember, and your position. Guess we're both right in a way. :D

I'm with Raven on this one. Another example of a game that used EGA when choosing "VGA" in the configuration was Flight Simulator (4.0 and below). And, 5.0 even included EGA graphics support.

The first 2 Test Drive games used EGA as their higher end graphics mode. Test Drive III supported EGA, and true VGA/MCGA. By this time EGA games were becoming less and less appealing because they were simply using VGA artwork/images with a lot of dithering when converted to 16 colors. The result was extremely grainy graphics. A contrast from, say, Test Drive II, which used graphics made for each specific graphics mode (the Amiga version used a higher color mode, I think they included something like 64 color artwork, but the EGA version still looked decent because it was the flagship on the PC).

Another example of the dithering used to "downgrade" VGA artwork was Secret of Monkey Island. If you compare it to, say, Loom, you'll notice that EGA graphics were not the focus of the original artwork.

james1095
August 23rd, 2010, 04:45 PM
I think one of the main reasons EGA is popular among vintage IBM PC collectors is that it
is the best graphics available in the original IBM PC display style case. You retain the classic
IBM look, and have the superior text/color graphics. The Professional Graphics display
is closer to VGA, but they are nearly impossible to find.


Yep, this is exactly it. EGA was the top of the line at the time, it offered higher resolution and a far better color pallette than CGA, and the IBM EGA monitor matches the PC/XT/AT from a cosmetic perspective. It's no match for VGA, but IMO a 3rd party VGA monitor just doesn't look right on a classic PC/XT/AT. Additionally, they were so expensive originally that today EGA monitors are exceptionally rare which drives up the price.

james1095
August 23rd, 2010, 04:53 PM
How hard is it to change out those bad capacitors? Also how pricey?

Capacitors are cheap, most found in monitors range from under a dollar to a few dollars. Changing them is only as difficult as disassembling the monitor enough to get to the underside of the PCB in question. I've been doing CRT monitor repair on the side for ~15 years and can do this for a reasonable fee for those in the Northwest. Pizza, beer, or interesting bits of old hardware may also be acceptable payment :)

Raven
August 23rd, 2010, 04:53 PM
My 1997 CTX VGA monitor looks OK with the 5170, but I admit that my 5160 looks awkward with it's older CTX VGA cousin.

mikey99
August 24th, 2010, 09:55 AM
Yep, this is exactly it. EGA was the top of the line at the time, it offered higher resolution and a far better color pallette than CGA, and the IBM EGA monitor matches the PC/XT/AT from a cosmetic perspective. It's no match for VGA, but IMO a 3rd party VGA monitor just doesn't look right on a classic PC/XT/AT. Additionally, they were so expensive originally that today EGA monitors are exceptionally rare which drives up the price.

I agree EGA monitors are rare...... I don't recall any of my friends with PC's ever having an EGA
monitor although we did have a couple at work in the lab. Most folks went directly from CGA to VGA
because of the high cost of EGA.

Seeing as how most EGA's were used in businesses/offices, it's highly likely that they were all scrapped
out at some point. This probably accounts for their rarity.

EddieDX4
August 24th, 2010, 10:41 AM
Seeing as how most EGA's were used in businesses/offices, it's highly likely that they were all scrapped
out at some point. This probably accounts for their rarity.

EGAs were also heavily used for CAD/CAM, as well as industrial control applications during the late 80's. The overall cost of such systems dilutted that of the EGA displays.

james1095
August 24th, 2010, 04:13 PM
EGAs were also heavily used for CAD/CAM, as well as industrial control applications during the late 80's. The overall cost of such systems dilutted that of the EGA displays.

Even during their peak, they were quite rare. My dad used an original PC with a Princeton CGA monitor for CAD and other engineering work in the office all the way up to 1990. There were a few EGA monitors around, but even then there were a LOT more CGA and monochrome monitors around. The only EGA monitor I ever dealt with was an original IBM on a souped up XT that a parent had donated to my school around 1989. That machine had a 286 accelerator in it too, I remember playing Flight Sim 4 on it and seems like it ran acceptably well.

I run a CGA monitor on an EGA card. It lacks the higher resolution support but it does offer a vastly improved color pallet. I've always despised those gawdawful pale cyan, magenta, black & white CGA graphics, they're worse than monochrome!

Raven
August 25th, 2010, 02:26 AM
I run a CGA monitor on an EGA card. It lacks the higher resolution support but it does offer a vastly improved color pallet. I've always despised those gawdawful pale cyan, magenta, black & white CGA graphics, they're worse than monochrome!

The alternate palette is pretty good, though - the orange/green/etc. one.

EddieDX4
August 25th, 2010, 12:19 PM
The alternate palette is pretty good, though - the orange/green/etc. one.

I always wondered why more games didn't use it... It seemed more..natural.

Especially for platform and RPG games... Oh well.

commodorejohn
August 25th, 2010, 12:42 PM
Probably because it lacked white. The cyan/magenta palette might not've been the best for art purposes, but it did provide black and white. I know Defender Of The Crown used it, though...

Personally, I've always wondered why more software didn't use the third palette (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color_Graphics_Adapter#Further_graphics_modes_and_ tweaks) (cyan, red, white) and the variable background color.

vwestlife
August 25th, 2010, 01:23 PM
I always wondered why more games didn't use it... It seemed more..natural.

Especially for platform and RPG games... Oh well.

I always remember this game as using the CGA high intensity yellow/red/green palette to its greatest advantage with a blue background, so that the color limitations never deterred from the gameplay:

http://www.xtcabandonware.com/pix/sailing.png

http://free-game-downloads.mosw.com/abandonware/pc/arcade_action/games_s_sh/sailing_an_adventure_in_the_bermuda_triangle.html

EddieDX4
August 25th, 2010, 02:23 PM
I always remember this game as using the CGA high intensity yellow/red/green palette to its greatest advantage with a blue background, so that the color limitations never deterred from the gameplay:

http://www.xtcabandonware.com/pix/sailing.png

http://free-game-downloads.mosw.com/abandonware/pc/arcade_action/games_s_sh/sailing_an_adventure_in_the_bermuda_triangle.html

From a psychological perspective, I always had a hard time considering a display as being "color" if it lacked blue... It's just so easy to tell you're looking at a color display when there's a pleasant blue background on it. Your mind stops caring if there's only 3 more colors... Blue just makes it all better.

mAJORD
September 4th, 2010, 04:24 AM
What do you guys think about 350line vs 250line mode in EGA text.. was it widly used?

I have the option on my video card (HEGA) but I like my machines to be typical of the era.. was this mode readily available, and supported by monitors during EGA's "prime time"?

Bit of an odd question I guess, but interested to know opinions.

commodorejohn
September 4th, 2010, 06:06 AM
I dunno. I know the original DOS-native versions of Megazeux (http://vault.digitalmzx.net/search.php?browse=4) used 640x350 text mode and redefined character sets, but I don't know how widely it was used in other stuff.

krebizfan
September 4th, 2010, 10:51 AM
What do you guys think about 350line vs 250line mode in EGA text.. was it widly used?

I have the option on my video card (HEGA) but I like my machines to be typical of the era.. was this mode readily available, and supported by monitors during EGA's "prime time"?

Bit of an odd question I guess, but interested to know opinions.

I think MS Word used the 350 mode on EGA.

vwestlife
September 4th, 2010, 10:10 PM
I think MS Word used the 350 mode on EGA.

The EGA 43-line text mode (with 8x8 character cells on 350 scan lines) was very widely used.

VGA increased this to 50 lines of text, but ended up looking a bit too vertically scrunched, so when given the choice, I still prefer the 43-line EGA mode, even on VGA hardware.

And of course, EGA's ability to easily redefine the character set gave birth to an entire generation of "text mode GUI" applications, which used custom characters such as a mouse pointer, radio buttons, check boxes, scroll bars, and other widgets to simulate a graphical appearance, even when operating in text mode.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/3b/Norton_Utilities_6.01_UI.png

mAJORD
September 5th, 2010, 03:57 AM
I always wondered how they got the mouse pointer in what seemed like text mode! Thanks for the info.

and thanks for the replies..

So all the EGA CRTs had the same dot pitch as VGA monitors? I recall CGA being terrrible in this regard, and would never look any good with smaller text.. or perhaps it was just my Amstrad CGA at the time.

commodorejohn
September 5th, 2010, 06:19 AM
So all the EGA CRTs had the same dot pitch as VGA monitors? I recall CGA being terrrible in this regard, and would never look any good with smaller text.. or perhaps it was just my Amstrad CGA at the time.
CGA was limited by its adherence to NTSC TV standards. At the time, this had the advantage of allowing super-easy output to composite video/RF adapters, but it meant that the pixel resolution was limited to that of the TV standard and couldn't be changed. They pulled off 640-pixel mode by making the pixels one-half width on RGB monitors (they couldn't do this for composite monitors/TVs, which is why 80-column mode looks so awful on them,) but because of the nature of the timing signals they couldn't do the same for the height without using interlacing, which is ugly and causes eyestrain, so 80-column mode on the CGA is just 40-column mode, horizontally squashed. Not very pretty.

james1095
September 8th, 2010, 03:51 PM
80 column text can be done on composite monitors, the Apple II series does it, and particularly with the (composite) monochrome monitor, it looks really sharp. I don't recall the specifics as far as resolution though.

Chuck(G)
September 8th, 2010, 04:05 PM
80 column is pretty much impossible through an RF modulator, but composite video isn't that hard through a good-quality monitor. As was mentioned, monochrome monitors are much better than color at this.

I worked up a video-plus-sync TTL to composite video converter back in the 70s for the marketing folks to drive a 21" CCTV monochrome monitor. It worked very well. It's been years, but ISTR that it used a 7406 and some passives to generate the composite signal. It was a very simple circuit.

vwestlife
September 9th, 2010, 09:47 PM
So all the EGA CRTs had the same dot pitch as VGA monitors? I recall CGA being terrrible in this regard, and would never look any good with smaller text.. or perhaps it was just my Amstrad CGA at the time.

Due to its limited resolution, displaying CGA video on a monitor with a low dot pitch (below 0.35 mm or so) only serves to create an annoying gap between each scan line of pixels. Displaying CGA on my Tandy CM-11 (with a dot pitch of either 0.39 or 0.41 mm, I believe) looks far superior than CGA on my Mitsubishi Diamond Scan 1381 (with a dot pitch of 0.31 mm) -- even though you lose some crispness, the higher dot pitch kind of blends and smooths the pixels together, eliminating the gaps between the scan lines.

Some PCs like the AT&T PC3600 solved this problem by scan-doubling CGA video to 400 lines (vs. the original 200), which looks great but comes at the expense of requiring a special monitor.