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View Full Version : Opportunity for Youtube glory awaits! (IBM PGC)



xjas
April 3rd, 2016, 11:26 AM
Yeah, I was just browsing around. Apparently there are *no* videos of the IBM Professional Graphics Controller on Youtube, or anywhere. There aren't even really any screenshots to be found to see what the thing looked like. Anyone know where I can find some media of one in action?

FYI there are two PGCs available, boxed, tested, complete, in Toronto here (http://www.kijiji.ca/v-computer-components/city-of-toronto/ibm-professional-graphics-controller-isa-video-card-rare/1145577693) for $400 CAD each. (Not my ad!)

Also 100% mint world-first demoscene platform right there ;) (if you consider a specific graphics card a 'platform.')

Scali
April 3rd, 2016, 11:34 AM
Also 100% mint world-first demoscene platform right there ;) (if you consider a specific graphics card a 'platform.')

Since the card itself contains a processor (8088 ), which can run custom code, I guess we can consider it a platform :)

Xacalite
April 3rd, 2016, 12:11 PM
Brilliant idea, indeed!
Now I'm wondering what should be the other components of that platform...
PGC was released about the same time as the original 5170, wasn't it? So, an 80286 at 6 MHz seems right.
But what about sound? Still nothing more than PC Speaker?

per
April 3rd, 2016, 12:41 PM
There's a few reasons there aren't many demos for the PGC. It's not common in itself, requires vintage hardware to run, and its ridiculously slow for things like 3D. Polygon count per second is around 100 if I don't remember wrong.

But if somebody figures the ins and outs for this card, and makes firmware allowing for fast rendering, then I'm intrigued to hear about it!

KC9UDX
April 3rd, 2016, 01:04 PM
Well the Platform Gaming Computer must do something impressive.

kyodai
April 3rd, 2016, 01:12 PM
As with most vintage "super duper special resolution" cards this one also needed a matching display - the IBM 5175 - which might be hard to find in it's original (Not converted to VGA) and working condition.

And yeah no Demos here because for the price tag only highly professional CAD users could afford it anyways, it wasn't really anything common. If you can get one along with the macthing display that would bea nice collectible.

per
April 3rd, 2016, 02:10 PM
As with most vintage "super duper special resolution" cards this one also needed a matching display - the IBM 5175 - which might be hard to find in it's original (Not converted to VGA) and working condition.

Many VGA displays will natively run off the PGC, with the use of a simple 9-pin to 15 pin VGA cable adapter. No cirquits needed!

The only difference is Composite Sync instead of H/V, but for some reason the VGA monitors I've tested with the PGC, support this sync-mode as well.

NeXT
April 3rd, 2016, 02:59 PM
The PGC is NOT a gaming card and never was. It was for CAD almost exclusively. If you're building up a 5170 for the occasion, a 20 or 40mb hard drive running PC-DOS 5 plus a co-processor, ram expansion, network card and possibly a pointing device or digitizer will fit the part.
Also, I seem to recall it was supported under AutoCAD 2.5, so look up a benchmark drawing and run a redraw with it.

lysinger
May 20th, 2017, 04:38 AM
I have 2 working PGC cards and a 9pin to 15pin adapter I had made. The adapter has ghosting issues on my monitor, but you can see the screen. I don't have a copy of AutoCAD 2.5 though. (If anyone has a 5175 monitor they want to sell - you can name your price - please PM me)

NobodyIsHere
May 20th, 2017, 05:07 AM
What the world needs is a uPD7220 GDC demo!

That'd be a first too

;-)

shattered
May 20th, 2017, 06:32 AM
Not a demo, just an old screenshot of MAME WIP :-) See also http://www.vcfed.org/forum/showthread.php?18202-Disassembling-the-IBM-PGC-firmware

https://img-fotki.yandex.ru/get/15580/264743.3/0_b0fe1_8f2050ea_XL.png (https://fotki.yandex.ru/next/users/shattered/album/137130/fullscreen/724961)

(Haven't figured out how VRAM write expansion works, hence the black stripes.)

bobba84
May 21st, 2017, 03:08 PM
Ooooooo that looks exciting! Can't wait for a PGC demo!!

shattered
May 22nd, 2017, 10:24 AM
Well, anything's possible, but first someone has to figure out the hardware :)

Anonymous Coward
May 23rd, 2017, 11:34 PM
A Windows 3.x driver would be pretty exciting too.

shattered
August 24th, 2017, 08:31 AM
I made this:


https://youtu.be/AhVlk8Z1cSo

No progress in reverse engineering PGC, so the bitmap is still corrupted (firmware obviously tries to use multi-pixel writes when possible). And it's s-l-o-w.

bobba84
August 24th, 2017, 03:37 PM
FANTASTIC!!! Thank you!

tipc
August 24th, 2017, 04:15 PM
Someone needs to figure out how to pair a PGC with a Tiny Turbo or something. Would having an 8087 onboard make it any fastet, dumb question I imagine. I not only have a PGC and (currently dead) 5175, I also have a Vermont Microsystems clone. Iirc it has an onboard 80188. Probably a scr3ame3r. Sorry none of it is for sale.

per
August 25th, 2017, 02:32 AM
I don't think an 8087 would do much, unless you need moderately fast precission calculation. It's not that the 8087 magically speeds up everything!

Also, most VGA monitors can handle the composite sync from the PGC, and there are suitable 9 pin to 15 pin VGA adapter cables available.

shattered
August 25th, 2017, 04:32 AM
Someone needs to figure out how to pair a PGC with a Tiny Turbo or something. Would having an 8087 onboard make it any fastet, dumb question I imagine. I not only have a PGC and (currently dead) 5175, I also have a Vermont Microsystems clone. Iirc it has an onboard 80188. Probably a scr3ame3r. Sorry none of it is for sale.

Do you have any technical manuals for the Vermont clone? Far as I understand, they actually designed the PGC for IBM.

tipc
August 25th, 2017, 06:53 AM
I don't think an 8087 would do much, unless you need moderately fast precission calculation. It's not that the 8087 magically speeds up everything!

Also, most VGA monitors can handle the composite sync from the PGC, and there are suitable 9 pin to 15 pin VGA adapter cables available.

Yes I know, the 8088 offloads floating point instructions to the 8087 when it sees them. Something like that. I was tired, slept nearly 12 hours.

tipc
August 25th, 2017, 06:55 AM
Do you have any technical manuals for the Vermont clone? Far as I understand, they actually designed the PGC for IBM.

I have nothing but the card. I have no knowledge of that. All I know is that VM took Autod3sk to court and won, over some triangulation algorithm or code snippet iirc.

The VM card is 2 boards where the PGC is technically 3. It's stuck in one of my old boxes, I'll be pulling it out by next week and photographing it.

flashedbios2012
September 3rd, 2017, 09:42 AM
The 5170s I used in high school had this card in then along with a 512K Expansion card and a 40MB Hard Card and a WORM Drive. they were decked the F out with hardware. And they were used for word processing. :(

MattisLind
September 3rd, 2017, 09:59 AM
What the world needs is a uPD7220 GDC demo!

That'd be a first too

;-)

The somewhat odd Swedish made computer COMPIS (COMPuter In School) (https://sites.google.com/site/compisinfo/) used a 80186 CPU and the uPD7220 as graphics chip. Here is a demo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8h8798m_d4).

per
September 3rd, 2017, 12:54 PM
The somewhat odd Swedish made computer COMPIS (COMPuter In School) (https://sites.google.com/site/compisinfo/) used a 80186 CPU and the uPD7220 as graphics chip. Here is a demo (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8h8798m_d4).

I'd love to get hold of a COMPIS (known as SCANDIS over here). It's only monochrome though, but still. Here we had the Tiki-100, serving the same purpose as the COMPIS did in Sweden. The Tiki got it's first proper demo just recently, last year.

Otherwise, I can't wait to see some pictures of the Vermont PGC-clone!