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tempest
April 14th, 2016, 07:09 PM
I'm trying to use a 5151 monochrome monitor with my 5150 PC. As far as I can tell I have two options:

1. Go with a standard Hercules card and be stuck only with games that support Hercules (I think it can kind of CGA emulation with a program). I see one on eBay now: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hercules-Video-Graphics-Card-IBM-1981-PC-MONOCHROME-DISPLAY-/152043434787

2. Go with an ATI EGA or VGA wonder card and be able to do both Hercules, CGA, and even EGA (some EGA programs should run on the 5150). However these cards seem to be really hard to find for a reasonable price and there are a ton of variations. I'm not sure which ones work with the 5150 and which don't.

Which is my best bet?

vwestlife
April 14th, 2016, 08:30 PM
The ATI Small Wonder can emulate CGA graphics on an MDA monitor, with 16 shades of gray (or green, in this case) by modulating the monochrome video signal.

More info:
http://www.vogons.org/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=41856

http://i.imgur.com/8N1I39W.jpg

It can also do the opposite: emulate MDA/Hercules on a CGA monitor, using interlacing to display the full 720x350 resolution, and simulating green phosphor on a color display.

tempest
April 15th, 2016, 05:17 AM
Looks like the Small Wonder is just as hard to find as the EGA and VGA models.

Would this VGA Wonder work in my 5150? http://www.ebay.com/itm/111952674626

Stone
April 15th, 2016, 05:44 AM
You'd likely be safer getting an EGA card since they're all 8-bit and the 16-bit VGA cards are more or less of a crapshoot in the 5150 unless you get one that's known to work in the 5150.

tempest
April 15th, 2016, 05:48 AM
That's what I was afraid of. I guess I'll have to keep an eye out for an EGA Wonder or Small Wonder card then. Doesn't sound like the Hercules is worth considering.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 10:21 AM
Assuming that most EGA games aren't going to be able to be run in my 5150, is there any real reason to go with the uber expensive ATI cards over a nice cheap Hercules card? About the only reason I can see is that the ATI cards also do CGA which I don't believe the Hercules could do without some program that sort of 'faked it'.

NeXT
April 18th, 2016, 10:47 AM
IF you have the card then do it.

tempest
April 18th, 2016, 10:56 AM
I don't have either, but I know where I can get a nice Hercules card (a real one) with the original box for around $50 which is much cheaper than any of the ATI cards seem to be.

Formulator
April 19th, 2016, 12:26 PM
I passed up an ATI Small Wonder (can't remember which revision) for a boxed ATI VGA Wonder + w/ bus mouse. I haven't attached a CGA or monochrome display to test what it can do on those yet, but the thing I like about it is it can emulate white, green & amber MDA/Hercules on a VGA display. I have an Acer 915 286 with integrated video which has a CGA emulation mode and works great on my monochrome display. Still, it would be nice to have those features on a card too.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 01:02 PM
Yeah I've seen one of those VGA Wonder + mouse cards and I almost jumped on it, but I was told that they don't always work in a 5150 and I can't find any info on what determines if they do or not.

Chuck(G)
April 19th, 2016, 02:57 PM
There's also the Hercules Graphics Plus card with downloadable font RAM if you're in the market for the Herc.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 03:21 PM
Yes I am actually. How much is it?

Chuck(G)
April 19th, 2016, 04:04 PM
Oh, I'm not selling mine, but thanks for the interest.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 06:15 PM
Oh ok.

What's the going rate on a Hercules board?

krebizfan
April 19th, 2016, 06:25 PM
Oh ok.

What's the going rate on a Hercules board?

Depends on how long you are willing to look. Hercules cards made by Hercules are going up in price a lot. Expect to pay $50+. Now, a clone Hercules card can sometimes be had cheap: $20 seems to be about the ceiling.

tempest
April 19th, 2016, 06:40 PM
Is there any reason to go with a real Hercules card vs a clone? Any compatibility issues?

Chuck(G)
April 19th, 2016, 06:48 PM
Generally, no issues, as long we're talking about the original Hercules Graphics monochrome board. As I recall, it was one of the first display boards to be cloned by the Taiwanese. Monochrome, but you had very nice graphic capability and nice text-mode characters. CGA always looked sort of coarse to me--you pay for the color.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 06:02 AM
BTW are these Hercules cards (or clones):

http://www.ebay.com/itm/361538779076
http://www.ebay.com/itm/222093267803


Most of these are untested though. Do Hercules cards normally go bad or is it safe to buy an untested one?

Stone
April 21st, 2016, 06:13 AM
They are IBM, *not* Hercules.

`As is` usually means it's not working. (It didn't work for the seller, did it? :-) )

per
April 21st, 2016, 06:14 AM
Both of those are IBM MDA cards, so no Hercules.

Here, on the other hand, is how the original Hercules looks like: http://www.ebay.com/itm/152053003270 Notice the fat ground-trace around the edge.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 06:18 AM
Ah ha. Good to know. So is this card not a Hercules either? http://www.ebay.com/itm/152043434787

per
April 21st, 2016, 06:23 AM
Ah ha. Good to know. So is this card not a Hercules either? http://www.ebay.com/itm/152043434787

That's an IBM MDA in a Hercules box. Somebody problably bought the Hercules card to swap out a MDA once, and used the box to store the IBM card.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 06:32 AM
Thought so. I'm glad I didn't snag it. Now I know what to look for.

Stone
April 21st, 2016, 07:02 AM
In case you hadn't noticed a Hercules card says Hercules on it. :-)

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 07:45 AM
I'd actually never seen a real Hercules card before so I had no idea. So many of these cards from back in the day had almost no markings on them.

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2016, 07:57 AM
There were a lot of Hercules clones; some without any branding at all. I think I still have a Zuckerboard somewhere...

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 08:29 AM
What's the best way to search for Hercules clones on ebay? Are there some popular brand names I should look for?

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2016, 09:08 AM
I've always done it by looking for "monochrome adapter" and then looking at the photo of the board. Hercules has more memory than a plain monochrome text card. You can't tell by IC count alone--the original IBM MDA has more ICs than the Hercules.

Xacalite
April 21st, 2016, 09:20 AM
The most common were noname cards based on Winbond W86855AF chipset, see eg.
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Vintage-Winbond-W86855AF-MDA-Graphics-Card-with-onboard-Parallel-Connection-/111969592171
Despite the "MDA Graphics Card" in description, it's sure to support Hercules graphics.

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2016, 09:30 AM
Agreed--although the photo's a bit fuzzy, the HY53C464S RAMs are each 64Kx4, so there's your memory.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 09:52 AM
Thanks, I'll keep an eye out for cards like that. The one pictured though looks a little on the nasty side.

What about this one? http://www.ebay.com/itm/Monochrome-Display-Adapter-MDA-with-Parallel-Port-VINTAGE-/111970778398?hash=item1a11fa7d1e:g:KzAAAOSw95lXEab 2

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2016, 10:10 AM
8x4164 DRAMs = 64K of memory. So, yeah, that one will work too.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 10:13 AM
So it's really just about the extra memory then?

Chuck(G)
April 21st, 2016, 12:11 PM
Well, not exactly. If you're doing text-only (i.e. emulating the IBM MDA) you have 25x80 = 2000 characters, with 2 bytes per character (attribute takes an additional byte), so a 4,096 byte SRAM works fine. In graphics mode, however, you've got 720x348 bits, or 31,320 bytes. The Herc also gives you 2 pages of graphics, so memory there will fit a 65,535 byte DRAM quite easily.

So you look for the 65K/64KiB memory--and you have the whole story.

I've long suspected, by looking at the original IBM MDA board that graphics were contemplated, but then abandoned because of insufficient board real estate. There are some traces that go nowhere on those early boards.

tempest
April 21st, 2016, 12:14 PM
Ah I see. So they wouldn't put all that extra memory on a regular MDA card because it would be pointless, so only Hercules compatible cards would have extra memory. Gotcha.

tempest
April 25th, 2016, 06:51 PM
Since the card I got appears to be dead, I'm on the look out for another cheap clone.

Is this one Hercules compatible? The manufacture date is 1988 which seems late to be making MDA only cards: http://www.ebay.com/itm/111970776041

There's also this one: http://m.ebay.com/itm/172154026565

SpidersWeb
April 25th, 2016, 07:08 PM
To date I haven't even been able to find a clone card that didn't do graphics. I'm sure they exist somewhere, but I don't even check anymore.

That card has your 64KB (41464 are 4 x 64kbit, and there is two, so that's 64kbit x 8 = 64KB).

The cards I usually use in XT's are models like these: http://www.ebay.com/itm/DTK-PII-134-Monochrome-Graphics-Card-8bit-ISA-/141890665893?hash=item210957bda5:g:5YYAAOSwvUlWq-mw but that's mostly because I'm a fusspot about being 'time period correct'.

tempest
April 26th, 2016, 04:14 AM
So that Everex one is good? Alright I guess I'll try that one then.

I know what you mean about Time Period Correct. Normally I try to do that (I like to keep my systems all 1st party too if I can help it), but I already have the 3rd party memory card (you sort of have too in a 5150) so I might as well keep going that way. I do like the full length cards though, they're nice.

Anonymous Coward
April 26th, 2016, 04:54 PM
I've owned this Hercules card for a while, but I've never gotten around to playing with it. According to the date codes, it should be a very late model (late eighties). Does anyone know specifically which model it is? I've always assumed it to be a cost reduced version of the base model, but it seems to use the same ICs on the Plus model. However, the PCB seems to be much longer than the photos of the plus models I've seen.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jaNMzrGai-U/VnVNPpDsxPI/AAAAAAAAFlo/fd7-fN6J_bINGaf1Dn8UXrMLg0H1F9qfQCCo/s800/Hercules.jpg

per
April 26th, 2016, 05:14 PM
I've owned this Hercules card for a while, but I've never gotten around to playing with it. According to the date codes, it should be a very late model (late eighties). Does anyone know specifically which model it is? I've always assumed it to be a cost reduced version of the base model, but it seems to use the same ICs on the Plus model. However, the PCB seems to be much longer than the photos of the plus models I've seen.

https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-jaNMzrGai-U/VnVNPpDsxPI/AAAAAAAAFlo/fd7-fN6J_bINGaf1Dn8UXrMLg0H1F9qfQCCo/s800/Hercules.jpg
It does seem to use a variation of the Hercules Plus gate array though. The RAM-font features might be disabled, but they migh not as well. The only way to find out is by testing it.

Xacalite
April 27th, 2016, 06:40 AM
The photo is not good enough.
In order to say something more one must know how much RAM that card has - 64KB as in the regular HGC, or 80KB as in HGC+
Also, "GB..." markings (probably on the backside) should tell everything.

Anonymous Coward
April 27th, 2016, 02:31 PM
The photo is not good enough.
In order to say something more one must know how much RAM that card has - 64KB as in the regular HGC, or 80KB as in HGC+
Also, "GB..." markings (probably on the backside) should tell everything.

There is absolutely nothing of interest on the card. I checked the FCCID, but it didn't tell me anything specifically about this card. There are two TC51832PL-10 chips and two HM6264ALP-15 chips. I believe it has 80kb, which implies it is a plus card. It still blows my mind that a card made in 1988 would have a larger PCB than the original one from 1986.

tempest
April 28th, 2016, 03:19 PM
I got the new card today and it works like a charm. It is indeed a Hercules card.