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mbbrutman
May 21st, 2004, 11:10 AM
I think I have found an IBM Professional Graphics Adapter. It's three boards sandwiched together, taking up two slots. There are two connections to the bus, both designed for 8 bit buses. The output connector looks like CGA or EGA - 9 pin D shell.

Does anybody have documentation? I know they were very rare due to their cost, and there is no hope of finding the monitor. But being able to read the docs would give me an idea of what I need to look for.



Mike

Super-Slasher
May 21st, 2004, 01:18 PM
Ooo! You lucky devil, I am so jealous!

There actually seems to be one or two places you can buy a genuine IBM PGA monitor on the Internet. I used to have the links, but lost them. Just do a bit of searching and I'm sure you'll dig them up. If not, I'll try looking for you.

mbbrutman
May 21st, 2004, 05:05 PM
Computer Reset has both the cards and the monitors listed.

The monitor is an IBM 5175, which is just like a 5154 but with slightly different electronics inside. Resolution is 640x400@256 colors, but unfortunately it's a TTL level signal, not an analog signal like VGA.

It's quite the brick of a card, and I'm really impressed - it has two parallel bus connections, but only for the PC bus. (i.e.: It's an 8 bit card, not a 16 bit card.)

Even with the monitor it is still pretty much a paperweight without drivers or the technical documentation ...

Terry Yager
May 21st, 2004, 06:14 PM
Just out of curiousity, are they PC- or XT- slots? Can you change the spacing by adding or removing spacers, or what?

Even with the proper drivers & docs, would you still have to find apps that were written specifically for that card? I'd guess not many standard apps would know what to do with the hardware. (Can you say AutoDesk?)

--T

mbbrutman
May 21st, 2004, 07:00 PM
The spacing of the slots is for an XT or a AT. A 5150 can't take this beast, as a 5150 has slots that are further apart. Also I imagine the power draw on this is quite big.

I was wrong about the resolution - it's more like 640x480 ... It apparently was quite a beautiful piece of hardware in it's day, which is what makes it interesting.

CP/M User
May 22nd, 2004, 02:24 AM
"mbbrutman" wrote:

> The spacing of the slots is for an XT or a AT.
> A 5150 can't take this beast, as a 5150 has
> slots that are further apart. Also I imagine
> the power draw on this is quite big.

I have this software guide to the IBM PC & XT
& that has a PGA in it that book was made in
1984.

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Terry Yager
May 22nd, 2004, 08:38 AM
"mbbrutman" wrote:

> The spacing of the slots is for an XT or a AT.
> A 5150 can't take this beast, as a 5150 has
> slots that are further apart. Also I imagine
> the power draw on this is quite big.

I have this software guide to the IBM PC & XT
& that has a PGA in it that book was made in
1984.

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Does your software guide indicate whether or not the PGA requires specially-written software to function at it's full capability?

--T

Super-Slasher
May 22nd, 2004, 11:22 AM
Oh jeez, that's right. I never considered about the drivers... I just assumed that it would be more along the lines of plug-and-play like EGA and CGA (seeing how most programs automatically had support for those types of monitors), but seeing how the PGA was a very professional type of display, it wouldn't be supported for any programs unless you had the drivers for it.

Would undoubtedly work in DOS; maybe only is 320x300 mode or something like that, though, but for stuffs like Windows or AutoCAD...?

I can see a great difficulty in obtaining these drivers. :x

CP/M User
May 22nd, 2004, 04:06 PM
"Terry Yager" wrote:

> Does your software guide indicate whether or
> not the PGA requires specially-written software
> to function at it's full capability?

Oh sorry, I made a mistake. It's not PGA based,
it's called COLOR II (which isn't PGA).

I have heard about PGA though, so the best I can
suggest is do a Google Groups search & see what
you can find. I think PGA is compatable with CGA,
but as I said you should check & like the COLOR II
the PGA would have specially written software
which gives you access to it's features.

Cheers,
CP/M User.

Terry Yager
June 11th, 2004, 08:20 AM
Here's one on eBay and according to the pictures, there is a device driver required. The listing also has other info, might be worth looking at...

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=4193&item=5101569261&rd=1

--T

mbbrutman
June 11th, 2004, 05:26 PM
Yes, that's the Richard from Computer Reset - he has them listed (monitor too) on his web site. Occasionally he tries to sell on eBay.

I've been to busy to worry about it .. it's an interesting piece of hardware, but it's not going to make my AT more enjoyable to use. A good 16 bit IDE controller is a much more practical purchase for an old machine. :-)

Terry Yager
June 11th, 2004, 09:40 PM
Yes, that's the Richard from Computer Reset - he has them listed (monitor too) on his web site. Occasionally he tries to sell on eBay.

I've been to busy to worry about it .. it's an interesting piece of hardware, but it's not going to make my AT more enjoyable to use. A good 16 bit IDE controller is a much more practical purchase for an old machine. :-)

Yeah, and a good (vintage) VGA adaptor probably gives a better display, while still maintaining authenticity in an AT, and costs a whole lot less $$$...

--T

mbbrutman
June 13th, 2004, 06:14 AM
The PGA is a neat device and if one fell into my lap (as it did) I wouldn't turn it down. However it's not worth $80 for the adapter and another 100+ for the monitor, just to be able to run software that I don't have and probably have no chance of finding. And writing software for it would be fun, but I can't get to my normal projects without adding new ones. And even if I did, I'd probably have nobody to share it with ..

Sometimes I find it hard to prioritize what I should be doing with the old machines, and what can wait. The PGA, as notorious as it is, can probably wait.

There are other things I have spent significant time and money on. For example, an adapter to let me run 8 bit PC cards on a PC Jr. (It almost works - still some tweaking to do.) If I ever see another SCSI adapter for the Jr I'd be willing to spend good money on that too. I've spent lots of money for hard to find documentation that I have already made good use of.

My original PC AT (6Mhz upgraded to 8Mhz, ST 225) was upgraded to a 386-40 in 1993. I had kept the original peripherals, including the drive controller and EGA card. A few years ago I added another MFM drive (40 MB), and this year this year I added a Central Point option board.

The two best things I have done to this machine recently are shelving the EGA card and replacing it with a VGA card, and removing the MFM hardware and replacing it with a 16 bit EIDE controller and a 1.2GB drive. The machine is infinitely more usable now - it's primary use is as a diskette copying/archiving station for my PCjrs, and now I can store plenty of diskette images. It's not an original AT anymore, but I have the parts if I need to go back. (Not anytime soon....)

Super-Slasher
June 13th, 2004, 08:14 AM
I on the other hand like keeping my PC AT as original as possible. I've got tons of legacy 8/16-bit VGA cards (including a nice full-length ISA Hercules VGA, 256KB, I bileve), but the original EGA works fine. Plus including that all it can run is mainly DOS anyways, why would I shelf my IBM EGA monitor to use a generic monitor instead?

Same with the hard drive. The 30MB IBM MFM hard disk I have in it now is okay enough to store what little I want to on it. I'm actually considering when I get some extra cash from my student loan this fall to spend the $200-$300 to have the original Seagate 20MB MFM hard drive from my AT repaired (platter bearings went). While it is so much to have such an old drive repaired, it will make my AT even more authentic and that way, with practically a new hard drive, I know it can last probably another 18 years!

I'm still looking for more ways to make my system more authentic and complete, including looking for specific program diskettes, manuals(!), maybe even the system case stand if I could ever find one.

Even then, I don't use it much anymore. I haven't turned in on in over a month now. I have to think of a way to put it to good use, hehe.

What I want to do lately is actually network it to my regular system, either through ethernet or a DCC (direct cable connection). I think the latter would be most impressive. I got the universal null-modem serial cable just the other day...

Oh, and mbbrutman, exactly what sort of disk images to you save and have, curiously?

Terry Yager
June 13th, 2004, 03:33 PM
The PGA is a neat device and if one fell into my lap (as it did) I wouldn't turn it down. However it's not worth $80 for the adapter and another 100+ for the monitor, just to be able to run software that I don't have and probably have no chance of finding. And writing software for it would be fun, but I can't get to my normal projects without adding new ones. And even if I did, I'd probably have nobody to share it with ..

Good point!


Sometimes I find it hard to prioritize what I should be doing with the old machines, and what can wait. The PGA, as notorious as it is, can probably wait.

I know the feeling all too well. I have ADHD, so naturally, I have dozens of half-finished projects setting around, and add more daily, it seems. I've always been known for setting the current project on the back burner and starting another.



There are other things I have spent significant time and money on. For example, an adapter to let me run 8 bit PC cards on a PC Jr. (It almost works - still some tweaking to do.) If I ever see another SCSI adapter for the Jr I'd be willing to spend good money on that too. I've spent lots of money for hard to find documentation that I have already made good use of.

I have an old paralell - ST-506 adaptor, if ya think ya might could figger out how to use it, I could let it go fro cheap. Unfortunately, I have no documentation for it, so I'm clueless about it. The guy I got it from said that he used to use it to hang a hard drive off his Osborne 1, which as you probably already know, doesn't have a real paralell port, just an RS-422 serial port, and an IEE-488 (GPIB) socket, which can be cabled in such a way as to use a paralell printer with it somehow. Of course, if you wanted to use it on your Peanut, you'd have to somehow install a paralell port in that, too.


My original PC AT (6Mhz upgraded to 8Mhz, ST 225) was upgraded to a 386-40 in 1993. I had kept the original peripherals, including the drive controller and EGA card. A few years ago I added another MFM drive (40 MB), and this year this year I added a Central Point option board.


Sounds like a nice setup...



The two best things I have done to this machine recently are shelving the EGA card and replacing it with a VGA card, and removing the MFM hardware and replacing it with a 16 bit EIDE controller and a 1.2GB drive. The machine is infinitely more usable now - it's primary use is as a diskette copying/archiving station for my PCjrs, and now I can store plenty of diskette images. It's not an original AT anymore, but I have the parts if I need to go back. (Not anytime soon....)

Yes, I have a '386 luggable that I use strictly as a media-transfer station. I can hang a SCSI CD off it and copy files from the Walnut Creek CDROM, or files that I d/l from web-land onto various CP/M 5.25" floppy formats, via sneaker-net.

--T

Terry Yager
June 13th, 2004, 03:52 PM
What I want to do lately is actually network it to my regular system, either through ethernet or a DCC (direct cable connection). I think the latter would be most impressive. I got the universal null-modem serial cable just the other day...

Oh, and mbbrutman, exactly what sort of disk images to you save and have, curiously?

DOS's Intersvr/Interlnk programs should work pretty well with that setup, if you're running a recent enough version of DOS. OTOH, since you run XP, I think you'll have to create a DOS bootdisk for the XP machine to use DOS programs on it.

--T

mbbrutman
June 13th, 2004, 05:36 PM
Super-Slasher,

I keep two other PC ATs around, and they are as original as the day they were born. One is an old 6Mhz Type 1 with the original CMI hard drive in it, still working. The other is a later 8Mhz model with just 512K on it and a Seagate 4012? (30MB) drive. Both have matching 5154s on full length EGA cards. The earlier AT has the old keyboard with just 10 function keys. The newer AT has one of the first Model Ms, which I think shipped with it. (That BIOS supports 12 function keys.)

I generally like to keep my machines original too. The AT that I upgraded was an exception. It was 1993 and I had the machine since 1990, and it was too slow to run Turbo C++ 3.0 on. I needed to learn C++ for work, so I needed the upgrade. The replacement motherboard was an AMD 386-40 based board with 128K L2 cache. Memory was 1 MB SIMMS, which cost me $47 per stick back then. With the extra hard drive, I could run Turbo C++ acceptably. And man, what a speed increase - the 386-40 with the L2 cache was nearly as fast as a 486-25 on everything except floating point.

Back then I wasn't collecting my PCs - I was using them. I retired that machine in 1994 when I bit the bullet and upgraded to a 486-66 system running OS/2. The system came out of retirement two years ago to be my diskette copy station.

As for the diskettes, I needed to copy and archive my diskettes before the bits started falling off. Some of the diskettes had gone bad after 15 years of use/disuse. So I did the following:

-Made a raw binary image using 'ditu', which does a block by block copy. This is for non-protected diskettes.

-Made a zip file of the files on each diskette.

- For copy protected diskettes I used Teledisk to make diskette images. I also used a Central Point Option Board, which is a hardware solution that is nearly infallible.

- Scanned the diskette label so that I could get version numbers, serial numbers, etc. without pulling the original diskette out.

I still have a few hundred more diskettes to go through. :-)

Ethernet works fine on an old AT .... I use that to get the diskette images back and forth to my more capable machines. I use the MS Lan requestor for DOS running over TCP/IP. The AT/386 runs DOS 5. It can connect to file shares on a Linux machine and my Windows machines.

mbbrutman
June 13th, 2004, 05:39 PM
It's a ST-506 adapter that runs on a parallel port? It must require device drivers to use it, right? The ST-506 is just the cruddy old MFM interface, so it can drive an ST-225, etc. Tell me more about it ...

Peanuts have parallel ports available as a sidecar - I use my to drive a parallel-to-SCSI adapter for hard drive and CD-ROM support. There is a neat hack you can do to make it PS/2 bi-directional, which helps greatly when running a hard drive off of it.

Super-Slasher
June 13th, 2004, 06:21 PM
Oh, that's cool then, mbbrutman.

One of my questions was what kinds of diskettes do you back up? Like what software?

Terry Yager
June 13th, 2004, 06:25 PM
It's a ST-506 adapter that runs on a parallel port? It must require device drivers to use it, right? The ST-506 is just the cruddy old MFM interface, so it can drive an ST-225, etc. Tell me more about it ...
About all I know about it is that it was made by Konan (a pretty good name), and that it's called a "David Jr" (Konan also made an S-100 controller by the name of "David." This must be it's offspring). I got it on eBay a while back, almost by accident. I was curious about it, so I bid a dollar on it, never expecting to win it for that. Turns out nobody else bid on it at all, so I won it for $.25! The shipping on it was $8.00, so if ya want it for that, I'd let it go real easy. I'll drag it out of storage tomorrow and photograph it for ya if you'd like to see what it looks like.


Peanuts have parallel ports available as a sidecar - I use my to drive a parallel-to-SCSI adapter for hard drive and CD-ROM support. There is a neat hack you can do to make it PS/2 bi-directional, which helps greatly when running a hard drive off of it.

Yes, I remember the sidecars, but I've never seen the paralell - SCSI one before. Sounds interesting tho. I do remember in the past, running MFM (ST-506) to SCSI host adaptor "bridge boards." I used to have two of them, one that came out of a SUN machine (3/60, IIRC), and the other was of forgotten origin (Adaptec?). Both worked flawlessly running a pair of full-height 5.25" SCSI drives (talk about your power-drain...).

--T

mbbrutman
June 14th, 2004, 10:37 AM
It's a wide mix ... here are some examples:

- My original DOS diskettes (DOS 2.1, DOS 3.3, etc.)
- Misc diskettes: (IBM Diagnostics, Exploring the PCjr, driver diskettes)
- Original program files: (Wordstar, Flight Sim, etc.)
- Diskettes that I did my work with

Micom 2000
June 23rd, 2004, 05:25 PM
I think I have found an IBM Professional Graphics Adapter. It's three boards sandwiched together, taking up two slots. There are two connections to the bus, both designed for 8 bit buses. The output connector looks like CGA or EGA - 9 pin D shell.

Does anybody have documentation? I know they were very rare due to their cost, and there is no hope of finding the monitor. But being able to read the docs would give me an idea of what I need to look for.

Mike

I had a PGA monitor about 6 years ago that I tried without avail to give
away on the classiccmp mail-list after many years of trying to find the adaptor for. IIRC it had a resolution in-between CGA and EGA, somewhat similar to RGBI. IIRC early Mueller books mentioned it and gave some specs. It had some built-in hardware perks related to 3d CAD I believe.
I might have some other info on one of my boxes, but it wouldn't be trivial
to find it.

Lawrence

Micom 2000
June 23rd, 2004, 06:00 PM
An interesting thread.
I've been an IBM collector for some time and have many models , especially PS/2s. The box I'm posting this on is an upgraded PC350
my main computer. I have several IBM PCs but my favorite has an
Intel Inboard 386. I love the expressions when I turn it on and
scoffers see a PC running with a VGA monitor. It is a daughter-board
mounted on the original PC. There was also a memory expander card
for the mod but unfortunately I have yet to find one.

While I do have original configuration machines, I love the mods that
transcended the original limitations.

Lawrence

Terry Yager
June 23rd, 2004, 07:05 PM
While I do have original configuration machines, I love the mods that
transcended the original limitations.

Lawrence

Oh, kinda like me, running MSDOS on my CP/M machine...

--T

Micom 2000
June 23rd, 2004, 11:06 PM
While I do have original configuration machines, I love the mods that
transcended the original limitations.

Lawrence

Oh, kinda like me, running MSDOS on my CP/M machine...

--T

On a Dec Rainbow it was second nature. Was it Uniform that used to be able to do that ? An original simulator ? The Atari ST could run CP/M but that was really simulation, CP/M 68. Magic-Sac used actual Apple ROMS on an ST to run Apple-Dos. The maker was sued by Apple.
The C128 IIRC like the 'bow also had a second Z-80 processor IIRC.

Peter Holowaty
July 25th, 2004, 01:32 PM
I have both the IBM PGA display adapter and the 5175 monitor that goes with it. The display is in perfect condition, but is no longer functional. When I received the unit, the image displayed on the screen through the PGA adapter was distorted, so using some online documentation, I opened up the display and attempted to adjust the output. I successfully managed to clean up the picture, but after attempting to display some CGA graphics (which are emulated by the card), the display went dead on me. According to a repair guide on the internet, a capacitor in the power supply has likely gone bad with age and should be replaced. I have not messed with the monitor since, because I am affraid I will either electrocute myself, or damage the monitor in the process. Hopefully one day I will bump into somebody that is familiar with repairing these displays though.

According to several sources the 5175 monitor is identical to the 5154 with the exception of the electronics contained in the small metal box mounted in the inside of the unit. In theory the 5154 and 5175 electronics can be interchanged. I have not yet attempted to do this. I haven't had time to play with old computer crap for a good year now.

Lastly, some information on the internet claiming that PGA is TTL is incorrect. PGA and VGA are both analogue and have very similar pinouts. I think the only major difference has to do with the way in which PGA separates colour. I believe PGA uses composite, while VGA uses separate red, green and blue. I looked into building an adapter, and it looks relatively simple. But, since my PGA display is not working at the moment, I have no reason to do this. Converting a VGA monitor to work on a PGA card should be about the same thing.

To conclude my post, I would like to say that the PGA adapter is pretty much useless because there are no drivers available for it (unless some talented individual goes out of his/her way to write some). The 5175 display on the otherhand is quite nice, because combined with an adapter will allow you to display VGA graphics on your XT, AT without giving up the look of authenticity.

Chris2005
March 3rd, 2005, 04:16 PM
I can't read through all that crap right now. The PGA monitor (Princeton also offered one) DID use analog signals. How else would you get 256 colors. I don't know if it could put them all on screen at the same time though. Use it with a multisync - new ones may even work, because it's resolution was 640 x 480, so it's got to be near the bottom of vga in terms of sync rates. I have...well kinda...something similar. A Vermont Microsystems card with an 80186 onboard (the PGA had an 80188?). There's an interesting story about this company on the net somewhere. They took Autodesk to court over the use of some triangulation algorithm, and won. Mine takes up 2 slots (I thought the PGA took up 3?).
You need special drivers. I don't think it was compatible with the CGA/MDA, and came out prior to EGA. Probably only ran high end stuff, scientific/cad whatnot. Quite a find. I'm jealous too.

Terry Yager
March 3rd, 2005, 06:39 PM
No, the PGA adaptor only takes two slots, but it does consist of three boards, with the center one riding between the PC-spaced slots.

--T

mainboard777
June 8th, 2010, 06:16 PM
http://www.seasip.info/VintagePC/pgc.html
This page gives lots of info on the hardward and the software.

IBMMuseum
June 8th, 2010, 07:23 PM
http://www.seasip.info/VintagePC/pgc.html
This page gives lots of info on the hardward and the software.

Yes, John is a member here, and occassionally posts...

saundby
June 8th, 2010, 10:51 PM
I coded a bunch of software for the PGA/PGC back when it was the latest and greatest. So here's a few tidbits for you from memory.

It had no BIOS support, except for a very basic CGA compatability mode that required throwing a hardware switch on the board--which never happened. It was usually used to drive a second display on a system, the main display would be a standard card like an MDA or HGC card.

There were some sample routines provided on disk, with some sample source code for IBM compilers. I built my own assembly routines then called those from MS Fortran or Turbo Pascal. You could put all 256 colors onscreen simultaneously. The resolution and color depth made it the equal of workstation display systems costing tens of thousands of dollars at the time, like the ones for Sun or Apollo (my favorite at the time.) Most professional programs intended for use with the PGC included their own software. Mostly CAD/CAM stuff. I was doing scientific visualization software on ours.

It was far more flexible and faster than VGA. I felt VGA was quite a step down when it came out, with its limited functions and limited memory window (the PGC took 2K of system memory, but you didn't talk to its memory, you passed it commands and it talked directly to all of its graphics memory while processing the display list you gave it.) Coding sophisticated graphics on the PGC was far more straightforward, more expressive thanks to a lot more hardware functions, and took a lot less overhead than VGA. But VGA was cheap. Personally I was hoping for wide acceptance of the TI 34010 and 34020, which were more like the PGC from a programmer's standpoint (and even more so, not to mention cheap, but not as cheap as a VGA fixed-function processor.)

The displays that could be programmed with the PGC made VGA look like garbage. Only when 8415 graphics came out did things start to look decent again. I still have some VGA software I ported from PGC. The look of it makes me gag compared to how it looked on PGC. Only the Amiga's HAM mode and the 34010 card produced as nice a display (almost as nice on the Amiga, even nicer on the 34010 with the right monitor.)

So, unless you're really into coding graphics and don't care how useful it is to others, there's not much point to one now.

Though turning up one of those 34010 boards might be worthwhile... ;)

per
June 9th, 2010, 01:58 AM
It had no BIOS support, except for a very basic CGA compatability mode that required throwing a hardware switch on the board--which never happened.
My card got all the jumper present from factory, except for the light-pen interface (it was never supported by the firmware anyways).

mikey99
June 9th, 2010, 03:51 PM
So, unless you're really into coding graphics and don't care how useful it is to others, there's not much point to one now.


Thanks for the info on the PGC card, I have one of the cards and monitor and have played around with it occasionally.
There were a couple of in depth articles about the card in several of the PC magazines. I scanned these in awhile
back lmk if anyone wants a copy. One thing I have been looking for is the demo diskettes that came with the PGC.
One of the articles mentions a demo diskette and also a graphics toolkit, which I've never seen.