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Thread: Apple ][ Graphics Cards

  1. #1
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    Default Apple ][ Graphics Cards

    Ive searched quite a bit on this but curious if there were ever any graphics cards released for apple IIs that enhanced the graphics capabilities of the machine? Ive searched but came up empty and attribute this to how tightly the hardware was integrated. So were there ever any graphics enhancing cards released?

  2. #2

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    Sure; but it depends on what do you mean with graphics cards. I don't know any that added better graphics modes to the internal video generator; but I know of some subtle enhancements done through RGB converters.
    Also, there're several "Sprite Cards" (SuperSprite or Arcade Board or the EZ Color interface) that usually are based in the well-known TMS9918 VDP and have their own video ouput so I don't consider them as proper graphic cards. Never seen one in action so I'm not sure if they offer some kind of overlapping over the original Apple II graphics.

  3. #3
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    A computerised knitting machine company created a HiRes analog RGB card for the Apple 2. I think it was used for design.

  4. #4

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    A2Heaven makes a VGA adapter for the Ramworks II/III as well as a standalone VGA card. It doesn't make the graphics any better, but it does let you use your Apple II with a standard VGA monitor. The only video enhancement was the Enhanced upgrade for the Apple II, giving it hi-res graphics.

    Would be a cool proof of concept if someone did make one after all these years. It's be just that, though, proof of concept, since there'd be exactly zero titles that'd be able to take advantage of the video card.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
    A2Heaven makes a VGA adapter for the Ramworks II/III as well as a standalone VGA card. It doesn't make the graphics any better, but it does let you use your Apple II with a standard VGA monitor. The only video enhancement was the Enhanced upgrade for the Apple II, giving it hi-res graphics.

    Would be a cool proof of concept if someone did make one after all these years. It's be just that, though, proof of concept, since there'd be exactly zero titles that'd be able to take advantage of the video card.
    Yeah exactly. I was curious if there were any cards that upgraded the video capabilities to have more color, higher resolution, etc.

  6. #6

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    Well, if you like knitting ... :P

    For general computing, I don't think there ever was. Plenty of sound cards, though. It could be that the bitty 6502 just wasn't powerful enough. Any video card made would have a CPU that's more powerful than the Apple II. Which reminds me of the original Macintosh II (at least I think it was the Macintosh II.) It had a video card option that had a CPU that was faster than the one in the computer.

    Edit: Or maybe I'm thinking of the printer? Hell, I can't remember. I just remember that it was a peripheral that was faster than the computer to which it was connected. :P

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by olePigeon View Post
    Which reminds me of the original Macintosh II (at least I think it was the Macintosh II.) It had a video card option that had a CPU that was faster than the one in the computer.

    Edit: Or maybe I'm thinking of the printer? Hell, I can't remember. I just remember that it was a peripheral that was faster than the computer to which it was connected. :P
    That was the original Apple LaserWriter printer, introduced in 1985. It had a 12 MHz 68000 processor and 1.5 MB of RAM, while the Macintosh computers it was used with at the time had an 8 MHz 68000 CPU and 512K of RAM.

    But it was nothing new for peripherals to have their own CPU equal to or superior to that of the host computer, such as the Commodore 1541 disk drive which had its own 6502 CPU and once programmed, could run independently of the computer.

  8. #8

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    That's what it was. Hah.

  9. #9
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    It was ingenious. It still works well to this day. It's only because microprocessors got fast and expensive that we got away from doing this.

    Incidentally modern computers all do this for graphics.

  10. #10

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    The SecondSight video card added an Oak SVGA chip to any Apple II along with shadowing of the on-board Apple II video.

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