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Thread: IBM 5160 Graphics card upgrade

  1. #1

    Question IBM 5160 Graphics card upgrade

    I would like to upgrade the graphics adapter in my IBM 5160 which is currently an IBM MDA connected to an IBM 5151.

    I have tried an IBM CGA adapter connected to an IBM 5153 but the text mode blinks when scrolling and the characters look ugly/blury compared to the MDA setup.


    Am I right in thinking that a better solution would be to use an EGA card that emulates the MDA and CGA modes (not 100%) via DIP switches accessible from the rear bracket?

    I could then use either an IBM 5151, IBM 5153 or IBM 5154 monitor by simply changing the DIP switches on the EGA card.

    I could even use a more modern VGA CRT / flat panel with a MDA/CGA/EGA to VGA converter and set the EGA card DIP switches to whatever I like.


    These are the MDA/CGA/EGA to VGA converters I have found:

    EternalCRT - MDA/CGA/EGA to VGA Converter Box
    MCE2VGA - CGA/EGA/Hercules/MDA to VGA Converter


    These are the EGA cards I have found:

    IBM EGA Graphics Adapter Card without daughter expansion card
    AST-3G Plus EGA videocard ISA 202104-001 256K IBM AT XT
    STB EGA Multi Res 8-Bit ISA Video Card

    Which of the converters would be better? (I'm thinking about the EternalCRT but it's out of stock at the moment)

    Which of the EGA cards would be better? (Maybe something else?)

    Thank you.

  2. #2
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    Switching to an EGA card would allow you to use the same 5153 monitor, and the blinking chars on scrolling would cease. You'd also gain access to 320x200x16 modes which are good for games that don't involve a lot of fast action (the 5160 is too slow for EGA action games, although a 286 or better is fine).

    However, the text quality would be the same 8x8 font you're looking at on CGA. If you really want to increase the text quality, as well as gain access to full EGA and VGA video modes, it is simpler to just use an ISA VGA card and hook it up to whatever you want. While 8-bit VGA cards exist, most 16-bit VGA cards work fine in 8-bit slots, usually without jumpering or DIP switch changes. The downsides to using VGA are 1. Some CGA-only games will no longer work, and 2. The system will no longer be "stock"/"authentic".

    The converter boxes work with CGA but they won't change the flickering scrolling or low-res text. That's coming from CGA.
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    Most 16-bit vga cards work on a 5160? I thought relatively few cards were compatible.

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    If you have any VGA card made before 1992, chances are very high it will work in an 8-bit slot.

    There was a list/wiki/post on this forum at one point that listed cards found to be compatible, but if you grab one from 1991 or earlier it should work just fine. I recommend the ATI VGA Wonder, but others with a PVGA1A (paradise) chipset are fine too. Most Trident cards work as well.
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  5. #5

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    VGA on a 5160? Yep. This info from -0 might help:

    http://minuszerodegrees.net/5160/vga/5160_vga.htm

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