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The prototype Hercules graphics card #IBMPC #VintageComputing #History

Tube Time on Twitter posts pictures and information about the Hercules Graphics Card: “Here’s something you’ve never seen before! this is the first prototype — serial #1 — of the famous Hercules graphics card. while i can’t date this prototype, the chips have 1982 date codes.”

Further information in subsequent posts:

Hercules released their eponymous graphics board as a compatible upgrade to IBM’s MDA card which is text-only. MDA only supports 80×25 text. Since each character cell is 9 pixels x 14 pixels tall, full screen resolution is 720×350.

Hercules provided a full frame buffer of 720×348 pixels. (graphics mode fell short by 2 lines for various technical reasons) since the sync signals were nearly identical, you could upgrade MDA to Hercules and keep your existing monitor!

the only other graphics card that was readily available at the time was the IBM CGA. sure, it was color, but the resolution was 640×200 with nasty rectangular pixels and issues with flicker and “CGA snow”

This is what the release version looked like. it’s very close to the prototype, but presumably they incorporated all those bodge wires.

See this Twitter thread for more information.


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