IBM 8514

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IBM 8514
The IBM 8514 Micro Channel adapter, with memory add-on.
Release date 1987; 29 years ago (1987)
Entry-level IBM Image Adapter/A
Predecessor VGA
Successor XGA

IBM 8514 is an IBM graphics computer display standard supporting a display resolution of 1024x768 pixels with 256 colors at 43.5 Hz (interlaced), or 640x480 at 60 Hz (non-interlaced).[1] 8514 usually refers to the display controller hardware (such as the 8514/A display adapter.) However, IBM sold the companion CRT monitor (for use with the 8514/A) which carries the same designation, 8514.

8514 used a standardised programming interface called the "Adapter Interface" or AI. This interface is also used by XGA, IBM Image Adapter/A, and clones of the 8514/A and XGA such as the ATI Technologies Mach 32 and IIT AGX. The interface allows computer software to offload common 2D-drawing operations (line-draw, color-fill, BITBLT) onto the 8514 hardware. This freed the host CPU for other tasks, and greatly improved the speed of redrawing a graphics visual (such as a pie-chart or CAD-illustration).


8514 was introduced with the IBM Personal System/2 computers in April 1987. It was an optional upgrade to the Micro Channel architecture based PS/2's Video Graphics Array (VGA), and was delivered within three months of PS/2's introduction.

Although not the first PC video card to support hardware acceleration, IBM's 8514 is often credited as the first PC mass-market fixed-function accelerator. Up until the 8514's introduction, PC graphics acceleration was relegated to expensive workstation-class, graphics coprocessor boards. Coprocessor boards (such as the TARGA Truevision series) were designed around special CPU or digital signal processor (DSP) chips, which were programmable. Fixed-function accelerators, such as the 8514, sacrificed programmability for better cost/performance ratio.

Later compatible 8514 boards were based on the Texas Instruments TMS34010 chip.

8514 was later superseded by IBM XGA.

Software support[edit]

Software that supported this graphic standard:[2]

Clone hardware[edit]

Third-party graphics suppliers did not clone IBM's 8514 as extensively as VGA.

Output capabilities[edit]

8514 offered:

  • 640×480 in 256 colors out of 262,144 (18 bit)
  • 1024×768 in 256 colors out of 262,144 (18 bit)
  • 640×480 text mode with 80x34 characters
  • 1024×768 text mode with 85x38 characters
  • 1024×768 text mode with 146x51 characters

Latter clone board offered additional resolutions:

  • 800×600 with 16-bit and 24-bit color depths
  • 1280×1024 with 16-bit and 24-bit color depths

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Richter, Jake; Smith, Bud (April 1990). Graphics Programming for the 8514/A: The New PC Graphics Standard. M & T Books. ISBN 1-55851-086-9. 
  • Sanchez, Julio; Canton, Maria P. (February 26, 2003). The PC Graphics Handbook. CRC. ISBN 0-8493-1678-2. 

This article is based on material taken from the Free On-line Dictionary of Computing prior to 1 November 2008 and incorporated under the "relicensing" terms of the GFDL, version 1.3 or later.