Super VGA

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Super VGA
Vlb svga.jpg
Typical VLB SVGA card
Release dateAugust 31, 1987; 35 years ago (1987-08-31)
PredecessorVideo Graphics Array

Super VGA (SVGA) is a broad term that covers a wide range of computer display standards that extended IBM's VGA specification.[1]

When used as shorthand for a resolution, as VGA and XGA often are, SVGA refers to a resolution of 800×600.[2]


Comparison between common display resolutions, including several resolutions defined for Super VGA by VESA BIOS Extensions

In the late 1980s, after the release of IBM's VGA, third-party manufacturers began making graphics cards based on its specifications with extended capabilities. As these cards grew in popularity they began to be referred to as "Super VGA."

This term was not an official standard, but a shorthand for enhanced VGA cards which had become common by 1988.[1] One card that explicitly used the term was Genoa's SuperVGA HiRes.[3]

Super VGA cards broke compatibility with the IBM VGA standard, requiring software developers to provide specific display drivers and implementations for each card their software could operate on. Initially, the heavy restrictions this placed on software developers slowed the uptake of Super VGA cards, which motivated VESA to produce a unifying standard, the VESA BIOS Extensions (VBE), first introduced in 1989,[4] to provide a common software interface to all cards implementing the VBE specification.[5]

Eventually, graphics adapters under the Super VGA umbrella would support an innumerable quantity of modes.


The Super VGA standardized the following resolutions:[4]

  • 640×400 or 640×480 with 256 colors
  • 800×600 with 24-bit color depth
  • 1024×768 with 24-bit color depth
  • 1280×1024 with 24-bit color depth

SVGA uses the same DE-15 VGA connector as the original standard, and otherwise operates over the same cabling and interfaces as VGA.

Early manufacturers[edit]

Some early Super VGA manufacturers and some of their models, where available:


  1. ^ a b Richter, Jake (1990-07-16). "High-Resolution Video Boards". InfoWorld. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc. 12 (29): 55. ISSN 0199-6649.
  2. ^ "Projector Guide - Resolution | Epson US". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  3. ^ "Take a peek at Genoa's new PC graphics add-on". PC Mag. Ziff Davis, Inc. 7 (14): 174. 1988-08-01. ISSN 0888-8507.
  4. ^ a b "SUPER VGA BIOS EXTENSION Standard # VS891001 › Gemixtes". 2013-12-11. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  5. ^ VESA BIOS Extension (VBE) Core Functions Standard 3.0 (PDF). Milpitas, CA: Video Electronics Standards Association. 16 September 1998. p. 3.
  6. ^ Juris, Robbin; Miller, Catherine; Ricciardi, Salvatore; Tate-Austin, Priscilla (1988-11-15). "Small-Footprint 386 PCs". PC Mag. Ziff Davis, Inc. 7 (2): 98. ISSN 0888-8507.
  7. ^, Stas Bekman: stas (at). "AST VGA PLUS (202262-001, 002, 003) video card Settings and Configuration". Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  8. ^ a b Unknown ATI 8-bit videocard, Google Groups
  9. ^ Need info on old Video Seven VGA card, Google Groups
  10. ^, Stas Bekman: stas (at). "SUPERVGA HIRES-10 5200-10, SUPERVGA 5100 video card Settings and Configuration". Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  11. ^ "Motherboards/Laptops built-in graphics".
  12. ^, Stas Bekman: stas (at). "DESIGNER VGA video card Settings and Configuration". Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  13. ^, Stas Bekman: stas (at). "PARADISE VGA PLUS 16 video card Settings and Configuration". Retrieved 2022-12-27.
  14. ^ VGA, or what to do with my tax return!, Google Groups
  15. ^ VGA monitor and adapter choices, Google Groups
  16. ^ IBM's EGA and VGA, Google Groups
  17. ^ Poor, Alfred (July 1989). "VGA and NTSC: Putting your Program on TV". PC Mag. Ziff Davis, Inc. 8 (13): 158. ISSN 0888-8507.