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, to provide a common software interface to all cards implementing the VBE specification.[4]

The VBE standardized resolutions of 800×600, 1024×768 and 1280×1024 with 4- and 8-bit color depths.[5] Eventually, graphics adapters under the Super VGA umbrella would support an innumerable quantity of modes.

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

Early manufacturers[edit]

Some early Super VGA manufacturers (in parentheses, some of their models, where available) were:


  1. ^ a b Richter, Jake (1990-07-16). High-Resolution Video Boards. InfoWorld Media Group, Inc.
  2. ^ "Projector Guide - Resolution | Epson US". Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  3. ^ Inc, Ziff Davis (1988-08-01). PC Mag. Ziff Davis, Inc.
  4. ^ VBE CORE FUNCTIONS VERSION 3.0 (PDF). VESA. 1994. p. 3.
  5. ^ "SUPER VGA BIOS EXTENSION Standard # VS891001 › Gemixtes". 2013-12-11. Archived from the original on 2013-12-11. Retrieved 2020-08-17.
  6. ^ a b Unknown ATI 8-bit videocard, Google Groups
  7. ^ Need info on old Video Seven VGA card, Google Groups
  8. ^[bare URL plain text file]
  9. ^ VGA, or what to do with my tax return!, Google Groups
  10. ^ VGA monitor and adapter choices, Google Groups
  11. ^ IBM's EGA and VGA, Google Groups