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Monochrome Graphics Boards [message #72802] Sat, 25 May 2013 10:52 Go to next message
Originally posted by: ojs@fortune.UUCP (Oliver Sharp)
Message-ID: <3770@fortune.UUCP>
Date: Wed, 11-Jul-84 12:05:48 EDT
Article-I.D.: fortune.3770
Posted: Wed Jul 11 12:05:48 1984
Date-Received: Thu, 12-Jul-84 03:52:37 EDT
Organization: Fortune Systems, Redwood City, CA
Lines: 21


  I am looking into adding a monochrome graphics board into my system.
  It would be nice if it were Hercules compatible, so at present the
  best possibilities seem to be Hercules and AST.  Does anyone know
  anything about the AST?  I haven't seen reviews or anything, but it
  is supposedly out there.  AST seems like a heads-up company, so this
  board looks pretty good.  The extra serial port will come in handy.
  The Hercules is OK, but we have one at work and it has a little bit
  of flicker - a nuisance, but nothing serious.  My main reason for
  getting the AST is the reputation of the company and the extra port.
  Anyone with any special praise/flames for other Monochrome graphics
  cards, send 'em on in.  

  Thanx ........

  Oliver Sharp
Re: Monochrome Graphics Boards [message #72812 is a reply to message #72802] Sat, 25 May 2013 10:52 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Originally posted by: mark@cbhydra.uucp
Message-ID: <122@cbhydra.uucp>
Date: Thu, 12-Jul-84 14:04:27 EDT
Article-I.D.: cbhydra.122
Posted: Thu Jul 12 14:04:27 1984
Date-Received: Fri, 13-Jul-84 04:54:25 EDT
References: <3770@fortune.UUCP>
Organization: AT&T Bell Laboratories, Columbus
Lines: 42

I have an STB graphics plus.  This is a "we do both color and monochrome"
board - I've used it with an Amdek 310A (IBM compatible) monochrome
monitor and with a color composite monitor (my TV played through a
VCR used as an RF modulator).  It has good and bad points.

The good news is it's very cheap.  I bought it through PC network and I
paid less than I would have to buy the official IBM monochrome only
monitor card.  It also got a favorable review in PC magazine - no
flicker at all on the RGB board.  It also comes with a very good RAM
disk - this RAM disk is so good it fools not only PC DOS but also CPM/86
and Venix/86 into thinking there is a second floppy there.  (Xenix and
Coherent are not fooled.)  And it will run regular color graphics on
an IBM monochrome monitor (squashed vertically because the IBM monitor
has 350 some odd lines, the color only 200.)  And the parallel port can
also be configured as a bidirectional port and used for two way
communications with a similar port on another machine or as a hard disk

There is some bad news, however.  You wanted Hercules compatibility,
I gather that this isn't there.  It's not very well made - the
parallel port sticks out through an ugly hole in the back of the
board, it doesn't come with the little plastic goobie to hold the front
end of the board in place, and it just doesn't look as slick as the
IBM or Quadram boards (the board has an overall copper tint rather than
green, although this probably doesn't make any difference.)  The composite
port only outputs B/W, and when combined with the Microsoft Flight
simiulator that only outputs color on the composite port (at least the
version I got - there's a new one out that does RGB color but in spite
of the blurb in my MFS telling me that sending in my warrantee card would
get me a dirt cheap upgrade rate, they won't upgrade for less than
the full price) it means you can't get color.  Finally, for reasons I
don't understand, it won't do monochrome graphics on the Amdek 310 or
310A monitor, even though they are supposedly IBM compatible.  You just
get a blank screen.  I also called STB asking questions about such things
and they aren't very helpful.

However, if you've just bought a PC or XT and are looking for a quickie
card to make the silly thing work, don't want to spend much money, and
think you might want to upgrade to color later, the STB board is probably
a good thing.  The monochrome text mode works perfectly.  (It fails IBM
diagnostics, but so does my Quadboard.)  I haven't tried color text or
graphics but they are claimed (in the review) to work well with no flicker.
Re: Monochrome Graphics Boards [message #72826 is a reply to message #72802] Sat, 25 May 2013 10:52 Go to previous message
lauren is currently offline  lauren
Messages: 128
Registered: March 2013
Karma: 0
Senior Member
Message-ID: <356@vortex.UUCP>
Date: Fri, 13-Jul-84 00:05:34 EDT
Article-I.D.: vortex.356
Posted: Fri Jul 13 00:05:34 1984
Date-Received: Sat, 14-Jul-84 14:00:38 EDT
References: <122@cbhydra.uucp>
Organization: Vortex Technology, Los Angeles
Lines: 14

I know why the STB graphics+ won't work on an Amdek monitor.  And it's
a bad sign (for the STB, not for the Amdek).  The IBM monitor has
no concept of a real sync rate; it tries to lock onto whatever is
fed into it.  Unfortunately, if you feed in "obscure" scan rates
(like the STB does [they don't admit this except in the hard
to obtain STB internal tech reference] you can damage the IBM monitor.
Badly.  On the other hand, the Amdek has a genuine phase-locked loop
sync system, that prevents the monitor from going bonzo when faced
with strange scan rates.  Of course it won't lock onto those rates, but
that's how it protects itself.  Indications are that long-term use
of the STB board in monochrome graphics modes with an IBM monitor could
drastically shorten the lifetime of the monitor itself.

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