IBM 5151 Monochrome CRT, MDA, Hercules video is online

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

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An “Oddware” overview of all sorts of monochrome graphical greatness: The IBM 5151 monochrome CRT monitor, PC MDA graphics, Hercules graphics, emulated CGA programs, green/amber/white phosphor, text modes vs. graphics, etc. Mmm, gotta love 80’s computing and obsolete graphics hardware!


6 comments on “IBM 5151 Monochrome CRT, MDA, Hercules video is online

  1. Kevin Dady says:

    I cheat, I have owned a NEC Multisync jc 1401p3a since the early 90’s but it was damn near 10 years old then.

    This 14 inch bastard will do all of your TTL modes mono and RGB, and since its a color screen let you select the color of monochome displays with a series of somewhat RGB dip switches in the back. It also does split sync Analog RGB so it supports most Classic Macintosh modes and VGA up to 800×600 @56Hz (if you want to hear it sequel)

    It also supports 15.whatever Khz NTSC so if you can set your sights on one of these things for a fair price GET IT!!!

    RGB NTSC for arcade systems, TTL for MDA-EGA, RGB 640×480 60HZ (800×600 56Hz) VGA , Mac compatibility, full scan, no ghosts (ok I like the ghosts sometimes too, it reminds me of childhood) Selectable text color and is slightly smaller than your MDA display on a pedestal?

    come on you know you want it, its one monitor to rule them all!

    (ps: thank you for calling it a DE9, not a DB9 … E & B are size specs of the outer shell!)

    • Haha, holy crap, those multisync monitors are incredible things aren’t they? Thanks for the tip on that one! I hope to someday have a monitor as versatile as that. Closest I have is a Sony KV-1311CR.

      Oh and you’re welcome with the DE-9 reference! Hehe, wouldn’t you know it, I’ve already heard from someone else saying that I was totally wrong, that’s “actually DB-9 not DE-9”. Sigh.

  2. Gemini says:

    The interlacing/blockiness on Hercules cards is primarily due to 348 vertical lines not translating well from the 200 lines of CGA/EGA graphics. : P

    In fact, many old games didn’t have true Hercules graphics modes with their own graphics sets and instead, took data from the CGA/EGA modes and simply translated each colour into its own special set of pixels. (This is why many Accolade titles don’t have specific HGC data sets.)

    One neat thing you should try is hooking up your HGC (alongside a typical VGA/SVGA card) into a machine capable of running the DOS version of MechWarrior 2, making sure to go into the BIOS and properly reserve the HGC memory space. By doing this, you can run a normal monitor on the main graphics card, and another monitor on the HGC simultaneously. Mech2 shows debugging data on the HGC while doing this! : O

    • Ah, that was my guess, thanks for clearing that up! It’d be interesting to have a list of games that uses true HGC graphics, and not just scaled CGA/EGA graphics. It’s been a trial-and-error process so far, because of course the games themselves don’t tell you what’s going on.

      I’ll have to try that with MechWarrior 2 sometime, that sounds awesome!

      • Kevin Dady says:

        I also find it interesting that “The Duel” lacks the crappy voice, that game was my first introduction to PC Games on an amber screen but now, years later I notice that the Apple // version says “Accolade Presents” in a crap voice during the splash screen.

        I cant remember off hand if the mac version does as well but I have it loaded on the SE so I will check it in the morning

  3. Sam says:

    This is awesome! I’ve emulated Hercules before in DOSBox, but it’s nothing like seeing the glowing phosphors of the real thing in this video. Hopefully I’ll run across a monochrome monitor sometime so I can try this for myself.

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