Jon Peddie is the president of Jon Peddie Research, a market researcher and consulting firm focused on graphics hardware development, multimedia for professional applications, consumer electronics, and high-end computing. He is considered a pioneer in the graphics industry and talks at many conferences and universities on topics pertaining to graphics technology and emerging trends in digital media. Former President of Siggraph Pioneers, he serves on advisory board of several conferences, organizations, and companies, and contributes articles to numerous publications.
NEC startled the world in 1982 with a VLSI implementation of not just a CRT controller, but a full-fledged graphics controller with a built in drawing library, a game-changing product that set the path for decades of chips to follow.
The chip incorporated all the CRT control functions (known as the CRTC) as well as graphics primitives for arcs, lines, circles and special characters. Processor software overhead was minimized by the GDC’s sophisticated instruction set, graphics figure drawing, and DMA transfer capabilities. It supported a light pen and could drive up to four megabits of bit-mapped graphics memory, which was quite a lot for the time.
For more: https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/chasing-pixels/famous-graphics-chips
IBM's EGA to VGA
IBM had been setting the standards for PC graphics since 1981, and the EGA, introduced in 1987 was copied by the clone suppliers who offered a better price and started the benchmark wars in PC graphics that have been with us ever since.
The big breakthrough for the EGA, and why it attracted so many copiers was its graphics modes were bit-mapped planar, as opposed to the previous generation interlaced CGA and Hercules AIBs. The video memory was divided into four pages (except 640×350×2, which had two pages), one for each component of the RGBI color space.
For more: https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/chasing-pixels/famous-graphics-chips-ega-to-vga
Intel not particularly know as a graphics chip supplier, even though it ships more GPUs than all its competitors combined, was also an early participant in the nascent field and introduced a very popular graphics co-processor in 1986.
The company announced that the 82786 integrated a graphics processor was available in a single 88-pin grid array or leaded carrier, and that it contained a display processor with a CRT controller, and a bus interface unit with a DRAM/VRAM controller supporting 4 MB of memory, which can consist of both graphics and system memory. Intel was in the game.
For more: https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/chasing-pixels/Famous-Graphics-Chips-Intels-82786-Intels-First-Discrete-Graphics-Coprocessor
Texas Instruments TMS34010
IBM PGC and 8514/A
When word leaked out IBM was working on a new high-resolution graphics chip in 1986 the clone makers were quick to copy it hoping it would be their path to big volume as the VGA had been.
Before the 8514/A, in 1984 IBM introduced a multi-board AIBs called the Professional Graphics Controller (PGC) often called Professional Graphics Adapter and sometimes Professional Graphics Array.
The PGC consisted of three interconnected PCBs and contained a graphics processor and memory. Targeted for programs such as CAD and page-layout, the PGC was, at the time of its release the most advanced graphics board for the IBM XT.
For more: https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/chasing-pixels/Famous-Graphics-Chips-IBMs-professional-graphics-the-PGC-and-8514A
The VGA was the epitome of IBM’s reign in PC graphics establishing a connector, and the basic engine of graphics chips that can still be found in today’s devices – who hasn’t heard of VGA?
It is said about airplanes that the DC3 and 737 are the most popular planes ever built, and the 737, in particular, the best-selling airplane ever. The same could be said for the ubiquitous VGA, and its big brother the XGA. The VGA, which can still be found buried in today’s modern GPUs and CPUs, set the foundation for a video standard, and an application programming standard.
For more: https://www.computer.org/publications/tech-news/chasing-pixels/Famous-Graphics-Chips-IBMs-VGA