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July 28, 1987

RASTEREX OF NORWAY HAS IBM-COMPATIBLE GRAPHICS BOARD USING TMS34010

By CBR Staff Writer

Rasterex NV of Norway has developed a display system that combines high resolution programmable colour graphics with the ability to support IBM’s graphics standards – CGA, EGA, and PGA – on a single Personal Computer-format interface card. The card will automatically detect the mode of operation for the monitor. The display system comprises an IBM compatible processor board connected to a 15 flat screen monitor – or any other multisync monitor. The RPB40.8 is the first version of the board. It provides a resolution of 720 by 512 pixels in either 16 or 256 colours and, depending on the applications software, simultaneously from a palette of 256Kb. Its drawing speed in high resolution mode can reach 12.5 megapixels per second. The processor is the 32-bit CMOS Texas Instruments Graphics Signal Processing chip, the TMS34010, which provides performance of up to 6 MIPS. It is translated into graphics performance by the use of dual-ported 512Kb video RAMs for on-board display memory in addition to the 1Mb memory for program and data storage. Rasterex has done on all the work concerned with emulating the IBM graphics standards by the use of semi-custom circuits and ROM-resident algorithms. Support for GCA and EGA is achieved by using a semi-custom gate array, the Host Communications Interface, which is connected to the host system bus. Rasterex reckons that the CGA and EGA emulation is at least as fast as other implementations and gives improved display quality. Special cases such as PGA or DGIS instructions are embedded in a semi-custom array which translates them for the GSP chip. This allows high level language programs and drivers to be written for the highest resolution modes of the display. A number are already available of course including: AutoCAD, Digital Research’ GEM, Microsoft Windows and Ventura Publisher.

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