Sample of computer hardware board and card (3) Chip evolution

Intel i750 graphics card evolution
This article commemorates the 30th anniversary of the release of Intel's first graphics card


Intel has produced and sold display chips such as KU82706 and A82786 chips. Intel built the i750 chip in December 1986 and was visualized by DVI (Digital Video Interactive) Technology to develop the DVI Pro 750 graphics card with the DVI (Digital Video Interactive) concept. DVI is an all-digital sound, text, and graphics processing system that supports multiple multimedia sources and information formats. Intel is optimistic about this concept and is more optimistic about the development prospects of digital multimedia technology. On November 14, 1988, it acquired the pioneer of digital media such as DVI Technology. In March 1989, Intel Pro 750 was released. This is the first graphics card that Intel officially released, and it has entered the field of PC graphics.

    The Intel i750 graphics card project lasted for 6 years and it is obvious that it is doing its best. In order to expand the impact, even with the PC giant IBM. Unfortunately, in the era of the heroes, Intel's efforts still have no breakthroughs, gradually disappeared. So senior hardware enthusiasts only think that Intel's first graphics card starts with the i740 chip...   

    This article takes the unique INTEL i750 sample card and the above-mentioned chip as an example, showing the long and arduous and unknown process of computer chip and graphics card development, trial production, trial production and mass production.

 1. i750PA/DA Chip

     1.1 About the i750PA/DA ES chip

Intel's i750 chip consists of i750PA (82750PA pixel processor) and i750DA (82750DA display processor). The technical parameters are: The 82750PA is a 25 MHz wide instruction processor that generates and manipulates pixels. When paired with its companion chip, the 82750DA, And used to implement a DVI Technology video subsystem, the 82750PB provides real time (30 images/sec) pixel processing, real time video compression, interactive motion video playback and real time video effects.

Originally Intel's i750PA/DA chip was made in December 1986. In March 1987, a chip evaluation board for the i750 chip, codenamed Tower, was made. The Intel Pro750 was released in March 1989 and will be available for sale in July. The Intel Pro 750 consists of 3 cards (Video, Audio, Utility) and 4 daughter cards (Video Digitizer, Audio Digitizer, 2/4MB VRAM). The Intel Pro 750 Engineering sample collected on this site lacks a video daughter card. The main card model of the Intel Pro 750 is DVI VIDEO BOARD 02, and the PCB date is 8907. It is the second version made by Intel after the acquisition of DVI Technology on the DVI Pro 750 main card DVI VIDEO BOARD 01 version. As shown below, unfortunately there is no intel i750PA/DA chip.

Intel Pro 750 Engineering sample

When Intel continued DVI Technology, a commercial-oriented Intel Pro 750 project, it also developed the ACTIONMEDIA series of graphics cards for civilian use. ACTIONMEDIA literally understands that it is universal media. The first generation of ACTIONMEDIA graphics card is the commercial digital media development technology of the Intel Pro 750 to the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI for civilian consumption digital multimedia graphics. The product development code for the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI is DS1, which is paired with the CS1 secondary card. The following DS1-AT is an ISA interface Product Evaluation board. Although the main chip of this board is missing, the chip used in this board is the same as the chip used in the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI product test board. It can be known that the missing chips are Intel i750PA/DA and VLSI VTG8001/8002.

DS1-AT Product Evaluation board


The board below is a blank PROTOTYPE board without a chip.


The i750PA/DA chip of the engineering sample version has been hidden by Intel. Is the official version of the i750PA/DA chip looking for it? In the past, whether it was Intel Pro 750 or ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI, "Only available in limited quantities", even when it was a picture of these products, it was not easy, let alone the drawings of engineering samples. Thanks to the computer hardware collection, I have not seen it in the past, but now I can have it!

 1.2 i750PA/DA Chip

The ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI attracted widespread attention after its display at the COMDEX/Fall '89 show from November 13 to 17, 1989. Officially released in March 1990.

The following is the engineering sample of ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI, the official version of the i750PA/DA chip, the chip production date from 8930 to 9044, the time span of more than one year. The first one was an earlier unproductive Product Test board with a chip date of 89 years.

ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI Engineering sample

The second is also an unproductive product test board, except that the chip dates above are 90 years. With a CS1AT sub-card from the CSCAT sub-card sticker "FCC CLASS A" can be seen, this product is not suitable for home, it can be seen that this product is still no retail.



The third is the engineering sample of the MCA interface version ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI. The chip is late, the chip date is 9044, about 90 years in October, and half a year after the release date of March 1990, it can be seen that it was difficult to produce for some reason.



The MCA interface ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI once appeared on behalf of the ACTIONMEDIA series on March 5, 1990, "INFO WORLD", the only ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI picture that can be seen on the Internet.



2. i750PB/DB ES Chip

In the late 1980s, the patch manufacturing process of the board was mature, and intel was naturally the leader. The i750PA/DA chip of the PGA pin structure is upgraded to the i750PB/DB chip of the PQFP chip structure, and the chip package is changed from a gold seal to a plastic package. Based on the mature design of the previous generation, the chip evaluation board INTEGRATOR was developed. So the INTEGRATOR looks like the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI for the chip, or the CS1 card.

The ISA interface version of the detachable Chip Evaluation board INTEGRATOR's two i750PB/DB chips are ES.

INTEGRATOR Chip Evaluation board

    The figure below shows the INTEGRATOR of the MCA interface version. The i750PB/DB ES chip date is very early, it is 9014/9017, and the two chips are a step. The ES chips for b step and c step will also appear in the card below.

INTEGRATOR MCA Chip Evaluation board

The release date of the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI was officially released in March 1990. From the above figure i750 chip date 9014, it can be seen that at least on the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI release date, Intel began to work on the development of ACTIONMEDIA II. The unsuccessful ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI has a lot to do with Intel's lack of effort in making this project a transition. The INTEGRATOR of the MCA interface above has another unusual point, that is, most of the chips on the card may be blacked out due to confidentiality. Obviously it has been shown, it is estimated to pull the IBM cooperation together with the deputy card to demonstrate the feasibility of the project.

MCA Interface Version The secondary card of the INTEGRATOR is the secondary card CS1MCA that directly uses the previous generation ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI.



3. i750PB/DB+i750LA/LH/LV Chip


    ACTIONMEDIA II was released on October 17, 1991 and was exhibited at COMDEX Fall '91 on October 21-25, 1991 and won the Best of Show Award and Best Multimedia Product Award.
    Intel's ACTIONMEDIA II graphics card is to further optimize the structure of the ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI primary and secondary cards as the main daughter card structure, and also designed three QFP-structured i750 series auxiliary chips for the i750PB/DB chip. These 5 chips are:

    82750PB pixel processor
    82750DB display processor
    82750LA Keying and Audio Gate Array (KAGA)
    82750LH Host Interface Gate Array (HIGA)
    82750LV VRAM SCSI Capture Gate Array (VSCGA)

    3.1 ES Chip

The ACTIONMEDIA II Product Evaluation board is codenamed DS2. The following MCA interface version ACTIONMEDIA II is DS2MCA, which has five i750 chips. The i750PB/DB is obviously the ES version. The only three codes of the ceramic seal are not the unlabeled models. It is the ES chip of the early i750LA/LH/LV.

DS2MCA Product Evaluation board


    The following ISA interface version ACTIONMEDIA II is DS2AT. The above i750PB is not an ES chip, the i750DB and three i750LA/LH/LV are plastic ES chips.

DS2AT Product Evaluation board


   3.2 Official Chip

The chip has two types of annotations, one is LA, LH, LV, which is an early label.

DS2MCA Product Evaluation board/PROTOTYPE





CS2 daughter card Engineering sample



The other labels are S82750LA, S82750LH, and S82750LV.

Smart video Recorder Engineering sample


    For more ACTIONMEDIA II graphics cards see:Sample of computer hardware board and card (2) Board type


4. i750PB/DB+i750SN(F119902HFEX/F122164HFEX)ES Chip

    Around 92 years, Intel began to develop the next generation of products, let's call ACTIONMEDIA III, ACTIONMEDIA III is also the main card daughter card structure. In ACTIONMEDIA II, the main card is five i750 series chips, and the main card of ACTIONMEDIA III is reduced to three i750 series chips. The daughter card is reduced from two rows of sockets to one socket. This information is not released by Intel, but from the two Engineering sample cards collected on this site.
    ACTIONMEDIA III should update the i750PB/DB and launch the i750PC/DC Chip Evaluation board. In fact, it is an evaluation of the update of the auxiliary chip. Presumably, the chip to be evaluated integrates the functions of the original 82750LA, 82750LH, and 82750LV3 chips. The chip to be evaluated should be i750SN, which will be introduced later.
    I once thought that these two cards are ACTIONMEDIA III Product Evaluation boards, but half of the space on the board is occupied by the plug-in seat, and the product evaluation board is very close to the final product, which is obviously the Chip Evaluation board, codenamed QUARK.
    The following QUARK ceramic seal ES chip is F119902HFEX, the production date is 9241.

QUARK Chip Evaluation board


The following QARK 1.5 ceramic seal ES chip is F122164HFEX, the production date is 9309.

QUARK 1.5 Chip Evaluation board



5. i750PB/DB+i750SN(F122164PPM)ES+TC160G54ES Chip

    QUARK's REV 2 version compared with the above REV 1 version, QUARK's REV 2 version of the chip evaluation board is about one-third wider than the REV 1 version of the standard ISA full-length board, the extra place is loaded two One function, one on the right, is the function chip evaluation board area of ​​the daughter card, and the function of the daughter card is directly extended on the main card. As the integration level is improved and the memory is processed in two slots, the ISA interface master card has enough functions to directly accommodate the daughter card, and the daughter card function can be cut by the empty soldering; the MAC interface version is small. This sub-card may be used, but IBM has now given up on the exclusive MCA interface and turned to the universal PCI interface invented by Intel. The daughter card has become redundant.
    It can be said that the PCI interface standard completely ended Intel's own ACTIONMEDIA series of graphics cards. The PCI standard was developed by Intel around 1990. On June 22, 1992, Intel released the PCI 1.0 standard, which is limited to component-level specifications. On April 30, 1993, the PCI-SIG released the PCI 2.0 standard, which for the first time created the standard between the connector and the motherboard slot. Later, with the assistance of Intel, ATI took the lead in releasing the first PCI graphics card in history. Interested to see this link:

    The picture below is the earliest PCI interface card in history, date is 1290 (12th week of 90). 



    As can be seen from the serial number of the ACTIONMEDIA II product, the ACTIONMEDIA II series only produced tens of thousands of pieces in total, which shows that it was unsuccessful. Even though Intel wants to use IBM's influence, marking ACTIONMEDIA 750 DVI and ACTIONMEDIA II with "JOINTLY DEVELOPED BY INTEL AND IBM" still has little effect. In fact, the cost of the all-round digital media graphics card is too high. The most important thing is that the i750 chip is designed in 1986. It is a big problem to change the PCI interface. Therefore, the failure of this ACTIONMEDIA III project is also a matter of time. At this point, Intel has gradually abandoned the PC graphics market.
     Let's take our eyes back to QUARK's REV 2 version of QUARK II and QUARK 2.5, with a socket on the left and an external interface. This feature is related to "programmable logic." A program error is found in the design of the logic circuit in the prototyping stage for the development process, and the error is corrected. The matching DVI THUMPER secondary card can be connected to the main card through the cable. This interface has not been made on the collection of QUARK II and QUARK 2.5 graphics cards.

    5.1 i750PB ES/i750DB+F122164PPM Chip

    The chip evaluation board QUARK II chip in turn i750PB C-STEPPING ENG SAMPLES, i750DB, F122164PPM, and an empty soldering chip related chip will be introduced below. This F122164PPM is a plastic ES chip, which is later than the ES chip of the ceramic seal F122164HFEX on the REV 1 version of QUARK. 

QUARK II Chip Evaluation board


    5.2 i750PB/i750DB+F122164PPM+TC160G54ES Chip

    Chip evaluation board QUARK 2.5 chip in order i750PB, i750DB, F122164PPM and TC160G54ES, this TC160G54ES chip is very special, Intel not only set a PGA chip socket on the graphics card, but also equipped with a DVI THUMPER secondary card to deploy. This interface has not been made on the QUARK 2.5 graphics card, but the above socket can be indirectly debugged using Altera's EPM7192GC160-1 PGA chip that has been processed by the DVI THUMPER secondary card.

 QUARK 2.5 Chip Evaluation board





6. i750PE ES + i750DB + i750SN Chip

   Due to the large investment in the i750 project, it is still wise to say that Intel has begun to return to the position of chip manufacturing sales. Intel temporarily bid farewell to the graphics card field, but did not completely abandon the research and development of the i750 chip follow-up products, turned to simplified functions, low-cost video daughter cards and committed to selling i750 series chips to large companies such as ATI and Creative.
     The research and development project codenamed MAESTRO is an attempt to enter the single-function video daughter card field after Intel abandoned the all-round digital media ACTIONMEDIA series graphics card. After watching the luxury lineup of the i750 graphics card, look at the MAESTRO III below, it is really difficult to hook up with the Intel i750 graphics card on the tall.

MAESTRO III Engineering sample


    The MAESTRO III card has i750DB, i750SN and a chip without any label. This chip without any standard should be the next generation chip, because at this time Intel can not make the i750PB into a wordless version of ES. The i750SN chip should be the F122164PPM on the QUARK chip board.
    For some reason, this card was not sold at the end. Perhaps the price/performance ratio is lower than those on the market.


7. i750PE+BORG+CGA Chip

The card with the FCC ID EJMPCVD11XX is an official product of Intel. The official name is called SMART VIDEO RECORDER PRO or SMART VIDEO RECORDER PRO II. But one thing is certain, it uses the research results of the two chip evaluation boards, QUARK and MAESTRO. The chips on EJMPCVD11XX are i750PE, BORG, CGA, among which: i750PE is from the wordless i750 chip on MAESTRO III, based on i750PB, the frequency is 25 Mhz like i750PE; BORG is from iESTSN of MAESTRO III; CGA is from QUARK 2.5 The TC160G54ES chip; EJMPCVD11XX has no VGA interface, so the i750DB (82750DB display processor) chip is not required.




8. i750PD ES Chip

    On November 15, 1993, ATI announced the Video basic capture card, which uses Intel's low-cost i750PD and ATI's ATI-68890 video capture chip. The chip below shows the ATI Video basic capture card is ES, the chip is labeled KU8270PD-25, it seems to be marked incorrectly, it should be KU82750PD-25. Retail products rarely use ES chips even in the early days, and the use of ES chips in mid-to-late products is a violation, especially in the official products of large manufacturers, such violations are rare.

ATI Video basic capture card Official Product


    The i750 chip project began in 1986 with the i750PA/DA chip, and finally the 1993 i750PD chip, which lasted 8 years. The i750 chip was undoubtedly excellent at the beginning of its birth. Intel did not update or replace the PCI interface. In the latter stage, its excellent performance index became a congenital deficiency. In the end, it had no potential to be dug and had to end. The 2D graphics project of Intel's i750 chip is also finished. As for the later 3D graphics card, the i740 chip graphics card developed by Intel and Real3D in the second half of 1997, see: Sample of computer hardware board and card (1) versions definition


Related Links:

Sample of computer hardware board and card (3) Chip evolution

Sample of computer hardware board and card (2) Board type

Sample of computer hardware board and card (1) versions definition