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David G

Graphics cards hardware level programming: where are the docs?

5 posts in this topic

Just about every video card under the sun supports VGA graphics. It's a standard. Any thing higher than VGA is going in a thousand different directions. VGA graphics aren't that great, but if you're just after a simple 2D OS, you can make it work, but it will definately look dated. Search for docs on VGA programming. Most info will be related to DOS, but the right stuff - which is easy to find willd describe how to access the hardware directly to perform the VGA operations.

Does that help?

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Firstly you can still access the bios functions, although obviously the dos bios function wont work. Also pretty much all cards have support for the Vesa VBE (video bios extensions i think?) look for the docs on that. It is up to version 3.0 now, although only pretty recent cards support that, better to go with v2 support. This can allow you to access all modes and bit depths. They use bios functions, but they can return pointers to the code so you dont have to continually use the bios, as it is much slower. Also you can gain acces to accelerated function, for blitting and clearing etc...
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Hi,

I am looking for hardware level information on graphics card. The reason is that I am working on a class project: writing a very simple OS kernel in assembly. It's in protected mode, of course, so I can't rely on the bios for output on the screen. I know all cards are different; mine is a tnt. So 2D information on that card would be a start. I am not sure nvidia released that information, but they have some open source drivers for linux, so maybe somebody made a usable doc out of that? Where do the xfree86 programmers get the docs anyway?

Any help greatly appreciated.
Thanks!!

------------------
David.

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Thanks for the replies. As I suspected, (S?)VGA will have to do. I found out however, that a very few companies are starting to give out hardware information. The most important being Matrox: if you register as a developper on their site, you get a password to access low-level documentation. Also, 3dfx posted the 2D specs of the banshee.
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