Trident Microsystems, Inc.

Trident was a graphics chipset manufacturer for the IBM PC and its compatibles that started up in 1987. These cards are ubiquitous having been sold to OEMs in large quantities to be installed in their budget-oriented PC clones, and are generally considered to be low performers.

Don't be fooled by the model numbers that Trident uses for its ISA cards. The TVGA8900D is about the fastest chipset they produced for the ISA bus, followed by the 8900C. The 9000 range were designed for low-cost video cards and for motherboard onboard graphics.

 

TVGA-8800C

Launched: 1989
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
FCC ID: HNG2YPTVGA16

A Hercules/CGA/EGA/VGA and SVGA card.

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TVGA-8900

Launched: ?
Bus: ISA 16-bit.

A VGA card.



 

Impact III

Launched: 1991
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
Memory:
Price: $172 (Aug '91)

"PROS: Low cost, widest software support
CONS: Slow performance

The Trident Impact III costs only $12 more on the street than the rock-bottom Boca SuperVGA. Amazingly, for that low $172 price, you get the widest selection of drivers in the roundup.

Trident provides 132-column drivers for Word and WordStar, plus 256-color drivers in all super-VGA resolutions for both Windows and AutoCAD. You don't get a menu for swapping drivers, though, and hardware installation isn't switchless.

The board's speed could be better. In most of the key performance benchmarks, the Impact III hovered in the bottom third.

If you like the idea of 132-column word processing in Word, this board is your best choice. Otherwise, bargain hunters would do better to opt for the superior performance, switchless installation, and even lower price of the Boca SuperVGA."
     
PC World, August 1991



 

TVGA-8900C / CL / CX2 LC2

Launched: 1991
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
Memory: 512 KB or 1 MB
RAMDAC Speed: 66 MHz
VESA Standard: Yes, v1.2
FCC ID: HNG8916CX248LC2, HNG890CL-24DI, KBI8900CL4X256
BIOS Dates: 01/17/92 (C3.01), 09/15/93 (C4.3)
Known BIOS Versions: C3.01, C4.01, C4.3(25)

These cards have the common "MUSIC" chip, which is an 8-bit DAC. The card supports up to 70ns DRAMs.

BIOS version C4.3 is VESA 1.2 compliant.

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TVGA-8900D

Launched: 199X
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
Memory: 512 KB or 1 MB (70ns - 100ns)
FCC ID: HNG890CL-BBD1TIA1
RAMDAC: Trident TKD8001 (24-bit TrueColor)
RAMDAC Speed: 80 MHz
VESA Compatible: Yes, v1.2
FCC ID: HNG890CL-BBD1TIA1 (Rev.E4), KB189D (Rev.B1)
Known BIOS Dates: 12/13/93
Known BIOS Versions: C4.4, C4.5

The Trident TVGA8900D Super VGA Controller was the successor to the TVGA8900CL and TVGA8900C VGA chipset, with the key improvement being faster performance through zero-wait state direct memory writes on the ISA bus and a faster DRAM clock (48 MHz). It also added support for 1 MB of linear memory addressing (no more bank switching). It required just 3 support chips: TKD8001 TrueColor DAC/clock chip and two 256x4 DRAM chips.

Maximum resolution was 1024 x 768 non-interlaced in 256 colours at 72 Hz refresh rate, or 1280 x 1024 interlaced in 16 colours. With the optional TKD8001 TrueColor DAC it was able to run up to 800 x 600 in 64,000 colours.

The TKD8001 TrueColor DAC came in two flavours: a 15/16-bit variant which provided support for 800 x 600 in up to 64,000 colours, or a 24-bit variant which meant 16.7 million colours at 640 x 480 resolution.

Extended text modes included 132 columns x 25, 30, 43 and 60 rows.

TVGA8900D Datasheet

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TVGA-9000A

Launched: 1991
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
Memory: 512 KB (80ns)
RAMDAC: "MUSIC" (8-bit colour depth)
RAMDAC Speed: 66 MHz
VESA Standard: Yes, v1.2
FCC ID: HNG2YPTVGA06X4LS2
BIOS Dates: 05/16/91
Known BIOS Versions: D2.11

These cards have an 8-bit colour depth DAC.

TVGA-9000B

Launched: 1991
Bus: ISA 16-bit.
Memory: 512 KB
RAMDAC Speed: unknown
VESA Standard: Yes, v1.2
FCC ID: HNG2VPTVGA06x4LT2, HNG2YPTVGA06X4LT2
BIOS Dates: 11/12/91
Known BIOS Versions: D3.0

These cards have an 8-bit DAC. The card supports up to 70ns DRAMs.

TVGA-9000C

Launched: ?
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Memory: 512 KB maximum
FCC ID: HNG900C-BBD5TITA1
Known Board Revisions: H2

The TVGA-9000C was a VGA controller chipset marketed for the lost-cost market. It was the successor to the 9000B. Like the 8900D, the 9000C required just 4 support chips: TKD8001 DAC/clock chip, two 256x4 DRAM chips and the BIOS chip.

With programmable DRAM timings a video card manufacturer could opt for slower and cheaper 100ns memory or faster 70 or 80ns memory.

The 9000C supported a resolution of up to 1024 x 768 in 16 colours - this was non-interlaced if 80ns memory was used or interlaced if 100ns memory was used.

Different TKD8001 DAC variants could be added to the 9000C: a 6-bit variant which permitted up to 800 x 600 interlaced or non-interlaced in 256 colours, and an 8-bit variant that gave the same resolution but in 16.7 million colours.

Extended text modes included 132 columns x 25, 30, 43 and 60 rows.

TVGA9000C Datasheet

TVGA-9000i ("Surf")

Launched: ?
Bus: ISA 16-bit or MCA.
Memory: 512 KB (70ns)
RAMDAC: integrated
RAMDAC Speed: 80 MHz
VESA Standard: Yes, v1.2
FCC ID: HNG2VPTVGA06x4LT2
BIOS Dates: 11/12/91, 10/18/93
Known BIOS Versions: D3.0, D4.01E

The Trident TVGA-9000i was a more integrated version of the TVGA-9000C, with the DAC and clock also integrated into the single chip. It was designed to be put directly onto motherboards or low-cost video cards.

The programmable internal clock could be run at up to 80 MHz. The embedded DAC is the 6-bit variant, supporting up to 800 x 600 interlaced or non-interlaced in 256 colours.

Aside from that the TVGA9000i has the same specifications as the 8900C.

TVGA9000i Datasheet

In 2017, Sergey Kiselev reproduced a number of 8-bit ISA SVGA cards around the Trident 9000i chipset. These sold for around £60. You can see images of this here:

TGUI9440

Launched: 1995
Bus: 16-bit ISA, PCI or VLB
RAMDAC Clock: 108 MHz
Memory Clock: 80 MHz
Memory: 512 KB FPM or EDO (expandable to 2 MB)

The TGUI9440 is a "GUI Accelerator", supporting FPM or EDO DRAM memory from as fast as 45ns down to 80ns on a 64-bit bus. The chip itself has an integrated 24-bit TrueColor DAC.

It supports resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 in 256 colours, 1024 x 768 in 64,000 colours, or 640 x 480 in 16.7 million colours.

Hardware acceleration for the following operations: BitBLT, image and text transfer, line draw, short stroke vector draw, rectangle fills, and polygon fills.

On the VESA Local Bus it runs at 50 MHz while on PCI it runs at 33 MHz, and on ISA it runs at 12 MHz.

Cards that are known to use this chipset are:

  • Pine Technology PT-540 (see images below) - FCC ID: HNG94DGIBDS4TPX
  • SST-9440 PCI
  • VL46A/V3 (unknown FCC ID)

TVGA9440 Datasheet

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TGUI9680 / TGUI9680-1

Launched: 1995
Bus: PCI or VLB
RAMDAC Clock: 135 MHz
Memory Clock: 80 MHz
Memory: 1 MB EDO (expandable to 4 MB)

The TGUI9360 is a "GUI and video accelerator", supporting FPM or EDO DRAM memory from as fast as 45ns down to 80ns on a 64-bit bus. The chip itself has an integrated 24-bit TrueColor DAC

It supports resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 in 256 colours, 1024 x 768 in 64,000 colours, or 800 x 600 in 16.7 million colours.

On the VESA Local Bus it runs at 50 MHz while on PCI it runs at 33 MHz.

The TGUI9680-1 is a low-power version of the TGUI9680, but also adds acceleration for Cinepak, Indeo and MPEG CODEC standards.

The TGUI9680 can be found on the following graphics cards:

  • Asicom Totem64V

TVGA9680 Datasheet

Blade 3D 9880

Launched: ?
Bus: AGP
Memory: ?

Much better than its forebear, the 9750, but still not a fast card.