Video 7

Video 7 was an early graphics card manufacturer for the IBM PC and its compatibles from 1983 to 1989, when they were acquired by Spea Software GmbH. They were later acquired by the chipset manufacturer, Headland Technology.

 

Mini G7

Launched: ?
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Price: -

The Mini G7 was a "half-size" CGA-compatible card.

 

VEGA

Launched: Dec 1985
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Price: $599

The VEGA (Video7 Enhanced Graphics Adapter) was a "half-size" EGA-compatible card with 256 KB video RAM. The same card was also marketed via retail channels as a full-size card by QuadRAM under the name "Quad EGA+". It also supported CGA, MDA and Hercules graphics standards via emulation. Graphics resolutions were: 640x350 4-colour monochrome, 720x348 Hercules mono, 640x200 and 320x200 16-colour, and 640x350 16-colour (from a palette of 64). The VEGA duplicated the IBM EGA card's memory-resident character generator, which allowed you to create or download four sets of 256-characters or two sets of 512 characters.

 

VEGA Deluxe EGA

Launched: 1987
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Price: $239 (May 1988)

The VEGA Deluxe EGA card was an EGA-compatible card which extended the screen resolution to 640 x 480 in Windows and other popular software at the time. In text mode, it could display up to 132 columns and 43 lines. It could display graphics at 752 x 410. For these higher screen resolutions to work you needed to have a Multisync monitor or similar. It retained the emulation modes of the original VEGA video card too, so could run in CGA, MDA or Hercules modes.

 

VEGA VGA

Launched: 1988
Chipset: Cirrus Logic CL-GD420 / CL-GD4
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Memory: 256 KB DRAM (100 - 120ns)
RAMDAC: Inmos IMSG176S-40 or AMD Am81C176-50PC
RAMDAC Speed: 40 MHz (Inmos), 50 MHz (AMD)
VESA Standard: No
FCC ID: D2A62L1989V5
BIOS Dates: 03/26/88, 05/09/89
Known BIOS Versions: 1.12, 1.78
Price: $259 (May 1988)

The VEGA VGA card was a VGA-compatible card. It came with both VGA analog 15-pin DSUB output as well as a digital 9-pin DSUB for EGA, CGA, MDA and Hercules output.

The DACs on these are all 8-bit colour depth.

 

VEGA VGA 16

Launched: 1988
Chipset: (proprietary Video Seven 456-0023)
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Memory: 512 KB DRAM (120ns)
RAMDAC: ?
RAMDAC Speed: ?
VESA Standard: No
FCC ID: D2A62LVGA16
Part #: 600-0122

BIOS Dates: -
Known BIOS Versions: -
Price: -

Fastwrite VGA

Launched: 1989
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Price: ?

The Fastwrite VGA card was an SVGA-compatible card, supporting resolutions up to 800 x 600. It came with either 256 KB or 512 KB of video memory.

 

V-RAM VGA

Launched: 1989
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Price: ?

The V-RAM VGA card was designed for professional desktop publishers. With resolutions up to 1024 x 768 in 4 colours, or 640 x 480 in 256 colours. It comes with 256 KB of video memory onboard, and owners could buy an additional 256 KB upgrade to increase the 1024 x 768 colour depth to 16 colours or 800 x 600 at 256 colours, all on a flicker-free non interlaced picture.

VGA 1024i

Launched: 1989
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Memory: 512 KB (70ns - 100ns)
RAMDAC: "MUSIC" (HP OEM card), TI (Compaq OEM card) - both 8-bit colour depth
RAMDAC Speed: 50 MHz
VESA Standard: No
FCC ID: D2AFW2
BIOS Dates: 07/09/90, 01/11/90
Known BIOS Versions: v7.00 (Compaq OEM), v7.04 (HP OEM)

The VGA 1024i card from Video 7 was a Super VGA-compatible card, also known as the Headland HT208.

As well as providing the standard VGA resolution of 640 x 480, it could also display at 800 x 600 with 16 colours non-interlaced, or 1024 x 768 with 16 colours in interlaced mode.

Both 256 KB and 512 KB video memory options were available, and you could upgrade a 256 KB card later on. The card would work in either a 16-bit or 8-bit ISA slot (for optimum performance, the user manual recommended using a 16-bit slot).

It came with both VGA analog 15-pin DSUB output as well as a digital 9-pin DSUB for EGA, CGA, MDA and Hercules output. To run the card in these other emulation modes, the utility diskette included a program called V7VGA to put the card into a mode of your choice.

The BIOS chip on the HP card is 24 KB in size, not the standard 32 KB for a VGA BIOS, like on the Compaq OEM variant.

The VGA 1024i chipset was used on some OEM cards, including HP and Compaq.

Spea V7 Vega

Launched: 1993
Chipset: Cirrus Logic CL-GD5428
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Memory: 1 MB DRAM (70ns)
RAMDAC: Cirrus Logic CL24 [internal] TrueColor (24-bit)
RAMDAC Speed: 86 MHz
FCC ID: EMA004000701
VESA Standard: Yes, v1.2
BIOS Dates: 07/08/93
Known BIOS Versions: 1.30 (V7-VEGA 4.00I)
Price: ?

The Vega from Video 7 was the lowest-performing card in their 1993 line-up which consisted of Vega, Mirage and Mercury.

Still a very good performer though, being about on par with a Tseng Labs ET4000AX.

Spea V7 Mirage

Launched: Feb 1993
Chipset: S3 86C801C
Bus: ISA 16-bit or VLB
Memory: 1 MB or 2 MB DRAM (60ns)
RAMDAC: ATT20C491-11
RAMDAC Speed: 110 MHz
VESA Standard: unknown
BIOS Dates: 10/28/93
Known BIOS Versions: 4.01
Part No. EMA004005020
Price: ?

The Mirage from Video 7 was an XGA-compatible card, offering resolutions up to 1280 x 1024. It used a graphics processor from S3 at its core. Both 1 MB and 2 MB variants were available at launch.

It was a middle-of-the-range card, sat between the cheaper Vega and the more expensive Mercury, but as an ISA graphics card it was one of the fastest performing you could buy (even better than the ET4000AX).

 

Spea V7 Mercury

Launched: 1993
Chipset: S3 86C928D
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Memory: 4 MB DRAM (70ns)
RAMDAC: Texas Instruments Ti PTVP3020-170MDN
RAMDAC Speed: 170 MHz
VESA Standard: unknown
BIOS Dates: 09/07/93
Known BIOS Versions: 3.00
Price: ?

The Mercury is probably the fastest-performing ISA graphics card money can buy.

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Sound Cards

V7-Media-FX

Launched: 1993
Bus: ISA 16-bit
Price: 750 DM

The V7 Media FX was the new parent company, Spea's, first foray away from graphics cards and into the world of multimedia. The Media FX sound card was designed to be used by professional musicians and professional multimedia users.

From the news report at the time:

"According to the company, the V7 Media FX card is based on a development by Ensoniq. The heart of this is the Soundscape chipset from the keyboard manufacturer Ensoniq. The card works according to the "wavetable sampling" technique. The sound of the instruments to be reproduced is already sampled and stored in the board's memory. The sound samples originate from the Ensoniq laboratory and should therefore be reproduced true to nature. This would also be guaranteed by the 16-bit A / D or D / A converter. They work with a sampling rate of up to 44.1 kilohertz for playback and 44.1 kilohertz, 22.05 kilohertz or 11.025 kilohertz for recording. 32 voices can be played back simultaneously by default, an additional 20 voices can be played using an OPL III plug-in card. You can operate up to four of these boards in one PC. The audio card has the Adaptec SCSI-2 interface, so it speaks to all CD-ROM drives. There is full compatibility with the specifications of Adlib and MT-32, with the support of General-Midi the Media-FX card also opens up the gaming area. The Spea card also supports the MPC multimedia specification and MPU-401 emulation.".

User Benutzaravatar on site https://www.dosforum.de/ did some tests on this card as well as several other Ensoniq cards to verify that the card supports "fake intelligent mode" for MPU-401, and confirmed it worked! Certain games that do a more thorough handshake with a real MPU-401 interface will *not* work (this includes Gateway 1 and 2).