Hercules Computer Technology

Hercules were the first third-party video card manufacturer to combine IBM's MDA (Monochrome Display Adapter) text mode with a bitmapped graphics mode. This was considered ground-breaking in 1982, and became the de facto standard for PCs that were connected to a monochrome monitor.

The HGC (Hercules Graphics Card) standard provided a very clear 720 x 348 resolution monochrome graphics mode in addition to a text mode which supported character blocks of 9 x 14. This was far superior to the best IBM offering at the time (CGA) which typically ran graphics in 320 x 200 (640 x 200 was the maximum in 2-colour mode) and text mode characters were a blocky 8 x 8 pixels. It wasn't uncommon for business PCs to run both a CGA card and a Hercules card simultaneously on two separate monitors.

The company was due to be acquired by graphics card company ELSA in 1998, but the terms were not agreed upon and the deal fell through. The following year, Guillemot Corporation Group of France successfully acquired Hercules Computer Technology for $1.5M. In July that same year, Guillemot had also bought out the joystick company Thrustmaster for $15M, and with the two new companies, they formed Hercules Thrustmaster, to be headquartered in Carrentoir, France. The two brand names were deliberately kept separate for sales purposes.

Hercules Graphics Card (HGC)

Launched: 1982
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Memory: 64 KB
Max Resolution: 720 x 348
Colours in Max. Resolution: 2
Price: $499 MSRP

Fully compatible with IBM's MDA as it used the same 6845 CRT controller chip - it was detected as an MDA by software.


Hercules Graphics Card Plus (HGC+)

Launched: 1986
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Memory: 256 KB
Max Resolution: 720 x 348
Colours in Max. Resolution: 16
Price: $299 MSRP, $169 (May 1988), $179 (Jan 1989)


Hercules InColor Card

Launched: 1987
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Memory: 64 KB
Max Resolution: 720 x 348
Colours in Max. Resolution: 2
Price: $299 MSRP, $299 (Jan 1989)

Aimed directly to compete with IBM's EGA and VGA cards, Hercules' InColor card bettered the competition with its higher resolution (720 x 348 compared to 640 x 480). It was also backward-compatible with the HGC and HGC+.

This card featured a resolution of 720 x 348 in 16 colours (when connected to an EGA monitor). The following games titles directly supported this:

  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (v3.0)
  • Microsoft Flight Simulator (v4.0)
  • Sierra's 3-D Helicopter Simulator

Hercules GB112SPS

Launched: 1988
Bus: ISA 8-bit
Memory: 64 KB
Max Resolution: 720 x 348
Colours in Max. Resolution: 2
Price: ?

A Hercules monochrome graphics card with printer port.

Dynamite 128

Launched: 1996
Part Number: D5202/20
Bus: PCI
Memory: 2 MB MDRAM
Max Resolution: 1600 x 1200
Colours in Max. Resolution: 8-bit (256)
Supported Resolutions: SVGA (800x600), SXGA (1280x1024), VESA BIOS VBE 2.0, VGA (640x480), XGA (1024x768)
Price: ?

The Dynamite 128 based upon the Tseng Labs ET6000 chipset.

The Dynamite 128/Video is a major breakthrough in graphics and multimedia technology. It offers significantly higher performance at lower cost than many expensive VRAM boards.The Dynamite 128/Video combines one of the fastest 128-bit graphics processors, the state-of-the-art ET6000 from Tseng Labs, and the industry's fastest, synchronous Multibank DRAM (MDRAM). Taking advantage of Hercules' proprietary hardware design in combination with Hercules' Power Drive software drivers, the Dynamite 128/Video also delivers industry-leading performance for 3D games and 3D applications under Windows 95. VESA compliant stereoscopic connector for Stereo 3D glasses is included.

VL Bus Dynamite 128

Launched: 1997?
Bus: VESA Local Bus
Memory: 2 MB
Price: ?

Based on the Tseng Labs ET4000 W32P chipset.