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VDCs were used in the home computers of the 1980s and also in some early video picture systems. The VDC is the main component of the video signal generator logic, responsible for generating the timing of video signals such as the horizontal and vertical synchronization signals and the blanking interval signal. GPUs with hardware acceleration started appearing during the 1990s. VDCs often had special hardware for the creation of “sprites”, a function that in more modern VDP chips is done with the “Bit Blitter” using the “Bit blit” function. One example of a typical video display processor is the “VDP2 32-bit background and scroll plane video display processor” of the Sega Saturn.
This said, it is not completely clear when a “video chip” is a “video display controller” and when it is a “video display processor”. For example, the TMS9918 is sometimes called a “video display controller” and sometimes a “video display processor”. VDP and normally also supports 3D functionality. It is the chip that is now used in modern personal computers. They are directly or indirectly responsible for the video timing signals, but they normally do not access the video RAM directly.
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They get the video data from the main CPU, a byte at a time, and convert it to a serial bitstream, hence the technical name “video shifter”. Video interface controllers are much more complex than CRT controllers, and the external circuitry that is needed with a CRTC is embedded in the video controller chip. RAM, and converting the contents of this video RAM to a video signal. The main CPU can give commands to the coprocessor, for example to change the video modes or to manipulate the video RAM contents. RCA 1802 microprocessor, it was mainly used in the COSMAC VIP. It could only support a very low resolution monochrome graphic mode. Atari 2600 games console, a very primitive chip that relied on the 6502 microprocessor to do most of the work, also was used to generate the audio.
The Intel 8275 CRT controller was not used in any mainstream system, but was used in some S100 bus systems. Motorola and used for the Amstrad CPC, and the BBC Micro. The Signetics 2636 and 2637 are video controllers best known for their use in the Interton VC 4000 and Emerson Arcadia 2001 respectively. 64, Laser 200 and Acorn Atom among others.
VIC-II and were used in the Commodore 64. 80 column text display, as well as several high resolution graphics modes. 4, Commodore 16 and Commodore 116 computers and had an integrated audio capability. Used in some high-end graphics boards for the IBM PC in the mid 80s, notably in products from Number 9 Computer Company. The Picture Processing Unit was a video co-processor designed by Ricoh for Nintendo’s use in the Famicom and Nintendo Entertainment System.
The Yamaha V9938 is an improved version of the TMS9918, and was mainly used in the MSX2. SRAM with an integrated video display controller with variable-bit-depth pixels and a block-move blitter. ZX Spectrum and ZX-81 systems and Elektronika BK-0010 but there were many others. These systems could thus build a very capable system with relatively few components, but the low transistor count of early programmable logic meant that the capabilities of early PLA based systems often were less impressive than those using the video interface controllers or video coprocessors that were available at the same time. With the advancements made in semiconductor device fabrication, more and more functionality is implemented as integrated circuit, often licensable as SIP core. For example, a VGA-signal, which is created by the display controller, is being transported over a VGA-cable to the display. Both ends of the cable end in a VGA connector.