LGR Oddware – IBM 5151 Monochrome CRT & Hercules

February 3, 2012 by 28 Comments

An overview of all sorts of monochrome graphical greatness! The IBM 5151 monitor, MDA graphics, Hercules graphics, emulated CGA, green/amber/white phosphor, text modes vs. addressable pixels, etc.
Mmm, gotta love 80’s computing!

See my review of the IBM 5150 here:


28 Replies to “LGR Oddware – IBM 5151 Monochrome CRT & Hercules”

  1. geoffk777 says:

    If you want a fairly good emulation of this experience on a Linux system, one of the Xscreensaver modules is a Green screen monitor emulator. You can adjust the ghosting level and even use it as a regular Xterm.

    Hercules cards also worked with the Amber monitors, and these usually had shorter-duration pixels that didn't ghost very much.

    The real driver for Hercules was Lotus 123. Once Lotus became popular, business users needed to display graphs and charts, which MDA couldn't do, but Hercules could. So Hercules was the most common business standard until VGA got popular.

    Some later Hercules boards let you load different font sets, which was very cool. You could compute in Old English letters or in a 1970's Sci-Fi "Computer" font (like the "Data 70" font). Lots of fun.

  2. Paul Stubbs says:

    The IBM 5151 suffered sevear screen burn…. Darn, I thought that problem was only an issue on cheap clone monitors, not "the real thing". Where I worked in an electronics repair show, we had HP test gear with green screens that showed the same thing all the time, no problem at all.

  3. my first pc XT had a paper white VGA monitor with a trident 8900 VGA card in 1991. nice memories.

  4. Mason Davis says:

    in depth but very chill. loooooads of hardware, yea lets go! gg

  5. Amy snow says:

    This is the monitor in the intro I didnt know this when I clicked the video

  6. Bledoston says:

    4:01 ran over dogs tail with computer chair.

  7. mnd says:

    And they say that graphics cards these days are long..

  8. Cutty says:

    LGR – The Bearded Years.

  9. Hercules was a big deal in the PC CAD world for a good few years. Combined with some of the available third party, low persistence, monochrome monitors it was really easy on the eyes and appeared higher res than even SVGA because of the single colour pixel spacing on the monochrome monitor.

  10. Una pregunta
    Puede correr crysis

  11. omegasignas says:

    I know this is an old video, but I actually have my terminal set to clear the screen after X amount of time to reduce the chance of burn in

  12. C. R. says:

    They are still using it in the Area 51 😂

  13. Gotta dig the that lemon green screen.

  14. damn 11:45 hearing that old hdd revving up and then back down was niiiiiiiiice

  15. Starting out on tandy coco's, i often dreamed of 80 x 25 green screens, that was an itch that i could never scratch, due to my lack of funds at the age of 8yrs old. 32 x 16, bright green background……my coco left alot to be desired in this department. i still remember looking in the back pages of HotCoco magazine, and drooling at the IBM machines & 80 x 25 kits, all out of my 4th grade price range. Many years later, i cleaned out my local computer surplus store for so many 286's, & tons of hercules cards, green monitors, some ambers, and i even had one display that was switchable between green & amber, at the flick of a switch! i wish i remembered who manufactured that thing…………….

  16. Thank you for making this. I understand what Hercules display is now.

  17. Leandro Tami says:

    I never thought I would miss Hercules graphics! I used to hate that card so much. Maybe because in 1992, 1993 everything was made for VGA and I couldn't play any newer games.

  18. I bought a Hercules card for my 5150 because of this and it is awesome, thanks dude haha. This also inspired part of my decision to choose the 5150 as my first vintage computer

  19. You’re not the only one who types vf instead of cd… On all my Linux and macOS systems I made “vf” and “xs” aliases that map to “cd”…

  20. Wolf WaYa says:

    scroll bar! ASCII style!!!

  21. Now that's a graphic card

  22. PersonalXZ says:

    Whats is aspect ratio of MDA's image ?

  23. David says:

    Please start your vids by saying greetings and salutations

  24. Leandro Tami says:

    Going from the C64 and the MSX to an IBM PC with Hercules was tragic to me… fortunately around the year 93 I finally that the VGA I so anxiously desired

  25. Q'own Son says:

    I have been searching for an amber version of a CRT with that phosphor lag.

  26. To be fair though: if you only used GREEN pixels on a color display, you'd get the same sharpness as on the monochrome monitor because — guess what — you're again only seeing ONE PHYSICAL DOT per Pixel 😁

  27. Joel says:

    "I can get over uhh,,, a little bit of chunkiness here and there if uhhh,,, the lovin is fantastic…."

  28. Joshua C says:

    CGA DooM when LGR?