MaxSpeed VGA MaxStation

John Ames commodorejohn at
Thu Mar 25 02:01:07 CDT 2021

Huh - wacky. Still pretty curious how it works just on a basic "how
the hey does the framebuffer even function" level, but that's
certainly interesting. Does make me feel less guilty about planning to
cannibalize it for a homebrew project later, though!

On 3/24/21, Camiel Vanderhoeven <camiel.vanderhoeven at> wrote:
> It's neither X nor ethernet. These worked with a special controller card
> that had 4 RJ45 connectors. That allowed four users to share a single
> Windows NT system.
> ________________________________
> From: cctech <cctech-bounces at> on behalf of John Ames via
> cctech <cctech at>
> Sent: Thursday, March 25, 2021 4:41 AM
> To: cctalk <cctalk at>; cctech <cctech at>
> Subject: MaxSpeed VGA MaxStation
> So, some months ago, I was in an electronics surplus store and picked
> up what was obviously an X terminal - tiny metal slab with a VGA
> connector, serial & parallel, AT keyboard, and RJ45 "communication"
> port. I got it bare, without the external PSU that would've gone with
> it, and I've since been unable to determine just what the heck I'm
> supposed to feed this thing. It's a standard barrel jack, but there's
> no markings on the case or the PCB to give any clue as to what
> voltage/amperage or polarity it expects, and Google has been no help
> at all. Does anyone have any recollection of these things? Any idea
> what they want for juice?
> To throw an extra mysterious wrinkle into this, when I popped open the
> case to get a look at the PCB, I found that, apart from the CPU, DART,
> and ROM, the only non-glue ICs on the board were an 8K SRAM and a
> W82C476 RAMDAC - but 8K isn't even remotely enough for a VGA screen,
> not even a monochrome one at VGA resolution! Am I missing something on
> how these things operated? Given this, my only guess would be some
> kind of insane networked-framebuffer scheme where the host would blast
> video data in on the fly, but there's no way this was even 100Mbps
> Ethernet, and 10Mbps isn't nearly fast enough to transfer 150KB at
> 60FPS, and there's no memory to buffer it for a slower refresh. What
> in the heck is going on here?
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