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March 19, 2024

EGA: Enhanced Graphics Array

March 19, 2024
Read 3 min

The Enhanced Graphics Array, commonly known as EGA, is a graphics display standard developed by IBM in the mid-1980s. It served as an improvement over the previous CGA (Color Graphics Adapter) standard by offering higher resolutions and a greater variety of color options. EGA was widely adopted during its time and played a significant role in shaping the evolution of computer graphics.


EGA was introduced in 1984 as a successor to the CGA standard, which was limited to displaying graphics in a low resolution of 320×200 pixels with a limited color palette of only 4 or 16 colors. In contrast, EGA brought about a significant advancement in display capabilities, offering resolutions of up to 640×350 pixels with a palette of 64 different colors.

One of the defining features of EGA was its ability to display more than one color simultaneously in a single character cell. This allowed for greater texture and detail in graphics, making it a popular choice for gaming applications and other visually intensive software. Moreover, EGA supported both text and graphic modes, providing a versatile platform for developing a wide range of applications.


EGA’s improved resolution and expanded color palette provided users with a more visually pleasing computing experience. The higher resolutions allowed for sharper images and precise rendering of fine details, enabling users to work with graphics and text in a more professional manner. Additionally, the increased color options facilitated more realistic and vibrant imagery, enhancing applications across various industries.

EGA’s compatibility with earlier CGA software and hardware was another significant advantage. This ensured that existing software and peripherals designed for CGA could be used with EGA systems, providing a smooth transition for users. This backward compatibility allowed software developers to create applications that could cater to a broader user base without requiring extensive modifications or updates.


EGA found widespread use in a variety of applications. It was particularly popular in the gaming industry, where the enhanced graphics capabilities allowed for more immersive and visually appealing gameplay experiences. Many classic video games from the mid to late 1980s were designed specifically for EGA, taking advantage of its higher resolutions and improved color options.

In addition to gaming, EGA also found applications in software development, CAD (Computer-Aided Design), and desktop publishing. The improved resolution and color support made it suitable for creating and editing graphical content in these fields. EGA’s compatibility with CGA ensured that existing software tools and applications could be easily ported and utilized on EGA systems.


The Enhanced Graphics Array (EGA) was a significant milestone in the evolution of computer graphics. Its introduction in the mid-1980s brought about substantial advancements in display capabilities, offering higher resolutions and richer color options. EGA found wide acceptance in various sectors, including gaming, software development, CAD, and desktop publishing.

Although subsequent graphics standards such as VGA (Video Graphics Array) surpassed EGA in terms of resolution and color depth, EGA played a crucial role in laying the foundation for future graphics technologies. Its diverse applicability and compatibility with earlier standards ensured a smooth transition for users and developers alike.

Today, EGA may be considered outdated, given the technological advancements in graphics hardware and software. However, its historical significance in the timeline of computer graphics cannot be overlooked, and its contribution to the development of richer visual experiences in the early days of computing remains undeniable.

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