Generations of Graphics Systems

Before we move to consider specific generations of computer graphics, it makes sense to provide a short overview of the way in which all such systems work. The sequence is as follows:

  1. Software (such as a word processor) asks the operating system to find or create a letter, number, or other object (or else the software itself creates the object).

  2. The CPU places a bitmap of the object in an area of memory that is reserved for video (in the computer world, video means monitor). Part of video memory is called the frame buffer (in early computers, video memory and the frame buffer were synonymous). This area holds a bitmap that is organized to represent what will be shown on the monitor's screen.

  3. On a regular basis, some ...

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