Apple High Performance Video (HPV) Card

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This page describes the Apple High Performance Video card, also known as the HPV card or the VRAM Expansion card.


The 7100's and the 8100's shipped with video cards in addition to their on-board DRAM video controllers. On the AV models, this was the Apple AV card. On the non-AV models, this was the HPV card. The name is a bit of a misnomer, because there isn't really all that much high performance involved. The card is also referred to as the VRAM Expansion card, which is probably more appropriate.

The HPV card can be installed in a 6100 with an adapter. If you can find a card and an adapter, this is a great way to get a little more mileage out of your 6100. Depending on the card, you can have up to 4 MB of VRAM, drive large monitors up to 1152 x 870 at true color, and have dual monitor capability.

Despite its name, the HPV card does not have any high-performance hardware. There is no video-in capability as there is on the AV card, and there is no QuickDraw acceleration. It's just a repository for VRAM. The reason it's a high performance card is that it's faster than DRAM video. Which isn't saying much. But if you own a 6100 (like me), anything to add a little performance is a welcome addition.

I have owned both models (see below), which I'd bought for various prices via Usenet. I have had absolutely zero compatibility issues with these cards. There are no drivers or additional software to install. Simply turn off your machine, plug it in, plug in your monitor, and you're done. The Mac automatically senses the presence of the card, the amount of VRAM, and makes the appropriate resolutions available.

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Two types of HPV cards

There are two flavors of HPV cards. The 7100 shipped with a model (Apple part #661-1748) that has 1 MB of VRAM soldered on, and 4 slots that accomodate 256K VRAM SIMMs. So, it shipped with 1 MB and can be upgraded to 2 MB. All four slots must be populated together, and this card will recognize only 256K/SIMM. If you use 512K SIMMs it will only see half of the VRAM, so 1 MB and 2 MB are the only possible configurations with this card.

The 8100 shipped with a card (Apple part #661-1027) that has 2 MB soldered on, and space for 4 x 512K VRAM SIMMs. It will not take 256K SIMMS, so the possible configurations are 2 MB and 4 MB.

The VRAM SIMMs must be 68 pin, 80ns.

See this table to see what resolutions and color depths are supported at 1, 2 and 4 MB of VRAM. Why are these cards available? A fair number of 7100 and 8100 owners later decided to upgrade and buy AV cards. Since there is only one PDS slot, they had to pull out the HPV card. I've heard that the HPV card is also available as a service part from Apple, but that rumor has never been confirmed, although I've tried calling Apple about it several times.

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Power Computing HPV cards

I have heard from Power Computing that the Power Computing models of HPV card that shipped with the Power 80, 100, 110 and 120 do not fit in any Apple brand computer. That said, I've also heard from readers who are using them. Since Power Computing operated independently of Apple, they may have spec'd and sourced their cards from a variety of OEM's, and it's possible that some will fit and that some will not.

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This page is maintained by Steven Kan. Feedback? Corrections? Mail me @

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Document change history

3/28/00--Added part numbers.