8514/A was at once the name of a graphics standard and the cards that supported it. The matching monitor was called 8514, a 16" display with a 1024×768 resolution.
These cards had to be installed in addition to an existing VGA card, which, in the PS/2 series, was always on-board. It added a 1024×768 mode, depending on the amount of memory in the card either 16 or 256 colors, but with only a 43.5Hz refresh rate. The cards had some pretty interesting hardware acceleration.
The 8514/A card simply provides a high resolution of 1024×768 with 16 or 256 colors in this mode, depending on the amount of memory installed on the card. This card works on any Micro Channel system unit that has an adapter slot with the video extension connector. The 8514/A card only functions in that slot because it only has a high resolution processor and not a VGA compatible processor. When the system is running applications in VGA mode (or lesser resolutions) the 8514/A card simply passes the VGA information from the motherboard VGA controller through the Auxilliary Video Extension (AVE). When applications require high resolution, a TSR program called HDILOAD (provided with the adapter) installs the 8514/A Adapter Interface (AI) code. The 8514/A AI is basically a gateway to the 8514/A adapter. Since IBM never published the hardware register information for the 8514/A, all applications had to write to the AI, which in turn writes directly to the hardware on the card. The 8514/A can not function unless it has a video system to supply VGA mode (and lower) video signals.
8514/A was purely a PS/2 thing. It was introduced in 1987 along with the series, and as far as I know, no ISA adapters were ever produced. In 1990 it was replaced with XGA, which was like VGA and 8514/A rolled in one and additionally allowed higher color depths at the 640×480 resolution.
In 1990, a 8514/A board cost $1,350, the RAM upgrade $283, which put it on the upper end of the price scale for comparable adapters, though its speed was already on the lower end. A monitor with a matching resolution cost about $1,000.
Software that supported this standard seems to have been somewhat limited. Here are a few that I found:
Unhandled multifunction command 5and
COLOR_CMP not implemented.
This is from the InfoWorld article linked below, the boards listed
8514/A emulators, whatever that exactly means.
1987: 8514/a: 640×480 or 1024×768, 256 colors out of 262,144 (18 bit) Type Pixel Max. # Colours Characters Addressability gfx 640×480 256 80x34 gfx 1024×768 256 85x38 (interlaced) gfx 1024×768 256 146x51 (interlaced) 1990: XGA: same resolution at high color (16 bit) Mode Type Pixel Max. # Colours Characters Addressability 14 text 1056x400 16 132x25 - gfx 640×480 256/65535* - - gfx 1024×768 16/256* - Card must have 512k or 1M* memory.