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Advanced Gravis

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Formed in 1982 and based in BC, Canada. Company was acquired in 1997.

The world leader in joysticks and game pads for personal computers, Advanced Gravis Computer Technology Ltd. also designs, manufactures, and markets the UltraSound line of wavetable sound cards and a range of accessories. Established in 1985, Gravis now operates R&D, manufacturing, sales, and distribution centers in Canada, the U.S., and The Netherlands. Gravis employs 200 people, and the Company’s products are marketed through more than 200 distributors and 15,000 retailers in 45 countries.

Gravis is a unit of ACCO World, which is parent to global companies and familiar brand names like Day-Timer Technologies, Swingline, Kensington, and Wilson Jones. ACCO's considerable financial strength and well-established office channel infrastructure provide Gravis with strong resources for continued growth. ACCO World Corporation, is a subsidiary of Fortune Brands, Inc., an international consumer products holding company whose operating companies have powerhouse brands like Masterlock, Jim Beam, and Titleist.

Gravis originated in 1979 from the passion for computer games shared by two childhood friends, Grant Russell and Dennis Scott-Jackson. They soon found the joysticks and paddles on the market did not provide real arcade feel or precision, and they typically broke down within weeks of intensive game use. This started them on the quest to build a better joystick.

They designed and hand-tooled six prototype joysticks over a period of five years. These worked well and evolved into the current Gravis joystick line. Commercial production of the first Gravis Joystick, the Apple Analog Joystick, began in 1985. The Company has grown from sales in that first year of $250,000 to sales in fiscal 1995 of $44 million. In 1992, Advanced Gravis introduced the Gravis UltraSound wavetable sound card into a market saturated with FM synthesis sound cards. UltraSound was the first affordable wavetable sound card to hit the market. Due to the work of Gravis’ aggressive development team, UltraSound has been recognized for superior sound reproduction, and is now supported directly by more than 80 percent of current games. Advanced Gravis signed a license and development agreement with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) that allows both companies to share technologies for PC-based multimedia and entertainment applications. In 1995, AMD announced the first product of this agreement, the InterWave chip. Gravis introduced the UltraSound Plug & Play sound cards, based on the InterWave chip, at the end of last year and has begun collecting royalties on the patent and other products developed around this chip.

In April 1995, Gravis introduced its revolutionary, patent-pending Gravis GrIP digital game port interface technology—the first significant upgrade to the standard PC game port in its history. Gravis launched the first GrIP Game System packages in December, and the Company’s active developer support efforts are resulting in widespread game support of GrIP’s extended capabilities.

Gravis’ future new product plans include new digital controllers based on the Company’s GrIP technology, an array of high-quality joystick products for PC and Macintosh, and new sound offerings.


Identifying UltraSound Cards

  • UltraSound Classic: The original UltraSound cards we now call the "classic" cards. This card is unique in the fact it uses a bank of 8 chips for memory. It also has a double row of pins near where the card plugs into the ISA bus.
  • UltraSound MAX: This card is unique in the fact it uses three ribbon cable connectors on the end of the card that support Sony, Mitsumi, and Panasonic drives. It also has jumpers for setting the DMA an IRQs for the CDROM controller circuit built into the MAX.
  • UltraSound ACE: This card is unique in the fact that it only has a line-in and a line-out connector on the external bracket. It's also a short card that's barely bigger than the slot it's plugged into. It's the only UltraSound with an Adlib Enable/Disable jumper on it.
  • UltraSound PnP/PnP Pro: These cards both have dual SIMM sockets on the end of the card. The Pro version has a bank of jumpers at the top of the card as well as a 1/2 meg RAM chip soldered onto the card so when there are no SIMMs on the card, IWINIT - V9 still reports 1/2 meg of memory.
  • UltraSound Extreme: This card has an ESS chip, and it is pre-filled with 1 MB of memory. No other UltraSound cards have an ESS chip (Sound Blaster Pro compatible chip).

Most of all the cards above, with the exception of the Classic, have their names printed on the cards. If you've had your UltraSound for more than 2 or 3 years, then most likely you have the Classic.