In a discussion on a previous post, Richard Wells suggested that an ATI VGA Wonder-16, a 16-bit ISA VGA card, should be able to operate in an 8-bit slot. I can confirm that yes, it does:
Note that the card does not require any reconfiguration, it detects that it’s running in an 8-bit slot and acts accordingly. A wonder indeed.
The card does have a selectable setting to choose whether its ROM should operate as 8-bit or 16-bit memory, but that only seems to affect operation in a 16-bit slot. The manual mentions that even in some 16-bit slots the ROM might be automatically switched to 8-bit mode. That hints the card automatically detects what kind of slot it’s in.
Note that on this particular board the card doesn’t sit in the 8-bit slot quite tight because the BIOS chips get in the way (there are two 8-bit slots, each with a ROM chip right next to it). It does not cause any short-term problems. There are also no worries about possible short circuits because the edge connector sits on top of the ceramic ROM package.
Richard is entirely correct that this is a highly versatile card. It can handle analog VGA monitors as well as older EGA/RGB/TTL color and monochrome monitors, it can emulate EGA/CGA/MDA well, and at the same time it’s a SVGA card with VESA support (via TSR) and everything.
The VGA Wonder-16 is not a terribly fast card but it’s not insanely slow either, and it would be unrealistic to expect blazing speeds from a card built in January 1989 or so. After all, this was ATI’s first graphics card with a 16-bit bus. ATI’s later models with the 28800 chip such as Wonder XL and Wonder XL24 should be similarly flexible and faster.