External ISA slots via USB

Discussion about old PC hardware.

External ISA slots via USB

Postby bytesaber » 2013-1-16 @ 22:42

I came across some interesting external ISA hardware online. These cards are an ISA to USB solution. It made me start thinking about DOSBox or VMWare running Win98 DOS mode (usb support), to be configured to talk to some old ISA cards that I have.

http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2isax3.html
http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/isab2.html

Does anyone have theories about trying this, or any actual experience? I have a Roland SCC-1, LAPC-1, and RAP-10, AWE 32/64 cards and other various things that would be fun to try with on a Windows 7 system.

I think this would be a slick way to "float" a DOS system from system to system upgrade, tidy in a VM and external hardware in enclosures.

Thanks,
-bytes
Attachments
x3-b2_6_large.jpg
x3-b2_6_large.jpg (40.07 KiB) Viewed 10126 times
User avatar
bytesaber
Member
 
Posts: 132
Joined: 2011-2-14 @ 21:18
Location: Idaho Falls

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-1-17 @ 00:33

It takes a guinea pig to purchase a unit and see if it works :)

Personally at these prices, just go with external MIDI units. They work 100% through USB MIDI adapter with DOSBox, ScummVM and various other programs like Doom frontends.
User avatar
Mau1wurf1977
l33t++
 
Posts: 7652
Joined: 2010-8-27 @ 04:15
Location: Western Australia

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby Great Hierophant » 2013-1-17 @ 00:54

bytesaber wrote:I came across some interesting external ISA hardware online. These cards are an ISA to USB solution. It made me start thinking about DOSBox or VMWare running Win98 DOS mode (usb support), to be configured to talk to some old ISA cards that I have.

http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2isax3.html
http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/isab2.html

Does anyone have theories about trying this, or any actual experience? I have a Roland SCC-1, LAPC-1, and RAP-10, AWE 32/64 cards and other various things that would be fun to try with on a Windows 7 system.

I think this would be a slick way to "float" a DOS system from system to system upgrade, tidy in a VM and external hardware in enclosures.

Thanks,
-bytes


I had some experience with them, but it was years ago. Unfortunately, Windows XP/Vista/7 does not support direct access to these devices, which DOS games need for them to operate.
User avatar
Great Hierophant
l33t
 
Posts: 2337
Joined: 2003-4-27 @ 08:20

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby bytesaber » 2013-1-17 @ 17:14

Great Hierophant wrote:Unfortunately, Windows XP/Vista/7 does not support direct access to these devices, which DOS games need for them to operate.


Can you give me an example of what direct access is? Drivers from Win98 - Win 7 are provided.

If the host OS was Win98, would it provide direct access to a DOS game?

My idea would be Win7, use it's driver, then VMWare running Win98 in DOS mode, to speak to the device.

Or perhaps Win7, don't both with driver, then VMWare running Win98 in DOS mode, use Win98 driver within the VM, and see if that gives access to DOS games.

Or perhaps it's all just a pipe dream?
User avatar
bytesaber
Member
 
Posts: 132
Joined: 2011-2-14 @ 21:18
Location: Idaho Falls

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby bytesaber » 2013-1-17 @ 17:20

Mau1wurf1977 wrote:Personally at these prices, just go with external MIDI units. They work 100% through USB MIDI adapter with DOSBox, ScummVM and various other programs like Doom frontends.


I agree. It seems that I really am just pondering Creative cards and "maybe" a Gravis UltraSound. Roland cards are covered by external modules with the same wave tables.

Other than the sound card category, I can not think of other ISA cards that I would desire to keep functioning. DOSBox can do game ports via USB. But in a non DOSBox setup, maybe a smarter midi card? Can you think of something else that would be nice?
User avatar
bytesaber
Member
 
Posts: 132
Joined: 2011-2-14 @ 21:18
Location: Idaho Falls

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby Great Hierophant » 2013-1-17 @ 20:17

In Windows 95. 98 or ME, when a DOS game wants to communicate with a Sound Blaster, it will manipulate the Sound Blaster directly, reading from and writing to ports and using IRQ and DMA channels. Windows 3.x and 9x allow this, Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8 do not (except via Porttalk). The game assumes that a Sound Blaster or GUS is sitting in an ISA slot, and since USB came well-after the heyday of DOS games, a DOS game would not know what to do with a card attached via the USB bus.

So the software needs to emulate an ISA bus on the USB bus. When I tried these cards back in the day, I believe software was sufficient for simple I/O reads and writes. This will allow an Adlib, Game Blaster, Roland LAPC-I, SCC-1 or any MPU-401 interface to work. Cards using IRQs and DMAs did not work.
User avatar
Great Hierophant
l33t
 
Posts: 2337
Joined: 2003-4-27 @ 08:20

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby swaaye » 2013-1-17 @ 20:37

It would be similar to what PCI sound cards have to do to get DOS game audio working. All of the bright minds who worked on the various drivers there couldn't get that working very well.
swaaye
Moderator
 
Posts: 6934
Joined: 2002-7-22 @ 21:24
Location: WI, USA

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby Mau1wurf1977 » 2013-1-17 @ 21:35

bytesaber wrote:I agree. It seems that I really am just pondering Creative cards and "maybe" a Gravis UltraSound. Roland cards are covered by external modules with the same wave tables


The good news is that DOSBox supports both :) Sound Blaster (OPL3) Emulation is wonderful. I haven't compared the GUS much though, it might be different like the Game Blaster / CMS is. That one is totally off, almost a wrong pitch / different notes.
User avatar
Mau1wurf1977
l33t++
 
Posts: 7652
Joined: 2010-8-27 @ 04:15
Location: Western Australia

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby Ticondrius » 2015-10-06 @ 01:17

I've been thinking about this recently...but I'm not a fan of going in via USB. I was thinking instead of an interface card that goes in a PCIe x1 or PCI slot that has a custom (very short) cabling to an external enclosure for the ISA slots. It's how the old 486 and Pentium boards had both ISA and PCI on the same boards..they used a bridge of some kind to tap the ISA into the PCI bus. It no longer goes right into the chipset.

I think I'm going to look more into this and see what I can find out.....it may be I'll design the thing myself.
Ticondrius
Newbie
 
Posts: 22
Joined: 2015-9-24 @ 13:21

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby tayyare » 2015-10-06 @ 13:37

Great Hierophant wrote:In Windows 95. 98 or ME, when a DOS game wants to communicate with a Sound Blaster, it will manipulate the Sound Blaster directly, reading from and writing to ports and using IRQ and DMA channels. Windows 3.x and 9x allow this, Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista/7/8 do not (except via Porttalk). The game assumes that a Sound Blaster or GUS is sitting in an ISA slot, and since USB came well-after the heyday of DOS games, a DOS game would not know what to do with a card attached via the USB bus.

So the software needs to emulate an ISA bus on the USB bus. When I tried these cards back in the day, I believe software was sufficient for simple I/O reads and writes. This will allow an Adlib, Game Blaster, Roland LAPC-I, SCC-1 or any MPU-401 interface to work. Cards using IRQs and DMAs did not work.


In the product description, they say their driver software will handle IRQ and DMA requests, but to what end, I don't know. In any case, even if the thing would work flawlessly, where someone can find a Windows 7 driver for a legacy ISA card? The driver supplied is "USB to ISA" driver, one still needs to find the ISA card's own Windows 7 driver, I guess.
GA-6VTXE PIII 1.4 + 512MB
GeForce2 Ultra 64MB
Diamond Monster 3D II 12MB SLI
SB AWE64 Gold+SIMMCONN 32MB
120GB IDE Samsung/80GB IDE Seagate/146GB SCSI Compaq/73GB SCSI IBM
Adaptec AHA29160
3com 3C905B-TX
MSDOS 6.22+Windows 3.11/95 OSR2.1/98SE/ME/2000
User avatar
tayyare
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1010
Joined: 2013-2-18 @ 18:54
Location: Turkey

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby collector » 2015-10-06 @ 15:34

This should be in Marvin
User avatar
collector
l33t
 
Posts: 4035
Joined: 2003-1-15 @ 10:39

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby NJRoadfan » 2015-10-07 @ 01:37

The company that makes these has a "special" build of DOSBox available that redirects ISA I/O to this adapter so you can run legacy software that goes with any hardware.

http://arstech.com/install/cms-display/ ... rmdos.html
http://www.arstech.com/dosbox-rel.zip
NJRoadfan
Oldbie
 
Posts: 845
Joined: 2012-5-26 @ 03:54
Location: Northern NJ

Re: External ISA slots via USB

Postby gaead » 2017-11-30 @ 03:28

I read the contents well.

Have you tested VMware on Windows 10? Configured with current system specifications. ( 7th or 8th i7 Processor )

I want to run Unix with VMware to recognize the ISA card. x86 Unix -> OpenServer 5 and UnixWare 7 or 8

ISA Board -> communication I/O Boards.

Do you think it will be possible?
gaead
Newbie
 
Posts: 1
Joined: 2017-11-30 @ 03:21


Return to General Old Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: 133MHz, CelGen, Katmai500 and 13 guests