Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby appiah4 » 2018-2-06 @ 18:02

I'm embarking on a quest to configure my Optiplex GX110 as a Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC.

The Goal:
- To cover pretty much every game from 1989-1999, which means enough horsepower to play Quake III and Homeworld at 1024x768x16/30fps+
- Have working FM and MIDI audio (Handled through a Dreamblaster X3M) for all OSes, including OS/2

The i810 chipset and the riser card I have for this build limits me to the PCI bus, and 3 expansion slots. The RAM is 512MB (2x256MB) and the CPU is a Coppermine 1000B. What I currently have are:

VGA: Voodoo 2 SLI (which I would have to tear out of my K6-2 system, which would then have to be replaced with an 8MB Voodoo 2 I would have to pay money for..), Matrox G450 PCI, Radeon 7000 PCI, Radeon 9250 PCI
Sound: Terratec 128i (ESS Solo-1), Terratec 512i (FM-801), Ensoniq/Creative AudioPCI, Diamond MX300 (Vortex 2),SB Live/Audigy/Audigy2

If you had to build this, what would you use? Please don't feel limited to what I have, as I can hopefully source more parts.. but if anything I have will cut it for the job, let me know.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby squiggly » 2018-2-06 @ 18:47

If you are playing games back to 1989 I would strongly suggest getting a system able to hold an ISA sound card. The Ensoniq 1370/1371 supposedly has the best PCI DOS compat, but it will never be the same as a real OPL3 ISA sound card. I have a similar system to yours, except I also have an ISA slot so my setup is:

* Voodoo2 SLI
* TNT2 Ultra (AGP though)
* SB Live! 5.1 PCI
* My choice of ISA sound card (I have around 50) to suit the game.
* Win98SE

This system only really for around 1995-1998 games...I have a different system for games earlier than that:

* Voodoo1
* Riva 128ZX (AGP)
* ISA sound card of my choice
* MSDOS6.2.

By going from 89-99 you are well and truly spanning the DOS/Windows barrier and you might want to split it into a DOS PC and a Win98 PC.
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby brostenen » 2018-2-06 @ 18:54

How well does Matrox G400 behave in Dos? I have checked, and there are drivers for all 4 operating systems.

Personally, I would go for a motherboard with both AGP and ISA on it, in order to have those 4 operating systems going.
As I mentioned, there are drivers for G400 and YMF-718/719 for all 4 OS's. And YMF-718/719 have room for dreamblaster.
And covering all games from 1989 to 1999, a K6-3 system may well be the perfect choice for you.
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby brostenen » 2018-2-06 @ 19:05

squiggly wrote:By going from 89-99 you are well and truly spanning the DOS/Windows barrier and you might want to split it into a DOS PC and a Win98 PC.


A K6-3+ system combined with a good Voodoo solution, gives enough horsepower to run a game from 1999.
It might struggle at 1024x768, yet games at 640x480 will run fluid.
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby appiah4 » 2018-2-06 @ 19:26

Well, if I had AGP and ISA it wouldn't be much of a challenge, would it now? :)

I kind of love the GX110, its build, its looks and the time it is from resonate with me, so I want to turn it into a Go-To retro PC. I could get a riser card with an ISA slot for it, but the last time I tried to get one the seller sent me a GX1 riser despite being sold as a GX110, and I don't want to try my luck again. As far as I know the L2 cache can be disabled with a key combination as well, which makes it pretty idea for DOS games despite being a very fast PC, if I can make it work with a PCI sound card. So yeah, the biggest challenges are probably picking the right sound card for DOS while picking a video card that is powerful enough for 1998/99 gaming while being usable in DOS and OS/2.. Good luck :)

I have the Ensoniq 1370, however that chip's FM Synth is worse than anything I've ever heard, so unless another choice has similar compatibility I would rather not go with that one. My heart lies with the Terratec 128i, it has an ESS Solo-1 with integrated ESFM (which in my book is actually better than true OPL3) and a wavetable header as well as a working MPU-401. There are no SB-Link headers on the GX110 board, so this will have to work through DDMA modes or through ESS's driver implementation.. Worth trying?

I do not have a YMF-718/19 car in PCI, only ISA? I believe the PCI versions are YMF-72x/74x and not exactly very good for DOS?

The G450 PCI (not G400, as I don't have it) is the card I want to use in this build as well, but I don't know if it will actually give me the kind of 3D performance in 1998/99 games. As for the Radeons, they are probably too new to have OS/2 drivers? Maybe they work through third party VESA drivers like Display Doctor but I haven't looked into that.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby brostenen » 2018-2-06 @ 19:45

I think the biggest hurdle, is to find a suitable soundcard for Dos and Os/2 at the same time.
I have not seen 724/744 drivers for Os/2, yet the 724 card has a real OPL3 core build into the XG-Chip.
If you can find YMF-724 drivers for all 4 operating systems, then you can use an external dreamblaster adaptor.
It will be (for me at least) a kickass sound solution. True OPL+Dreamblaster-MIDI in Dos, XG-Midi in Win98.

As for G450-Os/2 drivers. Still on Matrox's website.....
http://www.matrox.com/graphics/it/support/drivers/files/os2_258.php
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby appiah4 » 2018-2-06 @ 19:56

brostenen wrote:I think the biggest hurdle, is to find a suitable soundcard for Dos and Os/2 at the same time.
I have not seen 724/744 drivers for Os/2, yet the 724 card has a real OPL3 core build into the XG-Chip.
If you can find YMF-724 drivers for all 4 operating systems, then you can use an external dreamblaster adaptor.
It will be (for me at least) a kickass sound solution. True OPL+Dreamblaster-MIDI in Dos, XG-Midi in Win98.

As for G450-Os/2 drivers. Still on Matrox's website.....
http://www.matrox.com/graphics/it/support/drivers/files/os2_258.php


Well.. according to OS2Warp.be, the YMF724/44/54 chipsets are supported on OS/2 through ALSA2 v1.01 drivers as are the ES1938 Solo-1, but this driver doe snot support wavetable or MPU-401 MIDI if this resource is up to date. There is a software MIDI option through TiMidity, though.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby cyclone3d » 2018-2-06 @ 20:23

Which chassis do you have?

You can have PCI and ISA in the GX110. It just depends on what riser you have installed.

http://facweb.northseattle.edu/tfiegenb/eet/DELL/UserGuide/expcards.htm

Here is one on eBay for the tower chassis:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Dell-Optiplex-GX110-PCI-ISA-Riser-Card-NEW-Bulk-0524D-/391254856435
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Re: Challenge: Choose PCI Sound and Video cards for Win2K/Win98SE/Warp4/DOS Quad Boot PC

Postby appiah4 » 2018-2-06 @ 20:27

I have the Low Profile desktop chassis - the one with three expansion slots.
1989:A500R6|+512K/RTC|ACA500+|HxC/df1:|C1084S
1992:HIPPO-VL+|DX2ODPR66|8M|GD5428|CT2290
1995:PCI597-1|P133|32M|Trio64|Voodoo1|CT3980/2M|DreamS2
1998:S1573S|K6-2/400|64M|RagePro|Voodoo2/SLI|CT4500/32M
2001:GA-6OXT|PIII-1200|512M|GF3Ti200|MX300
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