AlessandroB wrote on 2020-01-31, 06:49:
Yea, you hit the point, is exactly what mean.
So there are DOS games (which require an ISA card) but at the same time they require a Pentium class CPU ... if they were very few it would not be worth spending a lot of money to get a DOS compatible pci card . You should have a list, or at least a list of the "unmissable" ones.
You can get fully DOS-compatible sound on PCI, but only with a pile of compromises. The most compatible solutions require very specific hardware, which generally is only present on chipsets that support ISA anyway (DDMA, PC/PCI etc). Even then the number of cards/sound chips is limited. You can get sound, maybe good sound even (if you have PC/PCI and a YMF74x-chip, for example), but you're locked out from all the beautiful chaotic diversity of DOS ISA sound. Without those workarounds you're stuck with bulky TSR drivers and flakey compatibility.
So really that's the point: it's not about date, it's about OS. If you want to run Windows only, you could get away with PCI sound in 1995 (if there had been any 1995 PCI sound chips...), if you want to run DOS, ISA is very much recommended, even if you want to run it with an Athlon/P4 from past 2000.
Note that you don't need to spend a lot of money on DOS-compatible PCI sound cards - they tended to be low-end designs, as DOS was low-end legacy in the PCI era. Probably the best DOS compatibility without PC/PCI, DDMA or similar comes from the C-Media CMI8378, which you can even get new for a few EUR. Other designs with acceptable DOS performance are things like the ESS Solo-1 and Ensoniq/Creative ES1371, which are ubiquitous and cheap too. Even the Yamaha YMF74x-designs aren't particularly expensive.
But again, unless you really can't, just stick with ISA for DOS. It's not hard to find first-gen Athlon or last-gen P3 boards with ISA, such a system will be able to run any DOS game easily. If for whatever reason you want more performance, look out for PICMG industrial SBCs +backplanes. You can go all the way up to Core2-era and have multiple ISA slots with those. So long as the PCI-to-ISA bridge supports DMA (which the common ITE designs do), you're good for DOS. Note however that a lot of DOS sound is speed-sensitive, so you're opening yourself up to a whole new world of compatibility issues running DOS with ISA sound at CPU speeds up to 3GHz...