VOGONS


Reply 20 of 36, by appiah4

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Largely depends on what motherboard you will use. A ForteMedia FM801 card is probably your most compatible bet that has very agreeable FM music.
If your smotherboard is known to work with them,Yamaha YMF724/744 cards are the best but they can be difficult to get working on most chipsets without SB-Link.
You can also go for an Aztech AZF3328 card, as they also have genuine integrated OPL3 synths but they are pretty much equally picky about chipsets.
An ESS Solo-1 card is middle of the road between the two in terms of quality and compatibility.

There is no fifth PCI chipset I would use for DOS gaming.

Aureal Vortex 2 works more or less hassle free but it sounds like ass in FM synthesis.
Crystal CS4624/30 are amazingly good chipsets but their FM music is still borderline cringeworthy.
CMI8738 has a lot of revisions some of which work in some cases but most just don't work at all in most cases.
Audigy/Live/AudioPCI are just pure shit.

The only thing I never tried, now that I think about it is ALS4000.. Anyone know how that one sounds/works?

Last edited by appiah4 on 2020-07-22, 11:24. Edited 1 time in total.

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Reply 21 of 36, by The Serpent Rider

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my understanding is it's just super hard to emulate the ISA DMA used by a SoundBlaster card through hardware alone when the card is on the PCI bus.

It's not, but you're limited to certain motherboard chipsets and sound cards.

You can't really. Such a PC will be too fast for many DOS games.

You can. But it's hard to achieve and requires pricy industrial 865PE motherboard with LGA775. Totally worth it though.

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Reply 22 of 36, by frudi

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I recently built a DOS/Win98 system based around the socket 754 Athlon64, mainly to see for myself how it would handle DOS sound. I went with a VIA K8T800 based motherboard (after testing several I decided on Abit's KV8 Pro), since Nforce chipsets are apparently a no-go for digitized sound in pure DOS mode.

For the sound card, I initially tried a Yamaha YMF724 card of unknown brand that I had laying around, however I couldn't get it to work. Not sure if it was the drivers, me not setting something correctly or the card just doesn't work right. So I switched to an ESS Solo-1, which turned out to be a lot easier for me to set up. It worked from the start, using drivers and instructions I found in some guide. Only issue I had was figuring out a way to force it to use the same IRQ/DMA/IO Address in both Win98 and pure DOS mode, but in the end I got that sorted as well.

I haven't done any thorough testing of more troublesome titles, but from the games I have tried, it actually worked fine in all of them - games such as Prince of Persia, Monkey Island, F1 Grand Prix, Dune 2, Warcraft, Wolfenstein 3D, Doom, Duke Nukem 2 and 3D, Gods, Mortal Kombat, Colonization, Epic Pinball, Jill of the Jungle, Settlers 2, Stunts, X-Com etc. FM sounds surprisingly good, as long as you're not an OPL3 purist or expect it to sound exactly like an SB16. As it's clear I'm mainly interested in later DOS games though, from around 1990 onward, so I can't speak for how it does in earlier games.

All in all I was very pleasantly surprised just how viable the build turned out to be for pure DOS games. Would definitely recommend it if for whatever reason a more period correct system with an ISA sound card is not an option.

Reply 23 of 36, by kalohimal

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During development of my CPU speed control program CPUSPD, I tested lots of motherboards and have had great success with YMF744. Out of 30+ boards with different chipsets I tested, only about 3 were incompatible, which gives a success rate of more than 90%. The trick is to setup DS.INI properly and mod setupds.exe for the corresponding south bridge of the board. And using CPUSPD to slow the CPU down, most of the games like Wing Commander, Prince of Persia, Epic Pinball, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis etc, work fine without a hitch. The only catch is YMF744's dsdma driver requires EMS, so a small set of games which can't work with EMS will not run.

Slow down your CPU with CPUSPD for DOS retro gaming.

Reply 25 of 36, by Action Replay

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-07-22, 08:00:

....
An ESS Solo-1 card is middle of the road between the two in terms of quality and compatibility.

...

As mentioned above look into the ESS Solo-1 PCI cards. There is some further info on this forum.

Reply 26 of 36, by Socket3

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I like the CT4810 (SB128 PCI) and the Yamaha DS-XG (YMF 724/744). The CT4810 has great dos support, and can loads a wavetable rom for general midi samples under dos. The YMF 724/744 has great sounding OPL3, but will can't load wavetable samples under dos, only windows.

Reply 27 of 36, by AvalonH

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-07-22, 08:00:
Largely depends on what motherboard you will use. A ForteMedia FM801 card is probably your most compatible bet that has very ag […]
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Largely depends on what motherboard you will use. A ForteMedia FM801 card is probably your most compatible bet that has very agreeable FM music.

There is no fifth PCI chipset I would use for DOS gaming.

Aureal Vortex 2 works more or less hassle free but it sounds like ass in FM synthesis.
Crystal CS4624/30 are amazingly good chipsets but their FM music is still borderline cringeworthy.
CMI8738 has a lot of revisions some of which work in some cases but most just don't work at all in most cases.
Audigy/Live/AudioPCI are just pure shit.

The only thing I never tried, now that I think about it is ALS4000.. Anyone know how that one sounds/works?

I find the ALS4000 works better than the Solo-1 in terms of compatibility. This is when using the official avinit.exe tsr. It works in some of the more tricky games like Supaplex that freezes with my solo-1 when setting up digital FX. One thing mentioned is that the als4000 supports Sb16 compatibility, it doesn't. SBPRO-2 support is excellent with the stereo not reversed in tie-fighter, descent etc. It's FM/Adlib support is very close to genuine OPL2 like the Solo-1. There is also another dos utility to initalize this card - ALS4KDOS. It works as good when you configure the setup to use 'Edge' level IRQ triggering rather than 'Level'.

Reply 29 of 36, by cyclone3d

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Warlord wrote on 2020-08-03, 22:59:

I would try and get a 815 chipset with sblink and yamaha XG, gl finding one.

True that. I had to order mine from overseas... an Acorp 6A815.

Even better... a board like this AND then to add 4x ISA with DMA support... a National Semiconductors / Cyrix PC87200 Evaluation Board.... but good luck finding another in existence. I got one a couple years ago and still need to build a system using it. From the datasheet it looks like I may have to write an initialization program for it.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 30 of 36, by Joseph_Joestar

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A somewhat less known fact about SB-Link and YMF7x4 cards: it also improves compatibility for games running under the Win98 DOS prompt. No special driver adjustments needed, it's completely automatic. I suspect that the Windows drivers somehow detect when SB-Link is connected and automatically switch the card into S-IRQ and PC-PCI mode.

Case in point: on my YMF724, digital sound in Duke Nukem 3D crashes under Win98 without SB-Link, but works just fine when it's connected. Same for Tyrian.

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PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
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Reply 31 of 36, by Scraphoarder

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If you want a P4 s478 system with ISA it think a PCIAGP/PXAGP should be considered. The PCI-ISA bridge card use an ITE 8888 chips that seem to work in DOS. The drawback is that this would cost atleast $250 for a 13 slot backplane and CPU card. Add to that you need an industrial case, but you will have a very unique system.
PIAGP (Pentium 4 AGP/PCI/ISA) build for DOS/WIN98SE

If you want ATX a MSI MS-6551 motherboard can sometimes be found cheaper than those industrial s478 ATX boards, but i think it use a Winbond bridge that can be hit and miss regarding DOS compability.

Reply 32 of 36, by cyclone3d

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Scraphoarder wrote on 2020-08-05, 17:33:

If you want a P4 s478 system with ISA it think a PCIAGP/PXAGP should be considered. The PCI-ISA bridge card use an ITE 8888 chips that seem to work in DOS. The drawback is that this would cost atleast $250 for a 13 slot backplane and CPU card. Add to that you need an industrial case, but you will have a very unique system.
PIAGP (Pentium 4 AGP/PCI/ISA) build for DOS/WIN98SE

If you want ATX a MSI MS-6551 motherboard can sometimes be found cheaper than those industrial s478 ATX boards, but i think it use a Winbond bridge that can be hit and miss regarding DOS compability.

Been a long time since I updated that thread.

With current prices, $250 is about right for the backplane and SBC depending on where you are. Getting a backplane with the ISA bridge module is the hard part. I waited at least a year before I found one.

Then I found a few more... traded a backplane and some other stuff away for something else I wanted.

Now I have enough parts to build 3 of these setups.

I still haven't been able to locate even a single LGA775 PXAGP SBC.

I also accidentally now have an industrial ATX Pentium 4 board with an ISA slot. Bought a rack mount case for cheap and it came with the motherboard... which wasn't shown in the really sad single pic the seller had posted.
The HDD was also still in the case. They destroyed it with a screwdriver or something and somebody had also tried to jam a screwdriver through the copper CPU heatsink but it stopped before it hit the motherboard.

The really nice thing is that the "speed sensitive" sound cards seem to work a lot better than in faster consumer oriented setups. My guess is that because these are industrial setups that they are designed to stay within specifications so that these speed sensitive issues are not there.

I need to do more testing but other projects and life in general limit my time.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 34 of 36, by Oerg866

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appiah4 wrote on 2020-07-22, 08:00:

You can also go for an Aztech AZF3328 card, as they also have genuine integrated OPL3 synths but they are pretty much equally picky about chipsets.

Sorry for digging this out, but cannot confirm its pickiness.

I had this card running on an Intel B85 chipset (which has absolutely zero legacy support i'm sure most of you would agree) and it was the only sound card that with VxD drivers, natively, on Windows 98, produced sound in DOS games. Nothing that an Aureal Vortex, FM801, Crystal, ESS or DS-XG card ever managed to do in that machine. Ever since then I hold this card in high regard.

Sadly it does not have native DOS drivers. But this is still an amazing result.

Proof:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nGNOxuAmeWc

Reply 36 of 36, by kolderman

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-07-05, 06:11:
Cga.8086 wrote on 2020-07-05, 05:47:

by doing that i can just trash the idea of buying a vortex2 or some yamaha pci soundcard. Because most of my concern comes from sound in the DOS era when you need to hear the tones as they were in the old days, while in the last years of win98 we started to use integrated motherboard audio wich was not that of a big deal for me.

If you happen to come across a motherboard with a SB-Link connector, you can use that to hook up a Yamaha YMF7x4 card and achieve near perfect compatibility with DOS games.

Those motherboards seem to be rare though.

It's extremely hit and miss in my experience. It works sometimes, sometimes not.