VOGONS


Reply 20 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

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jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:28:

Are there any other solid SB choices for what I want to do? Or any you would recommend over the AWE32? I was told to stay away from the AWE64 due to no OPL3..

Short answer: there is no single, perfect DOS sound card. The AWE32 with genuine OPL3 is an excellent choice overall. Another option would be to combine an AWE64 with a second sound card (e.g. a Yamaha Audician 32) for genuine OPL3, a bug-free MIDI interface and proper SBPro stereo compatibility.

But again, it all depends on what you want to do with your rig. For example, if you never intend to use a wavetable daughter board with your sound card or hook up an external MIDI device to it, then those MIDI bugs are meaningless to you.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 21 of 33, by jm1607

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:41:
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:28:

Are there any other solid SB choices for what I want to do? Or any you would recommend over the AWE32? I was told to stay away from the AWE64 due to no OPL3..

Short answer: there is no single, perfect DOS sound card. The AWE32 with genuine OPL3 is an excellent choice overall. Another option would be to combine an AWE64 with a second sound card (e.g. a Yamaha Audician 32) for genuine OPL3, a bug-free MIDI interface and proper SBPro stereo compatibility.

But again, it all depends on what you want to do with your rig. For example, if you never intend to use a wavetable daughter board with your sound card or hook up an external MIDI device to it, then those MIDI bugs are meaningless to you.

When I'm on Ebay looking at boards is there a way to tell which ones have OPL3? Are the chips labelled a certain way or anything?

Reply 22 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

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You can look at the card's model number and compare it to this chart.

Also, OPL3 chips are usually marked as such. However, the print on the chip may be difficult to make out, especially on blurry, low-res seller pictures.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 23 of 33, by jm1607

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2020-10-16, 21:54:

You can look at the card's model number and compare it to this chart.

Also, OPL3 chips are usually marked as such. However, the print on the chip may be difficult to make out, especially on blurry, low-res seller pictures.

That's a bad ass chart. Thanks again!

Well damn... I guess that's all I need 🤣?

I guess the only question I still have left is what's an appropriate wattage for my power supply?

And, will any modern LAN pci card work? Actually, I'm not sure if I even need a LAN card...

Reply 24 of 33, by jakethompson1

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jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 22:04:
That's a bad ass chart. Thanks again! […]
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That's a bad ass chart. Thanks again!

Well damn... I guess that's all I need 🤣?

I guess the only question I still have left is what's an appropriate wattage for my power supply?

And, will any modern LAN pci card work? Actually, I'm not sure if I even need a LAN card...

In addition to the Sound Blasters you could look at a clone card such as a Yamaha OPL3-SAx (which is genuine OPL3) or an ESS card (which isn't, but sounds good). Opinions of them are varied and there are tons of threads here about them. It depends on whether you are using the fancy wave table features of the AWE32. Those are likely to be cheaper, and less of a hassle to set up than a PnP brand name card.

For LAN card I would use an RTL8169 if you want Gigabit and an RTL8139 if not. They aren't the fastest but they are super compatible and cheap. Intel and 3COM cards are also good.

Reply 25 of 33, by jm1607

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jakethompson1 wrote on 2020-10-16, 23:58:
jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 22:04:
That's a bad ass chart. Thanks again! […]
Show full quote

That's a bad ass chart. Thanks again!

Well damn... I guess that's all I need 🤣?

I guess the only question I still have left is what's an appropriate wattage for my power supply?

And, will any modern LAN pci card work? Actually, I'm not sure if I even need a LAN card...

In addition to the Sound Blasters you could look at a clone card such as a Yamaha OPL3-SAx (which is genuine OPL3) or an ESS card (which isn't, but sounds good). Opinions of them are varied and there are tons of threads here about them. It depends on whether you are using the fancy wave table features of the AWE32. Those are likely to be cheaper, and less of a hassle to set up than a PnP brand name card.

For LAN card I would use an RTL8169 if you want Gigabit and an RTL8139 if not. They aren't the fastest but they are super compatible and cheap. Intel and 3COM cards are also good.

Dang.. I didn't realize how much the AWE32 boards were going for! Maybe I will get the Yamaha.. Way cheaper and still has OPL3.. Thanks for the tip!

Reply 26 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

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Yamaha 71x cards are a great choice for DOS gaming. They are SBPro compatible by default but can also deliver 16-bit sound in WSS mode, for games that support it. And while they don't suffer from any of the bugs that plague Creative's cards, they do have a few minor issues of their own (e.g. lack of ADPCM).

Additionally, not that many DOS games use 16-bit sound and actually benefit from a SB16. And those that do can often use WSS to achieve equivalent functionality. Ultimately, you can always get some cheap Vibra as your secondary card if you really want that proper SB16 compatibility for games like Crusader: No Remorse.

As mentioned earlier, no DOS sound card is perfect, so you might want to do some extra research before settling on one, to see what best fits your needs and budget. Phil's sound card review playlist is a good place to start.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 27 of 33, by Pajeroking

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Wow, i only wanted any 486/Pentium MMX/ Pentium 2 system, whichever was the cheapest, because i was not sure if this "hobby" will hook me. But apparently i ended up with a 233 MMX , the best choice for late 90's DOS games.

Good luck with your build.

Reply 28 of 33, by jm1607

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Just wanted to say thanks again to all the people that chimed in. I think I have a very good grasp of what I'm looking for now.

I'll keep you guys posted on the build. Nothing is going to happen toooo fast because it's going to take a while to track down some of the parts..

Reply 29 of 33, by jm1607

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Have a couple more questions now that I'm getting a little farther along...

1) Is there a brand of memory I should look for or any specs I should keep an eye out for? My plan is to get one 32MB PC100 SDRAM chip.. Is Micron a solid brand?

2) What's a good speed CD-ROM that's fairly period correct, but doesn't really hold me back? 8x-12x?? Are there brands to look for or stay away from?

3) Does a Pentium 233 mmx need a fan?

4) What's a decent wattage for my PS assuming I don't run many accessories? 200W?

Reply 30 of 33, by clueless1

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jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-16, 17:44:

I “mainly” want to play really old games like Bard’s Tale and text adventures like Zork.

If you're hoping to run DOS games from the early to mid 1980s on a P233MMX, you may be in for a disappointment. I agree with everyone else about the 233MMX being the best all around DOS cpu, but even it has its limitations. It will only slow down to 386 speeds...which may still be way too fast for some games from the mid 1980s. I don't think text adventures will be a problem since no graphics, but I'd be surprised if Bard's Tale would play normally on a fully slowed down Pentium. The next platform that has a shot at slowing down to 286 speeds (which would run mid-80's games well) is a 486 with a turbo button and disabled L1 cache.

The more I learn, the more I realize how much I don't know.
OPL3 FM vs. Roland MT-32 vs. General MIDI DOS Game Comparison
Let's benchmark our systems with cache disabled
DOS PCI Graphics Card Benchmarks

Reply 31 of 33, by Joseph_Joestar

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jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-22, 22:01:

2) What's a good speed CD-ROM that's fairly period correct, but doesn't really hold me back? 8x-12x?? Are there brands to look for or stay away from?

Unless you are absolutely going for a period correct rig, I would suggest staying well away from pre-2000 CD-ROM drives. Maybe if you can get a sealed in box, unused device, but otherwise no. Old CD drives are prone to failure due to wear and tear and often have trouble reading burned CDs.

Go for a drive from the early-mid 2000s instead. They are easier to find and tend to be more reliable. And if drive noise is something that you want to avoid, try CDBeQuiet. It can slow down compatible drives to 4x speed which is completely silent, at least to my ears.

Using Audigy drivers with a Sound Blaster Live
Installing DOS drivers on an Audigy2 ZS
OPL3 vs. ESFM vs. CQM vs. SBLive
OPTi 82C930 review

Reply 32 of 33, by chinny22

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1) Is there a brand of memory I should look for or any specs I should keep an eye out for? My plan is to get one 32MB PC100 SDRAM chip.. Is Micron a solid brand?
Micron is a good brand, I also like Kingston from this era but really anything is fine. PC133 ram will also work if you can find this cheaper.

2) What's a good speed CD-ROM that's fairly period correct, but doesn't really hold me back? 8x-12x?? Are there brands to look for or stay away from?
Those speeds are probably about right for period correctness, but as mentioned above even the best brands will have had 20 odd years of wear and tear.
I'd go for what looks good and is cheap DVD drives are also fine.
Speed doesn't really matter, in fact faster drives can actually be more of a pain as you have to wait for it to spin up unless a game is constantly reading from it.
Large HDD means you can No-CD majority of dos games anyway.

3) Does a Pentium 233 mmx need a fan?
No, but wont hurt either.

4) What's a decent wattage for my PS assuming I don't run many accessories? 200W?
Yeh that'll do fine.

Reply 33 of 33, by aha2940

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jm1607 wrote on 2020-10-22, 22:01:

2) What's a good speed CD-ROM that's fairly period correct, but doesn't really hold me back? 8x-12x?? Are there brands to look for or stay away from?

Even if not period-correct, on my builds I use CDROM/DVD units that do not have rubber bands for the tray-opening, but only gears. In my experience, those are way more reliable as time passes. I've found that those units are usually sony or lite-on branded.