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Awe32 RAM Expansion

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First post, by Hamby

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is there any real advantage to having a full 32mb in an Awe32?
what is to be gained by having that much ram on the card?
(debating between using current 1 or 4mb memory sticks or buying a couple 16mb)

Reply 2 of 30, by Disruptor

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Well, you may use soundfonts like ChoruimRevA that use 28 MB.
But in fact the time of loading the soundfont (windows start!) increases by more than one minute.
You may go well with 8 MB.

But there may be better soundfonts.
Do you know any?

Last edited by Disruptor on 2022-04-29, 20:12. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 3 of 30, by Cuttoon

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Sorry, just kidding.

RAM is for custom sample banks for the wavetable synthesis.
Some of those sets are larger than 8 MB.
So, if you want to mess around with those, you'll need more RAM.

I like jumpers.

Reply 4 of 30, by RaiderOfLostVoodoo

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Mhhh, I have question that fits right in.

So, I have a Sound Blaster 32 (CT3670), which is technically an AWE64. But it has RAM slots like an AWE32 and doesn't need the rare extension board (or a replica). I've already tested it in a few games like Doom and it sounds great. Already came with 2x4MB memory.

I've seen some comparison videos on Youtube that had snippets of AWE32 cards with 512KB, 2MB and 8MB RAM. So as far as I understand it, the samples are in the game files and the game automatically loads the best set that fits into the RAM of the sound card.
Are there any games that have samples greater than 8MB or is 28MB just for custom samples that I have to load manually?

Reply 6 of 30, by Gmlb256

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The main advantage of expanding RAM on AWE cards to allow larger SoundFonts to be loaded. Maximum usable size is 28MB due to EMU8K limitations.

kolderman wrote on 2022-04-29, 21:29:

No game loads midi samples, apart from some special mt32 sounds effects, AFAIK.

Actually there are games that are capable of loading custom SoundFonts. Examples: Croc, FF7, Dungeon Keeper, Eradicator and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri.

Expanding the RAM for these aren't really necessary though because there are smaller SoundFonts as fallback if 512KB is only available for the EMU8K and most (if not all) of the custom SoundFonts rarely exceed 4MB.

Reply 7 of 30, by Hamby

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ah, thanks for the info, everyone!

A couple years ago I broke the latches on the ram sockets of my Awe32, and I'm about to solder in new sockets (with metal clips!) and I was wondering if I should max out the memory once I start using it again.
(I actually bought another one since breaking that one, so I have two... two Awe32s... )

Reply 8 of 30, by kolderman

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-04-29, 21:45:

The main advantage of expanding RAM on AWE cards to allow larger SoundFonts to be loaded. Maximum usable size is 28MB due to EMU8K limitations.

kolderman wrote on 2022-04-29, 21:29:

No game loads midi samples, apart from some special mt32 sounds effects, AFAIK.

Actually there are games that are capable of loading custom SoundFonts. Examples: Croc, FF7, Dungeon Keeper, Eradicator and Terra Nova: Strike Force Centauri.

Interesting. DK seems to use it only for Sound Effects though, the music was RedBook.

Reply 9 of 30, by Gmlb256

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kolderman wrote on 2022-04-29, 22:37:

Interesting. DK seems to use it only for Sound Effects though, the music was RedBook.

True, three of the examples I mentioned used it only for sound effects to enhance the experience.

Reply 10 of 30, by rasz_pl

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Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-29, 20:12:

Well, you may use soundfonts like ChoruimRevA that use 28 MB.
But in fact the time of loading the soundfont (windows start!) increases by more than one minute.

minutes? how slow was AWE32 ram access? 😮

Reply 11 of 30, by Gmlb256

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rasz_pl wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:26:
Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-29, 20:12:

Well, you may use soundfonts like ChoruimRevA that use 28 MB.
But in fact the time of loading the soundfont (windows start!) increases by more than one minute.

minutes? how slow was AWE32 ram access? 😮

It takes around 40-45 seconds approximately to load a SoundFont of that size on a AWE card. If I'm not wrong, that's because the samples are being transferred through the ISA bus which is slow.

Reply 12 of 30, by darry

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Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:39:
rasz_pl wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:26:
Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-29, 20:12:

Well, you may use soundfonts like ChoruimRevA that use 28 MB.
But in fact the time of loading the soundfont (windows start!) increases by more than one minute.

minutes? how slow was AWE32 ram access? 😮

It takes around 40-45 seconds approximately to load a SoundFont of that size on a AWE card. If I'm not wrong, that's because the samples are being transferred through the ISA bus which is slow.

The ISA bus can be way faster than that (2MB /second effective, and probably faster, is possible). I would hazard to guess that the bottleneck is probably due to the way ISA I/O is implemented on the EMU8000 itself .

Reply 13 of 30, by Disruptor

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darry wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:53:
Gmlb256 wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:39:
rasz_pl wrote on 2022-04-30, 03:26:

minutes? how slow was AWE32 ram access? 😮

It takes around 40-45 seconds approximately to load a SoundFont of that size on a AWE card. If I'm not wrong, that's because the samples are being transferred through the ISA bus which is slow.

The ISA bus can be way faster than that (2MB /second effective, and probably faster, is possible). I would hazard to guess that the bottleneck is probably due to the way ISA I/O is implemented on the EMU8000 itself .

The current AWE implementations use 10 voices to transfer data over the ISA bus.
This is 10 x 44100 x 16 / 8 = 882000 bytes/s

Yes it should be indeed less than a minute, but you feel it.

Reply 14 of 30, by ChrisK

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Hamby wrote on 2022-04-29, 22:32:

ah, thanks for the info, everyone!

A couple years ago I broke the latches on the ram sockets of my Awe32, and I'm about to solder in new sockets (with metal clips!) and I was wondering if I should max out the memory once I start using it again.
(I actually bought another one since breaking that one, so I have two... two Awe32s... )

Do you have a good source for these sockets (with metal clips)?
I had a look around some time ago and they were virtually unobtainable.
The only source I found was one seller on ebay from the US. The price was reasonable (~8 USD for a pair if I can remember right), but including shipping cost to Europe + tax (30 USD) distracted me so far.

Reply 15 of 30, by Cuttoon

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ChrisK wrote on 2022-04-30, 12:18:
Do you have a good source for these sockets (with metal clips)? I had a look around some time ago and they were virtually unobta […]
Show full quote
Hamby wrote on 2022-04-29, 22:32:

ah, thanks for the info, everyone!

A couple years ago I broke the latches on the ram sockets of my Awe32, and I'm about to solder in new sockets (with metal clips!) and I was wondering if I should max out the memory once I start using it again.
(I actually bought another one since breaking that one, so I have two... two Awe32s... )

Do you have a good source for these sockets (with metal clips)?
I had a look around some time ago and they were virtually unobtainable.
The only source I found was one seller on ebay from the US. The price was reasonable (~8 USD for a pair if I can remember right), but including shipping cost to Europe + tax (30 USD) distracted me so far.

https://www.ebay.de/itm/393973287818

Feels weird to buy those used, though. And, if the distance between rows does not fit, you'll literally have to cut them in half.
Plenty of good offers from the states, yep.

I like jumpers.

Reply 16 of 30, by ChrisK

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Cuttoon wrote on 2022-04-30, 12:28:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/393973287818 […]
Show full quote
ChrisK wrote on 2022-04-30, 12:18:
Do you have a good source for these sockets (with metal clips)? I had a look around some time ago and they were virtually unobta […]
Show full quote
Hamby wrote on 2022-04-29, 22:32:

ah, thanks for the info, everyone!

A couple years ago I broke the latches on the ram sockets of my Awe32, and I'm about to solder in new sockets (with metal clips!) and I was wondering if I should max out the memory once I start using it again.
(I actually bought another one since breaking that one, so I have two... two Awe32s... )

Do you have a good source for these sockets (with metal clips)?
I had a look around some time ago and they were virtually unobtainable.
The only source I found was one seller on ebay from the US. The price was reasonable (~8 USD for a pair if I can remember right), but including shipping cost to Europe + tax (30 USD) distracted me so far.

https://www.ebay.de/itm/393973287818

Feels weird to buy those used, though. And, if the distance between rows does not fit, you'll literally have to cut them in half.
Plenty of good offers from the states, yep.

Thank you! Didn't see those (but know the seller).
Used is not a problem but these are upright ones. Could lead to some spacing problems depending on the RAMs.
"Gold standard" would be these:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/323747362778

But still .... not worth the price in total to me.

Reply 18 of 30, by Disruptor

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ChrisK wrote on 2022-04-30, 12:40:
Thank you! Didn't see those (but know the seller). Used is not a problem but these are upright ones. Could lead to some spacing […]
Show full quote

Thank you! Didn't see those (but know the seller).
Used is not a problem but these are upright ones. Could lead to some spacing problems depending on the RAMs.
"Gold standard" would be these:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/323747362778

But still .... not worth the price in total to me.

Same here. Need 3 or 4 ones. Germany too.

Reply 19 of 30, by Cuttoon

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Disruptor wrote on 2022-04-30, 13:58:
ChrisK wrote on 2022-04-30, 12:40:
Thank you! Didn't see those (but know the seller). Used is not a problem but these are upright ones. Could lead to some spacing […]
Show full quote

Thank you! Didn't see those (but know the seller).
Used is not a problem but these are upright ones. Could lead to some spacing problems depending on the RAMs.
"Gold standard" would be these:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/323747362778

But still .... not worth the price in total to me.

Same here. Need 3 or 4 ones. Germany too.

On a related note: "schnelles Schiff" - could we please combine our funds to hire a hit man on the guy who decided to implement the auto-translation in ebay? Yes?

Borderline better deal for four:
https://www.ebay.de/itm/324776752435

I like jumpers.