Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB driver? Longshot, but..

Discussion about old sound cards, MIDI devices and sound related accessories.

Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2017-11-21 @ 01:31

Hello,
on new board are no more PCI slots and i PCI-E to PCI adapters for soundcard not working (at least with Creative cards which i have tested).

I know that there is CMI8738 cards and with dos driver but driver looks like very beta and i never got it working for sifnificant number of games.

In general new boards not problem for retro machine, i just have working Win98/XP/Vista/Win7+ on X99 board and someone make working Z170 board..
so add also Dos would be nice, without sound majority of games like Doom are running, i even maked to work Golden Axe and Dungeon Master I
Last edited by ruthan on 2018-7-21 @ 23:38, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Duffman » 2017-11-21 @ 05:45

the CMI8738 cards are the only pci-e cards with DOS drivers that i know of,

what kind of testing have you done with PCI-E to PCI adapters?
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby LSS10999 » 2017-11-22 @ 06:44

I don't think there are, as CMI8738 is also a very complicated situation that not all such cards are functional under DOS. I never had any success with it.

Also, PCIe seems to have blocked the ability to access legacy address spaces as some friends found out (in other words, only accesses to port addresses above the device's base address are valid for PCIe, while the legacy address spaces are always below that). This completely prevents the use of the card's legacy functionalities (e.g. under such circumstances, games would still not be able to detect Sound Blaster even after loading the DOS driver).
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-6-29 @ 01:44

Lets alternate question a bit, its there any PCI sound card with is working with PCI-E to PCI adapter in pure DOS?

Was able to make work my Windows 98 compatible audigy and Sb live! in Windows 98 with modern boards, but i never not able make them work in Pure Dos, but there are other cards like Aureal Vortex 2, Aztech 168, Yamaha 74x / 72x, maybe some did or can test them.

Newer board, i means anything newer and Core 2 with PCI-E
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Jo22 » 2018-6-30 @ 09:55

Duffman wrote:the CMI8738 cards are the only pci-e cards with DOS drivers that i know of

As far as DOS is concerned, these card are not only interesting for PCI-E, but also for PCI in general. :)
Depending on the model or manufacturer, the CMI series is as good as it gets.

Here's a quote of an old amateur radio program's (intercom) text file:

With CMI8738 chipset (ASONIC 8738-2C, DSP version 4.13)
Sampling is good.
Choice of input microphone/line/cd
Morse/FSK tone is good.
BPSK tone is good.
Conclusion: seems to be a perfect card.
This is the only PCI-based card which works perfect!


(In contrast, the DT 0398, CT4810 and VIBRA 16C based cards got poor ratings.)

Speaking of the CMI8738, it not only depends on the chip, but also the firmware, if there is any.
The chip apparently supports an external EEPROM.

In 2010 or so, I wrote a little bit about these cards.
Not all were DOS compatible, it seemed.
And even those who were, didn't support DOS4GW games.


The TT-Solo (ESS Solo 1) cards are the second best choice, I guess, if the board supports PCI and SB-Link (or DDMA, etc).
Their OPL3 core is usable from within Win98/XP, as far as I know, and is more enhanced also.
Also good are the more exotic Yamaha cards from what I heard recently at Vogons.

No idea if all those can work with PCI-bridges, however. I haven't experimented with these kind of things for years! :sweatdrop:
I guess it depends on how they provide the legacy (ISA) adresses. Via emulation (a TSR driver) or natively.
Emulation via TSR might be limited to Real Mode stuff only, but has higher chance to work with modern systems,
since they likely don't rely on PCI (PCI-E) to pass-through the legacy adresses (pure speculation).
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2018-7-01 @ 02:55

What about the Vortex 2 on a PCI to PCI-E bridge? Doesn't it have good DOS support that isn't so hardware dependant?
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Kamerat » 2018-7-10 @ 19:06

ruthan wrote:Lets alternate question a bit, its there any PCI sound card with is working with PCI-E to PCI adapter in pure DOS?

Was able to make work my Windows 98 compatible audigy and Sb live! in Windows 98 with modern boards, but i never not able make them work in Pure Dos, but there are other cards like Aureal Vortex 2, Aztech 168, Yamaha 74x / 72x, maybe some did or can test them.

Newer board, i means anything newer and Core 2 with PCI-E

Did investigate a little bit and it looks like the 9 Series of Intel chipsets were the last one to support legacy addressing over PCI using a PCIe to PCI bridge. However, I do think it's up to the motherboard manufacture to actually set it up to work. Doing a "lspci -v" under Linux should show if you have any substractive decode enabled bridges.

Quoting myself from another thread.
Kamerat wrote:Seems like "modern" motherboards handles legacy ports over PCI and PCIe with something called subtractive decode. Some newer industrial motherboards have settings in the BIOS to enable subtractive decode over PCIe, like the Intel H81 based Jetway G03-NFS5Z-F.

From the "Intel® 9 Series Chipset Family Platform Controller Hub (PCH) Datasheet":
Intel wrote:5.2.2 PCI Legacy Mode
PCI functionality is not supported on new generation of PCH requiring methods such as
using PCIe*-to-PCI bridges to enable external PCI I/O devices. To be able to use PCIe-to-PCI
bridges and attached legacy PCI devices, the PCH provides PCI Legacy Mode.
PCI Legacy Mode allows both the PCI Express* root port and PCIe-to-PCI bridge look
like subtractive PCI-to-PCI bridges. This allows the PCI Express root port to
subtractively decode and forward legacy cycles to the bridge, and the PCIe-to-PCI
bridge continues forwarding legacy cycles to downstream PCI devices.
Software must ensure that only one PCH device is enabled for Subtractive decode at a
time.

From the "Intel® 100 Series and Intel® C230 Series Chipset Family Platform Controller Hub (PCH) Datasheet":
Intel wrote:26.2 Overview
...
• PCIe* Subtractive Decode is not supported
— PCI can still be supported via a PCIe*-to-PCI bridge. However, legacy PCI
devices (such as PCMCIA or non-plug-and-play device) that need subtractive
decode are not supported.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-10 @ 21:50

Did investigate a little bit and it looks like the 9 Series of Intel chipsets were the last one to support legacy addressing over PCI using a PCIe to PCI bridge. However, I do think it's up to the motherboard manufacture to actually set it up to work. Doing a "lspci -v" under Linux should show if you have any substractive decode enabled bridges

Nice info.. Want need to be connected to test it and what we should see in log?
I mean - i have one Z97 board with PCI slot without connected PCI-E external bridge with PCI Soundcard.. And on PCI-E only board without connected PCIe-PCi bridge, would it show us something?
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby LSS10999 » 2018-7-11 @ 00:16

ruthan wrote:I mean - i have one Z97 board with PCI slot without connected PCI-E external bridge with PCI Soundcard.. And on PCI-E only board without connected PCIe-PCi bridge, would it show us something?


Intel 9-series chipsets don't have native PCI. There should be a bridge chip somewhere. The last to have native PCI would be 7-series (B75/Q75, Q77).

I'm not sure about the details, but after some googling, it seems "lspci -v" would output something like this. The PCI bridge would show [Subtractive decode] if it's capable of doing so. Otherwise (PCIe root ports, for example), would show [Normal decode].
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-11 @ 00:28

LSS10999 wrote:Intel 9-series chipsets don't have native PCI. There should be a bridge chip somewhere. The last to have native PCI would be 7-series (B75/Q75, Q77).


I now sure maybe got wrong what Intel 9-series chipsets means - i thought that is Z97 chipset, but it maybe means old Pentium 4 / Core 2 910-965 board line..
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_I ... s_chipsets
instead of
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_I ... s_chipsets
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Kamerat » 2018-7-11 @ 01:08

The 9 Series PCH are indeed the Z97/H97, just look at section 1.3 at page 52 on the datasheet.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Asaki » 2018-7-11 @ 10:16

Ozzuneoj wrote:What about the Vortex 2 on a PCI to PCI-E bridge? Doesn't it have good DOS support that isn't so hardware dependant?

IMO, Vortex 2 in DOS is difficult to get working, but it depends on the motherboard.

I can run it through a DOS box in Win98 on one machine, but not in pure DOS. I once got it working in DOS on a Pentium machine, but it was far too slow to be enjoyable.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-11 @ 19:08

Asaki wrote:IMO, Vortex 2 in DOS is difficult to get working, but it depends on the motherboard.

Too general claim, people saying that it is working.. i would say some there is maybe some difficulties to make whole dos working - HimemX etc..
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby Asaki » 2018-7-11 @ 21:05

No, it's definitely a hardware issue, not software (well, maybe a little of both). If the card detects that it isn't in PCI slot 1, or if there are any hardware conflicts, it won't enable SB emulation at all. There's an INI hack that's supposed to get you around it, but I haven't had any luck with it on this particular motherboard.

YMMV, but personally I wouldn't invest in an A3D card just to run it in DOS, there are better cards for that. The A3D 2.0 and 3.0 features are pretty cool though, if you're into the few games that support it. And the soundfont feature is neat, but kind of buggy with most soundfont files.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby PARUS » 2018-7-11 @ 21:15

If you did not get success with Vortex2 yourself it doesn't mean anything for other men because other positive experiense exist. But I want to be curios and ask you about other thing: which PCI sound cards are better for DOS than Vortex2 in your opinion?
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-11 @ 21:59

No, it's definitely a hardware issue, not software (well, maybe a little of both). If the card detects that it isn't in PCI slot 1, or if there are any hardware conflicts, it won't enable SB emulation at all. There's an INI hack that's supposed to get you around it, but I haven't had any luck with it on this particular motherboard.


Its other version of general message its not working.. Which MB was you are talking about? Which drivers you are used, which setting? Which games were tested? Its pretty easy to set something in wrong way. Disable some unnecessary devices in Bios could help too.
Because claim that card is not good, not too much compatible and claim i wasnt able to make it working.. means very different things. I would be careful with first one.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-13 @ 13:58

Here is lspci -v output form my Z97 Asrock Extreme 4 board - only PCI-E slots:
Z97lspci.txt
(11.41 KiB) Downloaded 10 times


There is also output from X58 HP O.E.M board where Yamaha 744 is working:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/83h08f5yiz7et ... 8.txt?dl=0
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby RayeR » 2018-7-16 @ 21:40

Hi, I'd like to share my experiments with SB Live/Audigy DOS emulation drivers on new MBs and I'd also like to hear from others if there was somebody successful to run any kind of sound via SB Emu drivers under real DOS on some new MB - I mean Core generation 1 (Nehalem) and newer.

So, the last time I run fully working SB emu drivers was on an old Abit BX133 Raid MB where I used SB live and had sound in most games like Doom, Duke3d... But as it has ISA slot I have a secondary ISA soundcard for problem cases. Also on most P4 boards without PCI-E it should work as well.

Then I upgraded to Core 2 Duo MB with PCI-E where I never hear sampled sound from SB Emu driver but only Adlib and general midi music (after doing some tricks).
I had some time to review my setup again and compare with my newer Core MBs...

There are some precautions needed for successful SB emu drivers to load (I tested with SB Audigy)
1) EMM386 or JEMM must be loaded before drivers to run in v86 mode. The driver itself doesn't need EMS but only v86 mode, so NOEMS option can be used
2) in case of 4GB physical memory and EMM386 driver I have to limit XMS to some smalled value - to do it use HIMEMX.EXE that can take an option for used XMS size. I set 512MB. Otherwise SB emu driver complained it cannot load because no free memory under 4MB boundary.
3) large disk cache using XMS like XHDD/XIDE/UDMA should be disabled or dynamicaly loaded after SB emu driver because again it complained about bla bla no free memory under 4MB boundary.
So after this done on my C2D Gigabyte P31 MB I have sucessfully loaded the SB emu driver but any test or game setup didn't recognize SB HW neither Adlib or General MIDI. So one more trick was needed. Some years ago I wrote a quick hack tool called SERREN http://rayer.g6.cz/programm/programe.htm#SERREN that enables PCI SERR# signal routing to CPU NMI input in PCI bridge in PCH. I observed that SB Emu driver enables only SERR# for SB card itself but not for a bridge so the signal doesn't reach CPU and IO trapping doesn't work. After SERREN it did. SBEGO.EXE and e.g. Blood game setup then recognized and can play sound via Adlib and General MIDI but no sampled sound as it complained about a DMA problem - no idea how it works and how to solve it. But it's better than nothing...

Then I migrated this working setup (simply swapping an installed HDD with DOS, drivers and games) to a bit newer MB Gigabyte H55 for LGA1156 platform. I run the same config, SB emu drivers successfully loaded but no SB recognized by SBEGO.EXE neither any DOS game. SERREN reported me that it found a right PCI bridge and enabled SERR# routing but it simply doesn't work here. I'm not sure if intel fucked some legacy features in newer PCH or if there are missing some physical wire on MB that prevents NMI to work.

I repeated the test with my current Gigabyte P67 MB (LGA1155, Sandy). This intel's PCH dropped native PCI support so it's managed by an extra PCI-E 2 PCI bridge IT8892E (there are 2 PCI slots). SB Emu drivers loacded fine again but same as before, SB HW was not detected even after running SERREN. I also slightly modified SERREN to enable SERR flags also for the mentioned ITE bridge but didn't help.

So it seems that SB Emu drivers that are dependent on NMI are no more viable. But Ruthan told me about someone with working Yamaha 72x on X58 chipset. I never saw this cad and no idea how they implemented SB emulation in their's DOS drivers but maybe it's done a different, less fragile, way than Creative did...
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby ruthan » 2018-7-16 @ 22:07

RayeR wrote: So it seems that SB Emu drivers that are dependent on NMI are no more viable. But Ruthan told me about someone with working Yamaha 72x on X58 chipset. I never saw this cad and no idea how they implemented SB emulation in their's DOS drivers but maybe it's done a different, less fragile, way than Creative did...


Yeah we made some progress meanwhile with Yamahas, i tested 135+ games, success ratio is 80%+ and there si probably room for other improvements, if someone could analyze more deeply problem with a found with not working games..
viewtopic.php?f=61&t=61044

but king would be probably Aureal Vortex 2, its not needed EMS to run and its reported working on new chipset as X58 (ICHR 10). ESS Solo-1 somewhow working up to i865 too.

With SB Audigy and !Live i think, i wrote you maybe 2 week ago, that i even squeeze some sound from Blood / Duke setups with Z97 board with PCI slot from Gigabyte.

I have Live/ Audigy working on i865 AGP board, but people nowdays here are saying that:
Aureal Vortex 2 > Yamaha 7xx > ESS Solo-1> Creative cards.. for modern chipsets.
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Re: Is there PCI-E soundcard with working DOS SB16 driver? Longshot, but..

Postby RayeR » 2018-7-16 @ 22:27

Hi, I just replied to your email :) I was on vacation and then a lot of work again...
So it's nice that you had found a working solution. Games compatability seems to be good. But we need more testing on various MB combinations. I just read that "i tried Yamaha with Z97 board too, its not working" so it may not work on my P67 with extra PCIE2PCI bridge. Anyone proved it works on some different MB than X58? I mean some Core gen 2 and newer? Maybe some bridge config tweaking would help?
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