keropi wrote on 2020-05-11, 13:23:
edit: this can be loaded from DOS and used there, right?
As is often the case with the InterWave (and EMU8000), the answer isn't quite so simple. While it is possible to load and use RAM-based banks from DOS, I am not aware of too many big-name DOS titles that supported that feature explicitly. It looks like most software just looked for and used whatever bank happened to be in the on-board ROM. I will do more testing if/when I have time to work on the RC-1 board, but it looks like most software was not hard-coded to expect the standard 1 MiB Eye & I ROM; whatever is there will be used.
The standard DOS PLAY.EXE, as one of the included utilities, does support loading and using RAM-based banks, which serves as proof that it can be done. The "problem" with the approach taken by the InterWave (and EMU8000) is that these features are partially software-driven, so each application has to be aware of the need to load the instruments, where/how to get the bank, as well as how to tell the chip to play the data. It seems most developers didn't bother.
It is worth repeating that playback quality benefits significantly from at least some RAM, even when using a ROM-based bank. If you are not going to be doing any significant experimentation with RAM-based banks or using trackers to play large MODs (or similar), you will generally have enough with 4 MiB of on-board RAM. Software written for GF1-based cards can't use more than 1 MiB; most demos won't need more than 4 MiB; and for game music played from the standard ROM bank, that will also be more than enough.
EDIT: I forgot to mention that, while the BOM for the RC-1 board is mostly the same, there should be at least a few differences. Compare the two before ordering, or you may end up being a few parts short.