Partial DOS sound support from EPoX 9NDA3J... what?

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

Partial DOS sound support from EPoX 9NDA3J... what?

Postby Ozzuneoj » 2017-10-16 @ 22:14

So, I was setting up my old 9NDA3J yesterday and noticed that the BIOS had settings for MIDI address and IRQ. I thought "eh, why not?" and attached a gameport to the header on the motherboard (it doesn't have one on the port cluster), hooked it up to my SC55, booted to DOS without any sound drivers or any setblaster command in the autoexec file, loaded up the sound setup for Descent, chose General Midi music at port 330... tested it, and it works! Keep in mind, this is an Nforce 3 Ultra board from 2005. It is the most recent enthusiast\gamer oriented board I've seen with a real green PCB, and it has an AGP 8x slot (and supports dual core CPUs with the latest BIOS).

I'm sure DOS midi compatibility is less of a big deal to implement than actual SoundBlaster support, but I was amazed that such a "modern" board not only had support for MIDI in DOS but had actual BIOS options to configure it, and that it worked with no drivers in pure DOS.

I've attempted several different combinations of ports, IRQ and DMA settings and I can't seem to get any digital audio to work, so the DOS compatibility may end at MIDI output... but I am nonetheless very surprised by this. The on board audio appears to be provided by a Realtek ALC850 chip. I believe this is considered "HD Audio", rather than AC97.

Google searches for DOS sound support have turned up nothing, but I also haven't seen anything about MIDI output support, which is clearly working. Has anyone ever gotten a board with such a recent audio chip to work in DOS with or without drivers?

Given the board's nice selection of 5 PCI slots, it isn't like integrated audio that works in DOS is a hugely important feature, but I have always really liked this board, so one more nifty feature would be cool. :)
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Re: Partial DOS sound support from EPoX 9NDA3J... what?

Postby Kamerat » 2017-10-17 @ 05:14

The MIDI and game port are handled by the LPC I/O controller, but some (or many?) motherboard manufactures didn't bother even with a header for it. Sound Blaster compatibility with PCI sound cards on Nvidia chipsets are not good, Aureal Vortex and YMF 7xx PCI (with DSDMA TSR) might work.
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