VOGONS


First post, by athlon-power

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

This is another one of those threads where there's some strange ISA soundcard that is A) incredibly hard to identify and B) impossible to find drivers for. I present to you the "Aztech I38-MMSN855," with an integrated dial-up modem for no good reason, but with an apparently good sound chip for DOS games- I've not really been able to identify this other than that it came from a Packard Bell Packmate 7130 (yeah, the one I paid $100 for and promptly killed), and that it has an Aztech 2320 sound chip on it with a Rockwell modem of some sort thrown on there for good measure as well.

All I have in my K6-2 266 system is a crappy SoundBlaster Vibra 16S which sounds not so great in a few games, and I was hoping to use this card to get decent sound, but after well over a month I still haven't been able to find any drivers other than the ones that come from the sites that claim to have the driver (for a Windows 95 machine, by the way) but require you to download a "driver finder," trojan, which connects online (again, for a Windows 95 era sound card) and does nothing but put a massive backdoor into your computer, so effectively, I've not found any files for this thing at all.

Here's a couple of pictures of the thing:

20200518_124120.jpg
Filename
20200518_124120.jpg
File size
795.76 KiB
Views
112 views
File license
GPL-2.0-or-later
20200518_124141.jpg
Filename
20200518_124141.jpg
File size
709.63 KiB
Views
112 views
File license
GPL-2.0-or-later

Any help would be greatly appreciated, as I'm at my wits' end with this thing.

Reply 2 of 8, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

This is the Packard Bell Rocky 2.5, aka Aztech MMSN855.

As with all other AZT2320 cards, it's a PnP card, which is a relative pain in the arse in DOS. Under Win98SE and pretty much every Linux ever (I used one on Debian 2.0 back in 2002 or so) it gets autodetected and 'just works'.

Now, no drivers needed as it's fully hardware SBPro2.0 compatible (but with added bug-free MPU-401 and WSS as well), but as with all PnP you need an init tool. The PB drivers are eh... not worth the effort. Try these: https://www.philscomputerlab.com/hp-mm-pro-16v-a.html

Assuming you don't need the modem, they should do the trick. Otherwise look on Vogonsdrivers for the big Aztech ISA cards drivers library. This thing's sound component is equivalent to the Sound Galaxy Pro 16 III. You can try those too, although Phil's link is simpler with less bloat. http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?file … menustate=41,36

Reply 3 of 8, by athlon-power

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Thank you, I'll definitely use Phil's drivers and see if I can get all that going. Would there be a way to either disable the modem or get the drivers for it? I don't like having question marks and the sort in device manager, if you get what I mean. It's sort of an obsessive thing, similar to how I will adjust CD/floppy drives to be perfectly level with the front panel and not skewed in any way.

Also, I had seen that prior thread, but found that it was a slightly different model, and used a different chip, but I was so close to getting the drivers for it from there.

Reply 4 of 8, by synrgy87

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
athlon-power wrote on 2020-05-19, 00:29:

Thank you, I'll definitely use Phil's drivers and see if I can get all that going. Would there be a way to either disable the modem or get the drivers for it? I don't like having question marks and the sort in device manager, if you get what I mean. It's sort of an obsessive thing, similar to how I will adjust CD/floppy drives to be perfectly level with the front panel and not skewed in any way.

Also, I had seen that prior thread, but found that it was a slightly different model, and used a different chip, but I was so close to getting the drivers for it from there.

You can also try unisound here on vogons: Universal PnP Sound Card Enabler for DOS v0.70c (UNISOUND)
I've used this with some packard bell aztech cards and it works well

Reply 5 of 8, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

You were talking about DOS earlier... no Device Manager or question marks there.

In Win95, just use generic Rockwell 33k6 drivers. I don't recall if they are included by default (and if so in which Win95 version), but I have a great dislike for Win95 in all forms, so never really made the effort.

Reply 6 of 8, by athlon-power

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
dionb wrote on 2020-05-19, 18:42:

You were talking about DOS earlier... no Device Manager or question marks there.

In Win95, just use generic Rockwell 33k6 drivers. I don't recall if they are included by default (and if so in which Win95 version), but I have a great dislike for Win95 in all forms, so never really made the effort.

I meant Windows, but DOS games running under Windows. That sort of thing.

What makes you dislike Windows 95 in particular? I'd say it's a superior choice to the buggy mess that is Windows 98 FE, but I would agree that it's an inferior choice to SE, unless you're using a slower computer (pre-Pentium II). I've personally used 95 with little to no issues for quite a while now, I mean, you have a few bugs I run into (Windows protection error, shutdown bug), but those are present in both 98 FE and SE. It's the same confusion to me as to people who don't like XP, because I've only ever seen it be rock solid, even in SP2. I'm not so much dismissing the dislike as I am curious about it. For me, Windows 95 seems to fill the gap from the 75MHz Pentium and up to Pentium II- I think Windows 95 is a bit excessive on the 486 architecture, as I've personally seen while running it on a DX2-66. 486's seem to be better off running the old DOS + Win3.1 configuration, excepting the 5x86's and other high-clock 486's, but those pale in comparison to even a lowly Pentium.

Reply 7 of 8, by dionb

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

My dislike of Win95 goes back to the 1990s. I had a P60 with DOS 6.22 and Win3.11, my mother had a P90 with Win95 (and OS/2 Warp - she worked for IBM...). In pretty much everything my system was faster with better stability, which was purely due to software.. I didn't upgrade to Win9x until I had a Celeron 366 with 64MB RAM, and then went straight for Win98SE. Fast-forward to retrocomputing, and drivers are the big thing. Win98SE certainly has its issues with bad/unstable drivers, but at least installing them is pretty painless. Win95 drivers are hell. Particularly when it comes to sound cards. Particularly regarding this card in fact - I worked at PB's helpdesk around the turn of the millennium and we occastionally got out-of-warranty calls about this card on customer-installed Windows 95. Pro forma we had drivers available, but no one could recall a single instance where a customer was actually able to get it running. No such problems in DOS, Win98SE, Linux or pretty much any other OS out there. Same with IBM mWave cards (also used by Packard Bell incidentally). I recently found one and gave it a try, installing it in an IBM PC330 system to bring it back to original spec. Win98SE: no problem, once I figured out the correct driver for the card, it just worked. Win95: not a chance. Multiple attempts with multiple drivers at best showing themselves being correctly installed, but not a beep from the card. Even though the specs of this system were rather low for Win98SE (P100 with 24MB RAM), I stuffed in some more RAM and sold it with working Win98SE.

I'm sure it's possible to get this sort of stuff working under Win95, but I'm not prepared to put the time, effort and frustration into it.

Personally I'd just run DOS (+Win3.11 if GUI needed) up to the end of the P1 era, then skip to Win98SE for P2 onwards. And Win95 on a 486... at uni someone decided that all PCs needed to be upgraded to it, even the 486DX-33 4MB RAM systems. That was torture, but not something to blame Win95 for.

Reply 8 of 8, by athlon-power

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
dionb wrote on 2020-05-22, 00:49:

My dislike of Win95 goes back to the 1990s. I had a P60 with DOS 6.22 and Win3.11, my mother had a P90 with Win95 (and OS/2 Warp - she worked for IBM...). In pretty much everything my system was faster with better stability, which was purely due to software.. I didn't upgrade to Win9x until I had a Celeron 366 with 64MB RAM, and then went straight for Win98SE. Fast-forward to retrocomputing, and drivers are the big thing. Win98SE certainly has its issues with bad/unstable drivers, but at least installing them is pretty painless. Win95 drivers are hell. Particularly when it comes to sound cards. Particularly regarding this card in fact - I worked at PB's helpdesk around the turn of the millennium and we occastionally got out-of-warranty calls about this card on customer-installed Windows 95. Pro forma we had drivers available, but no one could recall a single instance where a customer was actually able to get it running. No such problems in DOS, Win98SE, Linux or pretty much any other OS out there. Same with IBM mWave cards (also used by Packard Bell incidentally). I recently found one and gave it a try, installing it in an IBM PC330 system to bring it back to original spec. Win98SE: no problem, once I figured out the correct driver for the card, it just worked. Win95: not a chance. Multiple attempts with multiple drivers at best showing themselves being correctly installed, but not a beep from the card. Even though the specs of this system were rather low for Win98SE (P100 with 24MB RAM), I stuffed in some more RAM and sold it with working Win98SE.

I'm sure it's possible to get this sort of stuff working under Win95, but I'm not prepared to put the time, effort and frustration into it.

Personally I'd just run DOS (+Win3.11 if GUI needed) up to the end of the P1 era, then skip to Win98SE for P2 onwards. And Win95 on a 486... at uni someone decided that all PCs needed to be upgraded to it, even the 486DX-33 4MB RAM systems. That was torture, but not something to blame Win95 for.

That hasn't been my experience, but I also am in the future, where you can find stable chipset drivers and things that were difficult, or impossible to get ahold of back in the day. I should also note that all of the drivers I do have are from 1998 or later, up to late 1999, which eases things up to an extraordinary level. Combine that with the fact that the ESS 1869F I use has a driver installation application that is quite good, and it makes it easy for me to say that Windows 95 fares quite well on that system. It also probably helps that my primary Windows 95 system is a Gateway 2000 P5-200 system with 32MB of SDRAM on the 430TX chipset, a system worth at least US$2,500 not adjusting for inflation, a very unrealistic system for the time unless you just had money coming out of your eyeballs.

And ah, yes, Windows 95 on a 486 DX-33. Just be glad that they weren't 386DX based, like the "minimum," specifications say. I think they shot really low on that to try to maximize on how many people bought it, because I'd imagine Windows 95 on less than 8MB of RAM is the kind of thing that turns your HDD indicator into a second power light.

As for the Packard Bell card itself, I probably won't be using it. I'll likely just grab an ESS1868 or some other good SB clone for cheap off of eBay, it's not worth it to fool around with the card for what I'll be using it for, it'll be in a K6-2 266 system (overclocked to 300MHz) mainly used to play old DOS games on a LAN with the Gateway tower. I am very appreciative of this help though, as I'll definitely need this card for something later and Phil's drivers should work well for me.