VOGONS


Reply 100 of 128, by hard1k

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-04-25, 10:57:

With something like this, I can fit it inside and solder the stereo connector to the one already present on the board, after severing the existing traces.

Exactly, that's what Fortex is all about! How much space do you have there? Fortex is 45,76 mm high (without the PCI edge connector and without the top expansion header). We've done our best to keep it as low as possible, trying to save every millimetre, so there's no way to make it any lower.

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Reply 101 of 128, by aaron158

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for the wavetable header will the wavetable cards install in the direction were they point down towards the the pci slot or out towards the case. if down towards the pci with how short the card is won't that make it impossible to install certain wavetable cards. like for ex Yamaha db51xg or the Roland Sound Canvas those ones are huge wouldn't they run into the motherboard.

i mean i guess u could use one of those ribbon extension cables but then the wavetable card is just dangling.

Reply 102 of 128, by Kahenraz

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hard1k wrote on 2022-04-25, 13:09:

Exactly, that's what Fortex is all about! How much space do you have there? Fortex is 45,76 mm high (without the PCI edge connector and without the top expansion header). We've done our best to keep it as low as possible, trying to save every millimetre, so there's no way to make it any lower.

I'm sure sure exactly. I will have to experiment with what can be fit based on the right angle connectors that I can find.

Maybe an option can be made available for blank PCBs without any traces, but which includes important mechanical and solder points for audio connectors so that people like me an do a test fit. These points could even be just silkscreen. The cheaper the better, since it's only meant for test fitting.

Reply 103 of 128, by hard1k

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aaron158 wrote on 2022-04-25, 13:37:

for the wavetable header will the wavetable cards install in the direction were they point down towards the the pci slot or out towards the case. if down towards the pci with how short the card is won't that make it impossible to install certain wavetable cards. like for ex Yamaha db51xg or the Roland Sound Canvas those ones are huge wouldn't they run into the motherboard.

i mean i guess u could use one of those ribbon extension cables but then the wavetable card is just dangling.

Well, there will be 4 options:

1. Using the expansion card - you'll be able to install the full-size daughterboard just on it, like on any other regular soundcard.

2. Using the ribbon extension cable - you'll be able to hang the daughterboard somewhere in the case:

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3. Plugging the daughterboard into the stock 90 degree angled header - the daughterboard will be parallel to the motherboard, going downwards (to the ISA slots, if there are any), and will obstruct the lower expansion card(s) and/or the bottom of the chassis (if the daughterboard is long enough). Also, if it is wide enough, it will run into the rear side of the chassis.

4. Soldering the straight header instead of the stock 90 degree angled one and plugging the daughterboard onto it - the daughterboard will go upwards, shouldn't be a problem in terms of its height, but the length of the daughterboard will be limited by the rear side of the chassis. Won't be a problem for smaller daughterboards (DreamBlasters, DB51XG, Terratec, etc.), but no way for full-sized ones (DB50XG, SCB-55, etc.), please look (Fortex render is placed over the Roland SCB-55 for better understanding):

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Kahenraz wrote on 2022-04-25, 13:47:

I'm sure sure exactly. I will have to experiment with what can be fit based on the right angle connectors that I can find.
Maybe an option can be made available for blank PCBs without any traces, but which includes important mechanical and solder points for audio connectors so that people like me an do a test fit. These points could even be just silkscreen. The cheaper the better, since it's only meant for test fitting.

Please find attached Fortex render placed on A4 sheet, you can just print out the PDF, cut the Fortex out with scissors, glue it onto some thick carton and give it a try:

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Last edited by hard1k on 2022-04-26, 13:32. Edited 2 times in total.

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Reply 105 of 128, by hard1k

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Meanwhile, GOOD NEWS everyone! The AU8830 chip is finally up and running!

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So, now all three PCI devices have been detected by the host system, the prototype has been finished and is currently on its way to our testing guy who is also present on VOGONS, so I think he will eventually post his results and comments himself - please meet jheronimus!

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
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Reply 107 of 128, by hard1k

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Thanks! We're putting all our hearts into it 😀

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Reply 108 of 128, by TechieDude

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aaron158 wrote on 2022-04-22, 17:04:

(snip)

*sigh* If you want proper EAX support so badly, just get an SBLive! or Audigy. They're dirt cheap, and they'll work on both Win9x and Win2k/XP with no problems.

Reply 109 of 128, by aaron158

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TechieDude wrote on 2022-04-25, 16:02:
aaron158 wrote on 2022-04-22, 17:04:

(snip)

*sigh* If you want proper EAX support so badly, just get an SBLive! or Audigy. They're dirt cheap, and they'll work on both Win9x and Win2k/XP with no problems.

already have an audigy 2zs i just asked because i wanted to know what it supported and though it would be cool to have a card that could do everything in 1 opl a3d and eax so u don't have to have multiple cards. nothing wrong with asking questions...

Reply 110 of 128, by TechieDude

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aaron158 wrote on 2022-04-25, 16:11:

already have an audigy 2zs i just asked because i wanted to know what it supported and though it would be cool to have a card that could do everything in 1 opl a3d and eax so u don't have to have multiple cards. nothing wrong with asking questions...

It sure would be cool, but it would complicate things way too much. It's already awesome enough with A3D and OPL3 anyway. Of course there's nothing wrong with asking questions either.

Reply 112 of 128, by hard1k

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Dolenc wrote on 2022-04-25, 23:51:

If I understand this correctly. Its small, but when you add the extensions(that you need anyway cus of the outputs) it becomes fairly mx300 sized?

It is fully usable as is, just with the smaller basic board. If you need regular jacks/gameport, then you'll want the expansion board that will bring the whole assembly to the MX300 size (or a bit smaller). However, the expansion board will be very simple in terms of design and production (just a 2 layer board with very few components), and we'll disclose the pinout of our proprietary expansion header, so there won't be much hassle in designing your own expansion board that suits your specific needs in case the regular one does not. Moreover, when we get to the design of our stock expansion board, we'll launch a questionnaire to better understand your needs and expectations.

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Reply 113 of 128, by hard1k

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Hello everyone,

We've been working really hard to troubleshoot numerous minor (and not so minor) bugs and problems, and finally have something to show you.

In fact, Yamaha turned out to have the worst temper. Although it got detected right after we fixed the secondary PCI bus routing (along with the Vortex), the drivers didn't initialize, hanging with the exclamation mark and Code 10 error, or sometimes going into BSOD when we pushed too hard. That was eventually fixed when we learned that the corresponding oscillator was not stable enough due to wrong choice of capacitors:

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So, when we could initialize the drivers, we heard a high pitch noise instead of the normal sound. Tried quite a few chips/codecs, turned out that the YMF744 drivers are incompatible with the WM9710 codec (and thus we won't be able to use them for both audio controllers), and many of our NOS Yamaha chips are actually dead. We haven't checked all the batch yet (and won't do this until the final production run assembly), but out of the 4 tested chips only 1 worked.

TLDR: now our prototype is heading to the thorough tests once again, and we're moving fast toward the Release Candidate design!

Meanwhile if anyone has anything to add to the codec issue for the Yamaha chip, that would be more than welcome. Now we believe that the STAC9708 seems to be the best proven part to choose, but please advise if you have any better ideas.

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Reply 114 of 128, by keropi

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oh damn...
I have also very recent experiences with DOA chips - one of the worst things that can happen
but it is nice that this is moving, hopefully replacement ICs won't be too hard/expensive to find !

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 115 of 128, by hard1k

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Yes, that's very unfortunate when such things happen, but using obsolete 20+ year old parts coming from the not-so-reliable sources is always risky. So, this risk should be assumed and mitigated from the very beginning... You take the gamble, sometimes you lose, that's how it works with all these "NOS" chips from China. The good thing is that there is at least some share of working ones! The bad thing is that every faulty one increases the R&D costs that will ultimately translate into the higher final price.

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Reply 116 of 128, by 640K!enough

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I can't imagine it was fun to track down that oscillator issue, nor the first thing you would have thought to try. Are you using actual oscillators, or a crystal for each of the parts? Good detective work, nonetheless!

Reply 117 of 128, by hard1k

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640K!enough wrote on 2022-05-27, 18:59:

I can't imagine it was fun to track down that oscillator issue, nor the first thing you would have thought to try. Are you using actual oscillators, or a crystal for each of the parts? Good detective work, nonetheless!

Re-sent your message to our engineer as a kudos 😀
There were lots of different theories why it would not initialize - starting from the controller/codec incompatibility (that proved to be true but irrelevant to the initialization issues), going on to fake chips theory, passing by some required design specifics absent from the datasheet (some hanging undocumented pin), etc. etc. etc. But finally we've made it 😁

We're using a crystal for each of the parts.

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Reply 118 of 128, by 640K!enough

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hard1k wrote on 2022-05-27, 19:07:

Re-sent your message to our engineer as a kudos 😀

Good! Any encouragement is well-deserved.

Over two years in, we're still discovering that the CS4237 doesn't do exactly what the documentation says, and sometimes does what the documentation doesn't say. 😠 I'll bet that there will be more of these moments for all of us, but how much fun would it be if everything just worked on the first try? 😆 Think about it this way: the more you overcome during the design process, and the more contrived the problems you solve, the more pride you can justify having in the result.

Reply 119 of 128, by pentiumspeed

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If these chips were from china, that is exactly the issue you will see.

If bought from anywhere else are reliable but difficult to find in volume of ICs for sure.

Great Northern aka Canada.