VOGONS


Reply 41 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Pinout - yes, we've already figured that out, once we have a working prototype, I'll release that info.
Registers - no, we don't plan to code anything new, so we're not messing with those.

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 42 of 112, by TelamonLivesOn

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
hard1k wrote on 2021-06-26, 11:08:

Pinout - yes, we've already figured that out, once we have a working prototype, I'll release that info.
Registers - no, we don't plan to code anything new, so we're not messing with those.

Cool, the only reason I ask is because I have a personal project that may require these chips.

Reply 43 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Wow! Great to hear that there are other Vortex projects out there! Would you give some more details on it?

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 44 of 112, by TelamonLivesOn

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
hard1k wrote on 2021-07-04, 14:58:

Wow! Great to hear that there are other Vortex projects out there! Would you give some more details on it?

It's not a Vortex project, but rather a personal project that would make use of the chip's 3D audio capabilities in a workstation-like system.

Reply 45 of 112, by Shreddoc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
hard1k wrote on 2020-11-29, 20:48:
Another thing. Any ideas on the card name? I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte ( […]
Show full quote

Another thing. Any ideas on the card name?
I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte (It.) - strong, cool. X makes some reference to XG. And overall, Fortex is like Vortex, but Fortex.
Also, Forte is a notation in music, and it can be written like f. So, Fortex can be reduced to fx, and here we have references to effects and even to f(x) in maths.

But still, Fortex for Vortex is a bit of Abibas for Adidas. So I'll happily consider other ideas too 😀

Having arrived late to this thread, my following comment may be of no use. I just wanted to mention that, in the soundcard market, it's not "Vortex" that I think of when looking for similarly-named associations of "Fortex" : it's the Auzentech X-Fi Forte.

That said, your niche bespoke product of <1000 units being named partly similarly to Auzentech's also-fairly-minor market product from 10+ years ago, is probably not the most important issue in the world! It probably doesn't matter.

Reply 46 of 112, by TelamonLivesOn

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member
Shreddoc wrote on 2021-07-05, 22:21:
hard1k wrote on 2020-11-29, 20:48:
Another thing. Any ideas on the card name? I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte ( […]
Show full quote

Another thing. Any ideas on the card name?
I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte (It.) - strong, cool. X makes some reference to XG. And overall, Fortex is like Vortex, but Fortex.
Also, Forte is a notation in music, and it can be written like f. So, Fortex can be reduced to fx, and here we have references to effects and even to f(x) in maths.

But still, Fortex for Vortex is a bit of Abibas for Adidas. So I'll happily consider other ideas too 😀

Having arrived late to this thread, my following comment may be of no use. I just wanted to mention that, in the soundcard market, it's not "Vortex" that I think of when looking for similarly-named associations of "Fortex" : it's the Auzentech X-Fi Forte.

That said, your niche bespoke product of <1000 units being named partly similarly to Auzentech's also-fairly-minor market product from 10+ years ago, is probably not the most important issue in the world! It probably doesn't matter.

Never heard of that until now, I only think of Forte when I hear this name.

Reply 47 of 112, by Shreddoc

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
TelamonLivesOn wrote on 2021-07-05, 22:30:
Shreddoc wrote on 2021-07-05, 22:21:
hard1k wrote on 2020-11-29, 20:48:
Another thing. Any ideas on the card name? I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte ( […]
Show full quote

Another thing. Any ideas on the card name?
I'm thinking about Fortex - F makes some reference to FM and to F in the YMF. Forte (It.) - strong, cool. X makes some reference to XG. And overall, Fortex is like Vortex, but Fortex.
Also, Forte is a notation in music, and it can be written like f. So, Fortex can be reduced to fx, and here we have references to effects and even to f(x) in maths.

But still, Fortex for Vortex is a bit of Abibas for Adidas. So I'll happily consider other ideas too 😀

Having arrived late to this thread, my following comment may be of no use. I just wanted to mention that, in the soundcard market, it's not "Vortex" that I think of when looking for similarly-named associations of "Fortex" : it's the Auzentech X-Fi Forte.

That said, your niche bespoke product of <1000 units being named partly similarly to Auzentech's also-fairly-minor market product from 10+ years ago, is probably not the most important issue in the world! It probably doesn't matter.

Never heard of that until now, I only think of Forte when I hear this name.

Auzentech were never very big. They held a portion of the enthusiast market share for PC soundcards in the 200x's, releasing quite a few different models, of which the Forte was merely one. I doubt it's important, but "there was a PC soundcard called the Forte released around 2009" is now on the record, for whatever it is or isn't worth. 😀

Reply 49 of 112, by RetroGamer4Ever

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

I'm keeping an eye on this. I only got a brief dalliance with A3D, via a budget Compaq PC that had onboard audio and would like to experience proper A3D at it's peak, with great headphones.

Reply 50 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Then you've come to the right place! 😀 The project is alive although on a small hold due to global silicon shortage (and longer lead times) and vacations of our chief hardware engineer. I hope to have some news later in September or October, stay tuned.

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 51 of 112, by Dr.Yak

User metadata
Rank Newbie
Rank
Newbie

This looks like an interesting card. Using this post so I can get updates.

I've been using YMF7x4-based cards, as a way to get real hardware OPL FM on modern PCIe/PCI -only motherboards.

Your point is to use it bracketless in a shared slot you said (I remember doing crazy stuff like that back in my P2B 440BX mobo days. I don't remember which the PCI and ISA cards where, only that my end result wasn't very stable thermally due to poor air circulation. 😁 )
What's your specific use case?
You have another important ISA card so you need the extra slot, and intend to route all audio through the media connectors? (Basically using this PCI card as a large improvement over motherboard's onboard audio)
Or you have an ISA sound card that will be the main audio access to outside world, and route audio through that? (Bascially using this PCI card as some kind of daughter board, but turned up to 11 ?)

Side note, not exactly related to the present card: as this card needs a PCI bridge anyway (to drive both the Aureal and the Yamaha) in theory your design could be modified to use a PCIe-to-PCI bridge and thus create some PCIe cousin of this card if somebody is interested in such a thing? (I dont know, somebody interested in having both real OPL FM and real hardware channel mixing instead of the OS' sound deamon ?)

Reply 52 of 112, by digger

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie
Dr.Yak wrote on 2021-10-25, 16:01:

Side note, not exactly related to the present card: as this card needs a PCI bridge anyway (to drive both the Aureal and the Yamaha) in theory your design could be modified to use a PCIe-to-PCI bridge and thus create some PCIe cousin of this card if somebody is interested in such a thing? (I dont know, somebody interested in having both real OPL FM and real hardware channel mixing instead of the OS' sound deamon ?)

That would definitely be a cool idea. 🙂

However, wasn't there a problem where more modern motherboard chipsets don't route the legacy ports (anything up to port 1000 or ox1000 or something?) to the PCIe bus anymore, so on such systems, the card would never be able to listen directly on the Adlib ports (base 0x388h)? Would that mean that such a PCIe card would work natively only in older motherboards, but on newer systems would be reachable on higher I/O ports and require some kind of port redirection TSR or software patches to work ?

By the way, your avatar gave me a bit of a throwback to that yak in Zak McKracken and the Alien Mindbenders. I haven't played that game in a long time, and I've yet to finish it. Thanks for the memory. 😅

Reply 53 of 112, by Warlord

User metadata
Rank l33t
Rank
l33t

Theres not a market for that kind of implemention. For various reasons. not only would it probably not work, but just about any motherboard thats too new to have a PCI slot wouldnt be good for 9x gaming. Considering any board without a AGP slot is pretty aweful choice for 9x gaming anyways. These cards are not really for dos, although with a old enough motherboard DOS support might work, you really want this for late 9X windows games with API support for A3D, with some coverage for early D3D gaming which is where the XG fits in nicely.

It's a intresting concept for a card I dont know how far its along in the design stage. I would of liked to see just a fixed A3d card myself. Take a A3d and add a onboard midi wavetable, and add in a Opl3 chip to it. Since the SBpro on the A3d is pretty good it just has crappy built in midi and opl. Which is fixed by adding a wavblaster card, but your still left with bad OPL for games that dont support midi.

Reply 54 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Meanwhile in a galaxy far, far away...

photo_2022-03-19_17-17-13.jpg
Filename
photo_2022-03-19_17-17-13.jpg
File size
125.7 KiB
Views
385 views
File license
CC-BY-4.0

I know you might have thought that the project is on a hiatus due to the well known current events. However, thank God, somehow we had managed to procure most needed parts beforehand. So, we're moving full ahead, the first prototype PCBs should come in on next Friday, and we have almost every needed part for the production run of 30 boards. The things we still don't have - YMF744s, codecs, some minor stuff.
If the situation doesn't get even worse, we hope to show you something at least partially working in a month or so. And if it gets worse, we'll have to make our team more international, outsourcing the assembly, tests and QC to somewhere else. But let's hope for the better.

As we're moving towards the first prototype, I think it's time for the first contest. The one who completes the task will get one board from the production run for free. So, the task: please compile a full comprehensive archive of all released software, drivers, tools, etc (except games) both for AU8830 and YMF744. The archive has to be user friendly, well structured, and overall nicely prepared. No deadline for this. No warez please, but if you come across some tool/software that is still copyright and can't be included legally, please mention it somewhere so people at least could know about its existence. Of course, the archive should be shared here with the fellow VOGONS members for the sake of all you vortex and yamaha fans out there.

Keep safe everyone!

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 55 of 112, by digger

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

That looks amazing!

Am I seeing that correctly? You laid an actual chip on a 1:1 paper printout of your board design, to verify that all the traces line up properly?

Reply 56 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Exactly 😀

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 57 of 112, by RetroGamer4Ever

User metadata
Rank Member
Rank
Member

Kynix (HK parts distributor) has a massive pile of the Yamaha and Aureal chips ready to ship. Their stock of the 744 is particularly large, so they would probably cut a good deal for a bulk order and they are looking to get rid of the Aureal chips at firesale prices.

https://www.kynix.com/Search/ymf7.html

https://www.kynix.com/Detail/665929/AU8830A2.html

Reply 58 of 112, by hard1k

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Thanks for the advice! However, AU8830A2 is an older revision that accounts for an additional 10% overhead on the period correct CPUs (like P3-600, for instance). So we'll definitely use the latest revision (AU8830B0) that is free from this problem.

Updates:
1. The PCBs for the first prototypes are ready, we plan to get them on Monday.
2. All key components are either already with us or have been successfully ordered and confirmed:
AU8830B0 - we have 30 chips on hand,
YMF744B-V - we've ordered 30 chips,
TI PCI2050BPDV (PCI-PCI bridge) - we have 4 chips on hand and 20 more are on the way,
WM9710EFT (stereo AC97 codec with S/PDIF out) - we've ordered 60 chips, as we plan to use the same parts for both audio controllers.
I don't mention minor parts, but the situation is similar. There are some oscillators with very long lead times (but we've procured them in advance and have large stock of them), some caps that are on the way, etc.

To sum up, you'll see the first assembled prototype pretty soon, it's a matter of days or a couple of weeks at most. However, as it will be the first prototype, please keep your fingers crossed that it doesn't explode 😁

EDIT: as you can see from our ordered parts, we're planning to assembled 20-30 board in the first batch, depending on how many chips we fry in our further R&D process. Given the current situation (and how hard it is to source parts with delivery to Russia) we don't expect to release more at the time, but we'll definitely sell the blank boards for you to assemble. We don't have any price estimates yet, nor do we accept preorders. When we have the first working prototype, we'll think about opening them.

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 59 of 112, by 640K!enough

User metadata
Rank Oldbie
Rank
Oldbie

Let me be the one to ask the obvious question: even if they were available right now, will any company process the transactions to allow potential buyers to order one, and will anyone accept the shipments for delivery? It sounds like a dicey situation, with no clear end in sight.