WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

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WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-15 @ 13:08

Hi, all!

I'm slowly working through my newest build, so I decided I'll start the buildlog. This system is pretty exciting for me, because it basically has everything I wanted in a retro machine and has been working on for the last 2,5 years. So, let's start.

The "boring" Socket 7

My last build was a Slot 1 machine with Pentium 3, Voodoo 5, Diamond Monster Sound MX300, Soundblaster Live and AWE64 Value with 8MB RAM.

Image

This machine covers everything I want from Windows 9x era, from original Quake to later shooters like Soldier of Fortune, Blood 2 and the likes. With that in mind I needed a second tower PC that would sit next to my Pentium 3 and run most DOS games I'm interested — roughly years 1990 to 1995. Here are some examples:

- Crusader: No Remorse;
- Wing Commander 1/2/3;
- Ultima Underworld 1/2;
- System Shock;
- Lands of Lore;
- Legend Entertainment quests (like Eric the Unready).

On one hand, I'm not trying to make "an ultimate DOS machine" that would run everything from 1981 to 1997. On the other hand — it does cover a fairly large timespan since I want to benefit from all the sound hardware that I have:

- AWE32;
- GUS PnP Pro;
- MusicQuest clone card;
- Roland MT-32;
- Roland SC-55;
- Yamaha SW60XG (optional).

So, you can see some obvious requirements to the build:

- it should have at least three ISA slots;
- it should be fast enough for SVGA games;
- it should run some sort of Windows 9x for AWE32;
- ideally it should have some means of changing system speed.

My first attempts were with DX4 and Pentium 60. The problem is that even the original Windows 95 doesn't work fast enough on that kind of hardware. The obvious choice would be some kind of Socket 7, which was my first ever build. Everybody here knows Socket 7 pretty well — it's been the go to beginner platform for a while now. I've gone through numerous Socket 7 motherboards and platforms, and at this point I'm kind of bored with it. So, I really wanted to make this machine special. So how could I make this more interesting?

Oh hi, Marl!

Let's meet the family:

Image

The heart of this build is, of course the Intel Advanced/ML board, codename "Marl":

Image

To me, this is what gives some kind of twist to good old Socket 7:

- it's the 430HX chipset, Intel's high-end option for Socket 7;
- it's ATX which I've come to appreciate after the Slot 1 build. It's so much easier to work with compared to regular AT. Less cables, more space, and you can use newer power supplies;
- it has some sort of turbo functionality accessible through shortcuts which slows down Pentium 166 to 386 speeds. I suspect this is done through disabling L2 cache, but I'll need to test that.

So with this board I got the idea to make an overkill gaming machine from 1996. Pre-Windows 98, pre-MMX. My CPU of choice is a boxed Pentium 166 with stock cooler. The board only has 256KB of L2 cache, so I'm limited to 64 MB of RAM (even though 430HX technically can cache up to 128MB unlike 430TX and 430VX).

More sound

Here are two main soundcards for this build: an AWE32 and a GUS PnP Pro.

Image

I've decided to use the AWE32 just because I was interested in messing with the soundfonts. This is a CT3990, a PnP model with CQM emulation — this build is mostly about wavetable, so I don't care about OPL3 too much. I've got 32MB RAM which leaves me 28MB for soundfonts.

The Gravis card is kind of tricky. Naturally, for my needs an ACE card would be preferable, but I mostly see PnP cards locally. So I guess I'll just need to disable all the stuff I don't need. I'm using 8MB RAM, so I can use GUS Classic mode and also experiment with patches.

And, finally, this is the MusicQuest clone card from keropi:

Image

In theory, I could attach my Dreamblaster X2 daughterboard to this card, but since there aren't many soundbanks available for it at the moment, it's not really necessary for now. The plan is to daisy chain MT-32 and SC-55.

3D power

I've decided to keep with the "mid-90s high-end system" theme here:

Image

It's a Matrox Millenium card coupled with a Voodoo 1. I know that Matrox gets a bad rap for DOS compatibility, but I'm yet to see any issues with the games I'm playing. I would also be curious to learn what the daughterboard does — probably some kind of MPEG accelerator (I also have a composite/S-video adapter for this card). The Voodoo 1 will be used for late DOS games with 3DFX patches like Carmageddon, Descent, Blood and so on.

The final specs

Intel Pentium 166 (non-MMX) with original box version cooler;
Intel Advanced/ML "Marl" motherboard with 256KB L2 cache;
64MB EDO RAM;
Matrox Millenium videocard;
Diamond Multimedia Voodoo 1 card;
3COM 3C905 NIC;
AWE32 CT3990 with 28MB RAM;
GUS PNP Pro with 8MB RAM;
MusicQuest clone card;
Seagate 8GB hard drive;
Hitachi 16x CDR-8130 CD-ROM;
In-Win S500 case with 300W FSP PSU.
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-15 @ 13:09

Getting AWE32 and GUS to coexist

Naturally, this is the trickiest part of the build. What I've done so far:

- Installed the Windows 95 drivers and software for GUS PnP from the original PnP floppies;
- Installed the setrom and setram from the original PnP CD;
- Installed the AWE32 drivers from the original CT3990 disk;
- reflashed the GUS PnP with an updated EEPROM to disable IRQ requirement for the MPU part (using P20DISK3.ZIP);
- used EEPROM tools to disable the CD-ROM, the Gameport and the SB emulation on the GUS.

So, for now the settings are:

AWE32: IRQ5, DMA01, DMA05, IO220 and 330 for MPU;
GUS: IRQ7, DMA06, DMA07, IO240 and 340 for MPU.

In Windows I get Duke Nukem 3D to play in all combinations of AWE32 (both AWE32 and General MIDI mode) and GUS, but Doom won't play sounds through AWE32 (it always falls back to 240 instead of 220 for some reason).

In DOS Duke Nukem 3D plays through both AWE32 and GUS, but DOOM, again, only plays through GUS. With AWE32 it gives weird cacophonic noise.

I'm also worried that CTCM assigns AWE32 some weird resources like IRQ0 DMA0 IO200 — what do I need to specify the settings?
Last edited by jheronimus on 2018-5-15 @ 13:44, edited 1 time in total.
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-15 @ 13:09

Here is what the finished build looks like for now:

Image

On the right you can see the InWin S500 tower case with the Socket 7 platform. On the left — well, the InWin H500 desktop case with Slot 1. The Roland sound modules aren't here for now because I haven't set them up yet.

Admitedly, I feel like this case is too large for this system, and the A500 would be more period appropriate and compact.

The screen is a 17 Inch CTX PR711FL — a new old stock Trinitron screen that I absolutely love.
The keyboard is a PS/2 IBM Model M and the mouse is some generic Genius optical mouse that I want to replace with Microsoft Intellimouse 3 or something.
The next obvious step would be to get a KVM and upgrade my Creative SBS20 speakers to something better.
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-5-15 @ 14:44

This looks like a great build with a lot of potential.

jheronimus wrote:- it has some sort of turbo functionality accessible through shortcuts which slows down Pentium 166 to 386 speeds. I suspect this is done through disabling L2 cache, but I'll need to test that.


These sorts of speeds would require full cache disabling on a P54 or P55 Pentium. It should be about right for WC.

The non-MMX is great, but if you want a little bit more flexibility, I can't say enough about the PMMX (P55). The V1, though, is a perfect choice. You'll be able to play every DOS Glide game out there.
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-15 @ 15:20

gdjacobs wrote:The non-MMX is great, but if you want a little bit more flexibility, I can't say enough about the PMMX (P55). The V1, though, is a perfect choice. You'll be able to play every DOS Glide game out there.


I actually picked this CPU for a couple of reasons:

- I don't need MMX for DOS games (I have Slot 1 for Windows games that could benefit from it);
- even if turbo wouldn't work for some reason, the 166 with L2 disabled should be perfect for Wing Commander;
- some games don't like Pentiums that are faster than 200 MHz. I know that often there is a patch, but again, I don't need that much power for games.

Besides, like I said, keeping it non-MMX and Windows 95 (instead of Win98) somehow makes it different enough from my Pentium 3 build.
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-5-16 @ 01:56

jheronimus wrote:
gdjacobs wrote:The non-MMX is great, but if you want a little bit more flexibility, I can't say enough about the PMMX (P55). The V1, though, is a perfect choice. You'll be able to play every DOS Glide game out there.


I actually picked this CPU for a couple of reasons:

- I don't need MMX for DOS games (I have Slot 1 for Windows games that could benefit from it);
- even if turbo wouldn't work for some reason, the 166 with L2 disabled should be perfect for Wing Commander;
- some games don't like Pentiums that are faster than 200 MHz. I know that often there is a patch, but again, I don't need that much power for games.

Besides, like I said, keeping it non-MMX and Windows 95 (instead of Win98) somehow makes it different enough from my Pentium 3 build.


Fair enough. I don't have that much desk space, so I'm always looking to get more out of my builds. The primary reason I love the PMMX is because the performance envelope has way more tuning options. You get not only 386 speeds but other equivalent speeds in between that and full throttle.

Still, socket 7 and V1 should make a great combo. I expect it'll be a really fun machine.
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby infiniteclouds » 2018-5-16 @ 06:33

Great system; beautiful CRT! I wish there were still more NOS CRTs about these days.

jheronimus wrote:
On one hand, I'm not trying to make "an ultimate DOS machine" that would run everything from 1981 to 1997.


Besides the extremely, extremely rare, totally undocumented socket 7 frankenboards out there that actually have a functioning turbo like the one j^aws found, this isn't really possible, anyway. You can't get any machine capable of 1997 late DOS games down to 8088 speeds -- 286 at the slowest. I like having a Tandy 1000 for this purpose since they have the best graphics/sound of that 8088, pre-soundcard/Adlib era.

I know that Matrox gets a bad rap for DOS compatibility, but I'm yet to see any issues with the games I'm playing.


This confuses me too since I've always heard that Matrox had the best image quality/VGA output -- 2D in particular.. while it is side scrollers that are reported to most often have issues?

Is this only on LCD monitors or did they have these issues back in the day on CRTs as well, I wonder.
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-16 @ 08:02

infiniteclouds wrote:Besides the extremely, extremely rare, totally undocumented socket 7 frankenboards out there that actually have a functioning turbo like the one j^aws found, this isn't really possible, anyway. You can't get any machine capable of 1997 late DOS games down to 8088 speeds -- 286 at the slowest. I like having a Tandy 1000 for this purpose since they have the best graphics/sound of that 8088, pre-soundcard/Adlib era.


I was being sarcastic, actually. It's just that at some point everyone's first post on the Vogons would be "I want to build an ultimate DOS machine that can run every DOS game under the sun — do you have any advice for me?" I think that I myself wrote something among those lines in my first post here, actually. So yeah, you can't have everything — which is why I tried to narrow down my gaming era to the first half of the 90s.

What is the frankenboard you're referring to? I know that kanecvr discovered that Lucky Star 5V-1A/5V-1B can be downclocked all the way to 10.66 MHz. I have that board but never bothered to try it, because changing speed via jumpers isn't really convenient for me anyways (and I don't need XT/286 speeds).
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby voodoo5_6k » 2018-5-16 @ 08:18

A very nice build :) I especially like the case, had it as a big tower for a P3 1GHz system once! Today, I would love to have one of those desktop variants you have here, really great looking setup :)

jheronimus wrote:The board only has 256KB of L2 cache, so I'm limited to 64 MB of RAM (even though 430HX technically can cache up to 128MB unlike 430TX and 430VX).

That is not correct. L2 Cache has nothing to do with it. It is the TAG SRAM that actually caches RAM. And the 430HX can cache up to 512MB (with an 11-bit TAG SRAM).
END OF LINE.

My retro systems:
1: E4700 2.6|512MB|P5PE-VM|Voodoo5|SB0240|UM-1>UM-550>CM-32L+SC-55
2: P3-S 1.4|512MB|D815EEA2|Voodoo5+Voodoo5 6000|SB0350
3: P4 3.4EE|4GB|P4C800-E|FX 5900 Ultra+Ti4600|SB0466
4: X5470 3.33|8GB|P5Q-E|GTX 580 3G|SB0886
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-16 @ 10:01

voodoo5_6k wrote:A very nice build :) I especially like the case, had it as a big tower for a P3 1GHz system once! Today, I would love to have one of those desktop variants you have here, really great looking setup :)


I can't recommend the H500 case enough. It's still quite spacious, pretty well built and is actually period-correct for any P1-P3 build, because it was sold since the early ATX times. The S500 is a revised version of A500 that was released closer to the Pentium 4 times.

voodoo5_6k wrote:
jheronimus wrote:The board only has 256KB of L2 cache, so I'm limited to 64 MB of RAM (even though 430HX technically can cache up to 128MB unlike 430TX and 430VX).

That is not correct. L2 Cache has nothing to do with it. It is the TAG SRAM that actually caches RAM. And the 430HX can cache up to 512MB (with an 11-bit TAG SRAM).


Oh, thanks!
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-16 @ 19:41

Got a new D-Link KVM-121 today for 8 bucks:

Image

It's PS/2+VGA+Audio. Holy shit it's convenient. Just press Scroll Lock twice followed by an arrow key to switch between Pentium 1 and Pentium 3 machines.

I was worried that the KVM would affect the image quality (as discussed in many threads on Vogons), but I don't see any significant difference. Don't quote me on that, though, since I'm generally not sensitive to the artefacts people tend to talk about (like S3 vs Matrox or short VGA passthrough vs 1.8 meters for Voodoo).
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby jheronimus » 2018-5-17 @ 22:01

Great progress!

So, basically just needed to install the DOS apps like diagnose.exe and CTCM that don't come with a Windows installation of AWE32 drivers. Got them from the official Creative site here, updated the Windows drivers as well. After using diagnose.exe to set up all the resources for AWE32 I can now freely choose between AWE32 and GUS in both Doom and Duke Nukem 3D in both DOS and Windows.

My only gripe is that I've set up Windows 95 to boot straight into DOS by default but it doesn't use autoexec.bat unless I boot into Windows and the reboot into DOS mode.

So, at this point I just need to configure the MusicQuest and MT-32 and my work on hardware with this build is done.
Socket 7: Pentium 166; 64MB RAM; Matrox Millenium+Voodoo 1; AWE32 PnP w/28MB + GUS PnP Pro w/8MB
Slot 1: Pentium III 500; 384MB RAM; Voodoo 5 5500 AGP; AWE64 Value w/8MB + Diamond Monster Sound MX300 + SoundBlaster Live!
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby lvader » 2018-5-24 @ 15:56

Does your Pentium chip support all the setmul test register options? That helps greatly with speed flexibility.
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Re: WIP: Dream Socket 7 (multiple soundcards + Voodoo)

Postby gdjacobs » 2018-5-24 @ 19:20

The p54 design has partial support for TR12 registers.
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