VOGONS


Pentium 166MMX tower of power

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Reply 41 of 59, by JayCeeBee64

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gdjacobs wrote:

I just wish Creative provided a method of changing the soundfonts in DOS 😠

Fat chance of that ever happening - Creative doesn't care anymore.

I've seen enthusiasts attempt to create their own DOS soundfont changers/loaders over the years, but every one of them keeps running into a brick wall. This post by gerwin explains the reason why they fail:

Can't find AWE banks loader for DOS :(

Maybe someone will succeed someday.

Ooohh, the pain......

Reply 42 of 59, by badmojo

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I recently picked up some NOS 16MB 30 pin RAM for my Goldfinch, 32MB in total (28MB usable). Previously I’d been rocking 8MB which was enough for 8MBGMSFX.sf2, but I’d come across a 9MB SC55 font which I wanted to try out. As it turned out, that font sucked. Next up I tried Chorium (~28MB), but as I’ve found in the past, it’s all over the shop in games (to my ears). But then I tried Masterpiece.sf2, and am really digging on it so far. My test suite is DOOM, Blood, Duke3D, X-Wing, and various .MID files.

I really do like this Goldfinch.

DSCN3026_zps5d0w7owr.jpg

DSCN3035_zpsajutfapy.jpg

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Reply 43 of 59, by Tetrium

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badmojo wrote:
I recently picked up some NOS 16MB 30 pin RAM for my Goldfinch, 32MB in total (28MB usable). Previously I’d been rocking 8MB whi […]
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I recently picked up some NOS 16MB 30 pin RAM for my Goldfinch, 32MB in total (28MB usable). Previously I’d been rocking 8MB which was enough for 8MBGMSFX.sf2, but I’d come across a 9MB SC55 font which I wanted to try out. As it turned out, that font sucked. Next up I tried Chorium (~28MB), but as I’ve found in the past, it’s all over the shop in games (to my ears). But then I tried Masterpiece.sf2, and am really digging on it so far. My test suite is DOOM, Blood, Duke3D, X-Wing, and various .MID files.

I really do like this Goldfinch.

DSCN3026_zps5d0w7owr.jpg

DSCN3035_zpsajutfapy.jpg

Never seen one like that.
I thought they had to be connected internally to another sound card, or at least the one I found was connected to a SB16 I think with some kind of narrower flat ribbon cable

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Reply 44 of 59, by badmojo

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Yes they come in a few different flavours I think, but in saying that I added the stereo jack to this one. You can connect them internally to a SB16 via the CD-IN on the sound card, but then you can't use the CD-IN for redbook, so I went with the external route, into the SB16's line in.

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Reply 45 of 59, by badmojo

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I could be accused of going overboard with the sound hardware in this machine but I recently picked up a Roland SCC-1, and it’d be a crime to let it sit around doing nothing. This P166 is my go-to for General Midi and it did originally have an SCC-1 in it, but I’d bought that card fully boxed from a somewhat abrasive seller and always felt that I’d overpaid. As a result it never sat comfortably in my collection, and I sold it.

This card was sourced locally for a reasonable price, and the seller – who owned the card from new and knew his stuff – was very easy to deal with, making for a much more enjoyable experience.

I had to do some minor card juggling to physically fit the SCC-1 alongside the existing sound hardware, which consists of a SB16 (CT2290) with an NEC XR385 attached, and a Goldfinch. Both of these existing cards are quite wide thanks to the DB and additional RAM on the Goldfinch, but it’s not too crowded. I do wonder about heat build-up but I don’t think these cards get particularly warm.

By setting the SB16’s MPU-401 port to 300 (selectable via a jumper) I was able to resolve the only resource conflict this setup presents and it all works seamlessly. It’s great to be able to so easily switch between and compare OPL3, AWE, XR385, SCC-1, and my various sound fonts. Each shine under the right circumstances but I must say that the SCC-1 does sound consistently amazing.

The only minor inconvenience is having to manually switch the SCC-1 and Goldfinch in and out of the SB16’s line-in (i.e by plugging and unplugging), but that’s not a bad problem to have. I should probably just bite the bullet and buy an external mixer.

DSCN3217_zpsb2ght9cn.jpg

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Reply 46 of 59, by gdjacobs

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badmojo wrote:

The only minor inconvenience is having to manually switch the SCC-1 and Goldfinch in and out of the SB16’s line-in (i.e by plugging and unplugging), but that’s not a bad problem to have. I should probably just bite the bullet and buy an external mixer.

Well, passive mixers are dead simple, and even actively buffered mixers are pretty straight forward. You just need a bipolar DC supply, ganged logarithmic pots, some op-amps and some passives. Might be a fun project to build?

All hail the Great Capacitor Brand Finder

Reply 47 of 59, by badmojo

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gdjacobs wrote:

Well, passive mixers are dead simple, and even actively buffered mixers are pretty straight forward. You just need a bipolar DC supply, ganged logarithmic pots, some op-amps and some passives. Might be a fun project to build?

Yeah I probably won't muster the enthusiasm to build one, but I was thinking of a passive mixer - I know you lose some gain but my powered speakers have plenty of headroom left in them.

This little guy seems common around these parts and pretty cheap - anything in particular I should look for / avoid?

http://www.radioparts.com.au/product/01458265 … el#.Vxm78kaQCM0

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Reply 49 of 59, by MMaximus

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Nice build! I realky like the mini tower with the led display. I've actually got a similar build in a modern case: VX97, SCC-1, CT2230 and Voodoo2.

Regarding the mixer you posted, gdjacobs is correct in that it seems to be mono only, so with Y cables you could have two stereo signals but not very practical because of the 4 volume knobs. I suggested a few models of mixer in this thread a while ago:
Some advice about hardware mixers

Reply 50 of 59, by badmojo

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OK lucky I asked, I'll check out the other suggested models thanks guys.

@MMaximus - your build sounds very similar, is there a thread about it around here somewhere? This P166 is the machine I dreamed of circa 1995 when I was finishing high school. I was still getting by with my 486DX2 66, but games like C&C, WC3, Microprose GP2, Duke3D, etc found it wanting. MMX wasn't a thing yet but Pentiums were not unheard of, and I had a mad crush on the Matrox Millennium.

Now I'm living the dream 😀

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Reply 51 of 59, by MMaximus

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Yeah, it's cool to play with machines you couldn't afford back in the day 😀
I was lucky to get a Pentium 90 PC in 1994 - it was a monster for the first year but games and hardware were evolving so fast that it certainly didn't feel as fast a few years later. When the MMX came out I remember dreaming about owning one, but couldn't afford an upgrade. A few years ago I found a cheap ASUS VX97 on Ebay, and decided to get a 233MMX for it... because, why not? 😀

Here is the updated thread about it, nothing fancy though, just parts I really like in a modern ATX case:

Pentium 233MMX - SCC-1 / CT2230 / Voodoo2 rig

Reply 52 of 59, by badmojo

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The sound options in the Tower of Power have evolved recently and I'm really happy with the results considering there are 4 cards involved - multi-soundcard setups have ended in tears for me traditionally.

The first coup was getting the CT1920 "Goldfinch" to be fully functional alongside a sound card other than a SB16. I've tried to pair it with a number of clones over the years with varying degrees of success, ranging from mostly-working to completely-failing-to-initalise. The insamountable hurdle has always been the "MPU-401 Emulation", which allows the CT1920 to emulate an MPU-401 within a Win9x DOS box. Without that working, loaded sound fonts are not accessible to DOS games, which nullifies one of my main reasons for using the Goldfinch in the first place. But while testing a Crystal CS4232 based "AW32 Pro" (AOpen S23A) recently I happened to reinstall the CT1920 software, and this time installer added a "Creative SBAWE MPU401 Emulation" driver, seen below:

DeviceM_zpsacurwrw6.png

There are 2 options when installing the CT1920's software, the first includes drivers for a SB16 + AWE, and the second is for the AWE upgrade only. My theory is that I must have selected the second option this time, where previously I'd always selected the first, and that indicated to the installer that I'd need the MPU-401 emulation driver too. Or maybe the installer just worked out for itself that there was no SB16 available to share an MPU-401 with – who knows. I don't want to reinstall it all again to find out 😵 The end result is that I was able to assign the "Creative SBAWE MPU401 Emulation" device a port number that wasn't being used by either my SCC-1 (330) or the S23A (300), check the option below in the AWE control panel, and use my .SF2 sound font of choice in a DOS box alongside a non-SB16.

AWE_zps8gvc7faa.png

This AOpen S23A is an impressive package - beautiful sounding SB Pro 2 emulation, complete and easy to use software for both DOS and Win9x, and excellent onboard General Midi (1MB CS9233 chipset). The only downside is its average FM - not a big deal in this machine because its more about GM, but it did bother me all the same. I experimentally added a Pro Audio Spectrum 16 into the mix to see if I could use its lovely, genuine OPL3 in place of the Crystal clone. I disabled the SB 2.0 emulation on the PAS and was able to get the PAS16 portion of the card working without any significant conflicts; only The OPL3 and S23A's FM were getting tangled up, but fortunately I was able to move the Crystal FM to a different port by editing the relevant .ini file.

I'm sending the PAS16's ‘out’ into the S23A's ‘line in’, and I have a little passive Rolls mixer to mix the output from the S23A, the Roland SCC-1, and the Goldfinch. There was some fiddling with mixer settings required of course but both cards have sensible default levels and good DOS mixer software, and so far all combinations I’ve tried within games have worked seamlessly. For example I can select PAS16 for voice and send GM to the S23A, or select SB Pro for voice and AWE for music. In theory I should be able to use any combination of the following with this set up:

- Sound Blaster Pro 2
- PAS16
- Yamaha OPL3
- Creative AWE
- SBK and SF2 Sound Fonts
- SC-55 GM + intelligent MPU-401 thanks to the SCC-1
- 1MB Crystal CS9233 GM

P1020724_zpsrwz5d7xi.jpg

P1020735_zpsbbdj0o43.jpg

P1020757_zpsjo7ks4en.jpg

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Reply 53 of 59, by RobDos

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What I think is hilarious, is I got it for $50.USD
Figured they would be more rare and expensive.

Do you know the head phone jack you used?

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Reply 54 of 59, by Sphere478

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166 huh? 😀 some of those were unlocked, gonna try a overclock? I know you said you wanted to stick with a 166, overclocking seems like fun and a separate question.

I have a few unlocked ones in fact. Kinda rare though. (Most are locked)

I like the build. Looks fun! 😀

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
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SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
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Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 55 of 59, by badmojo

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Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-03, 02:07:

I like the build. Looks fun! 😀

Thankyou yes it was a fun build - I still have most of the parts but it was long since replaced by a Cyrix MII machine that does everything this 166MMX machine could do and more.

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Reply 56 of 59, by Sphere478

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badmojo wrote on 2022-03-03, 04:03:
Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-03, 02:07:

I like the build. Looks fun! 😀

Thankyou yes it was a fun build - I still have most of the parts but it was long since replaced by a Cyrix MII machine that does everything this 166MMX machine could do and more.

Sweet! Which model?

I have a thread somewhere where we figured out all the mII multi settings for the 2.2v late model cores.

Cyrix mII has a special place in my heart. Wonderful cpus. Shame that they weren’t the fastest socket 7 cpu. I wish they had a k6-3+ killer.

Edit: here it is:
(Solved) Cyrix 400gp/366gp multiplier settings

Sphere's PCB projects.
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Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
-
SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 57 of 59, by badmojo

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Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-03, 05:36:
Sweet! Which model? […]
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Sweet! Which model?

I have a thread somewhere where we figured out all the mII multi settings for the 2.2v late model cores.

Cyrix mII has a special place in my heart. Wonderful cpus. Shame that they weren’t the fastest socket 7 cpu. I wish they had a k6-3+ killer.

Edit: here it is:
(Solved) Cyrix 400gp/366gp multiplier settings

Whoops sorry I missed your post! I'm using an MII-300GP, so a 66MHz 2.9V part. Yes a great CPU for pre-3D DOS gaming and such great value at the time.

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Reply 58 of 59, by Sphere478

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badmojo wrote on 2022-03-05, 09:56:
Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-03, 05:36:
Sweet! Which model? […]
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Sweet! Which model?

I have a thread somewhere where we figured out all the mII multi settings for the 2.2v late model cores.

Cyrix mII has a special place in my heart. Wonderful cpus. Shame that they weren’t the fastest socket 7 cpu. I wish they had a k6-3+ killer.

Edit: here it is:
(Solved) Cyrix 400gp/366gp multiplier settings

Whoops sorry I missed your post! I'm using an MII-300GP, so a 66MHz 2.9V part. Yes a great CPU for pre-3D DOS gaming and such great value at the time.

Okay, I believe that’s the core before the 2.2v 400/433gp cores.

If you ever play around with your multi settings, let us know which ones your chip supports in that thread 😀

Sphere's PCB projects.
-
Sphere’s socket 5/7 cpu collection.
-
SUCCESSFUL K6-2+ to K6-3+ Full Cache Enable Mod
-
Tyan S1564S to S1564D single to dual processor conversion (also s1563 and s1562)

Reply 59 of 59, by badmojo

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Sphere478 wrote on 2022-03-05, 14:07:

If you ever play around with your multi settings, let us know which ones your chip supports in that thread 😀

I will do, thanks for the link 👍

All I've done to date is mess around with the various register flags but none make a noticeable difference. Enabling a linear frame buffer with 6x86OPT is worth while for SVGA games though.

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