VOGONS


First post, by Joseph_Joestar

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System specs

  • Pentium MMX 166
  • Soyo SY-5BT (Intel 430TX)
  • 64 MB EDO RAM
  • S3 VirgeDX 4 MB
  • 3DFX Voodoo 1 (A-Trend VD102P)
  • OPTi 82C930
  • Sound Blaster AWE64 Value CT4520
  • NEC 3.5" floppy drive
  • CF to IDE adapter with an 4 GB CF card (DOS 6.22 + Win 3.11) and an 8 GB CF card (Win95 OSR 2.1)
  • LG 48x CD-ROM
  • LC Power 420W PSU
  • Samsung SyncMaster 795MB 17" CRT monitor

Introduction

I built this rig from scratch as a side project, using parts that I have acquired here and there. Amusingly, the finished system ended up resembling the first PC that I ever owned, although slightly upgraded. Anyhow, the intended purpose of this machine is to play DOS games released between 1990 and 1997 at the correct speeds with the help of slowdown utilities.

CPU

This Pentium MMX 166 CPU has enough power to comfortably run most DOS games. The only exceptions are late 3D SVGA titles like Quake and Tomb Raider, but that's ok since I have more powerful systems which can handle them better.

The best thing about the Pentium MMX is that it can be slowed down to 386 and 486 levels which is important for a number of speed sensitive games. By disabling the motherboard L2 cache in the BIOS and using SetMul it's possible to fine tune CPU speed. For example, with both L1 and L2 caches disabled, the CPU runs roughly at 386DX-25 speed which is nice for the original Wing Commander. On the other hand, with L1 cache disabled but L2 cache enabled, the system behaves like a 486DX-33, and that's great for games like One Must Fall 2097 which run too fast on a Pentium but too slow on a 386. There are other in-between speeds that can be reached using the Pentium test registers as showcased in this video by Phil. Finally, since this CPU tops out at 166 MHz, it is not affected by the dreaded "Runtime Error 200" which plagues many DOS games from this time period (e.g. Jazz Jackrabbit). I know that there are patches and workarounds for that, but it just feels nice not having to worry about it at all.

For DOS games which crash due to too much RAM, I use XMSDSK & EMSDSK which lowers the available memory to 32 MB and that usually solves the issue. If necessary, it's possible to lower the memory even further (e.g. to 8 MB) in case some game needs that. And for games that don't like fast CD-ROM devices I use the excellent CDBeQuiet! utility which sets the drive speed to 4x making it blissfully quiet in the process.

Motherboard

The Soyo SY-5BT motherboard is based on the Intel 430TX chipset. Documentation and drivers for Soyo products are sparse nowadays, but I managed to track down the latest official BIOS (5bt-1b7.bin) as well as this driver CD which turned out to be quite interesting. When inserted under Windows 95, the software on the disc automatically detects the motherboard model, displays the corresponding manual and offers to install all the relevant drivers. The manual has a pinout for the PS2 mouse header, which is helpful in case you need to rewire a generic bracket to fit there. The 5BT also has an ATX power connector which eliminates the need for dodgy AT PSUs.

Graphics card #1

The S3 VirgeDX is highly compatible with DOS games, which is the main reason I chose it for this build. My particular card has 4 MB of 35ns EDO RAM and runs at 50 MHz by default. It can be overclocked to 66 MHz using MCLCK resulting in a nice performance boost while remaining perfectly stable. Raising the clock higher than that is possible, but doing so produces artifacts in 3D games. I'm considering adding a heatsink to the core and memory chips at some point and testing if this card can be overclocked even further.

The other reason I chose a Virge was to play S3D games like Tomb Raider and Terminal Velocity. Performance isn't the greatest in that mode, but when overclocked, the card can deliver around 15 FPS at 640x480 in Tomb Raider while simultaneously providing a 16-bit color palette, perspective correction and bilinear filtering. Reducing the resolution to 512 x 384 improves performance to slightly above 20 FPS. Having the 16-bit palette is particularly nice since it eliminates color banding. Lastly, using the S3Refresh utility I can force SVGA DOS games to run at 85 Hz on my CRT monitor which is much easier on the eyes than the default 60 Hz. This works for S3D games as well and even in Windows 3.11.

Graphics card #2

The original 3DFX Voodoo Graphics is a legendary card, providing unmatched 3D performance in its heyday. My particular model seems to be made by A-Trend, according to the pictures at VGA Museum. It will mainly be used for DOS Glide games which aren't as compatible with later Voodoo cards. There is some minor image quality degradation in 2D due to the pass-through cable, but it's less perceptible at lower resolutions such as 640x480 and below.

Sound card #1 - OPTi 82C930

I posted a full review of this card some time ago, so I won't go into much detail here. It serves as the main sound device on this system, residing at A220 I5 D1 P330. I use it for its SBPro and WSS capabilities, as well as for any games that primarily use FM synth music. In addition, since it has a bug-free MPU-401 interface, this OPTi card is great for hooking up external MIDI devices, such as my Roland SC-155.

Sound card #2 - Sound Blaster AWE64 Value CT4520

This card is used for late-era DOS games which benefit from 16-bit sound but don't have native WSS support. Examples include Crusader: No Remorse/No Regret and Privateer 2. While the built-in wavetable is nothing special, it can sound surprisingly nice in certain games that were optimized for AWE cards. The CT4520 resides at A240 I7 D3 H7 P300 E640 which isn't a problem as most of the later DOS games allow you to select these parameters manually in setup.

On the downside, the card is somewhat noisy by default, but that can be resolved by tweaking the mixer settings. It also suffers from the Vibra distortion bug which can be quite annoying as you need to lower the in-game volume below 50% to negate it. However, that bug seems to be slightly less prominent on this system than on my faster rigs. I'm not sure if CPU speed affects it, or if it's something else. Lastly, the CT4520 exhibits stuttering in Build engine games when a high sampling rate (e.g. 44.1 kHz) is used for digitized audio while General MIDI music is playing. I avoid this bug by delegating all MPU-401 duties to the OPTi card.

  • AWE64 FM synth music samples (CQM)
  • AWE64 wavetable music samples (AWE32 mode)


    Operating Systems

    On this machine, I swap between two CF cards: a 4 GB one for MS-DOS 6.22 + Windows 3.11 and an 8 GB card for Windows 95. With all the drivers loaded, I have 615 KB of conventional memory free in DOS, which is enough for 99% of the games that I play. The only downside of using DOS 6.22 is that I'm limited to 2 GB partitions. This is usually more than enough, but there are a few edge cases when I do need more storage space, and that's where my other CF card comes into play.

    Windows 95 OSR 2.1 is installed on the 8 GB CF card. This version supports FAT32 and USB but it doesn't have IE4 and Active Desktop and thus feels snappier on slower systems. This setup is primarily meant for playing the GOG versions of DOS games. The reason being, certain multi-CD games from back then now have fairly large installations on GOG. For example, Privateer 2 takes up around 1.5 GB when using the GOG version. I might also run a few early Win9x games here, but I do have other rigs that are better suited for those tasks.


    Conclusion

    I really like the versatility of this system. Being able to easily switch between 386, 486 and Pentium speeds is amazing. And while I can accomplish something similar on my faster rigs, I wanted a dedicated DOS 6.22 + Win 3.11 machine for purely nostalgic reasons. As mentioned before, it resembles the very first PC that I ever owned, and playing my favorite games on it feels extremely satisfying.

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Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2021-06-21, 09:59. Edited 3 times in total.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 2 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Repo Man11 wrote on 2021-06-05, 21:54:

I also have a CSX917B case - mine houses my Super 7 system. https://aiyamicro.com/legacy-products/cases_computer.htm

I got mine second hand, but I like it a lot.

Plenty of room, good airflow, nice rounded edges inside and all that while still keeping that late '90s / early 2000s aesthetic. It's also nice that the back of the case still has the cutouts for serial and parallel port brackets.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 3 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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And here are some benchmarks. Basically, I get Pentium at full speed, a 486DX2-66 at the next speed level (CCD), a 486DX-33 after that (L1D) and lastly a 386DX-25 (L1D+L2D). I could probably fine tune this even further by applying slower memory timings in the BIOS, downclocking the CPU to 133 MHz and using some of the other test registers. But truthfully, the current slowdown range covers my needs quite nicely.

Big thanks to Gerwin for developing the excellent SetMul utility which makes all of this possible!

EDIT - updated benchmarks with results from the Soyo SY-5BT motherboard.

Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2021-06-13, 10:50. Edited 1 time in total.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 4 of 23, by chinny22

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Well thought out build, I always thought 200mmx was the best all rounder dos pc even though I don't have a socket 7 PC in my collection.
I doubt upgrading a 166 to a 200 +changes which games are playable or not but I wouldn't be able to control myself as 200 just sounds soo much more faster .

Not much to add. Well maybe a network card but that's partly because I think networking old rigs is cool.

I'm always surprised ram disks aren't featured more. Ram is cheap and having a fast small dumping ground is useful and good way to eat up ram for those annoying games.
TV is my standout S3D game but I do enjoy "downgrading" myself and playing the S3D versions of the other racing games just for something different.

Reply 5 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-06-07, 15:10:

Well thought out build, I always thought 200mmx was the best all rounder dos pc even though I don't have a socket 7 PC in my collection.

Thanks! All rounder is really the best way to describe this rig, as it can indeed play a little bit of everything. 😀

I doubt upgrading a 166 to a 200 +changes which games are playable or not but I wouldn't be able to control myself as 200 just sounds soo much more faster .

Heh, I understand that completely. If I could source a 200 MHz MMX locally, I might upgrade it. Unfortunately, everything from the Socket 7 era seems exceptionally rare where I live, and importing from abroad incurs huge fees. But I'll keep my eyes open.

Not much to add. Well maybe a network card but that's partly because I think networking old rigs is cool.

I may yet do that. For now, my case cover isn't screwed down, so I can simply slide it open and take out the CF card to copy files over. But at some point, that might change, and I always did want to try networking in DOS. Back in the day, all I had was a 14.4k dial-up modem which connected to some local BBS server in my city.

I'm always surprised ram disks aren't featured more. Ram is cheap and having a fast small dumping ground is useful and good way to eat up ram for those annoying games.

They are really great. Sometimes I copy over an entire game to the ramdisk just to see how much faster it loads. Well, with a CF card there's not a lot of difference, but with a period-correct HDD, there would be.

TV is my standout S3D game but I do enjoy "downgrading" myself and playing the S3D versions of the other racing games just for something different.

I have very fond memories of Terminal Velocity as it was one of the earliest games that I played on my very first PC. I never experienced its S3D mode until now, as I didn't have a Virge back then, just an S3 Trio.

BTW, I think Virge cards get way too much flak from people. Sure, they are bad at Windows 3D gaming, but for DOS titles they do a decent job, especially if overclocked. On this Pentium MMX 166, I get very similar frame rates when running Tomb Raider in software mode at 640x480 and in S3D mode at the same resolution. The difference being, I have 16-bit colors, bilinear filtering and perspective correction with S3D. I might post some comparison screenshots later.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 6 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Here are some software rendering vs. S3D comparisons for Tomb Raider. I had to take the photos using my phone as the game doesn't provide any way to create screenshots.

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With software rendering, you can notice color banding on the snow as the shadow fades into the light. In S3D mode, that transition is completely smooth.

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Again, some color banding can be observed on Lara's arm and face in sofware rendering. In S3D mode the shadows are smooth and the wall textures look nicer as well.

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Water is completely transparent in software rendering. In S3D mode it has a blue tinge and some additional lighting effects.

As noted before, S3D mode delivers around 15 FPS at 640x480 with an overclocked VirgeDX. On this system, software rendering runs slower than that when using the same resolution. Notably, S3D also brings 16-bit colors, perspective correction and bilinear filtering to the table while reaching a slightly higher frame rate. In conclusion, the Virge is worth using on a slow system such as this, unless you happen to have a Voodoo card.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 7 of 23, by chinny22

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I went from a 2D only Dx2/66 to a P2 400 with a 16MB TNT in '98 so missed out on the "3D wars" pretty much. It's why I like playing with them all now.
Marketing back in the day didn't help any of these short lived proprietary API cards pushing them as full blown 3D accelerators while not improving over software mode by much.
If they went down the path of 2D card with exclusive features maybe peoples expectations wouldn't have been so high?

Virge reputation seems to have improved over the years thanks to its great 2D compatibility and no one is trying to use it as a D3D card anymore.
But just Roland is #1 in midi yet we like to play around and compare with other devices.
Think same can be said for these early 3D APi's

Reply 8 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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chinny22 wrote on 2021-06-09, 10:19:

But just Roland is #1 in midi yet we like to play around and compare with other devices.
Think same can be said for these early 3D APi's

Heh, I can attest to that. I do also have a Voodoo3, and have played a bit of Tomb Raider in Glide mode as well. The frame rate is much better of course, but the gamma looks washed out, probably because it was designed for the Voodoo1.

It's definitively fun playing around with early 3D renderers, despite suboptimal performance. For reference, on my Tomb Raider Gold disc, there are patches for Voodoo1, Voodoo Rush (works on V2 and V3 too), S3 Virge, Matrox Mystique, Ati 3D Rage, PowerVR and Rendition Verite cards.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 9 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Unexpectedly, I stumbled upon a Soyo SY-5BT motherboard on my local classifieds. It's based on the Intel 430TX chipset and has an ATX power connector.

I think I will rebuild the system using this motherboard and keep the M571 for future use in a K6-2 build. Updates to follow.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 10 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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And it's done! The Soyo 5BT motherboard is in place and an LC Power PSU is now used instead of AOpen, mainly because it's much quieter. I have also added two sound cards to replicate the SB16 and WSS functionality of the previous build. Interestingly, the Pentium MMX 166 runs slightly better on the Soyo motherboard. Performance is about 5-10% higher compared to the M571 in every test except Doom, which is somehow a bit slower.

Note: originally, I had built this system around a PC Chips M571 motherboard and its integrated CMI8330 sound card, but have since decided to re-purpose that for a K6-2 rig. Reviews of the M571 and the CMI8330 can be found below.

Motherboard

Although PC Chips motherboards generally have a bad reputation (some deservedly so) the M571 seems to be the exception. It's astoundingly well documented with sites like this and this containing PDF user manuals with jumper settings, complete pinouts for all the on-board connectors (including PS2, USB and audio), multiple BIOS versions (official and modded) and even several revisions of the driver CD.

This particular motherboard was saved from the scrap pile and gifted to me. Finding a Socket 7 board locally is becoming increasingly difficult, so I was very happy to get this. Unfortunately, it came bare, without any brackets for on-board audio, PS2 mouse, VGA, USB and so on. However, the pinouts for all of the motherboard connectors can be found online. Encouraged by that, I bought a generic PS2 mouse bracket as well as a nondescript audio bracket and then rewired both to fit the relevant connectors. This worked surprisingly well. I didn't bother doing the same for the USB bracket since this system uses CF cards for storage and that makes it easy for me to transfer files.

The VGA, serial and gameport connectors all use standard pinouts, so I just bought some generic brackets for those and everything worked fine. After some testing, I noticed that the DOS game compatibility of the on-board graphics chip wasn't so good. It also didn't seem to have any 3D acceleration capabilities. In light of those findings, I opted to use a dedicated graphics card.

SoundPro 1869V+ (integrated CMI8330)

The CMI8330 is an interesting chip. According to the datasheet, it features SBPro, SB16 and WSS compatibility, which is quite rare. At the same time, it doesn't suffer from any of the bugs that plague Creative's cards. Its SB16 mode properly supports High DMA so all the Build engine games work fine. I was also pleasantly surprised with how little self-noise this card has. I wonder if that's because it's integrated into the motherboard, or if it's an inherent trait of the CMI8330 chip.

Gerwin posted an excellent review of the standalone CMI8330 card, and from what I can tell, my integrated version behaves the same way, except that it doesn't have SPDIF Out. I'm unsure if its FM synth is provided by a genuine OPL3 core inside the main chip or a 1:1 copy, but it sounds fantastic in any case. Have a listen:

This card also has proper SBPro stereo compatibility, which matters for games like Aladdin. Under Windows 9x the CMI8330 also has some form of HRTF. It claims to emulate A3D 1.0 and this does seem to work correctly in Thief Gold at least.

However, there are also a few drawbacks. First, any joysticks connected to the gameport of the CMI8330 don't function. Gerwin noticed the same issue in his review and it appears to be caused by a faulty resistor. Surprisingly, external MIDI devices do work correctly when hooked up to the gameport. Additionally, the chip does not support ADPCM, so any games which use that (e.g. Duke Nukem 2 and Major Stryker) won't sound correctly. Another issue is that IRQ and DMA resources cannot be shared between the SB16 and WSS portions of the card, which makes it quite a resource hog.

I noticed some game incompatibilities as well. Stonekeep refuses to start despite correctly detecting the sound card in setup and passing all the tests there. Mortal Kombat 1 and Jagged Alliance both freeze on start. A few games such as Space Quest V and Red Alert don't work in WSS mode when it is configured to use DMA 0 (which is the default for this card). In some cases it's possible to avoid this issue by setting SB16 to DMA 3 and WSS to DMA 1.

PC Chips M571 and CMI8330 review

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 11 of 23, by appiah4

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I use this chip as a discrete sound card in my Slot 1 system alongside a Tereatec DMX Xfire 1024 and it is just fantastic.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 12 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-06-14, 08:31:

I use this chip as a discrete sound card in my Slot 1 system alongside a Tereatec DMX Xfire 1024 and it is just fantastic.

Assuming you're talking about the CMI8330, it does seem to be quite a remarkable chip. As evidenced by the fact that I now use two separate sound cards to replicate its functionality. 😁

Will definitively be using it in the upcoming K6-2 build. I plan on testing its HRTF capabilities in a few more games like Unreal Tournament and System Shock 2, if I manage to get a decent PCI graphics card to run them on that rig.

BTW, the manual that came on the M571 driver CD suggests that the CMI8330 supports A3D. I'm attaching it below, as it appears to contain more information than the manuals for the standalone cards that I've seen floating around.

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PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 13 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Noticed that there's an updated Windows 3.11 VirgeDX driver here on Vogons. This one works perfectly, allowing 800x600 with 24-bit colors. Not sure if there are any Win 3.11 programs that can actually use that color depth, but it's nice that it's available. Obligatory screenshot:

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The OPTi 82C930 also has fully Win 3.11 compatible drivers. The installer automatically set up MIDI Mapper for both FM synth and MPU-401 so everything works flawlessly.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 14 of 23, by Oetker

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Thanks for your thoughts on the c-media card, I'd be very interested to get my hands on one sometime, as I've hadn't had any luck with finding an ALS100 that works in my machine.

Reply 15 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Oetker wrote on 2021-06-15, 19:26:

Thanks for your thoughts on the c-media card, I'd be very interested to get my hands on one sometime, as I've hadn't had any luck with finding an ALS100 that works in my machine.

What issues did you encounter with the ALS100? I have one in a different build, and aside from high self-noise, it worked fine in all the games that I've tested it with.

The CMI8330 is a great alternative though. I particularly like how clean its FM synth sounds.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 16 of 23, by Oetker

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-06-16, 03:35:
Oetker wrote on 2021-06-15, 19:26:

Thanks for your thoughts on the c-media card, I'd be very interested to get my hands on one sometime, as I've hadn't had any luck with finding an ALS100 that works in my machine.

What issues did you encounter with the ALS100? I have one in a different build, and aside from high self-noise, it worked fine in all the games that I've tested it with.

The CMI8330 is a great alternative though. I particularly like how clean its FM synth sounds.

In my machine all three cards I've tried either aren't detected or hang when playing sounds. Or work for a few seconds from one channel and then hang.

Reply 17 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Oetker wrote on 2021-06-16, 04:58:

In my machine all three cards I've tried either aren't detected or hang when playing sounds. Or work for a few seconds from one channel and then hang.

Strange. I have tried my ALS100 in a couple of different systems (first three in my signature) while doing some tests and it has always worked fine for me.

For reference, I'm using these drivers. My card model is a "PRO16PNP" and it looks like this:

ALS100.jpg
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PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 18 of 23, by Oetker

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-06-16, 05:28:
Strange. I have tried my ALS100 in a couple of different systems (first three in my signature) while doing some tests and it has […]
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Oetker wrote on 2021-06-16, 04:58:

In my machine all three cards I've tried either aren't detected or hang when playing sounds. Or work for a few seconds from one channel and then hang.

Strange. I have tried my ALS100 in a couple of different systems (first three in my signature) while doing some tests and it has always worked fine for me.

For reference, I'm using these drivers. My card model is a "PRO16PNP" and it looks like this:

ALS100.jpg

Yeah I'm using it in a 440BX motherboard so that should be pretty compatible, but unfortunately I only have the one machine to test with. I have that same PRO16PNP card, a MA5ASOUND (seems to be the other common variant) and an unlabeled one. The unlabeled one is really cheap, doesn't even have plated ISA connector fingers, but that one is actually the one that sometimes plays sound for a bit.

Reply 19 of 23, by Joseph_Joestar

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Oetker wrote on 2021-06-16, 06:59:

Yeah I'm using it in a 440BX motherboard so that should be pretty compatible, but unfortunately I only have the one machine to test with.

Yup, the 440BX chipset is as stable and compatible as they get. The only thing that comes to mind is to check if something else is sharing the resources used by the ALS100. From my experience, USB 2.0 cards are notorious in that regard, as they tend to take up 3 separate IRQs. But it could also be something random like the BIOS assigning IRQ 5 to the graphics card etc.

If you have Win98SE installed on that rig, it might be worth going to Start > Programs > Accessories > System Tools > System Information > Hardware Resources and checking the IRQ, DMA and I/O sections there for any conflicts. By default, my ALS100 uses A220 I5 D1 H5 P330 and also IRQ 2/9 for the MPU-401 interface. All of these can be changed in the config utility of course.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium