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Socket A for retrogaming?

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Reply 20 of 48, by nd22

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Nforce2 fares very poorly in 98SE. I have done several tests and the difference in synthetic benchmarks is around 5% however in real worlds tests such as games it is even bigger - around 10%! Via KT880 looses to nforce2 under Windows XP but wins under 98SE!

Reply 21 of 48, by AlessandroB

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-06-07, 07:12:
AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-26, 21:34:

it an Asrock K7S41 if i remember... it will be good for a win98/dos gaming?

It’ll be fine. if it’s a SiS741/963L southbridge based board the machine will behave similar to an HP t5720, and will do decently for DOS/win98 gaming.
Swap in an ESS Solo or Yamaha YMF724/744 if you want DOS audio (the 963L is the last SiS chip to support DDMA if you need it), or conversely, a Radeon 9500, Geforce FX5200 or 6200 if you want more GPU ooomph. The SiS 315E Mirage integrated GPU off the SiS741 is okay/decent from DOS to DirectX5/6, but struggles on anything above that tech level (it’s similar to ATI’s RS200M chipset with the IGP340M). The beauty of getting a K7 is that you can use setmul parameters to clock the CPU back with good granularity so old DOS titles will work well, which is something that Intel P4s don’t do.

thank you very much. can you explain me better the thing of the 963L and the DDMA? For DOS games I have a beautiful IBM 330P75 with ISA cards (SBPro2, SB16), could I use this Asrock in the same way?

Reply 22 of 48, by ragefury32

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-06-07, 11:49:
ragefury32 wrote on 2021-06-07, 07:12:
AlessandroB wrote on 2021-05-26, 21:34:

it an Asrock K7S41 if i remember... it will be good for a win98/dos gaming?

It’ll be fine. if it’s a SiS741/963L southbridge based board the machine will behave similar to an HP t5720, and will do decently for DOS/win98 gaming.
Swap in an ESS Solo or Yamaha YMF724/744 if you want DOS audio (the 963L is the last SiS chip to support DDMA if you need it), or conversely, a Radeon 9500, Geforce FX5200 or 6200 if you want more GPU ooomph. The SiS 315E Mirage integrated GPU off the SiS741 is okay/decent from DOS to DirectX5/6, but struggles on anything above that tech level (it’s similar to ATI’s RS200M chipset with the IGP340M).

thank you very much. can you explain me better the thing of the 963L and the DDMA? For DOS games I have a beautiful IBM 330P75 with ISA cards (SBPro2, SB16), could I use this Asrock in the same way?

Well, oldschool DOS games use ISA IRQ/DMA to send commands to the sound chip - since your board (Asrock K7S41) does not have ISA (so you can't use the ISA cards), then you'll need a PCI sound card that can handle those oldschool ISA IRQ/DMA calls from the oldschool games (like the Yamaha XG A301-G50/AOpen Cobra YMF744, or something that has a Crystal or ESS soundchip), and drivers that knows how to intercept and send those commands correctly.
The tech that's used to pass the ISA IRQ/DMA calls over to the PCI bus is called DDMA (distributed DMA) - the DOS driver for a given sound card traps and re-broadcast the ISA DMA calls to every node on the PCI bus (kinda like how WiFI broadcasts traffic all over) and the soundcard downstream should be able to work with it. There are other techniques like TDMA (transparent DMA), DSDMA, etc, etc - most of those techniques require a cooperative southbridge to pass the DMA calls over, and some proprietary "special sauce" - the more foolproof chipsets are the Intel PIIX4s bundled with their 440 chipsets, the VIA southbridges from the 8231/VT82C686 and up to the VT8237, and the SIS from the SS7 5530 chip, all the way to the 963 series. The 963L just denotes the chipset's ability to work directly with ethernet adapters using SiS's own proprietary southbridge protocol (L stands for LAN support in this context). I have one in my t5720 thin client, which is like a mini-Socket A machine that takes Athlon XP-M or its Geode NX derivatives (mine has the 1Ghz NX1500, which is good enough for most things). Mine has a YMF724 or a Geforce 6200TC PCI card that I swap out depending on the games - for XP it's the 6200TC, and for DOS it's the YMF. It works great even for the slower games in my collection, but I haven't touched it much lately.

Some devices and some drivers tend to work better than others. ESS has their drivers, Crystal has theirs, and Yamaha has their DSDMA drivers, which originally worked with the 440s but were hacked to run on something as recent as Intel ICH5 southbridges. There's also something called PC/PCI link which is essentially a cable that connects the motherboard directly to the card, which sends the ISA IRQ/DMA through, and since it does not depend on the southbridge, is usually the more reliable option.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot - the clock speed granularity on the desktop AthlonXPs are only available in Windows XP under CnQ (cool n' quiet). If you want DOS friendly clock-back you'll need an Athlon XP-M with the unlocked multipler - I don't remember if the clock moves in 50 or 100Mhz increments but for retrogaming, it's definitive a good thing to have.

Reply 24 of 48, by Joseph_Joestar

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CesarDRK wrote on 2021-06-08, 00:51:

I have never seen an socket a board with ISA slots for sale, but if one could be found its better than a P3 tualatin system IMHO.

Abit KT7A and Epox 8KTA3+ are such boards, but they are increasingly rare finds nowadays.

I have the former solely because I bought it back in 2001 and kept it until now.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 VirgeDX / 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 25 of 48, by ragefury32

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CesarDRK wrote on 2021-06-08, 00:51:

I have never seen an socket a board with ISA slots for sale, but if one could be found its better than a P3 tualatin system IMHO.

Biostar M7VKQ - even supports the Barton K7s. It's not cheap, and provided that your PCI southbridge plays well with DDMA or PC/PCI, not really an essential feature.

Reply 26 of 48, by CesarDRK

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-06-08, 01:21:

Biostar M7VKQ - even supports the Barton K7s. It's not cheap, and provided that your PCI southbridge plays well with DDMA or PC/PCI, not really an essential feature.

Wow, just found this MB for 4 USD, also from same seller an Asus P5S-B (SS7) for the same price. Both for 8 USD worth it (the two stated as working)?

Reply 27 of 48, by BitWrangler

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ragefury32 wrote on 2021-06-07, 23:15:

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot - the clock speed granularity on the desktop AthlonXPs are only available in Windows XP under CnQ (cool n' quiet). If you want DOS friendly clock-back you'll need an Athlon XP-M with the unlocked multipler - I don't remember if the clock moves in 50 or 100Mhz increments but for retrogaming, it's definitive a good thing to have.

It is possible to mobile unlock some desktop XPs but can have problems. With nForce the chipset tries to boot at maximum mobile multiplier which is unset/unlocked/24x on a desktop chip, so is unlikely to work, unless it's a "good" TbredB and you have the bus at 100, which may need to be forced through a mod too if it's set only in CMOS Setup, mostly forget nForce for mobile modded chips. On VIA chipsets up to KT333 at least they boot at the desktop multi. Forgot what SiS does, but I think I had a mobile modded chip working in a K7S5A without much trouble so probably boot at desktop multi. If I am remembering correctly minimum mobile multiplier is 3x. There was a utility around that worked in Windows 98, think it was a later version of WCPUID.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 29 of 48, by BitWrangler

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Should do, as long as you make sure what you get is socket A. There were some socket 563 and maybe some 754 XP mobile chips.

2017: Basement full of ancient PC stuff, starting to go through it. 2021: Still starting, heh, many setbacks. So what's this BitWrangler guy's deal ??? >>> Taming the pile, specs to target?

Reply 30 of 48, by ragefury32

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BitWrangler wrote on 2021-06-08, 15:48:

Should do, as long as you make sure what you get is socket A. There were some socket 563 and maybe some 754 XP mobile chips.

Oh yeah - or you can also gun for an AMD Geode NX. They are downclocked XP-ms but runs at something like 6-15w.
I think Phil did a video talking about that chip referencing the SiS 741 motherboard.

Reply 31 of 48, by AlessandroB

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I have the following PCI sound cards in my collection, are they suitable for use with ddma?

1)Creative CT5880-DCQ with another chip: CT1297-TAT
2)CMI8768/PCI
3)CMI8738/PCI
4)Some other ISA.. but are not suitable

Reply 32 of 48, by ragefury32

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-06-10, 14:04:
I have the following PCI sound cards in my collection, are they suitable for use with ddma? […]
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I have the following PCI sound cards in my collection, are they suitable for use with ddma?

1)Creative CT5880-DCQ with another chip: CT1297-TAT
2)CMI8768/PCI
3)CMI8738/PCI
4)Some other ISA.. but are not suitable

Neither one is ideal as a PCI sound card if your plan is pure DOS gaming.
Do you favor FM synth or actual soundblaster compatibility? The OPL3 (actual hardware?) in the CMI is better than the one on the CT5880 (it should be an Ensoniq AudioPCI underneath - it's OPL3 emulation like the ESS Allegro2/3s or the Maestro) But the CMI's SB compatibility is so-so compared to the CT5880. The CMI does have the benefit of being fairly cheap and easy to come by on evilBay.
If you want something that works in PCI boards, look for a card with an ESS Solo-1, a YMF744 or a YMF724. I do have to warn you that due to the extra attention from Phil's videos, the Solo-1/YMF744 card prices have shot up quite significantly - Solo1s usually go for about 50-75, while the 744 cards were known to be on evilBay for 120-200 (because price gouging is definitely a thing).
You can sometimes find a Genius A301-G50 or a Addonics SV550 (YMF724) for around 30 USD either stateside or from the former Soviet Republics, often cheaper. Those are good enough for retro builds.

Reply 33 of 48, by AlessandroB

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Thanks for your answer.

1) I would like to have the most compatible sound card possible but the most important thing is that it sounds the same as the Sound Blaster ISA. I don't need a 100% compatible card but then the game audio sounds different, I prefer it to be 80% compatible but it sounds identical to the SBPro / 16. What model should I find?

2) My project is to have a Pentium1 system (75-> 200Mhz not MMX) that lets me use pure DOS games with the SBPro2 / 16s I already have, and then a system that starts to be 100% compatible where the Pentium1 turns out to be too slow. So this SocketA PC has to get everything running smoothly starting from where the Pentium1 starts showing that it runs out of power. With the systems I'm talking about here (the SocketA is precisely the asrock we talked about in this post)

Reply 34 of 48, by user33331

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Sound cards:
ISA: Any: "ESS", "1868/1869", "Crystal" and such all cheap 15-25 euros and sound very good to me and are very easy to install.
PCI: Any Sound Blaster: PCI/128/Vibra/16PCI, Live!, Live! 5.1, Audigy 1, Audigy 2,... all similar to me. "Live! value" was a very common card in many PCs back in then.
PCI-E: SB X-Fi. Also Fatal1ty-edition one.

Source own all cards these sound good and are in use in my PCs.
Common cards and cheap prices.

Reply 35 of 48, by bloodem

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The absolute BEST PCI sound card for DOS (especially when used in conjunction with a Socket A PC) is the Yamaha YMF724/744/754. It's very compatible and also has great sound, better than most ISA cards out there (plus, it has a real OPL3 - to my knowledge, there's no other PCI sound card out there that has it).
The only disadvantage is that the DSDMA TSR requires an expanded memory manager (and a few, and I mean very few games don't like that - you probably won't even notice it, depending on what you play).
For the games I play,this card is MORE compatible than some ISA cards. 😀

People value period correctness (and I'm guilty of that myself, I also like the appeal of period correct builds), but the truth of the matter is that, aside for some particular use cases, a good Socket A build will literally play perfectly, without compromises, almost ANY game released between 1985 - 2001. And did I mention that it's fuss-free? It just works. Now, this can be both a good and a bad thing. PCs that just work are boring, but if you are simply in it for the thrill of games and you want those games to run at high framerates (in Win98) or accurate speed (in DOS)... look no further than socket A. 😀 Note: this ad has been brought to you by... my experience 😁

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 36 of 48, by AlessandroB

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bloodem wrote on 2021-06-11, 09:19:
The absolute BEST PCI sound card for DOS (especially when used in conjunction with a Socket A PC) is the Yamaha YMF724/744/754. […]
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The absolute BEST PCI sound card for DOS (especially when used in conjunction with a Socket A PC) is the Yamaha YMF724/744/754. It's very compatible and also has great sound, better than most ISA cards out there (plus, it has a real OPL3 - to my knowledge, there's no other PCI sound card out there that has it).
The only disadvantage is that the DSDMA TSR requires an expanded memory manager (and a few, and I mean very few games don't like that - you probably won't even notice it, depending on what you play).
For the games I play,this card is MORE compatible than some ISA cards. 😀

People value period correctness (and I'm guilty of that myself, I also like the appeal of period correct builds), but the truth of the matter is that, aside for some particular use cases, a good Socket A build will literally play perfectly, without compromises, almost ANY game released between 1985 - 2001. And did I mention that it's fuss-free? It just works. Now, this can be both a good and a bad thing. PCs that just work are boring, but if you are simply in it for the thrill of games and you want those games to run at high framerates (in Win98) or accurate speed (in DOS)... look no further than socket A. 😀 Note: this ad has been brought to you by... my experience 😁

Yamaha YMF724/744/754: of these 3, since I have to get one, which is the best one to take and are there any differences? Thank you for the explanation. Do you think the socketA machine I have (asrock) is good for (as you say) using everything from 1985 to 2000?

Reply 37 of 48, by bloodem

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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-06-11, 10:51:

Yamaha YMF724/744/754: of these 3, since I have to get one, which is the best one to take and are there any differences? Thank you for the explanation. Do you think the socketA machine I have (asrock) is good for (as you say) using everything from 1985 to 2000?

They all should be the same, however some of them are built more cheaply than others. I have many models and while there are some differences, overall they're all very good.
I have many cards like this one, and they're very nice, with crisp, clear sound (especially after a recap).

Unfortunately, your Asrock K7S41 board has a SiS chipset, and I have no experience with it. It might be OK, but I can't guarantee it. When it comes to Socket A, I always go with boards with VIA chipsets like the KT400/KT600/KT880. These work great and most of them also offer retro friendly features like CPU L1/L2 cache toggle, CPU voltage and multiplier options, etc.
Boards I can highly recommend are:
ASUS A7V600-X (based on VIA KT600/VIA VT8237)
Asus A7V880 (based on VIA KT880/VIA VT8237)
ASUS A7V8X-X (based on VIA KT400/VIA VT8235)

All of these boards are very compatible, stable, and flexible. They work great in DOS, Windows 98 and Windows XP (but DON'T use the SATA ports on the KT600/KT880 models, stick with good ol' IDE! 😀 )

2 x PGA132 / 5 x Socket 3 / 4 x Socket 7 / 6 x Super Socket 7 / 5 x Slot 1 / 3 x Slot A
5 x Socket 370 / 5 x Socket A / 1 x Socket 478 / 2 x Socket 754 / 3 x Socket 939 / 4 x LGA775 / 1 x LGA1155
Current rig: Ryzen 5 3600X
Backup rig: Core i7 7700k

Reply 38 of 48, by AlessandroB

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bloodem wrote on 2021-06-11, 11:13:
They all should be the same, however some of them are built more cheaply than others. I have many models and while there are som […]
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AlessandroB wrote on 2021-06-11, 10:51:

Yamaha YMF724/744/754: of these 3, since I have to get one, which is the best one to take and are there any differences? Thank you for the explanation. Do you think the socketA machine I have (asrock) is good for (as you say) using everything from 1985 to 2000?

They all should be the same, however some of them are built more cheaply than others. I have many models and while there are some differences, overall they're all very good.
I have many cards like this one, and they're very nice, with crisp, clear sound (especially after a recap).

Unfortunately, your Asrock K7S41 board has a SiS chipset, and I have no experience with it. It might be OK, but I can't guarantee it. When it comes to Socket A, I always go with boards with VIA chipsets like the KT400/KT600/KT880. These work great and most of them also offer retro friendly features like CPU L1/L2 cache toggle, CPU voltage and multiplier options, etc.
Boards I can highly recommend are:
ASUS A7V600-X (based on VIA KT600/VIA VT8237)
Asus A7V880 (based on VIA KT880/VIA VT8237)
ASUS A7V8X-X (based on VIA KT400/VIA VT8235)

All of these boards are very compatible, stable, and flexible. They work great in DOS, Windows 98 and Windows XP (but DON'T use the SATA ports on the KT600/KT880 models, stick with good ol' IDE! 😀 )

what do you think about this?

https://www.ebay.it/itm/373516347339?hash=ite … 1YAAOSwQkNgX3bH

i already have a very nice microatx case that i use with my asrock and i want to use also for this Asus. This model have DDMA feature right? tnks