First post, by j^aws
Hi, nice site - apologies if it's in the wrong forum.
I have a couple of beige boxes that I want to setup for some old DOS/ Win9x gaming. The problem is: I originally just wanted one general box to do everything, and quickly realised that wasn't going to be enough! However, I also realised it's too easy to acquire 'junk' to fill more than two boxes; and for space considerations, settled on 2 boxes - just can't decide what to fill them with...
I need some help deciding what to put in these boxes. I've tried a few things and it's quite time-consuming testing random stuff. I'm looking to short-list 14 expansion cards for 2 BX-based motherboards, so that they are optimised for compatibility, functionality and performance. And with a view to building and not having to chop and change cards all the time, so that I can focus more time on playing games! I'm looking at playing games from the late 80s (Gold Box games) to the late 90s.
A few things I've decided on:
- Win 98SE on Intel BX motherboards; I have a bunch of these lying around.
- No network/ USB2/ Firewire/ SATA cards, unless they are integrated with sound/ graphics cards.
- I have a bunch of PCI sound cards that I want to use, so that they also act as 'external' MIDI devices for one of the boxes.
- Also want to use PCI sound cards as 'external' effects processors for one of the boxes. Sound cards have many analogue/ digital Ins and Outs with breakout boxes.
- Have a Voyetra V24s intelligent MPU-401 ISA card (has a Roland daughterboard for MPU, and an external breakout box with 2x MIDI Ins and 4x MIDI Outs), and connected to Sound Canvases.
- Have an external Opcode/ Music Quest MIDI controller/ patchbay unit, with 8 MIDI Ins and 8 MIDI Outs/ Thrus (connects via LPT).
- Have an external mixer (8 stereo Outs) and KVM switch (8 ports).
What's left is a bunch of ISA sound cards: Creative/ Aztech/ ESS/ Yamaha/ Gravis, with a few wavetable daughtercards. And a bunch of AGP/ PCI graphics cards: Voodoo/ PowerVR/ NV/ ATI/ Rendition/ Cirrus Logic/ S3. Initially considered 'Box A' to be for oldish DOS games, and 'Box B' for newish DOS/ Win9x games.
- 'Box A' would have the slower graphics cards, the Voyetra MPU, older ISA sound cards, and maybe the Audigy 2 (feed from 'Box B').
- 'Box B' would have most of the PCI sound cards that would act as 'external' MIDI/ effects devices (feed from 'Box A'). 'Box B' would also have the faster AGP/ PCI graphics cards (had a Voodoo5/ ATI combo in mind). Also newer ISA sound cards.
Anyway, tried building both boxes (kinda half-finished) - a time consuming process, and was wondering if anyone had input in optimising all the expansion cards, and modules so that I could just leave them installed, save time, and focus on the games. They should be optimised for compatibility, functionality and performance. I keep changing my mind on what cards to use. I did consider building two 'simple boxes', but that seems like a waste with all the hardware available. Need some help in locking down 14 expansion cards. Any input appreciated. Cheers.