VOGONS


First post, by Lazar81

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Hello. On eBay I see many Boards that have AGP and PCI Slots. But besides I realized, that there are often holes for the pins of what I expect to be an ISA Slot. Length seem to match. I am curious about how to manage that. I never soldered anything before. But I intend to start off with some capacitors on smaller parts, that are not that important to me. Training sessions - sort of... But I am curious. Is it that easy? Just buy an ISA slot solder the pins to the board and that's it? I guess not... I imagine something like to build in a tiny thing here and there to make it work?! Also it looks like sometimes it could be necessary to desolder a PCI slot to have the space for ISA.

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Reply 1 of 13, by dkarguth

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Does the board have any ISA slots present at all? Oftentimes there are holes in the PCB beside other ISA slots that are connected to the ISA bus. On those, you can just add a connector, and it will work because ISA is a passive backplane.
If there are no other ISA slots on the board, I would advise against just putting connectors on out of the blue. Oftentimes boards had options laid out on them that were not populated. It is possible that the PCB was shared with another motherboard that had an ISA slot. However, the legacy circuitry would most likely not be present, and the slot would not work. Do you have any pictures? That would help us determine the answer.

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Reply 2 of 13, by Tiido

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It certainly is possible but usually all the support components are missing also and they have to be added back aswell for the slot to function. Also the BIOS may not initialize the previously non existent slot so cards may still not behave right.

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Reply 3 of 13, by Lazar81

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I have no specific board in mind. It was an overall impression I got when clicking around on eBay. But from what I saw until now I refer only to PCBs without ISA slots - just the holes for the pins. At the moment it is completely theoretical for me.

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Reply 4 of 13, by quicknick

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Sometimes it just works, so I think it's worth a shot. Next on the list for the 'ISA-implant' will be this battered GA-7VX Slot A motherboard that I got from the fleamarket, with the AGP, AMR and one of the PCI slots destroyed, and the ISA slot not fitted from factory. All the support components are already soldered, so I expect it to just work.

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Reply 5 of 13, by dkarguth

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Look at the space in the top right of the picture above the first full length PCI slot. I'll bet you that is the space for the ISA controller chip. It looks like it was left out since the motherboard does not have the slot installed. ISA is completely different from PCI, so they won't use the same controller chip. Also, even if you were to source the chip, the BIOS most likely won't support it and you won't be able to use it. It probably won't break anything if you install a slot anyway unless you heat-damage the board, but it most likely will not work.

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Reply 6 of 13, by einr

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dkarguth wrote:

Look at the space in the top right of the picture above the first full length PCI slot. I'll bet you that is the space for the ISA controller chip. It looks like it was left out since the motherboard does not have the slot installed. ISA is completely different from PCI, so they won't use the same controller chip. Also, even if you were to source the chip, the BIOS most likely won't support it and you won't be able to use it. It probably won't break anything if you install a slot anyway unless you heat-damage the board, but it most likely will not work.

I don't think there really is such a thing as an ISA controller chip, and there is no such thing as a PC without an ISA bus. If it's IBM compatible, it's got an ISA bus with internal peripherals on it, even if there are no slots. On modern PC's (like the one in the picture 😉) all this functionality will be integrated on the chipset/southbridge.

If I had to guess, the spot with a nonexistent chip in the picture is probably for an integrated audio chip option, since it's sitting pretty close to where the mic/line/speaker outputs would probably be on the I/O shield.

Reply 7 of 13, by keropi

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Nope, there are isa bridge controllers for "modern" boards like this. Some controllers are better than others - don't remember which though.
These new chipsets needs isa bridge controllers, support for isa is dropped on them.

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Reply 8 of 13, by einr

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keropi wrote:

Nope, there are isa bridge controllers for "modern" boards like this. Some controllers are better than others - don't remember which though.

Okay, sure, that's a fair point. That would be an ISA-to-PCI bridge then. But my point still stands that this board technically still has an ISA bus, although the card slot might not be connected directly to it.

Either way, looking online at other variants of this motherboard the missing chip is definitely supposed to be an on-board Soundblaster. And the VIA KX133 chipset on this board has the ISA-PCI bridge integrated on the VT82C686A southbridge.

All that being said, I would guess that, on this particular board at least, soldering a slot to it would probably work.

Reply 9 of 13, by keropi

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then you might be in luck! just solder the slot and see what happens I doubt anything can break by testing this assuming nothing is missing - worst case scenario the isa slot does not work 😀

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Reply 10 of 13, by Mister Xiado

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Wouldn't this be a better option? No need to hack up a custom firmware to enable the slots. Me, I prefer just to use separate computers for legacy hardware. Less hassle overall.
http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/usb2isax3.html
http://arstech.com/install/ecom-prodshow/isab2.html

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Reply 12 of 13, by ph4nt0m

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dkarguth wrote:

Look at the space in the top right of the picture above the first full length PCI slot. I'll bet you that is the space for the ISA controller chip. It looks like it was left out since the motherboard does not have the slot installed.

This is for an optional Creative/Ensoniq ES1373 chip. The mobo makes use of south bridge integrated logic for audio with an external AC'97 chip.

The ISA slot is likely to work on this mobo if soldered properly.

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