VOGONS


First post, by varrol

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I'm starting to think of something - lets say - more modern or usefull for retro gaming. Playing with old hardware is a lot of fun, but as its old it is not always working perfectly, may broke and is in many cases expensive.

The biggest issue is sound card - for thin clients or laptops there is not much choice - something like that maybe: https://www.serdashop.com/OPL3LPT - though its not cheap at all and there is no 100% compatibility.

For PCs there is a PCI slot - but - wherever I look I see Aureal Vortex 2 recommended - which costs 50-100$ + shipping - in my country I saw it twice for the last years and it was bought right after appearing. I have SB 128 as well as its Ensonique equivalent - which costs nothing - but its not great. I've heard that SB Live can be run in DOS - never tried though.

What are options - that are more affordable and offer good sound.

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 1 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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Yamaha YMF 7x4 cards are a good choice but only if your motherboard supports either DDMA or SB-Link. Otherwise, DOS compatibility falls back on a TSR which causes issues with a bunch of games. This card uses a genuine OPL3 core for FM synthesis in DOS and also has a very nice sounding wave table for General Midi, though this only works under the Win98 DOS prompt.

As for the SBLive, I recently got one and so far I'm not impressed by its DOS compatibility. This may differ between various models and revisions, but my SBLive 5.1 (model SB0100) had a bunch of issues in pure DOS when using the drivers from the official CD.

It did work slightly better under the Win98 DOS prompt using only the WDM drivers and it could even load sound fonts for General Midi in that case. FM synthesis on the Live is kinda crappy though, and sounds much more "tinny" than a genuine OPL3 chip. I wouldn't recommend this card if you want to game in a pure DOS environment and/or primarily play games which only support FM synthesis for music.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 3 of 11, by kolderman

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Why would you torment yourself with pure DOS on a system without ISA ports? At least use Win98 and take advantage of far better drivers, e.g. under Win98 the SBLive! has pretty good DOS emulation, as does the Audigy.

Reply 4 of 11, by Sedrosken

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I have a Yamaha YMF744-based card and while I've not tangled with DOS on it yet (I'm working on cloning my old hard drive to an SSD and aligning the partitions properly at the moment) I hear that especially with modified drivers for your southbridge -- I use an ICH2 so I got ahold of that from Phil's site -- the compatibility is fantastic for a PCI card. But like Joeseph Joestar said it's contingent on your board's support for DDMA or SB-Link -- I think my board supports the former but not the latter, so it's not a big deal that my SB-link header on the card is unpopulated since I wouldn't be able to use it anyway. It's kind of ironic that by the time people started actually needing it, it disappeared.

Hebian-To: P4P800-VM, 3.4 Prescott, 4GB RAM, 9600XT, SB0730, 256GB SSD, XP USP4
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Reply 5 of 11, by varrol

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kolderman wrote on 2020-03-31, 19:19:

Why would you torment yourself with pure DOS on a system without ISA ports? At least use Win98 and take advantage of far better drivers, e.g. under Win98 the SBLive! has pretty good DOS emulation, as does the Audigy.

I may remember incorrectly as most of my DOS gaming was in the middle of 90's, but I think that there were some games that would not work under windows - or would but without sound. It seems that I spend more time messing up with old hardware than playing old games now 😀 Anyway - I'd like to build a machine that is as versatile as possible while being easy to afford and repair.

However maybe its a good idea to play whatever possible under windows 98 with Live/Audigy and DOS with SB128 and if I really want better sound, then launch some ISA based machine I've got.

BTW Yesterday I've bought Yamaha 724 - will check it out soon.
BTW2 Are there any more LPT solutions like OPL2LP or OPL3LP?

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600

Reply 6 of 11, by derSammler

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varrol wrote on 2020-04-01, 07:29:

BTW2 Are there any more LPT solutions like OPL2LP or OPL3LP?

Of course. CVX4 (Covox clone), S2P (General MIDI synthesizer), TNDLPT (Tandy 3-voice), and probably some more.

Reply 7 of 11, by kolderman

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varrol wrote on 2020-04-01, 07:29:

I may remember incorrectly as most of my DOS gaming was in the middle of 90's, but I think that there were some games that would not work under windows

You may find those are the exact sort of games that will spit the dummy with a PCI sound card under DOS. But good luck!

Reply 8 of 11, by Joseph_Joestar

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kolderman wrote on 2020-04-01, 07:50:

You may find those are the exact sort of games that will spit the dummy with a PCI sound card under DOS. But good luck!

While it's true that PCI soundcards have issues with some games, it also depends on the method by which they achieve DOS compatibility.

Those that use a TSR program usually fare the worst, while cards which utilize DDMA or SB-Link tend to work almost as well as ISA cards, for the most part.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64 Gold / SC-155
PC#2: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / Voodoo3 / SBLive / Vortex2
PC#3: Athlon64 3000+ / Asus K8V-MX / GeForce4 / Audigy1
PC#4: i5-3550P / MSI Z77A-G43 / GTX 650Ti / X-Fi

Reply 9 of 11, by chinny22

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The original vortex will also work in dos and is fair bit cheaper.
All of Creative's dos drivers are based off the Ensonic ones. I doubt you'll notice much difference to what you already have. And will hit the same compatibility issues.
Yamaha card is good as long as the motherboard has supports the required DDMA/SB-Link
Not familiar with the ESS card.

No matter what it's a compromise, not surprising as the perfect isa card doesn't exist either. playing dos games from within windows is also a good option that may get a few more games working. you may note get 100% of your games up and running but 80% would be a fair guess.
Or play it safe and get something with an isa slot.
Can't have it both ways I'm afraid

Last edited by chinny22 on 2020-04-01, 08:58. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 10 of 11, by derSammler

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For a more modern system, simply use DOSBox to play DOS games. Because you should be aware that with a modern system, you are not only running into sound card-related issues, but also speed and memory issues (e.g. some DOS games won't work when having more than 16 MB of RAM).

Also note that any of the LPT sound solutions - apart from Covox - rely on a TSR as well, unless a game has been patched. Compatibility is just as bad as with PCI cards that rely on a TSR.

What hardware do you have in mind after all?

Reply 11 of 11, by varrol

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All right - I think I see it now - will try windows 98 as much as I can and will check Dosbox (last time used dosbox probably 10 years ago or more and my laptop was not able to get good fps on quite many games) for those that won't run on windows.

I'm thinking of something supporting SATA natively and AGP 8x - will see what can I find - no rush, I'm limiting packages anyway those days... For sure I need to finally get Audigy 2 ZS.

AOpen AX6B+ | P3 1G | 1GB ECC REG | FX5200 | CT4500
AOpen AX59pro | K6-2 450M | 256MB | Rage 128
Asus CUBX-E | P3 1G | 512MB | GF4 TI4200 | YMF719E-S
Asus P3B-F | P3 933M | 384MB | Radeon 9200 | CT4520
Asus P5A | P55C 200M | 256MB | Riva TNT | CT3600