VOGONS


First post, by Emrys3177

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I have a Frankenstein PC project I'm looking into putting together. I have never built a PC before, and I am going to crash coarse my experience in the CHAOS of 90's computer technology with a twist. Here is what I think I want to do.

Window's 98 SE/MS-DOS 7.1 OS
Gigabyte GA-7NNXP Motherboard
AMD Athlon XP 3200+ CPU
3 Gb DDR-400 RAM

No clue yet on PSU, HDDs, cooling, floppy, zip, disc, or case. Monitor(s), and peripherals still being looked into as well, but a CRT and LCD will be used.

Graphics: S3 ViRGE/DX (86C375) [Genoa Phantom 3D/DX] BIOS version: 3.0 (1997-Jul-27) for DOS games
AND
maybe HIS Radeon X850XT IceQ II Turbo VIVO AGP

Sound Card: Soundblaster 16 ISA using a 32PCI to 16ISA adapter
AND
Aureal Vortex 2 SQ2500 for Window's based games.

Here is the question no one seems to have asked or answered thus far...

Assuming enough power is supplied, adequate cooling is possible, and space in a case allows, can one run two GPUs and two soundcards from different generations of equipment on the same motherboard? I know software exists to slow the CPU in the BIOS from Windows. So throttling the CPU should allow me to adjust the FSB from 100mhz to 400mhz with this setup. What I don't know or understand is what will happen if both sets of cards are installed and drivers downloaded, will I be able to toggle each card respectively as a default before playing games or will games see both and get read errors. I'm not a computer whiz. I'm very much a nub that has grown up seeing this stuff but didn't really have the means or freedom to jump in. You know what they say about boys and their toys 🤣...

From what I have seen, no one has attempted this, or no one has reported attempting something like this. At this point, I'm still in R&D phase and have not put money down on anything. Let me know if this is just nonsense? Let me know if it will work but not the way I think? Let me know if this is totally possible, but I meed to take extra steps to ensure success. I eagerly await answers to this scenario.

Reply 1 of 19, by The Serpent Rider

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SB16 and Vortex 2? Sure, ez.
Virge and X850XT? Possible, but practically not so useful.

Get up, come on get down with the sickness
Open up your hate, and let it flow into me

Reply 2 of 19, by ssterling

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For a short period of time, I had two separate sound cards in my PC for nearly the same reason, and I managed it via a combination of disabling the unwanted card in Device Manager and tinkering with MS-DOS configuration files. The major downside to this is not being able to “Restart in MS-DOS mode” and just WIN yourself back into the GUI; you have to create hardware configuration menus in CONFIG.SYS/AUTOEXEC.BAT which you will select upon boot. It was cumbersome, but it worked. I definitely hope someone else has a more elegant solution lmao

[insert witty signature here]

Reply 3 of 19, by retardware

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Emrys3177 wrote on 2021-11-28, 02:38:

a 32PCI to 16ISA adapter

Never seen this. What is this?
Does such an adapter support ISA DMA?

ssterling wrote on 2021-11-28, 03:17:

The major downside to this is not being able to “Restart in MS-DOS mode” and just WIN yourself back into the GUI;

Best way is to configure Windows so that it does not power off when "shutting down". And do some changes to the logo.sys files.
Because, when the "You can now safely power off your computer" graphics is displayed, you are actually back in MS-DOS mode.
Just type mode co80 to get back into text mode.
If the according logo file is deleted, it just goes back to dos prompt without having to use mode.

Reply 5 of 19, by Emrys3177

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retardware wrote on 2021-11-28, 03:34:
Never seen this. What is this? Does such an adapter support ISA DMA? […]
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Emrys3177 wrote on 2021-11-28, 02:38:

a 32PCI to 16ISA adapter

Never seen this. What is this?
Does such an adapter support ISA DMA?

I rechecked this. It is a 32PCI to 8ISA adapter. It does not support 16ISA. So, no, 🤣. One does not exist. I know there are SB16 with PCI that exist. I may just need to do a little more digging.

Reply 6 of 19, by fosterwj03

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You can have a PCI and an AGP video card in the computer at the same time. You can use the BIOS setup to select the primary video source at boot time. Some versions of Windows can use two cards at the same time (different monitors) depending on the drivers.

Reply 7 of 19, by cyclone3d

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retardware wrote on 2021-11-28, 03:34:
Emrys3177 wrote on 2021-11-28, 02:38:

a 32PCI to 16ISA adapter

Never seen this. What is this?
Does such an adapter support ISA DMA?

I have a Cyrix PCI to ISA evaluation board. It appears to support ISA DMA, but it looks to require PC-PCI on the motherboard.

I've never actually tried it out but from the datasheet, it looks like it needs an initialization utility which I would have to make.

I also have a PCI to ISA enclosure. The datasheet for the chip on the PCI card says it supports DMA but the implementation of this particular card doesn't.

Then there are the USB2ISA adapters which do for sure support ISA DMA and the company that makes them supplies a special version of DOSBOX along with the source code but for use with soundcards, DOSBOX would need to have code added to pass the digital sound to the ISA card.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 8 of 19, by retardware

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@cyclone3d
Ah I see... too sad neither of these seem to be an easy way to use DOS Soundblaster on non-ISA board without DDMA connector 😿

fosterwj03 wrote on 2021-11-28, 03:56:

You can have a PCI and an AGP video card in the computer at the same time. You can use the BIOS setup to select the primary video source at boot time. Some versions of Windows can use two cards at the same time (different monitors) depending on the drivers.

Probably for the OP it will be easiest to activate the DOS card (Virge). The Radeon Windows graphics drivers probably just will use the other card (Radeon).

Reply 9 of 19, by cyclone3d

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retardware wrote on 2021-11-28, 21:38:

@cyclone3d
Ah I see... too sad neither of these seem to be an easy way to use DOS Soundblaster on non-ISA board without DDMA connector 😿

DDMA is a software solution that requires chipset support and has nothing to do with the PC-PCI connector at all.

If you have PC-PCI / SB-Link on your motherboard and PCI soundcard, it is just as good as having an ISA card. Most boards that support PC-PCI already have ISA slots.

DDMA is not quite as compatible but is pretty close.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 10 of 19, by canthearu

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An nforce2 board is never going to give you broad DOS compatibility.

It was one of the most DOS hostile boards I have come across in my testing. I was unable to get any sound card DOS drivers to work when I was testing mine. I'd also bet good money that a PCI2ISA device will not help with this at all.

Win95 works OK on these boards.
WinXP works a heap better though.

Reply 11 of 19, by Emrys3177

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canthearu wrote on 2021-11-28, 22:48:
An nforce2 board is never going to give you broad DOS compatibility. […]
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An nforce2 board is never going to give you broad DOS compatibility.

It was one of the most DOS hostile boards I have come across in my testing. I was unable to get any sound card DOS drivers to work when I was testing mine. I'd also bet good money that a PCI2ISA device will not help with this at all.

Win95 works OK on these boards.
WinXP works a heap better though.

I can't go with Window's XP. XP and 2000 runs on Window's NT and would require DOS emulation. I'm avoiding DOS emulation at all costs. Window's 98SE or ME are my best options, and I have just enough recollection of Window's ME to steer clear.

The Radeon board that I'm looking at would be for the Window's games of the late 90's and early mid 2000's. The S3 Virge would be for DOS games.

Reply 12 of 19, by dionb

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Emrys3177 wrote on 2021-11-28, 02:38:

I have never built a PC before

Honest opinion: don't try to run before you can walk.

What you are proposing here is in part very doable but far more complicated than a single PC for a single purpose, and in part you're mentioning stuff (that "PCI32 to ISA8" thing you keep referring to) that no one here has heard of. That means that whatever it is. we can't help you with our experience either. I am intrigued though: could you please post a link to this thing, as not having ISA slots is a recurring issue with DOS retro builds, so anything that could help is welcome.

Even building a modern PC takes some practice, an older quite a bit more, as a lot of things that are automatic these days needed to be done manually (DOS resource allocation...) and it can be a challenge finding documentation, drivers and software.

So: I'd say stick to one build with one set of hardware for one operation system to start with. Learn how to build a PC. Learn how to find retro stuff. If you feel confident with all that, then get creative and do insane builds. But don't jump in the deep end before you've learnt the most rudimentary swimming techniques.

Reply 13 of 19, by Emrys3177

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What you are proposing here is in part very doable but far more complicated than a single PC for a single purpose, and in part you're mentioning stuff (that "PCI32 to ISA8" thing you keep referring to) that no one here has heard of. That means that whatever it is. we can't help you with our experience either. I am intrigued though: could you please post a link to this thing, as not having ISA slots is a recurring issue with DOS retro builds, so anything that could help is welcome.

Here is the link to the part in question.

https://vi.raptor.ebaydesc.com/ws/eBayISAPI.d … 062&cspheader=1

I understand your opinion and your point of view. My stance on the project remains unchanged. Thank you for the suggestion.

Reply 14 of 19, by cyclone3d

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Well, I just ordered one. I really don't think it can support ISA DMA unless it comes with some secret sauce software that captures the DMA and redirects it, but what do I know?

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 15 of 19, by Emrys3177

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-11-29, 03:15:

Well, I just ordered one. I really don't think it can support ISA DMA unless it comes with some secret sauce software that captures the DMA and redirects it, but what do I know?

I'm glad I could help, 🤣. I'll be eager to hear what you find out.

Reply 16 of 19, by fosterwj03

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If you're good with 8-bit SB support and true OPL3, you should get a PCI card with a Yamaha 7x4 chipset. I find them highly compatible with DOS games as long as you can free up the IRQ's for the emulation.

An Aureal Vortex or Vortex 2 would be a close second. These have a wave table header as well.

Reply 17 of 19, by cyclone3d

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fosterwj03 wrote on 2021-11-29, 03:52:

If you're good with 8-bit SB support and true OPL3, you should get a PCI card with a Yamaha 7x4 chipset. I find them highly compatible with DOS games as long as you can free up the IRQ's for the emulation.

An Aureal Vortex or Vortex 2 would be a close second. These have a wave table header as well.

Might work with DSDMA... But that leaves something to be desired as far as compatibility goes.

We are talking about an nForce 2 chipset which is very unfriendly to DOS soundcard support.

Yamaha YMF modified setupds and drivers
Yamaha XG resource repository - updated November 27, 2018
Yamaha YMF7x4 Guide
AW744L II - YMF744 - AOpen Cobra Sound Card - Install SB-Link Header

Reply 18 of 19, by Emrys3177

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cyclone3d wrote on 2021-11-29, 04:38:

We are talking about an nForce 2 chipset which is very unfriendly to DOS soundcard support.

I apologize. I first read that as geforce2 and mistook what you were saying. I read through a couple other threads you commented on addressing a couple other 400 ultra mothernoards, and it does look like that is an issue all around. I may have to look at what Pentium offered in that realm and go back to the drawing board a bit.

Last edited by Stiletto on 2021-11-29, 21:44. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 19 of 19, by canthearu

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Emrys3177 wrote on 2021-11-28, 23:26:

I can't go with Window's XP. XP and 2000 runs on Window's NT and would require DOS emulation. I'm avoiding DOS emulation at all costs. Window's 98SE or ME are my best options, and I have just enough recollection of Window's ME to steer clear.

The Radeon board that I'm looking at would be for the Window's games of the late 90's and early mid 2000's. The S3 Virge would be for DOS games.

Sorry, you can't just will the DOS software/hardware compatibility into existence.

You will find that nforce 2 boards are very hostile to DOS compatibility. DOS will boot, but you will struggle to get sound working, and you might not even get working UMBs, as EMM386 wasn't able to allocate any when I was testing my nforce2 board.

You may hit many issues with DOS games due to the CPU being so fast compared to the processors these games were designed for.