VOGONS


New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy

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First post, by hard1k

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Hello everyone,

So I'm delighted to present you another sound card project that we've already developed till the pre-release stage: AWE64 Legacy
Please check the latest major update before posting.

Render of the final PCB:

AWE64 Legacy (final render, front).png
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AWE64 Legacy (final render, rear).png
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AWE64 Legacy (final render, rear).png
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Older pictures with the first prototype:

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Project team: Alex_NsD, CoolTweak, H_Rush, hard1k
Logo: mrDraud

Our project is inspired by this one made by anthony, but has gone a little further.
So, to sum up, it's a newly designed sound card built up from scratch, based on the original chipset of the 2nd gen Creative SB AWE64 Value (CT4520): Creative CT8920-NBQ chip and Creative CT1972-UAS/EMU8011-01 WaveROM.

New and reworked features include:
1. The onboard 28 MB of RAM - basically, it is an integrated SIMMConn Value (credits: Xu Wang aka SIMMConn) with an integrated 32Mb SIMM72.
2. True Yamaha OPL3 chipset (YMF262+YAC512) - the schematics were borrowed from the Resound OPL3 card (credits: TexElec). OPL3 is hardwired to 0x388h, so if order for it to function along with the integrated CQM, the latter must be moved to some other port (0x398h, for example) using the original drivers or the UNISOUND tool by JazeFox.
3. Intelligent MPU-401 onboard - it is an integrated HardMPU (credits: ab0tj).
4. Waveblaster header.
5. Routable MIDI Outputs between both CT8920 / HardMPU parts and the Waveblaster header / MIDI pins of the gameport.
6. Redesigned analog part.
7. Onboard S/PDIF RCA output.
8. AWE64 Gold-styled 2xRCA analog output.
9. AC97 Front panel header.
10. The board complies with ISA Half-Size measures: 185 х 120 mm.
11. PCB has 6 layers with separate Analog and Digital planes. Power supply has its own layer.

FIRST MAJOR UPDATE (19/08/19)

SECOND MAJOR UPDATE (15/09/19)

QUESTIONNAIRE ON ADDITIONAL FEATURES - CLOSED ON SEP 15

THIRD MAJOR UPDATE

Last edited by hard1k on 2021-02-09, 13:01. Edited 4 times in total.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Fortex: Vortex2+YMF744
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 2 of 629, by dreamblaster

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Wow ! this looks amazing !
what a wonderful project !!

Visit http://www.serdashop.com for retro sound cards, video converters, ...
OPL3LPT, X2, S2, S2P, MCE2VGA, ... many projects !
New X2GS sound card : https://www.serdashop.com/X2GS
Thanks for your support !

Reply 3 of 629, by Tiido

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For OPL3 ports move, try to make a new PnP EEPROM with OPL3 given ideal IO location you desire and acceptable IO locations that also don't contain 388. Hopefully Creative's utils respect the EEPROM settings. Windows definitely will.

T-04YBSC, a new YMF71x based sound card & Official VOGONS thread about it
Newly made 4MB 60ns 30pin SIMMs ~
mida sa loed ? nagunii aru ei saa 😜

Reply 11 of 629, by xjas

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This is pretty neat! Nice looking prototype. The fact that this could fit in a slim PC without the bulk of an AWE64+SIMMCONN+SIMM is a big plus. Rear-bracket MIDI connectors (even if on a breakout cable) would be beneficial, IMHO - a lot of people are still gonna want to run an MT32, SC-55, etc. on these (including me.)

On that note I run a lot of MIDI gear in my music studio off an AWE64. Hit me up if you need info/testing of MIDI stuff on original hardware.

twitch.tv/oldskooljay - playing the obscure, forgotten & weird - most Tuesdays & Thursdays @ 6:30 PM PDT. Bonus streams elsewhen!

Reply 12 of 629, by hasnopants

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Good luck, looks awesome!

Current Systems:
DIP40|8088|640K|HERCULESGB102|PCSPKR
DIP40|V20|640K|VGA|ADLIB/TNDY/COVOX
S7|P233MMX|128M|S3ViRGEDX/DM3D|SB16
S370|P600MMX|256M|SIS630/DM3DIIX2|SBLIVE!5.1
S775|P43.4|2G|6800GS|SBAUDIGY

Reply 13 of 629, by bregolin

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Great work, keep it up! Definitely interested

IBM Aptiva 2162 - P55 166 MMX, 32MB, CS4237B + Wavetable, ATI Mach64 2MB / Win98SE
Custom PIII 750, 64MB, SB AWE64, Voodoo 3 3000 AGP / Win98SE
Sony Vaio z505 SuperSlim - PIII 550, 192MB, YMF744, NeoMagic 256AV+ / Win98SE

Reply 14 of 629, by BloodyCactus

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Are there many CT8920 chips in the supply chain?

--/\-[ Stu : Bloody Cactus :: http://kråketær.com :: http://mega-tokyo.com ]-/\--

Reply 16 of 629, by derSammler

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So you are destroying existing AWE64 cards to build your custom ones? Not sure about others, but in my opinion, it's completely pointless to destroy real retro hardware for a modern replacement.

Reply 17 of 629, by keropi

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jm2c, I don't think that harvesting AWE64 Values is that terrible... they are re-incarnated to something better plus there is a bazillion of them. You can't really buy those Creative ICs, basically it's the only way.

🎵 PCMIDI mpu site buy+info
🎧 WIP Orpheus soundcard site
💻 WTB Amstrad PC7486SLC-33 system

Reply 18 of 629, by hard1k

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Exactly. Moreover, we don't expect to build more than 30 cards given their very high overall cost, so it will be a very niche product for those who just think that a regular AWE64 is simply not enough. And very few original cards will get cannibalized on the way, and those will be the cheapest and most common ones - in my book it's a better destiny for them than just get recycled after being stored/listed on some local classifieds for ages.

New sound card project: AWE64 Legacy
Fortex: Vortex2+YMF744
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 19 of 629, by 640K!enough

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derSammler wrote:

So you are destroying existing AWE64 cards to build your custom ones? Not sure about others, but in my opinion, it's completely pointless to destroy real retro hardware for a modern replacement.

If they end up with a superior result, where is the great harm in the effort? It's not like they are destroying some ultra-rare, high-end hardware; it's just a fairly common, base-model Creative card. If they can de-activate or supplement the CQM with genuine OPL3 and also manage quieter output, it's already a net gain.

If Creative weren't so apathetic or openly hostile toward community projects, there may have been other options. As it stands, they were left with no choice. It will be too expensive for me, but I still applaud the effort. It can be a great educational or professional development experience to undertake something like this.