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OPTi 82C930 review

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First post, by Joseph_Joestar

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Introduction

Hi there, long time lurker, first time poster here! A while ago, I came across Phil's Computer Lab youtube channel and it got me all fired up for some DOS retro gaming. So I dusted off my old PC and put DOS 6.22 on it, but soon realized that it came with an SB128 PCI card which has some truly awful FM synth emulation. After a quick search in my local classifieds, I found a couple of ISA sound cards that seemed perfect for my needs, one of which was this OPTi 82C930. I have been using this card for several months now and was quite impressed by what it had to offer.

IMG_0902.jpg
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IMG_0902.jpg
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OPTi 82C930
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Pros

  • Good compatibility in SBPro mode
  • Delivers crystal clear 16-bit sound in Windows Sound System mode
  • Has a 1:1 pin-compatible OPL3 copy on board, providing excellent FM synthesis
  • Has ADPCM support, so games like Duke Nukem 2 work fine
  • Not plug and play (this actually makes configuring easier)
  • Has WSS compatible drivers for Windows 3.1
  • Has a dedicated Line Out port
  • Does not suffer from any bugs which are present on Creative cards

Cons

  • Somewhat noisy. It's not really perceptible while gaming, but you may notice it when recording gameplay audio
  • A couple of games needed patching/workarounds in order to get the highest quality sound
  • Windows 98 drivers are pretty bare bones, with very few options to select

From what I can tell, pretty much everything that Phil mentions in his excellent OPTi 82C929 video applies to the 82C930 as well. However, I did notice a few additional details that might be of interest to anyone who has one of these OPTi cards.

My test rig

  • Intel Pentium MMX 166 MHz
  • Soyo SY-5BT (Intel 430TX)
  • 64 MB SDRAM
  • S3 Trio64V+ (Hercules Terminator 64/Video)
  • 3DFX Voodoo Graphics (A-Trend VD102P)
  • OPTi 82C930
  • Sound Blaster AWE64 Value (CT4520)
  • NEC 3.5" floppy drive
  • CF to IDE adapter + 4 GB CF card (DOS 6.22 / Win 3.11) + 8 GB CF card (Win95 OSR 2.1)
  • LG 48x CD-ROM
  • LC Power 420W PSU
  • Samsung SyncMaster 795MB 17" CRT monitor

Card settings

I use A220 I5 D1 T4 when running this card in SBPro mode under DOS, as that seemed to give me the best compatibility. As for its Windows Sound System (WSS) mode, I found it best to use port 530 IRQ 7 and DMA 1 as that seemed to work fine with the vast majority of games that support WSS. I also found it helpful to mute any unused inputs (e.g. line in and mic) via SNDINIT.EXE in order to minimize noise. Setting the volume sliders to 80 or lower also helps with that. Lastly, be sure to use the Line Out port when connecting the card to a set of powered speakers.

FM synthesis

According to this website the DXP44Q chip is a 1:1 pin-compatible copy of the Yamaha YMF289B chip (OPL3-L). To my ears, it sounds the same as the real thing. Here are some music samples:

Note that there may be other versions of this card which use an actual OPL3 chip instead of the 1:1 copy that my card has. In any case, its FM synth sounds great to me and I would definitively rate it above alternatives like Creative's CQM.

Windows Sound System mode

The OPTi 82C930 can operate in 2 modes: Sound Blaster Pro (default) and Windows Sound System. When running in WSS mode, this card can provide crystal clear 16-bit sound (samples attached below). You can switch between the two modes at any time by running SNDINIT.EXE. There is no need to restart your computer after making the switch.

Contrary to popular belief, a decent number of DOS games do support Windows Sound System. Despite its name, WSS works just fine in pure DOS and you don't need to have any version of Windows installed to make use of it. Note that it's sometimes called "Microsoft Sound System" in setup options, but it works all the same.

Now, I realize that most DOS games used 8-bit sound samples, but I did notice increased clarity when using WSS instead of SBPro in some titles that were released during the last years of DOS. There are also a few edge cases where a game doesn't support SB16 but does support WSS, which theoretically means that using WSS mode is the only way to get 16-bit sound in that instance (e.g. Space Quest V). For reference, here are some of the games that I have personally tested on this card using its Windows Sound System mode.

Games with native WSS support that worked fine:

  • Aladdin
  • Command & Conquer
  • TES II: Daggerfall
  • Descent
  • Descent 2
  • Fatal Racing (a.k.a. Whiplash)
  • Gabriel Knight: Sins of the Fathers (CD version)
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 2
  • King's Quest VI (CD version)
  • Lost Vikings 2
  • Police Quest IV
  • Red Alert
  • Settlers 2 Gold
  • Space Quest V
  • Tomb Raider
  • Turrican II
  • Tyrian
  • Witchaven

Games with native WSS support that didn't work:

  • Lion King (crashes on start in WSS mode, works fine in SBPro mode)
  • WarCraft 2 (occasionally freezes in WSS mode, works fine in SBPro mode)

Overall, my suggestion is to select WSS mode whenever a game supports it in setup, in order to get the clearest possible sound out of this card. Interestingly, certain games like Turrican II even support a 48 KHz sampling rate in WSS mode.

Transplanting WSS drivers

From reading various posts here, I have learned that you can transplant WSS drivers into some games which use the Miles sound system, even if they don't natively support WSS. Results will vary of course, but I had pretty good success so far. For reference, I used the WSS driver from Settlers 2 Gold as the source. By copying SNDSYS.DIG to other games, I was able to add WSS to the list of sound card options that are available during setup. Simply placing SNDSYS.DIG inside the folder where the rest of the .DIG files reside was enough to make WSS appear as a valid option. I did not have to overwrite any other files with it.

Games with transplanted WSS drivers that worked fine:

  • Ascendancy
  • Jagged Alliance (choose OEM driver, then select SNDSYS.DIG)
  • Master of Orion 2
  • Mortal Kombat 3
  • Privateer 2

I have gotten noticeably clearer sound in all of the above when using the WSS driver instead of the SBPro driver. Here are two examples where you can hear the difference in clarity:

Mortal Kombat 3 (1995)

Filename
OPTi_MK3_SBPro.mp3
File size
263.39 KiB
Downloads
40 downloads
File comment
Mortal Kombat 3 (SBPro)
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Filename
OPTi_MK3_WSS.mp3
File size
254.21 KiB
Downloads
42 downloads
File comment
Mortal Kombat 3 (WSS)
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

Master of Orion 2 (1996)

Filename
OPTi_Orion2_SBPro.mp3
File size
239.92 KiB
Downloads
38 downloads
File comment
Master of Orion 2 (SBPro)
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception
Filename
OPTi_Orion2_WSS.mp3
File size
239.92 KiB
Downloads
37 downloads
File comment
Master of Orion 2 (WSS)
File license
Fair use/fair dealing exception

As you can hear, using the card's SBPro mode may be suboptimal in some late-era DOS games. For more details, you might want to check this thread: A List of DOS Games with 16-Bit Sound

OPTi game fixes

I did encounter compatibility issues with a couple of games when using this card. It was mostly related to Epic Megagames releases (see below) which didn't want to recognize it as a proper SBPro. They still worked with the "Sound Blaster Clone" setup option, but that resulted in lower quality sound.

However, as I have been using the DOS drivers from this site I noticed a couple of extra zip files in that archive: EPICFIX.ZIP and HMIGAME.ZIP. Turns out these two files contain the sound fixes for the following games:

  • Epic Pinball 2.1
  • One Must Fall 2097
  • Jazz Jackrabbit
  • Any problematic games which use HMIDET.DRV, HMIDRV.DRV, HMIDET.386 or HMIDRV.386 (e.g. Descent)

Before applying these fixes, I was only able to select "Sound Blaster Clone" and "High Quality" in all of the Epic games mentioned above. After applying the fixes, I can now select "Sound Blaster Pro" and "Ultra High Quality" and all those Epic games work perfectly, providing much cleaner sound then before. Descent also works fine in SBPro mode with the HMIGAME.ZIP fixes applied, though I still prefer to run that game in WSS mode for even better audio quality.

Conclusion

Back in the day, I remember dismissing most clone cards and arguing with my friends that a genuine SB16 was the only way to go. I'm very glad to be proven wrong. The SBPro mode of this OPTi card is great for DOS games from the early 90s, when Creative's SBPro was king. For later games, WSS is the preferred option as you can get 16-bit sound, when it is supported. The FM synthesis on this card sounds great, and the drivers come with a nice GUI which makes it easy to configure everything in seconds. Overall, I'd say the OPTi 82C930 is a pretty solid, cheap solution for DOS retro gaming with some interesting extra features that make it stand out in a good way.

Last edited by Joseph_Joestar on 2021-09-16, 17:29. Edited 18 times in total.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 1 of 22, by Thermalwrong

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Thanks for the in-depth post on this, I've got an Opti 930 card with a wavetable on it (Silicom Wavemaster 32FGS) and I need to make better use of it, your information should really help with that 😀
I wasn't aware that game fixes like that existed for Opti cards.

Reply 2 of 22, by cyclone3d

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I never had a real Sound Blaster card back in the day.. but I did pick up an OPTi 930 based board with onboard wavetable at a local electronics store for like $5 used.

I used that card until I built a computer that didn't have any ISA slots.

I still have that card and have collected as many different OPTi based cards with onboard wavetable as I could find.

Compatibility from these OPTi based cards is top notch.

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 3 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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Cheers guys, I'm glad you found this useful!

Just in case the site I linked goes down, I'm going to attach the DOS/Win3.1 driver archive which contains the game fixes here. Maybe a mod can add it to the Vogons driver library. I'm also attaching the reference guide/user manual that I found elsewhere.

Attachments

  • Filename
    OPTi_82C930_Reference_Guide.pdf
    File size
    1.84 MiB
    Downloads
    136 downloads
    File comment
    OPTi 82C930 Reference Guide
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception
  • Filename
    OPTi_82C930_DOS_WIN31_v105.zip
    File size
    909.62 KiB
    Downloads
    135 downloads
    File comment
    OPTi 82C930 DOS / Win3.1 driver (includes game fixes)
    File license
    Fair use/fair dealing exception

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 4 of 22, by GigAHerZ

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I have 82C933 and i love it! It's OPL and everything is so close to sound blasters that you can't understand it's not.

And i'm kinda amazed that es1898 gets praised as a best alternative, while those opti cards are really the closest things you can get.

I have my 82C933 in my 486DX4-100 and it's working perfectly.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - And i intend to get every last bit out of it even after loading every damn driver!

Reply 5 of 22, by appiah4

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I have a 829A and a 831. 829A is an OPL3 card, the 831 however has Opti's own FM implementation. I find both to be noisy and OptiFM to be agreeable, but not preferrable. As a result, they rank way below my ESS Audiodrives in terms of preference.

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 6 of 22, by Stiletto

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Joseph_Joestar wrote:

Cheers guys, I'm glad you found this useful!

Just in case the site I linked goes down, I'm going to attach the DOS/Win3.1 driver archive which contains the game fixes here. Maybe a mod can add it to the Vogons driver library. I'm also attaching the reference guide/user manual that I found elsewhere.

OPTi 82C930 Integrated Sound Controller Reference Guide
http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?file … &menustate=36,0

OPTi 82C930 DOS/Win Utils and Driver v1.05 05/17/95
http://www.vogonsdrivers.com/getfile.php?file … &menustate=36,0

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do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto

Reply 7 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote:

I have a 829A and a 831. 829A is an OPL3 card, the 831 however has Opti's own FM implementation. I find both to be noisy and OptiFM to be agreeable, but not preferrable.

The 82C930 is a bit on the noisy side, but I'm guessing the noise level also depends on your audio setup. For example, I usually connect my Logitech S200 2.1 speakers straight to the line out port and play games at about 60% of the speakers' max volume. At those levels, I can't hear any noise, even in pure DOS with no games running. Only when I up the volume to 100% does the noise appear, and even then, it's very faint on those 5W speakers.

On the other hand, when I try to record gameplay audio on another computer with a line out > line in cable the noise increases drastically. Using headphones instead of speakers also seems to result in more noise for me.

Also, thanks for the upload Stiletto!

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 8 of 22, by Grzyb

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Joseph_Joestar wrote:

[*]Good compatibility in SB Pro mode
[...]
[*]Some games need patching/workarounds in order for sound to work properly

If those games work properly on a real SB Pro, but need patches to work on the Opti, then the compatibility isn't good.

I'm currently playing with some Opti 930A card, and I'm rather disappointed...

In Pinball Fantasies, I hear some distorsions - I tried various mixer settings (SNDINIT.EXE /v), I tried switching from SPEAKER OUT to LINE OUT, but the distortions are still there, must be some strange compatibility problem.

Also, I tried running DIAGNOSE.EXE from the SB Pro software package - it does play sounds, but after playing digitized sound samples it fails to return to the menu, the message "Playing back 8-bit Digitized Sound" is shown indefinitely until I press ESC.

I don't recall such problems with other cheap 16-bit SB Pro compatibles, like ESS and Crystal.

Last edited by Grzyb on 2019-11-27, 17:29. Edited 1 time in total.

Reply 9 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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Grzyb wrote:

If those games work properly on a real SB Pro, but need patches to work on the Opti, then the compatibility isn't good.

What I described was my own experience with the 82C930, e.g. it worked fine on the majority of games that I've listed in this thread. I never claimed that its compatibility was "Perfect", I said that it was "Good" based on the games that I've personally tried. As for the patches, they weren't necessary to get any of the games running, applying them just improved the sound quality further.

That said, it's nearly impossible to find a clone card which works perfectly on every single DOS game. Most SB clones will have issues with at least a couple of them, and it's always annoying if one of the games that you really like is affected. For example, Tyrian is one of my favorite DOS games, and it refuses to even start on my Yamaha YMF724 while working fine on my Opti card.

In Pinball Fantasies, I hear some distorsions - I tried various mixer settings (SNDINIT.EXE /v), I tried switching from SPEAKER OUT to LINE OUT, but the distortions are still there, must be some strange compatibility problem.

I've tried this game for the first time today, and the music appears to be playing too fast if I select Sound Blaster Pro in its setup. This is fixed if I select Sound Blaster 2 instead, but I suppose the sound quality is not the best it could be.

From what I can tell, Pinball Fantasies appears to be using custom drivers instead of a standardized set like Miles or Digipak. In my experience, clone cards sometimes have issues with those kind of games.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 10 of 22, by Grzyb

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I just had a closer look, and found that the card in the original post is just 930, while mine is 930A, so there may be some differences.
I don't have a 930, but I've found another 930A - and the problem is the same: distorsions in Pinball Fantasies, no matter if it's set up for SB1, SB2, or SB Pro.

Other games I tried sound OK, though.

Reply 11 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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Update: I have uploaded FM synth music samples recorded on this card to my SoundCloud account. Also, I made a few SBPro vs. WSS digital sound comparisons and attached them to the first post in this thread. IMHO, the difference between SBPro and WSS is particularly noticeable in Mortal Kombat 3 since that game uses a lot of voice samples.

In addition, I found that some issues that I had previously encountered (e.g. FMV stuttering, Tyrian not detecting WSS) while using this card on my VIA-based Abit KT7A motheboard no longer occur when I moved it to my Intel-based Abit ZM6 motherboard.

Lastly, a few games that I previously though didn't work on this card (notably X-Wing) actually failed because my CPU was too fast. With SETMUL and/or Throttle used for slowdown, X-Wing works just fine, including both digital sound and FM synth music.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 12 of 22, by mkarcher

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Grzyb wrote on 2019-11-27, 17:38:

I just had a closer look, and found that the card in the original post is just 930, while mine is 930A, so there may be some differences.
I don't have a 930, but I've found another 930A - and the problem is the same: distorsions in Pinball Fantasies, no matter if it's set up for SB1, SB2, or SB Pro.

IIRC pinball fantasies, as a couple of other games from that era, maxes out all volume controls on the SBPro mixer chip if you start the game. The SB1 and SB2 drivers shouldn't do that, because those cards don't have a mixer chip. It's quite plausible that maxed out volume settings can cause clipping if the PCM sound data are near to full scale. You could try going down to 60-80% volume and using the SB2 driver to test this theory. If you started the game once with the SBPro driver, the volume contols keep to be at the maximum level until another program pulls them down again.

Reply 13 of 22, by Grzyb

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mkarcher wrote on 2020-07-26, 14:06:

IIRC pinball fantasies, as a couple of other games from that era, maxes out all volume controls on the SBPro mixer chip if you start the game. The SB1 and SB2 drivers shouldn't do that, because those cards don't have a mixer chip. It's quite plausible that maxed out volume settings can cause clipping if the PCM sound data are near to full scale. You could try going down to 60-80% volume and using the SB2 driver to test this theory. If you started the game once with the SBPro driver, the volume contols keep to be at the maximum level until another program pulls them down again.

I have installed that 930A card in another machine - and can't reproduce the problem with Pinball Fantasies.
I've set both Master and Voice to maximum (99) in "sndinit /v", but can't hear any distorsions.
Perhaps the problem was due to the CPU being too fast?
Currently I'm testing it with a Cyrix 6x86-P150+, previosly - in some Slot 1 machine, much faster...

Reply 14 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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I discovered something new about this card. Apparently, it takes up the A220 I5 D1 resources even if it isn't initialized by its drivers. Normally, this wouldn't be a problem, as the OPTi card switches to whatever resources are set up in SOUND16.CFG the moment its drivers are loaded. However, if you're using a second sound card at the same time and want it to use A220 I5 D1, then you must initialize the OPTi card before loading the drivers of your second sound card. I found out about this the hard way while trying to use both an OPTi 82C930 and an AWE64 Value (CT4520) in this build.

For testing purposes, I configured the OPTi card at A240 I7 D3 and the AWE64 at A220 I5 D1 H5. However, if the AWE64 drivers were loaded before the OPTi drivers, then the AWE64 would not produce sound effects or music, despite the two cards not sharing any resources. Loading the OPTi drivers before the AWE drivers resolves this issue.

Also, the OPTi card must be initialized in SBPro mode for this to work. If you initialize it in WSS mode instead, then A220 I5 D1 will somehow still be used by it and become unavailable for any other sound card.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 15 of 22, by Pierre32

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I picked up this Bluepoint BP001A001 recently. Not gonna lie, I bought it because it was blue.

Bluepoint Opti 82C930.jpg
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Bluepoint Opti 82C930.jpg
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For the install I went with these DOS drivers which are an older version than the ones already linked in the thread. The reason: INSTALL.COM from the other pack insisted on being run from a floppy, which was a pain. So I grabbed the pack that would fit on a single disk. But as it happens, the smaller pack doesn't have an INSTALL.COM anyway. So I just copied the folder over - but this process required some manual effort to get working.

SNDINIT.EXE requires the SOUND16 variable to be set before it will run. So you need to run these commands:

SET SOUND16=C:\OPTI930
SNDINIT.EXE

You get a nice little GUI:

Opti Config.jpg
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Opti Config.jpg
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From the readme, these are the lines you then need in your autoexec. But SNDINIT only added SET BLASTER for me, and I had to enter the rest manually:

PATH=C:\OPTI930 (appended)
SET SOUND16=C:\OPTI930
C:\OPTI930\SNDINIT /B
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T4

I had to tweak the wonky default mixer levels too (SNDINIT /V) and everything was good. I have another card with the LS-212 chip like this one, which is a great OPL3 clone.

The next challenge was dropping in a GUS Classic alongside. I'll spare you the full saga of resource wrangling and swearing. But Joseph's post above, had I read it beforehand, might have steered me to the solution faster. In the end my problem was a dumb one: Despite using I5 for the Opti in autoexec, I still had it at I7 in SNDINIT. But before I discovered this, I did suspect that the order of initialisation was a factor, and did much experimentation swapping things around in autoexec. Sometimes only part of one card would work, sometimes part of the other. I couldn't make sense of it.

Long story short, with the address error fixed and the correct order set in autoexec (SET BLASTER, initialise Opti, initialise Ultrasound) everything came good.

And that's how I invented RGB Sound.

RGB Sound.jpg
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Reply 16 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-11-11, 00:06:

The reason: INSTALL.COM from the other pack insisted on being run from a floppy, which was a pain.

Yeah, that does seem to be a quirk of those drivers. On the plus side, once you install them, you can backup the OPTI930 folder along with the relevant AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS entries, and restore them as needed in case you do a clean install.

From the readme, these are the lines you then need in your autoexec.

That looks about right. In case it matters, my setup also has this in CONFIG.SYS:

DEVICE=C:\OPTI930\cdsetup.sys /T:X

I don't use the CD port on the card, but I'm guessing it still needs to be initialized using that command.

And that's how I invented RGB Sound.

Ok, this is awesome! Now watch as modern PC builders get envious and try to copy that setup. 😁

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium

Reply 17 of 22, by Pierre32

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Joseph_Joestar wrote on 2021-11-11, 01:17:

Ok, this is awesome! Now watch as modern PC builders get envious and try to copy that setup. 😁

I'd love to see more takes on the idea! Modern or retro.

Reply 18 of 22, by appiah4

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Pierre32 wrote on 2021-11-11, 00:06:
I picked up this Bluepoint BP001A001 recently. Not gonna lie, I bought it because it was blue. […]
Show full quote

I picked up this Bluepoint BP001A001 recently. Not gonna lie, I bought it because it was blue.

Bluepoint Opti 82C930.jpg

For the install I went with these DOS drivers which are an older version than the ones already linked in the thread. The reason: INSTALL.COM from the other pack insisted on being run from a floppy, which was a pain. So I grabbed the pack that would fit on a single disk. But as it happens, the smaller pack doesn't have an INSTALL.COM anyway. So I just copied the folder over - but this process required some manual effort to get working.

SNDINIT.EXE requires the SOUND16 variable to be set before it will run. So you need to run these commands:

SET SOUND16=C:\OPTI930
SNDINIT.EXE

You get a nice little GUI:

Opti Config.jpg

From the readme, these are the lines you then need in your autoexec. But SNDINIT only added SET BLASTER for me, and I had to enter the rest manually:

PATH=C:\OPTI930 (appended)
SET SOUND16=C:\OPTI930
C:\OPTI930\SNDINIT /B
SET BLASTER=A220 I5 D1 T4

I had to tweak the wonky default mixer levels too (SNDINIT /V) and everything was good. I have another card with the LS-212 chip like this one, which is a great OPL3 clone.

The next challenge was dropping in a GUS Classic alongside. I'll spare you the full saga of resource wrangling and swearing. But Joseph's post above, had I read it beforehand, might have steered me to the solution faster. In the end my problem was a dumb one: Despite using I5 for the Opti in autoexec, I still had it at I7 in SNDINIT. But before I discovered this, I did suspect that the order of initialisation was a factor, and did much experimentation swapping things around in autoexec. Sometimes only part of one card would work, sometimes part of the other. I couldn't make sense of it.

Long story short, with the address error fixed and the correct order set in autoexec (SET BLASTER, initialise Opti, initialise Ultrasound) everything came good.

And that's how I invented RGB Sound.

RGB Sound.jpg

Interesting card. I don't believe I own, or even saw, a 930 card with an onboard (clone) OPL3 before; this chip has its own OptiFM hardware implementation of OPL3 AFAIR so that is a pretty nifty card to have.

EDIT: Ok, wait, I think I'm wrong? 931 is the one that has the OptiFM synth integrated, not 930?

EDIT2: Can someone more knowledgable state the differences between Opti 929 (MAD) and 930 chipsets. It seems I have 3 929 cards in my collection (some with ADI some with Crystal codecs) and none of 930. I believe 930 is an advaced 929 with the codec integrated?

Retronautics: A digital gallery of my retro computers, hardware and projects.

Reply 19 of 22, by Joseph_Joestar

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appiah4 wrote on 2021-11-12, 05:11:

EDIT: Ok, wait, I think I'm wrong? 931 is the one that has the OptiFM synth integrated, not 930?

The 930 was the last OPTi card that used either genuine OPL3 or a 1:1 clone. From 931 and onward they started using OPTi FM.

I believe 930 is an advaced 929 with the codec integrated?

Pretty much. Everything is in a single chip on the 930. Functionally, it appears to be identical to the 929 card with an Analog Devices chip, meaning that WSS compatibility is superb.

PC#1: Pentium MMX 166 / Soyo SY-5BT / S3 Trio64V+ / Voodoo1 / OPTi 82C930 / AWE64
PC#2: Celeron 466 / Abit ZM6 / Voodoo3 / AWE64 Gold / YMF744 / SC-155
PC#3: AthlonXP 1700+ / Abit KT7A / GeForce4 / SBLive / ALS100
PC#4: Athlon64 3700+ / DFI LanParty / 9600GT / X-Fi Titanium