First post, by Da Playa
Apart from my main rig, I always wanted to have a secondary all in one retro rig to run games, from DOS all to XP era. Over the years I was obtaining the components and testing them until I finally decided to complet the full rig. Now I run a dual boot with win98 for DOS and win3.1 and 98 games and XP for early 2000 era games.
But there is still one crucial component missing: Sound card.
So I went on the hunt for DOS compatible soundcard...what could possibly go wrong? And this is where trouble began...
Because I'm limited to PCI, I decided for PCI sound cards. The Sound Blaster Live cards were very famous so why not start there? immediately got burned, because I didn't know there were so many versions of it and the only version on my market was the infamous SB0220, which some claim to have a DOS support, but I didn't manage to make it work. Only the sound efects worked. Then I got some generic Genius sound card with Crystal cs4614a-cm ep chip, which didn't even work in windows yet alone in DOS. Probably the card was broken and the only drivers I found on the web were from VOGONS. Finally I managed to get a SB0100, which most reviewers use from SB LIVE models. The sound card performed well in my test PC, but it wasn't perfect (music worked but some sound effects didn't work, were very quiet or were even distort. In Prince of Persia I even had a SB music, but the sound effect were classsic PC speakers).
So I decided to put this card in my retro PC rig. I have uninstalled the drivers and installed the card. When PC booted I got a black screen and started to beep. So I replaced the card to other PCI slot. I managed to boot into windows and install the drivers and restart. But now windows says the video card is missing and defaultet to 256 colors??? There were also video artifacts so I decided to restart again. Now the PC again started to beep. I didn't even bother to listen to the beep pattern. It was 2 short beeps and 4-6 long beeps? I don't know.
TL:DR: I don't know what is wrong with all these sound card? I never had so much trouble with hardware upgrading. But here comes the best part: The worst sound card I have was the most stable and compatible one. Sound Blaster vibra 128 (CT4810) worked straight out of the box and worked almost in every game. But the sound quality of this card is horrible 😒
Do I even have the energy to persist on this project? Is there any point anymore? Before I quit I'm still waiting for shipment from China for generic 5$ sound card with cmi8738 chip and supposedly sound blaster support, I doubt it will work but why not at least try.
I also have an option to buy a Hercules Muse XL sound card with cmi8738 chip. Does anybody has any experience with this card? How well does it perform in DOS games?
I know I could play DOS games on real vintage hardware, but then it lost the point of being a AIO Retro PC. Yes I could buy better sound card, but I come from a small European country you probably haven't even heard of, and the used market here is very limited. And Ebay...well I'm not paying 20$+ only for shippment 😳
Yes I could play games straight out of DOS, but I was always running them from windows as a kid and worked. Yes I could use DOSBOX, but there is something with that smooth framerate on early 2000 P4 stlye PCs. I can't get that in DOSBOX and some games just run horrible, well at least the sound works there every time.
So any ideas what I can do?
Also specs for the end:
- Intel Celeron 2800MHz
- asrock p4i65g
- Ati 9600 pro
- 512 MB memory
- Sound blaster Live SB0100