VOGONS


Reply 60 of 126, by hard1k

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Good questions, for sure. As of now (and no one can predict anything for the next day, obviously), regular international post exchange is still functional. So, there is no problem shipping those from Russia using regular national mail services. Regarding payments, well, Russians have been good friends with Iran, North Korea and Cuba for so long that we could have learned something 😀
Jokes aside, the main aim of this project is to create an ultimate PCI retro sound card. "Create" does not mean produce, assemble and sell. It means that this ultimate card is born, no matter where, no matter how. If we design it, but cannot assemble/ship/sell it, we'll find a way to outsource the production, assemble, sales, etc. to the community. As of now, we have almost everything we need to finalize the design, and also 20-30 boards. If we can't sell them abroad, we'll sell them to the domestic buyers, and the rest will get some solution to obtain their own based on our design.

The real issues that still bother me are:
1. Will Vortex2 function behind a bridge, given its selective attitude towards different chipsets, and also complex inner architecture?
2. Will PC-PCI function for the Yamaha being behind a bridge, and those lines connected directly to the SB_Link connector on the motherboard?

We'll find out soon.

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 61 of 126, by keropi

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Oh this is getting real!
Love the side logos too!
Hope the proto problems turn out to be minor ones and the combo card works. Good luck team!

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 62 of 126, by hard1k

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Thank you very much, my friend! 😀

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 63 of 126, by Tree Wyrm

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Looking forward to this! Aureal Vortex cards were always my favorite at that time. Would love to buy assembled board when it's done. As I understand this is essentially a Vortex2 card with real YMF for genuine OPL FM (instead of crappy software emulation Vortex cards had), right?

Time to dig up a motherboard with SBLink header, pretty sure I had one or two of those.

Reply 64 of 126, by hard1k

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Tree Wyrm wrote on 2022-03-26, 12:09:

As I understand this is essentially a Vortex2 card with real YMF for genuine OPL FM (instead of crappy software emulation Vortex cards had), right?

Exactly. But Yamaha is a great chip in its own right, it does hardware XG in Windows too!

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 65 of 126, by hard1k

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Some pics for your viewing pleasure:

IMG_20220328_135429.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, front side
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IMG_20220328_135442.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, back side
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photo_2022-03-28_07-55-06.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, installed
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Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 66 of 126, by keropi

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so small! I like it 😁
I now realize it had internal connections only... interesting choice

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 67 of 126, by hard1k

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😀 Exactly, that's the main point. It's essentially an A3D-accelerator. You can install it in a thin client, an ITX board, or use a shared PCI/ISA slot with the ISA card occupying the bracket.
The upper, second board will be designed later, it will convert the Fortex into a regular sound card with jacks, gameport, etc.

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 68 of 126, by keropi

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oooohhhh good ideas all of them
and I thought it had 2 wavetable headers or something... well I need to refresh my memory apparently 🤣

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website

Reply 69 of 126, by hard1k

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Those two headers are for connection with the future upper board. However one of them (26-pin) is a waveblaster header, so if some user wants to use Fortex in his small build, without the upper board, but with a wavetable daughterboard, he can use a flat IDC cable to attach it directly, and that's it 😀

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 70 of 126, by aitotat

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hard1k wrote on 2022-03-28, 14:17:

or use a shared PCI/ISA slot with the ISA card occupying the bracket.

Excellent idea! And I was just about to comment that this is the first PCI sound card that I could accept on a DOS/Win9x system without any ISA sound card at all!

Reply 71 of 126, by hard1k

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Thanks 😀

Some more pictures:

IMG_20220328_181658.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, semi-assembled, front side
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IMG_20220328_181704.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, semi-assembled, back side
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Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 74 of 126, by Pierre32

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Looking excellent! So many good design considerations rolled into this.

I spent ages looking for a PCI sound card for a SFF Win98 build. The short version of that story is that there wasn't one. Now there will be, for a lucky few.

Reply 75 of 126, by hard1k

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We've plugged it in, no smoke, all chips are warm as they should be, system boots up but does not detect any new devices.
Debugging time... 😀

Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 76 of 126, by Dr.Yak

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hard1k wrote on 2022-03-29, 14:30:

We've plugged it in, no smoke, all chips are warm as they should be, system boots up

Congratulation for managing to keep the magic smoke in! 😁

Reply 77 of 126, by hard1k

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Hi guys, brought you some news.
The first prototype has turned out to be quite a big can of worms, we've been troubleshooting them for two weeks, and finally the host system has detected the PCI-PCI bridge. I guess, that's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. However, other identified design flaws make it almost impossible to go any further with this rev.0.1alpha board using patch wires, so we're going for the second alpha prototype to mess with the secondary PCI bus!
Meanwhile the Chinese package with 30 x YMF744B-V and 60 x WM9710EFT has already arrived (fingers crossed they are not fake).
Have a nice weekend everyone!
As usual, some pictures for your viewing pleasure:

photo_2022-04-04_07-18-07.jpg
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Patching with 0201 resistors, 1
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photo_2022-04-04_07-17-54.jpg
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Patching with 0201 resistors, 2
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IMG_20220408_210418.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, rear side, patched
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IMG_20220408_210401.jpg
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Fortex Prototype #1, front side, patched
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photo_2022-04-08_14-48-22.jpg
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PCI-PCI Bridge detected!
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Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 78 of 126, by hard1k

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Received the package from China with 30 x YMF744B-V and 60 x WM9710EFT:

YMF744B-V.jpg
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YMF744B-V
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WM9710.jpg
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WM9710
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Tested the YMF744B-V in a Hoontech soundcard, detected as Vendor 1073 / Device 0010, so it's a real thing!

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Hoontech
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PCIID.jpg
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PCI device
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Bonus picture - our current stock of AU8830 chips:

AU8830.jpg
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AU8830
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Fortex, the A3D & XG/OPL3 accelerator (Vortex 2 + YMF744 combo sound card)
AWE64 Legacy
Please have a look at my wishlist (hosted on Amibay)

Reply 79 of 126, by keropi

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mmmmmmm
fresh chips 🤣 🤣 🤣

now lets hope next rev will be almost perfect

🎵 🎧 PCMIDI MPU , Orpheus , Action Rewind , Megacard and MK8330 soundcard website