Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... AWE64 lockups in Prince of Persia 2 / Prehistorik 2

Discussion about old PC hardware.

Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... AWE64 lockups in Prince of Persia 2 / Prehistorik 2

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-14 @ 10:03

As it's Prince of Persia month at DOS Games Club, I decided to replay the first two games.

My retro DOS system is a DFI-K6XV3+/66 with a K6-II 500MHz, 256MB PC133 (2x128MB), Voodoo 3000 AGP and an AWE64. Playing Prince of Persia 2 1.0, I was experiencing frequent lockups with SB audio enabled (about 10 seconds into the level). Version 1.1 seems not to have these problems, but that version unfortunately introduced some annoying graphical glitches and enemy behavior bugs. So I was trying to see if I could get 1.0 to work reliably.

There are also a wired and wireless network cards in that system (PCI), and I noticed that CTCM was complaining about an IRQ conflict on IRQ5 with one of them. Thinking that it may cause the issues with PoP2 1.0, I tried to resolve the conflicts by moving the cards around, removing them, or disabling COM/LPT ports in the BIOS. In the process I found the following things:

  • The first (top) PCI slot on the K6XV3+ shares resources with the AGP slot, so I cannot have the network adapter in that slot (No POST). I think this is a known thing.
  • After messing with the cards I suddenly started getting the "I/O Channel Check-Checking for Segment...Offending Segment:0000 Press F1 to Disable NMI, F2 to Reboot" error before boot. I'm not sure if it's a RAM parity error or not, but since I had a spare stick, and there are 3 slots, I played with different combinations, and eventually got it to work again with 256MB and no error. I've been having more frequent lockups with that system (especially in Windows), so hopefully whatever was dying finally died, and maybe now the system will be more stable.
  • Disabling the serial ports in the BIOS freed enough IRQs for there to be no conflict at IRQ5 - the network controllers now use IRQ3 and IRQ9, the AWE64 is still at IRQ5. If that had not worked, I probably would have just removed the wired Ethernet card, since the system is on wireless at the moment, but it's more likely I'll use the wired Ethernet in the future than serial ports.
  • I tried going further and disabling the parallel port as well (to free IRQ7), but then the BIOS forced the AWE64 to IRQ7 instead. Since all my games have already been set up to use it at IRQ5, I didn't like this change, so I just reenabled the parallel port and the AWE64 went back to IRQ5. It's possible I can somehow force the BIOS to prefer IRQ5 even if 7 is available, but I didn't feel like spending too much time on it.
Unfortunately, in the end, the lockups in PoP2 1.0 did not go away (although they became far less frequent). PoP2 lets you specify IRQ and DMA in the setup program, and I tried both IRQ7/DMA3 and IRQ5/DMA1 (since these are the two configurations that the BIOS chooses between), and there was no difference. I have to conclude that the lockups have a different underlying cause. Maybe a compatibility issue with the Creative cards, maybe some other conflict, or maybe a hardware fault on my system. Evidently whatever they fixed in PoP2 1.1 makes it less susceptible to the problem, so I will just be playing this version on this old system for now. I have a DOSBox setup that runs 1.0 flawlessly on all my modern computers.

Edit:

Today I found out another game that has audio-related problems - Prehistorik 2 - with the following symptoms:
  • Audio works during intro
  • Starting the game usually gets audio to stop working
  • Exiting the game after audio issues have started locks up the system

After trying several different startup configurations, I found that there is a chance it will work well on bare boot (no Config/Autoexec), but even then - not always. It looks totally unreliable with the AWE64 I have in this system. I've decided to try a different audio card (results reported below).
Last edited by dr_st on 2018-7-28 @ 17:45, edited 2 times in total.
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... Prince of Persia 2 lockups

Postby Stiletto » 2018-7-16 @ 16:07

Hm.

Maybe try vladr's old SB patch for DIGI.DRV?
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=629
Read through the whole thread from 2002. We were trying to get it going in Windows XP's NTVDM at the time.

Can't believe I remembered doing that POP2 testing just now!
"I see a little silhouette-o of a man, Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you
do the Fandango!" - Queen

Stiletto
User avatar
Stiletto
l33t
 
Posts: 4080
Joined: 2002-7-01 @ 21:57

Re: Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... Prince of Persia 2 lockups

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-28 @ 14:23

Finally got around to testing the patched DIGI.DRV; as expected, it didn't help. vladr did say that it fixes a specific slowdown issue, not any crashes.

I'm going to try a different audio device, for the heck of it.
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... Prince of Persia 2 lockups

Postby dr_st » 2018-7-28 @ 17:39

OK, so swapped out the AWE64 in favor of the Audician 32 Plus - no lockups in PoP2 1.0 now. No issues with Prehistorik 2 either.

Either my AWE64 is a bit defective, or these games' audio routines do something that's compatible with SB/SBPro but not with SB16.

I do have another AWE64 and an SB16 to try, but I'm not going to do it just now, since I want to spend some time playing with the Audician 32 Plus to determine if I can live with it as the main card for this setup.
User avatar
dr_st
Oldbie
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: 2015-4-09 @ 07:18

Re: Messing with K6XV3+/66 retro system again... AWE64 lockups in Prince of Persia 2 / Prehistorik 2

Postby nforce4max » 2018-7-28 @ 18:08

I trash picked a system that had this board and found it to be bit of a bitch when it came to the ram and the slots are cheaply made beyond that it liked my K6-3+ that I under volted. Try the card in another system to rule it out as being the issue or not, if the card works without issue in another system then likely a software issue or the board is being an ass. I know that I might get flak for saying this but I feel that Creative cards are kinda dodgy quality wise despite being the go to brand in the day. Too many cards got shit caps, bad or dodgy amps, and buggy DSPs ect which is why all the elites went with more esoteric cards until they became too costly or hard to find often being both like the Soundscape Elite ect.
On a far away planet reading your posts in the year 10,191.
User avatar
nforce4max
l33t
 
Posts: 2421
Joined: 2012-5-05 @ 22:55


Return to General Old Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: firage, linkdex [Bot], PARKE and 4 guests