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Old 22-12-2009, 08:40 PM   #1
serpens
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Default Sound Blaster PCI 128 - no sound...

Hello.

Lately, I had an idea about setting up a machine dedicated to running older games. The oldest computer I have is a HP Vectra VL400 - it has Pentium III 933 MHz, 192 MB RAM etc. It also has an integrated sound chip which wasn't good enough for me (didn't work at all in Tyrian 2000, for example).

What I did was: format the hard drive, put in the Sound Blaster PCI 128 sound card, then install Windows 98 SE. And after installing all the required drivers... there was no sound in DOS games.

Now, I don't think this is the card's fault. First, I had it in a much older machine and it worked perfectly with DOS games. Second, only a few weeks ago I had it in a dual-boot XP/98 machine and it worked with DOS games too. And third, there IS sound in Windows. Only the DOS games have no sound at all.

I've tried doing quite a few things - manipulating with IRQs (can't set them in BIOS, though), changing AUTOEXEC.BAT and SBPCI.INI, installing DOS 7.1 instead of Windows 98, even installing FreeDOS. I used both my driver CD and DOS drivers which can be found here:

http://easymamecab.mameworld.info/html/snddosdr.htm

All to no result. Not even once did sound appear in ANY DOS game. Perhaps anyone has some experience with this sound card and could tell me what can I do?
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Old 23-12-2009, 01:21 AM   #2
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Search for the original SB128PCI install CD.
This will install an utility called ctcm.exe for Dos.
Run ctcm.exe, needs EMM386.EXE.
However, it's a fact that not all P3 mobos can get a SB128PCI working in Dos, depends of the BIOS and chipsets .... trial and error will be your destiny.

Also, a P3-933 is everything but a Dos compy.
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Old 23-12-2009, 04:21 AM   #3
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This is what you need. The quoted guide near the bottom been created especialy for this kind of ocasion.

It is not enough to install Win98 on a machine for it to work with DOS games, since contrary to what most people think Windows 98 didn't have a good DOS compatibility. You will thus need to edit your autoexec.bat and config.sys files so the machine load everything in memory when you restart the computer by using the MS DOS mode.

Happy gaming, and don't hesitate to ask more questions if you still need answers.
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Old 23-12-2009, 05:51 PM   #4
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OK, so after taking a look at your advice and pondering a bit, I tried again. Here's what I've been doing:

1. Tried running this ctcm.exe. It seemed to be working, but did not help...
2. Formatted the C: partition again.
3. Installed DOS 7.1 using the installation floppy. Apparently the installer did a good job configuring the autoexec.bat and config.sys files - I had 620K free conventional memory after this.
4. Installed the SBPCI drivers found here:

http://easymamecab.mameworld.info/html/snddosdr.htm

5. The installator replaced my autoexec.bat and config.sys, so I just renamed their backups and edited to add the necessary lines. Then I rebooted the computer. The drivers appeared to initialize correctly - no errors or loud beeps, just info about driver initialization and the card being on IRQ 5.
6. Checked if the sound works, but still no luck. Running SBTEST resulted in a loud beep and message "Couldn't reset SB16" or something like that.

What now?

Quote:
However, it's a fact that not all P3 mobos can get a SB128PCI working in Dos, depends of the BIOS and chipsets
Perhaps this is the problem... I can tell that my BIOS is the PhoenixBIOS.

What's the best thing I can do now? Should I try something else with this Pentium 3 PC? Or try buying an old Sound Blaster?

(If this PC is completely unusable for this, I sort of have access to several much older machines, though none of them has anything better than 386SX + 2-4 MB RAM. Or there's one lying around which might have something like Pentium 200, though I'm not sure if it's going to work...)
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Old 23-12-2009, 11:07 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serpens View Post
....Or there's one lying around which might have something like Pentium 200, though I'm not sure if it's going to work...
Get that one up and running if you want a 'dos/W3.x' PC.
At least you'll be able to use an ISA sound card with that one.

Keep that P3 for W98(SE), it's a nice W98 compy.
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Old 25-12-2009, 07:00 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by serpens View Post
6. Checked if the sound works, but still no luck. Running SBTEST resulted in a loud beep and message "Couldn't reset SB16" or something like that.
Exactly my case when I upgraded my MB in 2003.

It can be readed as "Motherboard don't support SB16 for DOS, sorry".

Try to found older computer or another soundboard. Or using DOSBox on new machine.

But wait... Did you tried to configure SB from Windows? I vague remember that there is some tuning in drivers, that allowed me to activate SB for DOS. Not directly, but after "going to DOS-mode" from Windows. It corrected BLASTER variable to 0, and it activated SB for DOS-games under Windows.

Maybe false memories, though, from previous MB.
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