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Vintage Computers Any vintage computer systems, calculators, video games etc., but with an emphasis on 1980s and earlier equipment.

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Old 16th Oct 2017, 3:14 am   #1
Farzooks
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Default Old ISA soundcard

Years ago, just before ISA was abandoned, I bought a very good sound card made by Terratec. I had the use of it for a couple of years, but reluctantly had to consign it to a box on a shelf, where it's been sulking ever since.
I've occasionally had a look for external ISA bus converters (plug into a PCI slot and lead a cable out, etc) and have been gobsmacked at the prices being asked, as they're for legacy industrial control cards that would cost a lot to replace and the price of keeping them going is worthwhile paying I assume.
However, there must be a more cost-effective solution, just that I've not come across one, and I can't be the only one with a great old card that wants to use it again.
Anyone got any ideas?
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 9:37 am   #2
mike_newcomb
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Hi Dave,

surely it is not just the physically installing of such devices, drivers can be a problem finding as Operating Systems (e.g. Windows) advance. As an example, previously I have experienced problems locating old Soundblaster software as the maker (Creative Technology) only made available for downloading updates to the original software package, but not the original package itself.

I cannot understand why it is necessary to need new drivers when moving to the next generation of one's os, even for usb devices such as a Webcam.

Regards - Mike
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 12:26 pm   #3
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Some of the prices being asked for old computers are out of this world.

Just an idea.. how about an old server you could boss about with your modern computer?.. Windows 2000 was a very good op system ..(a sort of agricultural no nonsense version of XP) and should work with it? ..but I suppose you would have to consider any delays you might get mixing old with new and if there are interfacing issues perhaps a light Linux flavour op system.

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/RETRO-PC-S...oAAOSwH6tZjZUd

Still expensive for how old it is -but there you go

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Old 16th Oct 2017, 1:00 pm   #4
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Windows 2000 can be lean and fast if it is 'slipstreamed' before you install it..this allows you to switch off any contemporary 'fluff'.IIRC a free program to do this was called NTLite.
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Old 16th Oct 2017, 1:23 pm   #5
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

I'd say don't bother, unless you want an exercise in keeping vintage technology running. I think the last time ISA was common on PC motherboards was in about 2002-2003. I have an old Athlon XP machine in the workshop from this era which serves for data recovery, testing old hardware, and so on. It's running a modern version of Debian Linux. I suggest that the only way you'll get useful results from such an old card is to see if it's supported in Linux and find a 15-year-old PC to run it in, and put up with the associated reliability issues.

Any external ISA adapter is very unlikely to work with any existing software for the card, because of the way the ISA bus is entangled so deeply into the bowels of the PC's architecture.

I wouldn't advocate using old versions of Windows unless you can keep the machine disconnected from the Internet and can tolerate the lack of support.

Check the specifications of modern USB audio interfaces and you might find that matching the performance and features of the Terratec is cheaper than you think. I have one made by M-Audio that works very well, though even that isn't officially supported on Windows 10.

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Old 17th Oct 2017, 9:18 pm   #6
GeoffB17
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Well, I'm still happily using my ISA soundcard, a Roland LAPC-I, however, It's still mounted in a Pentium 75 box which happily has ISA slots, so no problem. All my midi software is DOS stuff anyway, I'm not sure I'd trust midi to Windows due to possible timing problems.

The card still makes some nice noises, but it also provides midi connection to some much newer modules. They make some even nicer noises!

Geoff
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Old 18th Oct 2017, 7:55 am   #7
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

A card of that vintage will have early generation DACs and ADCs which while good in their day were soon overtaken in performance by newer devices.

Newer PCI cards such as the M Audio Delta series will give much better results and still run on modern(ish) hardware, the 24/96 card that they do sounds superb and can often be found for under a tenner on internet auction sites.
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Old 19th Oct 2017, 8:03 am   #8
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

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Originally Posted by cheerfulcharlie View Post
Still expensive for how old it is -but there you go
Ewww no, don't even touch the IBM PC Server 3xx series. They were horrible things when new; when the local firm I worked for split from EY in the 90s we got one of those to replace an old Compaq, and it was terrible. It's singlehandedly what led me to do HP and Compaq hardware when they spun off the Business Computer Services division (i.e. me) into a separate IT company.
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Old 25th Oct 2017, 8:53 pm   #9
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

If you have enough older software you still enjoy using, then it could be worth obtaining or building a vintage computer to use it.
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Old 24th Nov 2017, 3:15 pm   #10
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Well, the built-in soundcard on my newish (18mth old) Asus MB died a fortnight ago running W10 Creators edition. It was a weekend so, in desperation, I put my old faithful XP era Creative sound card in. It works and is great without any hassle about drivers. No apparent clashes either. I'm no computer guru, but I'd say try it. I'm leaving the card in.
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Old 24th Nov 2017, 4:23 pm   #11
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

That will be a PCI card though, not ISA.
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Old 25th Nov 2017, 12:37 am   #12
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Arrow Re: Old ISA soundcard

Quote:
Originally Posted by cheerfulcharlie View Post
Windows 2000 can be lean and fast if it is 'slip-streamed' before you install it..this allows you to switch off any contemporary 'fluff'. IIRC a free program to do this was called NTLite.
. . . which rings a very distant and faint bell. All I will add is that these days trying to do anything even slightly meaningful on the 'Net with W2k + SP3 is a complete waste of time (what a surprise! ). However, as a Intranet data server, W2k + SP3 works O.K., though.

Al.
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Old 25th Nov 2017, 12:56 pm   #13
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

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Originally Posted by paulsherwin View Post
That will be a PCI card though, not ISA.
Too many different systems about now for my old brain! Sorry, you are so right. Anything since W3.11 confuses me
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Old 26th Nov 2017, 11:59 pm   #14
jamesperrett
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

I have a Pentium II Windows 98 machine which I keep meaning to resurrect because it has some interesting hardware in it, including an old Turtle Beach Multisound card, a Zefiro digital audio interface and a SCSI interface for 3 CD drives. The Multisound has an EMU Proteus synth onboard while the Zefiro card handles sub-code data like start ID's in the digital data stream which can be handy for DAT transfers. I think it may also have a Turtle Beach Maui sampler card in there as well.

It was quite an achievement to get these cards working in the same machine together at the time as you had to keep track of memory addresses, IO addresses and IRQ's used by each card.

Unfortunately these cards aren't really supported by newer NT style operating systems so Windows 98 is about as new as I can go.
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Old 28th Nov 2017, 12:58 am   #15
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

The most up to date motherboard I could easily find, with ISA slot is the MSI MS-6555.

Its a socket P board (mPGA478) which means Core 2 Duo processor support up to 3.5GHz

There is even a schematic available for this board (component level!!!)


Available from China sources pulled from old PC's at very reasonable costs.

Windows Vista was the last windows operating system with ISA support though.

I needed to build a system for a windows based 40 channel logic analyser with an ISA adapter. I didn't want to build a "legacy" PC just for this application, and ended up with a very usable PC with ISA

Peter
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Old 28th Nov 2017, 3:56 am   #16
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

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Originally Posted by PETERg0rsq View Post
Its a socket P board (mPGA478) which means Core 2 Duo processor support up to 3.5GHz
Socket P and mPGA478 are different.

Socket 478 aka mPGA478 is an older desktop standard, which supports mid-lifecycle Netburst processors - Pentium 4 and some Celeron D. There were no Core 2 processors released for it. It was replaced with LGA775 which supports the last Netburst processors and all Core 2.

Socket P aka mPGA478MN is a mobile socket used by various Core 2 mobile processors.
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Old 2nd Dec 2017, 11:23 am   #17
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Default Re: Old ISA soundcard

Sorry must be getting mixed up with another PC.

Just checked the PC and it is running a single core 3.2GHz (64bit) prescott processor.

Schematics here.

I did a lot of research looking for the best motherboard/processor for a PC that needed ISA support and at about 40 (used) this was the one I chose.

Running windows Vista it works great with my ISA hardware and runs all my other "workshop" applications easily.

Before finding this board I was looking at a Poweredge 1300 server as the best affordable option!

There are better "industrial" solutions available, but the cost is in the hundreds if not more!

peter
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Old 3rd Dec 2017, 1:50 am   #18
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Sorry must be getting mixed up with another PC.
I think it's understandable, considering how similar the codes mPGA478 and mPGA478MN are!
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