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Non-maskable interrupt support on Slot 1/Socket 370 boards

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    Non-maskable interrupt support on Slot 1/Socket 370 boards

    I see some folks are posting Pentium II questions, so I hope this doesn't stray too far from "vintage"...

    I've been trying to get a Windows 98/MS-DOS all-in-one retro box going, mostly because I want AWE32/64 music and DOSBox/PCem support for that is somewhat spotty.

    I have a Celeron 300A and an AWE64 ISA PnP card on an ASUS PL297 board with a MSDOS/Windows 98 dual boot hard drive.

    Everything in Windows 98 works, no issue there. Everything in DOS did work until I switched from a Diamond S100 PCI audio card with SB-LINK to the AWE64 ISA PnP. Now, no sound effects work in DOS, though music generally works, presumably not needing an interrupt to begin with. I expected this to happen if the motherboard didn't support non-maskable interrupts, as I had to ditch another "industrial" motherboard that worked fine aside from the lack of NMI support. I thought ASUS would be a popular enough pick in 1998 to have NMI, but apparently not. Is there something specific I need to be looking at to get a board from the late 90's that will support sound MSDOS alongside Windows 98? SB-Link works, but the Diamond S100 doesn't have 100% SBPro compatibility and I'd like to move to at least SB16 support for DOS games.

    #2
    You're VERY confused. NMI has absolutely nothing to do with an ISA sound card not working. NMI is used to halt the host CPU in the event of a serious fault, or something that can't wait and must be serviced. The sound card interrupt is not considered an NMI.

    Do you have the DOS drivers installed? This is pretty important for configuration of the card to set the IRQ, DMA and ports. Without the drivers, the card doesn't usually work correctly. You also need to have the "SET BLASTER" environment variable to tell the AWE64 which resources to use. Without the drivers installed, you'd be lucky if the MIDI interface worked.

    If you're using Windows 98's virtual DOS machine to run DOS games from directly in Windows, you need to have the VxD version of the AWE64 driver installed, and NOT the WDM version. The former allows programs to make direct calls to the hardware, while the latter only supports Windows based sound. This was right around the time Microsoft was trying to phase out reliance on DOS, so there was increased pressure to move to the WDM, rather than VxDs. For a short period of time, both were available for certain types of hardware, like sound cards and game controllers.

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      #3
      The AWE64 does not need drivers in pure DOS, but at least AWEUTIL (with the /i switch I think) must be called once in autoexec.bat or at the command prompt to init the card. Otherwise, the card has no volume levels etc. set and won't output much. Note that AWEUTIL does not need to be loaded as a TSR, unless you want to use the flaky GM support of the EMU8000, which only works in real mode anyway.

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        #4
        As far as i know, the AWE64 only needs the NMI for AWEUTIL /em, i.e. when emulating a general midi device.Shouldn't have any efect on sound effects or opl music.

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          #5
          Originally posted by GiGaBiTe View Post
          You're VERY confused. NMI has absolutely nothing to do with an ISA sound card not working. NMI is used to halt the host CPU in the event of a serious fault, or something that can't wait and must be serviced. The sound card interrupt is not considered an NMI.
          Yes, I was! I did read about NMI somewhere else regarding audio, but that may have applied only to PCI audio cards or that other person was simply wrong.

          I wound up abandoning MS-DOS completely, formatting the machine, and continuing with just Windows 98. Whatever I did the second time worked and now I'm having no issues.

          Thank you everyone for the replies!

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by raifield View Post
            Yes, I was! I did read about NMI somewhere else regarding audio, but that may have applied only to PCI audio cards or that other person was simply wrong.

            I wound up abandoning MS-DOS completely, formatting the machine, and continuing with just Windows 98. Whatever I did the second time worked and now I'm having no issues.

            Thank you everyone for the replies!
            You may want to try dual booting with DOS on a seperate partition. I would recommend System Commander.
            Surely not everyone was Kung-fu fighting

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              #7
              Don't ask me why I had it in my head to dual-boot in the first place. MS-DOS alongside Windows 98 doesn't really bring anything useful to the table for someone looking for causal retro gaming. Maybe an easier time of it with CPU slowdown utilities, but only just.

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                #8
                Windows 98 runs on top of MS-DOS, it doesn't make much sense to have a separate MS-DOS installation unless there's a compatibility issue.

                If you're having speed issues, you can try disabling the processor cache. It will really slow the system down, precluding needing specific utilities to eat CPU cycles, which can cause timing issues.

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