Dealing with ESS 1938 Solo-1...

Genica 4-channel es1938s pci sound card
September 30, 2009 at 21:30:26
Specs: DOS/Mandriva Linux 64/Windows Vista64, Athlon 64X2 5000+/4GB DDR2
I kept my ES1938 after replacing my motherboard with ONDA NF4TS... however, I got into some trouble configuring it...

First, although it remains its DOS compatibility as usual by TDMA, I can no longer hear any digitized sound from the card, only the FM music and Adlib sounds. I was wondering whether it is because my onboard LAN chip's using IRQ5 or something... but no matter what I do I'm unable to move that onboard RTL8100 away from IRQ5... Letting the card use another IRQ may work but the config tool cannot let me customize it... I remembered there was a configuration tool for ES1938/1946, ESS_DOS_CONFIG.ZIP (It was on their site a long time ago), but I never found it (The one available on Driverguide, released on May 27, 2003, is for ES1868/1869 ISA, as it tells me "No ES1868-based chip found" or something).

And the other problem is the support for Vista64... I just realized that drivers for Vista x64 NEVER exist. (I remember that it's still possible to install XP drivers on Vista 32 but may fail after reboot) I don't know whether there will be a workaround for it or not... AFAIK most devices are always supported by Linux and some other OSes... and some seems to be supported by universal drivers.

I was considering downgrading it to XP64, if it supports this audio chip...

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October 1, 2009 at 04:21:05
Update: It seems that no drivers for ESS PCI cards exist in the x64 world. I don't know whether there will be any generic audio drivers for these cards as a workaround.

Or otherwise I may have to remove 2GB memory and return to 32-bit.

I still need a workaround for ES1938 to work flawlessly on DOS... I really need a configurator, not a loader, for DOS and for that card...

EDIT: After I read more about nForce4 Chipset, which was the chipset of the board I've been using, the ONDA NF4TS, these problems such as the PCI incompatibilities, input devices' being unresponsive, may be one of the famous flaws of the nForce4, along with the useless ActiveArmor. I may have to consider a similar motherboard that's using chipsets of other brands such as VIA and ATi(AMD).

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October 11, 2009 at 02:23:51
Another update:

It seems that I need to find out more about the IRQ assigning policies... AFAIK this thing can only be settled by manually moving the card from one slot to another (but I only have two). Doing BIOS tweaking don't seem to be a good way to get it work... I don't know whether there can be a workaround to make the ES1938 to use IRQ 7 for DOS support... Its TDMA is always proven to be a reliable thing and can be used on any motherboards of any era, and in TDMA it consumes little memory (About 1.2K base memory, it will not consume any base memory if the board supports DDMA).

Actually the same thing happened when I tried to use YMF744B on my old Socket 462 board (It can be very tough to find motherboards with chipsets supporting DDMA) due to the same problem - it only allows IRQ5 of INTA (Actually I really don't know what INTA actually is, and it doesn't seem possible to move it to IRQ 7 which I always used several years ago), and somehow, it was once again the network card occupied the IRQ 5, rendered the IRQ unusable and thus will crash if it tries to play digitized sound.

Maybe for that I still have to search for better workarounds...

BTW, it seems this nForce4-based motherboard has a flaw with its PS/2 ports, which may fail, and thus the PS/2 ports aren't properly detected by OSx86... Problems that Keyboard/Mouse being unresponsive sometimes never happen if I use a USB mouse or keyboard.

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