Cards, cards, and MOAR CARDS!

Ah, that’s more like it. Feels good to get a few more cards into this thing. From top to bottom, we have:

  • Creative Nvidia TNT2 32MB AGP Graphics
  • Linksys LNE100TX PCI Ethernet
  • Adaptec 29160N SCSI Host Adapter
  • Creative AWE-32 ISA Sound Card w/ 8MB RAM

And I still have one PCI/ISA (combo) slot left. Technically I have one more PCI slot, but it’s right up against the AGP slot and I want to leave room for a fan-cooled GPU in the future, so I’m declaring that slot “off limits” to cards.

The GPU I talked about in the previous post. The Ethernet card was just a PCI card I had lying around and it should do the job. Plus it’s got a socket for a boot ROM in case I want to burn an iPXE netboot ROM for it (or any other ROM shenanigans I want to undertake). Somehow I’ve managed to acquire two Adaptec 29160 SCSI adapters, so it’s obvious I should shove one of them into this GP6.

The AWE-32 is, I believe, the only component I still have from my original Windows 98 machine. It came in a 486 that I bought for a family member and I’ve held onto it for ~25 years. Until now, it’s been housed in my Compaq Deskpro 386/20e. I had to dig that desktop out of the depths of my shelves to liberate it. It’s quite a lovely machine (yellowing aside) and pretty easy to get inside to swap cards.

I need to find a card to replace it, so again – back into the tub. I came up with these two ISA cards (I thought I had more, honestly): An Ensoniq Soundscape VIVO 90, and a Creative VIBA 16 Sound Blaster card. The Compaq is already set up for SB drivers, so I’ll pop the VIBRA 16 in here for now. It’s an incredibly budget card, but it will do in a pinch.

The AWE-32 is an amazing card. While it had a (crappy) on-board ROM wavetable instrument set, it also supported up to 12MB of sample RAM via 30-pin SIMM slots, similar to the Gravis Ultrasound. Unfortunately, not a lot of games (or demos) supported this card, so I mostly use it for a couple of MOD players that do support it. I have 8MB in this card at the moment. Funny thing about this AWE-32: When it was in the Compaq Deskpro, it had more RAM on it than the system it was installed in. 🤣

Isn’t it beautiful?