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ISA Sound Blaster AWE64 CT4500 Stops PC from booting!

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  • Sound Cards
  • Sound Blaster
  • Components
Last response: in Components
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May 11, 2012 2:59:29 AM

Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I just bought a Sound Blaster AWE64 CT4500 ISA slot card for an old Dos / Windows 98 PC I built out of some old components to play old 90's games on.

I bought the sound card for games that run in real mode Dos. The sound card itself looks in near mint condition, no bent pins or scruffy contacts.

So I put it in my motherboard (An old MS-6154VA with Pentium III 800mhz), and whatever I do it locks up the PC.

You get no POST, no display. Nothing.

I've been through the BIOS, looking for options, and have tinkered with the Onboard Sound enabled / disabled. I've tried PnP enabled OS on and off, I've tried all manner of things. Someone told me to edit the Autoexec.bat and Config.sys, which I did, but like I said the PC doesn't even boot that far. Infact, it doesn't get anywhere.

All the jumpers on the sound card are for plugging in external devices. It's supposed to be a PnP card.

Can anyone offer any advice? Am I missing something obvious? Or is the card (Which looks in great condition) just broken?

By the way, the PC boots up and runs normally when you take the card out.

Am I missing something obvious? Any help would be greatly appreciated.

More about : isa sound blaster awe64 ct4500 stops booting

May 11, 2012 3:50:38 AM

check pci to isa settings in bios see detail in motherboard user manual
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May 11, 2012 11:16:07 AM

AndyKowalski said:
Hi everyone, I was wondering if anyone could give me some advice. I just bought a Sound Blaster AWE64 CT4500 ISA slot card for an old Dos / Windows 98 PC I built out of some old components to play old 90's games on.

I bought the sound card for games that run in real mode Dos. The sound card itself looks in near mint condition, no bent pins or scruffy contacts.

So I put it in my motherboard (An old MS-6154VA with Pentium III 800mhz), and whatever I do it locks up the PC.

You get no POST, no display. Nothing.

I've been through the BIOS, looking for options, and have tinkered with the Onboard Sound enabled / disabled. I've tried PnP enabled OS on and off, I've tried all manner of things. Someone told me to edit the Autoexec.bat and Config.sys, which I did, but like I said the PC doesn't even boot that far. Infact, it doesn't get anywhere.

All the jumpers on the sound card are for plugging in external devices. It's supposed to be a PnP card.

Can anyone offer any advice? Am I missing something obvious? Or is the card (Which looks in great condition) just broken?

By the way, the PC boots up and runs normally when you take the card out.

Am I missing something obvious? Any help would be greatly appreciated.


How old is your ATX PSU? New ones do not have -5V anymore. ISA cards need -5V DC. Not sure if that is the problem but its worth looking into.
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May 11, 2012 12:37:46 PM

first off if you have the mb guild check to see that the isa slot and the video card slot do not share irq. if they do you might have to move the sound card over one slot. you have to turn off the onboard sound if you want to try and use that card. also check the irq settings in the bios if there set to auto or not. some old pc you have to turn of the printer port and or one of the com ports to free up an irq for the sound card.
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May 11, 2012 1:26:00 PM

Check to see if the required resources are avalible. From memory the default for the SB cards were;

IO Address 220
IRQ 5
DMA 1

If somthing else is using that then it wil probably crash.
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May 11, 2012 1:40:59 PM

You would still get a post if you had an IRQ conflict. It sounds like a power drain somewhere. How much wattage does your power supply have?

Here is what to do. Start with just the basics plugged in.

Plug in your Motherboard and cpu fan and video. See if it posts

Follow up with the sound card. See if it posts?



You know you could skip the old computer altogether.

Use a program like DOSBox with Dfend as the front end. It will run any DOS Game with ease. The advantage is you can control the speed of the game since most written for DOS use the default speed of the CPU.

Or

Run Virtual PC for the old Win 98 based games.

The advantage of this is you do not have to use old hardware and the sound cards that come with modern motherboards are far superior to the old Sound Blaster stuff.


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May 11, 2012 9:18:41 PM

Hi everyone and thanks for your replies.

I've tried swapping PSU's, and have tried three (All with -5v DC) and the same result on all of them.

I even flashed the BIOS which made no difference.

I've tried all manner of settings in the BIOS, but nothing makes any difference.

I've even installed a PCI card to see if those slots cause the computer to not even POST, and they seemed to work.

So do you guys reckon it's just the Sound Card is faulty?

Thanks again for any help and suggestions.
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May 11, 2012 10:22:18 PM

Your motherboard only has 1 ISA slot. Its the long black one at the bottom. Are you plugging the ISA card into a pci slot? or plugging a pci card into the isa slot? Perhaps you have the PCI version of the AWE64 and not the isa?
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May 12, 2012 12:35:50 AM

popatim said:
Your motherboard only has 1 ISA slot. Its the long black one at the bottom. Are you plugging the ISA card into a pci slot? or plugging a pci card into the isa slot? Perhaps you have the PCI version of the AWE64 and not the isa?



Hi, it is an ISA slot card. It's the Sound Blaster AWE64 CT4500. I am plugging it in to the long black ISA slot on the board (And yes, it only has one, so I can test another, unfortunately).

I've plugged in a PCI card in a PCI slot, to see if there is the same, problem - And that works perfectly. So I'm still at a loss as to what the problem is.

I'm thinking it's either a motherboard problem or a failure of the sound card itself.

Any suggestions welcome. Thanks.
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May 12, 2012 3:25:00 AM

Yeah, I think you've narrowed it down pretty well, and I agree that's it's either the card or that something is messed up with the slot.
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June 30, 2012 6:02:13 PM

Perhaps sharing my experience with you might be of some help.

I had an old TOMATO motherboard (never before used) from around 1998-99 with the old AMD processor AMD K6-2 3d now CPU (500 MHz) that goes along with it, and I also had a very old IBM-PC AT style cabinet that was actually used with an old type monochrome monitor (with a very old Hercules Graphics card, no color available) running strictly under the old style DOS 3.1 operating system. Since that motherboard would actually fit in an old AT-style cabinet, I mounted the old motherboard on the old cabinet and as a power source I used the same power source that came along with that cabinet (an old type AT-power supply, the predecessor to the newer ATX power supplies).

Oddly enough, everything worked Ok when I first turned the machine on (that is, getting up to the BIOS windows). After doing so, I decided to install a Western Digital 160 Gb hard drive, and load the Windows XP Service Pack 2 operating system in the machine. And it worked! The machine was extremely slow, though, but that got corrected as soon as I increased the RAM memory to 512 Mb (with two 256 SDRAM sticks).

Everything worked fine and well, and I was even able to upgrade the Service Pack 2 to Service Pack 3 via the Automatic Updates service provided by Microsoft through an Internet connection (I installed a US Robotics Fax Moden ISA card in an available ISA slot). Except, of course, when I tried to add a Sound Blaster PCI Live! sound card on an available PCI slot. Not only Windows XP failed to boot, as a matter of fact the initial BIOS screen normally provided by the motheboard did not show up, and the entire monitor screen (an SVGA 15" type monitor) would go blank almost immediately every time the PC was turned on.

The main suspect, from the very beginning, was the power supply that came with the cabinet, an old 200 watts AT power supply. I surmise that kind of power supply was designed to power up old IBM-AT clones running under DOS with a monochrome monitor, and that trying to extract from it enough power to run the Sound Blaster Live! PCI card was just to much. Most newer power supplies (all of them ATX) supply at the very least 250 watts.

Eventhough I had the option of replacing that very old AT power supply with a newer type ATX power supply (the TOMATO motherboard had provisions for both kind of power supplies) supplying 250 watts instead of 200 watts (remarkably, both have the same physical dimensions, so putting the ATX power supply in place of the old AT power supply in the cabinet would have been no problem at all, as far as physical installation goes), I had another option. I had a Sound Blaster 16 AWE32 ISA sound card available. So, I pulled out the Sound Blaster Live! sound card from the PCI slot and installed the Sound Blaster ISA sound card on the ISA slot that was available. And guess what, the system booted normally all the way into Windows XP! Unfortunately, Windows XP did not even recognize the ISA sound card in the Device Manager list and the usual loudspeaker icon that should appear on the bottom tray was notoriously absent. After much searching, I perceived the consensus that, for Windows XP, Microsoft did not really support ISA sound cards. However, just by tinkering around with the operating system I found out that you can actually coax Windows XP into accepting that old ISA sound card (after going into the Control Panel of Windows XP service pack 2 somewhere there is a place where you can actually select your sound system drivers from a list of options, and there you can pick up the drivers for the Sound Blaster 16 AWE32 sound card). Remarkably, that did trick, and when I tried the sound capabilities of the ISA sound card installed on that old TOMATO motherboard running under Windows XP, there was excellent sound reproduction and there was also an excellent recording capability when an external microphone was attached to the sound card.

An item still pending is the correct reproduction of MIDI encoded music files. Yes, the machine will actually play MIDI music files. However, every few seconds it goes completely out of sync and the reproduction has constant gaps as well as odd accelerations and decelerations above and below the normal playing speed. I attribute that to solely to the fact that the Sound Blaster 16 AWE32 sound card is not running under the software drivers normally provided by the manufacturer (Creative) but under the software drivers provided by Microsoft, with MIDI being generated by software (via the Microsoft GW Synthesizer tables) instead of being generated by hardware (from the specs for that sound card, I believe that the sound card has the capability of generating MIDI sequencing by itself, overtaking the Microsoft software emulation of MIDI). In order to correct that, I believe that a workaround might consist in downloading the sbw9xup.exe file from Creative, which will update the latest drivers precisely for that type of sound card, and might even wipe out the Microsoft supplied driver emulators for the card installing in their place the updated Creative drivers which will enable the operating system to access all of the hardware functions of the sound card, including correct and synchronized MIDI without resorting to the software emulation used by Microsoft. However, since the PC is working (sound-wise) perfectly, both in audio reproduction and audio recording with an external mic plugged into the Sound Blaster sound card, I am not in a hurry to try out such an experiment just for the sake of activating correct MIDI reproduction, which would require setting up a restore point under Windows XP, running the sbw9xup.exe executable program, and checking out to see if all of the hardware functions of that sound card including MIDI are recognized under Windows XP or at the very least the performance was comparable to the performance prior to the running of the Creative supplied sbw9xpu.exe program which is supposed to patch up and correct incompatibility issues of that ISA sound card under Windows XP; if not then go back and restore the machine to its original state.

In order to accomplish all of the above, I did not have any need of going into the BIOS (anyway, since that TOMATO motherboard did not come with any sound on-board chip included, it has no BIOS options you can tinker with).

In constructing the machine the way I have described, besides saving a lot of money by recycling old cards and components I came up with a bonus: it can read not only 3.5" floppy diskettes, but it can also read the even older 5.25" floppy disks (yes, Windows XP will recognize them as such!), and with disk partitioning programs such as Partition Commander it may be even possible to turn the machine into a super-machine that may be able to run multiple operating systems (under different partitions resorting to FAT 32 partitioning) such as Windows 98 second edition and Linux! (a program such as System Commander is useful for this type of endeavour).

Judging from what I have on hand, a very old TOMATO motherboard running with a 200 watts AT-style power supply and a AMD microprocessor "obsolete" by today's standards, with video (19 inch Westinghouse LCD color SVGA monitor!) and sound capabilities working perfectly, you should be able to also get that computer working with an old ISA sound card... under Windows XP! If I were in your place I would try procuring another ISA sound card (just in case the one you have may be faulty) or, if need be, resorting to a more powerful power supply (250 watts upwards) provided your motherboard has the connectors available to match with those of an ATX power supply.
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August 8, 2012 5:15:21 PM

Hi everyone,

I just wanted to say a big 'thank you' to everyone who contributed and helped out. I have now solved the problem. It was the sound card itself which was faulty, as I have bought a replacement Sound Blaster AWE64 and it works perfectly.

Big thanks to all the people who took time to help.

Andy./
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August 9, 2012 12:39:05 AM

TY for the update
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!