Sound Card Dilemma - Please Read & Respond

Here is my problem. Let me breakdown my system first:

Abit BH6 Motherboard (1.0) 5 PCI, 2 ISA, 1 AGP Slot
P3-1.0Ghz (Not OC'd), 100Mhz Bus, 512M Ram

AGP Slot 1 - Geforce II GTS
PCI Slot 1 (Shared w/ AGP) Voodoo2 Card (no irq req.)
PCI 2 - Promise Ultra 100 (I have 8 IDE Devices)
PCI 3 - 3com 10/100 Nic
PCI 5 - BLANK (Both Slots share IRQ w/ Onboard USB)
ISA 1 - LPT2 Card
ISA 2 - Soundblaster AWE32/ AWE64 Gold*

Now I had an ISA AWE64 Gold card thatr i loved in my ISA slot, but it died, the putputs dieSo i replaced it with an ISA AWE32 that i had. Here is my question.

Being I am a BIG performannce buff and gamer, I can Get a SB AUDIGY PCI card, ONLY if i replace the PCI 10/100 Nic with an ISA 10/100 nic. Now will the cable modem speed be affacted by going to the ISA bus, AND is the upgrade from the AWE64 Gold (was the Best Isa soundcard as far as i can tell), worth the effort?

PS - I am an extreme gamer, and whatever soundboard i get is running into my current Sony str-d865 475 Watt audio/video control center, with 6 15" Rockford Fosgate woofers, KLH ceiling mounted speakers, and AR (acoustic Research), Floor standers w/ 10" woofer and 5 tweets.

Please help!
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  1. 1st: No, your cable modem won't lose speed. The ISA bus is...well, way faster than your cable connection.

    2nd: Why can't you use slots 4&5? Sharing IRQs isn't the worst thing that could ever happen.

    3rd: If you ARE worried about IRQ sharing problems, don't get a Creative Labs product.

    4th: If you AREN'T worried about IRQ sharing problems, don't get a Creative Labs product.

    5th: Read #3 again.

    6th: Read #4 again.

    Have a nice day :)

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  2. Actually wrong on all fronts. If i go to an ISA based nic, my CPU utilization will rise because of the ISA board, and the ISA bus is way slower than the PCI bus, so the cable modem May be affected in online gaming.

    Plus you made NO sense about my irq prob. It coimes down to is it worth the upgrade to an Audigy from an AWE64. Who in their right minds wants to share an IRQ? If i use the soundcard and something on my usb hib (camera, etc...) the sound will go mad!
  3. Wait, you ask for help and then tell me I'm an idiot? You just screwed yourself, and you're not likely to get any more help from anybody on this forum. Don't let the door hit you in the butt on the way out.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  4. Disable coms ports 1 & 2, if you don't use them, and free some IRQs.

    <b><font color=blue>~scribble~</font color=blue></b> :wink: <A HREF="" target="_new">Help cure cancer.</A>

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  6. Actually, you are wrong on all fronts!!! Your CPU ultization will not go up because the ISA bus can supply enough bandwidth even for 100mbps and information isn't constantly being sent back and forth. Also, as no other devices will be sharing the ISA bus, there is nothing to slow down. With a PCI card, you would reduce the overall bandwidth available to all the PCI cards when a NIC card is in use. Theorectically, an ISA NIC card would be faster when used with a PCI sound card. Also, what's wrong with sharing an IRQ? All modern versions of Windows are designed to share IRQs without any problems. In fact, in Windows 2000 and XP, nearly all devices share a single IRQ, graphics, sound, usb, etc. Creative cards are an exception in some cases as FatBurger said because they hog the PCI bus and they buggy drivers.


    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  7. Maybe the PCI NIC is using Busmastering?
  8. Even then, it has to share the PCI bus bandwidth. Either, it slows down, waiting for another card to finish (probably the sound card, especially, if it's a creative product), or it's using the bus and other cards are waiting for it.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  9. Wait a sec... WHOAH!!! Please, I did not mean to insult anybody. I was just saying what i thought to be the case. If I was wrong (or came off in the wrong way), please accept my apology. I did not mean to insult anyone at all.

    I thank you to all of you for the help, it looks like the Audigy for Xmas, and an ISA 10/100 Nic...


    Should i just get a Slot1 Motherboard with 6 Useable PCI Slots???
  10. Also, let me dial into my system at home and post my current IRQ mess. I have com2 disabled, com1 is on for my external USR Courier V. Everything. Then you have the Promise 100, the 3com Nic, the Geforce GTS, the Soundblaster ISA, OnBoard USB, Both Onboard IDE's, PS/2 Mouse.
  11. Here they are, notice not 1 conflict. I really have this meachine purring....

    00 - System Timer
    01 - Intel Wired Keyboard (PS/2)
    02 - Programmible Interrupt Controller
    03 - Intel 82371AB/EB/MB PCI to USB Host Controller
    03 - Irq Holder for PCI Steering
    04 - Com1
    05 - 3Com Etherlink 10/100 PCI TX Nic (3c905B-tx)
    05 - Irq Holder for PCI Steering
    06 - Floppy Controller
    07 - Printer Port (LPT1)
    08 - System CMOS/Clock
    09 - NVidia Geforce II GTS
    09 - irq Holder for pci Steering
    10 - Creative SB AEW32/64 ISA
    11 - Promise Ultra 100
    11 - IRQ Holder for pci steering
    12 - Logitech Optical Mouse (PS/2)\
    13 - Numeric Data Processor
    14/15 - Onboard IDE

    Shows you my dilemma. I want to keep my promise card, because i have 1TB of HDD Space (2 deskstar 30 gigs, 2 WD 20gig, all 7200 ultra 100 drives), plus my plextor burner, toshiba cd-rom, hp 8gb colorado travan backup, internal Zip 250.
  12. 2 devices sharing IRQs is not the same thing as an IRQ conflict. I have 5 or 6 devices sharing IRQ11, and I have never gotten a BSOD. Windows XP.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  13. So you are saying if i plug an SB Audigy Gamer card (I am runnin Win98 by the way, I have XP but not game ready to use yet)... I will not have any problems due to The SB IRQ running co-existant to the USB controller? If i say use my USB webcamera and my headset at the same time, windows wont freak out on me?

    If thet was the cast I would have bought a live 5.1 platimun over a year ago instead of searching the universe for an AWE64 gold in new condition.

    So what constitues a conflict/sharing? If a card is using the same IRQ as another device is that not an IRQ conflict? Is is not recommented to use single IRQ's for everything?
  14. Addition:

    I never ever ever crash. No BSOD. Nothing on my machine. It runs faster than 1.0G machines on a 133 BUS, than my 100. Performance is a huge thing here, but stability is another.
  15. Sure, sure, that's what they all say.........ALL COMPUTERS CRASH!! PERIOD!!!! I've tried Intel processors, AMD processors, different motherboards, cooling fans, ramsinks, power supply, Windows 98SE, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows XP, BeOS, Linux. It's impossible to avoid app crashes but I've only had 1 BSOD under WinXP in 1-2 months.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  16. But the point i was trying to make is, will an Active IRQ share, make the system unstable being it has been rock solid for more than 4 years now?
  17. no, IRQ sharing is not a bad thing on well-designed cards. IMHO, Creative soundcards are very poorly designed however.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  18. Agreed. Get something OTHER than a Live. Lives are about the worst sound cards ever made.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  19. So what is your final recommendation I do first? 6 PCI Slot Motherboard (would have to be Slot1, and if i upgrade that might as well go with a faster CPU chip than the 100mhz bus P3-1.0G), or PCI Sound/ISA Nic, or PCI Nic / ISA Sound, and which soundboard if any?
  20. It is definity worth to upgrade to a Audigy. The 5.1 sounds a lot better than 2.1 you have now. Just 5.1 support I think it worth the upgrade.
  21. Ok, now say i go get the Audigy (or someother PCI soundcard)... Should I get an ISA Nic and give the PCI sound its own IRQ, OR Get a 6 PCI Motherboard Slot-1??? I dont think the PCI sound cards will jive with the others i have in there, or the PCI nic will not work in conjunction with the onboard usb?!?!
  22. PCI device does not use IRQs; instead, it uses shareable "Interrupt Channels" labled "INTA", "INTB", "INTC", and "INTD." The maker of the PCI divices configure these interrupt channel at manufacture, and only in the most rare of occasions do we need to change them.
  23. See me previous post. PCI device does not use IRQ. You can just use both PCI NIC and PCI sound card using the same IRQ.
  24. So your telling me that if I put the Audigy card or the 3COM pci nic in slot 4 or 5 which shares the Interrput with my Onboard USB controller, there will NO problem, and all 3 devices will work seamlessly, even when both devices are being used simultaniouly? (Ex.. Using a USB Webcam, and the PCI NIC), (Or a USB Mouse and the Audigy) just an example.
  25. In Reply to:

    Also, as no other devices will be sharing the ISA bus, there is nothing to slow down. With a PCI card, you would reduce the overall bandwidth available to all the PCI cards when a NIC card is in use.

    His motherboard Abit BH6 have BX chipset. BX chipset use PCI bus to connect the Northbridge and Southbridge so any device on PCI, ISA, and USB port will reduce the PCI bus bandwidth.
  26. Yes there will NO problem. I have the Abit BX6 Rev2. It is very similar to BH6. I have similar setup.
    AGP SGI (I forget I just know it is SGI)
    PCI 1 - Empty
    PCI 2 - Promise Ultra 66
    PCI 3 - SB Live
    PCI 4 - 3com 10/100
    PCI 5 - ATI All-in-Wonder 128 Pro
    ISA 1 - Empty
    ISA 2 - 3com Modem

    I did not have any problem with it.
  27. Yes, true. It's only recently that newer motherboards by VIA, and SiS, that connect the northbridge to the southbridge through a dedicated bus. Actually, the SiS 735 uses a single chip. Perhaps, I am wrong. But even then the difference in performance between ISA and PCI NIC should be negligible.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor <P ID="edit"><FONT SIZE=-1><EM>Edited by AMD_Man on 12/21/01 06:08 PM.</EM></FONT></P>
  28. My advice is to keep your PCI NIC (for now, if you have problems you can always get an ISA NIC), and get some card like a Turtle Beach Santa Cruz. I hate Creative Labs products (especially the Live), and you'll have more IRQ problems with those than with any other card.

    <font color=orange>Quarter</font color=orange> <font color=blue>Pounder</font color=blue> <font color=orange>Inside</font color=orange>
  29. If your using Win98SE, I suggest any Vortex2 based card you can find. These are going cheap, work great with BX chipsets, and have better 3D positional audio than anything else on the market, IMO.

    What's the frequency, Kenneth?
  30. First off, a 10 mb/s Isa nic is more than enough for any cable connection...if thats is all your using your nic for then don't sweat it. If your doing some large file transfers over a network well then thats a diiferent story.

    Second, You are about to remove two devices and install two more. Win 98 is going to make IRQ soup out of your current config, guranteeing no problems is not possible. You might want to make sure you lock the ones you leave in place before you go about this.

    The vortex sound card Crashman recomends is a nice card but it will want two irq's, most sound cards do. And yes sometimes this is a problem. disabling the sound blaster emulation is an option.

    If you are on cable why do you still have a modem installed? Are you using bitware? One option might be to lose the three com nic and install a usb nic and or modem. this will free up an irq.

    Another Cookie? Who is going to pay my dentist bill?
  31. Well here is what I am doing. I thank everyone for their imput and thoughts into my problem... Everyone was appreciated and taken very seriously.

    I told my sister to get me the SB Audigy Gamer from Best Buy ($79), i think it is a fantastic buy. Now I will move my pci ethernet card to the last PCI slot on the motherboard and try it for a few days. If i experience problems, I have a backup USB ethernet adapter to hold me over until I can get a NEW 3Com ISA 10/100 based nic. See them on ebay for about 10-15$.

    I know going into this i am headed for IRQ hell, but the AWE32 that replaced my AEW64 Gold ust doesnt cut it anymore.
  32. If you are looking to get a slot one MB, I highly suggest you get the Tyan Trinity 400. It has a slot one and FCPGA. I have had 3 SB cards on this (brand)board and never had any problems. It has 3 PCI slots (the last one can be shared with the ISA). It is very stable, and flexible, but not overclockable. If you like to overclock, do not get this board!!! It can be purchased at various web retailers for around $75-85, with shipping.

    PS, the Live series is much better than your AWE 32 or 64 card (I have had both:)the Audigy, I have heard is even better.

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  33. Since you plan on taking Hardware out, and putting new ones in, I highly recommend you do a fresh install and format that Puppy (At least the HD with applications on it) if you do run into any problems. Reformate will get ride of old garbage and help your computer run faster (Mine increased by 20%) Just make sure that you have all the latest drivers for everything and good luck!

    If it works for you then don't fix it.
  34. I dont think a reformat will be nessary but thanks for the advice. My system is so rock solid that even the worse SB card will not bring her down. (I do say that with a straight face). I love this ABIT board, as she has been excellent to me for over 3 years now. If I get another MB i am going to 400mhz Bus P-4. But with my current config, that speed is not nessary. My Geforce II card rocks, I just need better fidelity to even it all out.

    I went to Micro Center, CompUSA and only Microcenter today had 2 ISA Nic's, but only 10 Base-T. I am going to but a 3Com 10/100 ISA Nic. Plus since my awe32 is on irq10, the Audigy should take that IRQ, and I will stick the ISA NIC on the OLD Nic's IRQ, plus setup a Windows Hardware Configuration to turn off COm1 for my external Courier Modem until i need it.

    The audigy needs 3 IRQ's. 1 for Win Sound. 1 for Firewire, and 1 for Dos Emulation. I will turn off the DOS, and keep the Firewire. I want to check that out.
  35. It is better to only use PCI card. They are designed to share IRQ but ISA Slot are not. You have less problem if you only have PCI card.
  36. I personally think this whole Share IRQ think with PCI Cards is a misnomer... There are only a handful of PCI cards that let you do it. It is just awful outdated design by PC manufacturers to stick us with only 15 interrputs.

    I need the ISA Based 10/100 Nic, because the 3Com PCI Nic I have will not jive with the onboard USB. My only option to keep the Audigy is replace the PCI 3com nic with the audigy, and then putting in an ISA based Nic. They would not share IRQ's, everything would have its own IRQ.

    I have looked into other motherboard options, there are not many. I really like my BX chipset, and the Tyan 400 is a Via 133A, which i hear is not bad, it has 6 pci slots, but out of the 6 how many are actually usable to their own irq?
  37. Here is what just dawned on me... Check this scenario out.

    I install the audigy on the PCI slot 4, it shares with the onboard USB. I create 2 Windows Boot up Configurations, 1 for AUDIGY w/o USB, and One for AWE32/64 With USB. This way I can use the Audigy and keep the PCI NIC in at the same time, and disable USB in windows because i dont need it to play online games. And if i want to use USB with Sound i keep the AWE32/64 in the machine for the other configuration/boot.

    In theory this should work flawlessly and keep all the IRQ's in check and seperate. Will let you all know how it works in the coming hoursd after Christmas!

  38. Wow! Don't worry so much about IRQs!! It's normal to share IRQs!! In Win2000 and WinXP most devices share IRQs by default due to ACPI. The latest specs demand that sharing IRQs works flawlessly.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  39. I know, but I will not go to XP at home yet because it is not "Game Ready" in my mind, for which my system was designed for. When i take the jump in 6 to 8 months or so, when games come with full 100% compatability for XP, then it will not be an issue. But until then i must do this under Win98.
  40. IRQ sharing is also allowed in Win98 without any problems, at least theorectically.

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
  41. IRQ's and Win9x "theorys" are too sensetive of a place to devilge into. It is a 50/50 crap shoot. Remember that being Win9x is build on a DOS 16 Bit Kernel IRQ's matter MUCH more than An NT/2K/XP machine. I am sure when the time is right i will go XP, i already have it on ym wifes machine, and have my copy awaiting, just dont want to lose my game compatability yet.
  42. Well, I'm running Windows XP right now and I have yet to find a game that doesn't run under WinXP. What games do you play?

    AMD technology + Intel technology = Intel/AMD Pentathlon IV; the <b>ULTIMATE</b> PC processor
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