When I went to work yesterday, I happened upon about 15 or so old PC's, sitting on the floor near the hospital's maintenance department, all marked "Destroy". Not being one to want to see an innocent computer murdered, I inquired about them and was told to "help myself" ... which I did.
I took four of the PC's, all Compaq Deskpro 4000 Pentium 166's with no hard drives. Strangely enough, they all had CD-ROM's (one Iomega CD-R drive), RAM, sound cards, video cards, and diskette drives in them. Since I have extra hard drives laying around the house, as well as old monitors and keyboards, this was okay by me. I gutted three of the PC's and took their RAM and sound cards. Surprisingly, one of them even had a Yamaha WF192XG card in it...which I plan to give away in the next Quest Studios contest. It works just fine. Two of the others have built-in ESS music, and I can't figure out what the other sound card is -- there's absolutely no writing on the circuit board.
I ended up creating a P166 system with 128MB RAM, with a CD-R, 2.1 GB hard drive, which I've installed Win311 on. I also installed a MPU-IPC (for the MT-32 and CM-500), AWE64 Gold, and my Yamaha SW60XG card. FOUR ISA SLOTS! WHOO-HOO! The system works perfectly for old Sierra game playing, sequencing MIDI, and recording digital music. Best of all, it didn't cost me a cent -- and I ended up with a Yamaha soundcard prize give-away for an upcoming contest. Though the WF192XG isn't great, it still beats a SB Live! or Audigy any day of the week.
But the point of this story is what I had to do to the Compaq Deskpro 4000's CMOS in order for it to recognize what was in it. In all my years of computing, I've never experienced anything like this before:
First off, pressing "F10" (or some other key combo) had now effect towards getting into the systems CMOS setup. I came to learn that the "4000's" setup, as well as other Compaq PC models, can only be accessed via software. So after cursing about how stupid of an idea that was, I found the software setup program on the 'net, downloaded it, and was able to access the 4000's CMOS. The MPU-IPC was not recognized by this system and I couldn't figure out why. After examing my limited CMOS options, I learned that I had to physically tell the CMOS that there was an IRQ 2 & 9 -- it didn't list them as possible IRQ's, but accepted them. Then I had to tell it that the I/O address of IRQ 2 was 0330-0331. I've never owned a PC that didn't recognize the MPU-IPC, or IRQ 2 (IRQ 9 came later), for that matter. Anyway, that did the trick and the MPU-IPC, AWE64, and SW60XG are all co-existing happily in this new system.
The moral of this story...
"Never give up; never surrender!
" (Wait, that's from "Galaxy Quest", isn't it.)