Announcing The Snark Barker, a 100% Compatible SB 1.0 Replica!

2:28 am Projects

In December 1989, Creative Labs launched the now-famous Sound Blaster card. Almost 30 years later, I’d like to announce the Snark Barker, a replica of the original card designed to satisfy all your retrocomputing cravings!

Snark Barker Image

Check out my GitHub repository for all the design files.

The design has been tested and works with a number of old DOS games, and is compatible with the CMS chips (actually Philips SAA1099 devices).

8 Responses
  1. Leo :

    Date: January 27, 2019 @ 2:19 pm

    Great project! kudos on releasing it!
    can you please give more info on this statement on github?
    “purchase a SB 2.0 DSP chip from China and put it in a 44-PLCC to 40-DIP adapter”
    Where can one purchase this SB2.0 DSP?

    Also the 1.0 code, is it taken from a genuine SB? thanks!!!!

  2. eric :

    Date: January 30, 2019 @ 2:45 am

    Various sources sell a CT1351V202 that actually seems to work. The HEX file is not from the original SB, it’s taken from a no-name Chinese clone of the SB 2.0. There are more efforts ongoing; details at a later date.

  3. Leo Dallas :

    Date: January 30, 2019 @ 12:01 pm

    thanks for the info Eric, can’t wait to see what the future brings!

  4. kaspar :

    Date: February 5, 2019 @ 12:29 pm

    Your silkscreen text got a good laugh in my FOSDEM presentation.

    (P.S. You should link here from the github repo, also I have open issue there).

  5. SnarkBarkerPCIe :

    Date: May 3, 2019 @ 4:13 pm

    As you can see from my Callsign and as amazing as it is to clone the original Sound Blaster, unfortunately it’s still limited to the legacy ISA slot.

    I’m hoping this major breakthrough can be expanded so this clone can be used on modern motherboards with legacy PCI and PCI Express slots.

    Can you create a legacy PCI and PCI Express versions of this Snark Barker card to function in real DOS?

    Hopefully the answer is yes since your understanding of electrical engineering is beyond anyone else I’ve seen that there lies the hope you can do it if given the request.

    Thanks in advance!

  6. eric :

    Date: May 3, 2019 @ 10:39 pm

    This would be a challenge as you can’t directly provide AT-compatible hardware interrupts over PCI and PCIe. In the days of PCI, Creative Labs made an SB-LINK cable that you could plug between the sound card and the motherboard which provided the legacy IRQ and DMA signals. Newer motherboards dropped the SB-LINK header since by that time most people had switched to Windows for PC gaming. Without the cable you’d need some sort of TSR driver.

  7. SnarkBarkerPCIe :

    Date: May 23, 2019 @ 7:43 am

    If you can create a DOS Config.sys or a Command line TSR driver to do the virtual SB-LINK interface to intercept the the IRQ and DMA signals then your legacy PCI and PCIe versions of the SnarkBarker will work in real DOS.

    You have to make sure it is compatible with only HimemX.sys.

    All other DOS memory managers such as EMM386 and other ancient memory managers including Himem.sys no longer function on modern Intel chipsets since SkyLake.

    So if you are able to program this config.sys driver or command line TSR to work under HimemX.sys from Japeth only it will work properly on Coffee Lake and Cannon Lake modern chipsets on the PCIe slot in real DOS. This means that it would then be possible to play Sound Blaster sounds in real DOS on a modern Intel chipset. There would still exist a speed issue even at 800 MHz underclocking for some games that can’t handle it but otherwise it would bridge the gap for the Sound Blaster to the PCI and PCIe slot. A majority of real DOS games will function properly even at 800 MHz even on the i9-9900K octacore. It is the no Sound Blaster sound card that’s the only missing element.

    Later would be a legacy PCI and PCIe Express MIDI interface card for DOS MPU-401. Any ideas on doing this?

    It would be helpful to do a direct MIDI In, Midi Out, and Midi Thru connectors on the rear panel of the card if this is possible instead of needing a break out box. This would simplify just connecting directly to any external MIDI synthesizer unit to get MIDI sound.

  8. pbx :

    Date: June 20, 2019 @ 11:03 am

    What about using the LPC bus. As far as I know, LPC is used to provide legacy peripherals that used to be on an ISA bus, so I would expect it to support all relevant features.

Leave a Comment

Your comment

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.