ISA bus functionality (SY-P4I 845PE ISA)

Discussion in 'Soyo' started by Soyo Man, Jan 20, 2004.

  1. Soyo Man

    Soyo Man Guest

    I found out about this board about a month ago and ordered a dozen.
    We have a proprietary data acquisition card that is still ISA based
    and this Mobo seemed a good option.

    Finally got around to plugging our ISA card into one of the ISA slots
    about a week ago. Ran our software, and no dice. Board didn't seem
    to be responding. Will start scoping the ISA bus signals this week,
    but in the mean time was wondering if anyone else is having trouble
    getting ISA cards to work.

    Specifically, our ISA board is EXTREMELY simple. Just hard-coded
    16-bit I/O addresses (between 500h and 5C0h). No DMA, No IRQ. These
    boards run fine in practically any P-3 motherboard we've ever tried -
    although sometimes the 16-bit I/O wait state setting in the BIOS has
    needed adjustment. I notice that the bios on this Soyo board DOES NOT
    have this setting (and yes the Bios is 9/9/03).

    Does the ISA functionality work in DOS mode, or are windows drivers
    needed for the ISA slots to work (which would be very unusual compared
    to any previous motherboard, 286/386/486/P, P1, P2, etc).

    Does anyone know why P4 motherboards were designed specifically to
    exclude ISA bus functionality? I mean, who made it "illegal" for P-4
    chipsets to have ISA bus support capability? How has Soyo made this

    (I know that there have been "industrial" P-4 motherboards available
    for some time, like American Preditor, but they were double the

    Funny thing - Why does Soyo not really say much about the 3-slot ISA
    capability of this board on it's on-line spec sheets?

    Also, have noticed that there is now a 1-slot ISA version available
    (noticably cheaper too). Any comments on that one?
    Soyo Man, Jan 20, 2004
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  2. Soyo Man

    Ol' Duffer Guest

    Oops! I thought it looked like a good thing, too, and ordered
    three of them. I have since disposed of two of them and will
    soon have the third for sale [cheap]. I don't know about ISA
    problems, but found another shortcoming, namely that the BIOS
    is crippled to only support one floppy drive. I need two.
    Can't imagine what they were thinking, but it appears they
    really dropped the ball on this one.

    I think we can credit Intel's chipset designers for this.
    They think we should have onboard LAN, AC97 audio, and a host
    of other bells and whistles that no one asked for, and don't
    want us to have non-plug-and-play resources that we can actually
    use and control.
    I believe they use a PCI-to-ISA bridge chip.
    I am currently trying BCM's BC845DL. Yeah, more pricey, but you
    get what you pay for (or at least you can't expect to get what
    you don't pay for). So far, so good.
    Maybe, like the floppy thing, because they didn't do it right?
    Ol' Duffer, Jan 20, 2004
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  3. Soyo Man

    Soyo Man Guest

    I posted a few days ago that we had ISA bus functionality problems
    with this board.

    What we've been able to determine is that I/O requests to locations
    500h through 51Fh are not passed to the ISA bus. We've come up with a
    work-around for this for our hardware, but I'm a little pissed about
    this. There is nothing I can find that is spec'd to use the 500h
    range, so I don't know why Soyo is blocking it.

    We have the latest bios (09/09/03) which cryptically says addresses
    some ISA functionality issues.

    Is it worth it to pursue this with Soyo? Anyone know a specific
    person / phone number?
    Soyo Man, Jan 23, 2004
  4. Soyo Man

    w_tom Guest

    First understand the concept. ISA is dependent on a
    microprocessor for timing signals. PCI freed processor timing
    from peripheral timing. That being one of so many solutions
    provided by PCI. ISA remained only as a peripheral of PCI -
    no longer attached directly to CPU. Its called the PCI to ISA

    Second, boot up process is a major event probably involving
    more code than DOS. Addresses and IRQs are found and
    assigned. Functions within every peripheral are discovered
    and setup. From PCI System Architecture:
    Time to use XP and discover what addressees are available.
    BTW, addresses were reserved for custom devices at and above
    300h. A standard that your design has violated.
    w_tom, Jan 23, 2004
  5. Soyo Man

    Soyo Man Guest

    So what.

    That's also the situation with Pentium-3 based motherboards, and of
    the dozen or so P-3 based motherboards we've used, none of them
    blocked (or used) the I/O range that's in question here.
    Assuming PNP bios has been activated.
    So what devices on this Soyo board is using 500h - 51Fh?
    SOME addresses above 300h (for some card makers). And certainly no
    motherboard resources. And very few reserved addresses above 500h.
    If you want to prove me wrong, post some URL's of I/O listings of
    devices that use 500h and above.

    In fact, probably up until the PCI bus was introduced, many ISA boards
    only decoded the first 10 I/O address lines, an indication that most
    or all defined I/O activity happened under 400h.

    I think it's very unusual that something on this Soyo board is using
    500h through 51Fh (and if it's not using it, why block it?).
    Soyo Man, Jan 24, 2004
  6. Soyo Man

    w_tom Guest

    PnP alone does not assign addresses. Just because one
    motherboard does not use address 500 does not mean another
    should not. Again, load XP and learn what addresses are being
    used by that motherboard design. PnP is only a subprogram of
    the PCI setup program. PCI determines what addresses will be
    made available to the ISA bridge - a uniquely defined by
    motherboard manufacturer. 500 was not reserved for ISA
    devices suggesting the address is being used for other
    motherboard functions. Load XP and find out.

    PCI spec says if the address is not being used, then it
    should be made available to ISA bus. Adress is not being made
    available. Theory suggests 500 is being used by motherboard.
    Exeriment to confirm.
    w_tom, Jan 24, 2004
  7. Soyo Man

    Wesley Guest

    I desperate wanted buy this 2x (SY-P4I 845PE ISA) but not available sale in
    Australia. i want this because of ISA (long story) anyway maybe good job i
    didn't buy this one. I revealed there other mobo P4 and ISA is Ibase M800 /
    MB820. Very is expensive and hard to find in shop, i only found 2 shops in
    Australia. I order them but they never replied to me which is disappoint.

    i think I finally give up for ISA

    Wesley, Feb 7, 2004
  8. Soyo Man

    Mike Guest

    I have recently been looking at ISA MBs, as I need ISA for an
    in-circuit emulator (Picmaster). I found the following : (there was
    one other, but no AGP so not investigated further)

    ibase 800 ($286)
    4 COM ports, Lan, Sound, VGA, 4USB, 3ISA, 3PCI, 8XAGP

    ibase 820 ($346)
    As above but 8xAGP, SATA, 6USB, 2ISA,4PCI

    Soyo SY-P4I845PE ISA ($180)
    Lan,sound (-GE has onboard CGA) 4PCI 3ISA 6USB 4XAGP

    Pricing on the ibase ones varies hugely, as they are distributed
    through industrial PC suppliers who expect industrial prices...!
    In the UK I was quoted GBP300 for the 800 from one supplier and GBP190
    for the 820!

    Incidentally, there are issues with programs accessing I/O hardware
    directly under Win2K and XP, which tries to keep applications away
    from the hardware - software for old ISA cards will typically need to
    talk to the card directly.
    I found that the utility from fixed the
    Mike, Mar 4, 2004
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