Differences between GUS cards?

category: general [glöplog]
Sorry about leaving to messages in a row here, but I have another question.

I want to buy a Gravis Ultrasound card for demos, etc. However, I don't know what all the different types are and what the differences between them are. Which ones are the most desireable? which ones should I avoid (if any)? So far I know that the following models exist, but I don't know anything about them: Max, Extreme, Ace, Original.

added on the 2002-01-13 23:53:54 by Vynce Vynce
make sure the gus you'll buy will have at least 1meg of ram
added on the 2002-01-13 23:56:19 by _-_-__ _-_-__
(the maximum for classic | max)
added on the 2002-01-13 23:56:46 by _-_-__ _-_-__
If I were to buy a GUS Ace with 512K of RAM, is there any way for me to still upgrade that to 1MB now that Gravis doesn't support them anymore? Does anyone have more specs for the 256x16 RAM modules that they use? anywhere I can get them?
added on the 2002-01-14 01:21:02 by Vynce Vynce
I have a MAX with 512k RAM, and theoretically, it IS possible to upgrade them (there's actually a little slot for a 9-feet RAM, 44256 I think).
However... I'm still hunting for one of those chips, but can't find it anywhere.
As I remember, one of the Trident cards had RAM like those.
added on the 2002-01-14 11:49:45 by Gargaj Gargaj
they're called SOJ memory chips. were widely used back in the days, still available on local flea markets.
added on the 2002-01-14 12:26:02 by bhead bhead
for my gus classic, i just bought as many ram chips ("those old ones") as there were empty slots and made sure it totaled to 768k, then i tweaked the wrongly shaped things in using excessive force. works still fine:)
added on the 2002-01-14 12:35:59 by 216 216
I would go for a GUS PnP, some gus-classic-zealots hate it, but in fact, I had no problems even with the weirdest GUS demos, it sounds somewhat better, and you even get sound under Win9X out of it (the drivers are even really good, MME and DSound work perfectly).

Second advantage: It can be upgraded with SIMM modules, you should find those a lot easier than the old chips.
added on the 2002-01-14 13:26:55 by kb_ kb_
Uhm. i've never had problems with dsound+gus classic
actually, the GUS PnP dsound drivers are so good that i threw out the card after my first directsound coding experiments... I could program complete crap and this card played it ALL. Unlike, well, every other computer i tested it on :)
added on the 2002-01-14 14:27:12 by kb_ kb_
Thanks for the info. Here is what I've found out about the memory since posting that question. I'm not sure if this is all correct though.

The Max and Ace both come with 512K and have one slot to upgrade to 1MB. The Classic comes with 256K which is also upgradable to 1MB. The PnP doesn't have any RAM, the PnP Pro comes with 512K - both PnP models are upgradable to 8MB with 30 pin SIMMs.

Max and Ace
512KB in 256x16 (256K x 16bit) format, 40-pin, 70ns, SOJ DRAM memory chip
It should be 70ns FPM (Fast Page Mode) and not EDO
For graphic cards upgrade (not sure about this)

One place to possibly get it:

I don't think that I will get the GUS Classic. The Ace just seems to be a scaled down version of the Max - which would work fine since I don't intend to record audio (this card is just for an old DOS box for demos and games). The PnP seems to be better suited for Windows than the other models.

Thanks for the help, but I'm still no closer to deciding between the Max, Ace, and PnP.
added on the 2002-01-14 15:25:58 by Vynce Vynce
yeah i would go for a gus pnp too, pretty nice card... although mine doesn't like high transients, (starts emiting noise when it occurs) but that's not a big problem unless you're into mad square wave music, and it's noisy by todays's standards.. but for watching demos, it's perfect
added on the 2002-01-14 23:46:34 by _-_-__ _-_-__
Sorry boys, I need to bump into this too. =)

I would not recommend a GUS PnP perse. Sure, it can do what the classic could not do (the full 44KHz on 32 channels simultaneously), but there are some things that really suck about it, most of them being hardware faults. All three interwave cards I own have the glitch.

First, there's the Classic. It's a solid little beast. The early ones had rather horrible 12-bit DACs, giving the charm of a no-name soundcard. The CD3 types (recognizable by having propietary CD-ROM controllers and smaller board sizes) are sail-safe, as are all non-CD3 boards starting from late 1993. These babies use those evil little 20 pins DIPP memory modules usually ripped from 286 mainboards. Never buy a Classic without it's full complement of 1Mb RAM unless you like junkshops. I had to live for six months wihtout being able to play Second Reality because I had the default 256Kb RAM and it's *not* pretty.

The GUS MAX is kinda kinky: bigger board, all those CD-ROM controllers, and 512Mb of RAM per-se. The "extra codec" features were nifty, but currently rather unimpressive. The extra codec allowed 16-bit recording and if you used FT2 you could get 8-bit 56KHz samples. As excited as I was about that back then, these samples are rather terrible. =)

The ACE is a MAX with no sampling or codec, or simply a classic GUS without sampling. It does have the same memory type as the MAX, the kind any lame-assed S3-ViRGE or Cirrus Logic board have. Pry it loose from the brownish upgrade sockets of any cheap PCI card of the late nineties, and you're set ;)

The PnP and the PnP Pro are rather irkish. They do support the GUS in hardware -proved there's a RAM socket.

**** I'm not kidding you -there were people who used this chip without bothering for any RAM upgrade: the people at Philips released an AudioWAVE card with an Interwave chip and left the RAM banks off, making it a neutered GUS. ****

The PnP has serious issues with native GUS support: after a peak burst it will emit a noise signal until you interrupt current going through it (i.e. reset/reboot your computer) and there's the infamous tempo bug:

The timing of the GUS Classic chips and the Interwave are not similar, either crappy drivers or just plain hardware leave a serious tempo bug in the replay of a GUS PnP using GUS Native mode. Most of the time, it's not noticeable... but most trackers (people, not software) who used GUS native trackers know that sample loops play properly on a classic and NOT on a PnP. For reference I defy all PnP users to play [url=http://www.pouet.net/prod.php?which=1023]Mighty[url] or run any loop-rich XM module in FT2. The PnP has upsides: the RAM modules are 30-pins SIMM (salvageable from any junkyard of 236/386/486 pile) and it doesn't have the 14+ channel limit the Classis has. IWSBOS does seem to take a lot off the tempo glitch, but not enough. I still curse the days when I composed with a PnP Pro and had to redo everything using a Classic so I'd be sure the rest of the world woul be able to enjoy a normal-sounding song.

Then there's the GUS Extreme (ViperMAX to the zealots): a SB Pro compatible ESS card with a GUS Classic for the Wavetable upgrade -made usable with hacks from Gravis. The drivers are pure hell to install for peope who never mastered DOS, but for those who do not fear the unknown it's quite nice: it does support either GUS or SB/Adlib noise. Note that the ESS chip (the SB Pro compatible) is the only thing that makes it 16-bit sampling / Windows&DirectX compliant, and that is not up to par with current onboard (free with a carton of milk) soundchips. It's a DOS-only benefit.

I'd recommend a Classic (or MAX), provided it's with 1Mb of RAM. A PnP is last-resort -I mean, the only thing demo-wise going for it is the 8Mb of RAM, and AFAIK, no demo using a GUS uses more than 1Mb or provides a software/downscale option. The ACE is nice enough if you only bother with demos for the GUS, not samping under DOS.

p.s. : I'm kinda loopy about the Ultrasound cards, and collect them for sports. Anyone who would either sell their GUS or would be kind enough to send me a hi-res picture of their board(s)...I'm listening ;)
added on the 2002-01-15 01:49:22 by Shifter Shifter
Excellent post shifter! I learnt a lot. I have found an Ace for sale and I think I'm going to get that. This card will only be used for playback anyway, so that should work nicely.
added on the 2002-01-15 02:41:58 by Vynce Vynce
Hey, I've got a GUS Classic with 1MB for sale. Anyone interested, drop an email to tren@7gods.sk
added on the 2002-01-15 11:14:59 by Tren Tren
I have a gus extreme, and had 0 problems in dos with it, i must say i'm quite happy with it:)

But for windows, i remember it not being particularly nice.
For a while i had a soundblaster together with a gus in my machine, but it was not really optimal.

So now i have only an sb in my windows machine, and my gus lies on the shelf (NOT for sale, mind you :) waiting for my old machine to be freed from its routing job.
I have a GUS PnP (Interwave) since several years and no serious problems with it. There is even a wdm driver for Win2000 (works probably also with XP) and the card does coexist with my SB16 pnp clone since more than 3 years.
added on the 2002-01-15 22:18:09 by Crest Crest
i have a gus pnp with 16 mb ram (soldered on two extra simm-socket). still regret i sold my gus classic though. :(
added on the 2002-01-16 00:02:49 by neon neon
You actually *did* that? damn...I never dared to sacrifice a PnP for that hack, it felt kinda bad to risk a GUS to my laughable soldering skills.

(wanna sell?) ;)
added on the 2002-01-16 01:44:04 by Shifter Shifter
I had a GUS PnP since 1997 or 1996 I don´t remember. It works ok exept when it´s hot, that it locks my system with awfull loud white noise (I had to put an external cooler and everything goes right now). I soldered on two extra simm-socket so I have
in slot 0 4mb and in the rest 1mb without problems (7mb in total).
Slowly I am making a .fff from my Roland E-30 keyboard with Awave.
My problem is that I couldn´t make Gus Synth with Windows XP (only Codec with WDM drivers). Is possible to use NTb2 drivers?
Please help
added on the 2002-04-09 23:55:41 by 3771n9 3771n9
what trident card? the one that draws graphics? :)

i have many 512KB memory chips for these :)

added on the 2002-04-10 00:30:57 by BadSector BadSector
Short list:

GUS ACE: Audio Card Enhancer.
To be used as addition to existing soundcard, and therefore does not have the usual extras like joystick port, CDrom controllers, and such.
It's just a GF1 chip on an ISA board. 256 kb standard, if I'm not mistaken. 1 mb maximum

GUS Classic: Complete ISA sound board, with GF1 chip, several CDrom interfaces, and joystick/midi port.
256 kb standard, again if I'm not mistaken.
Note that this board does NOT have recording capability. For that you need the GUS daughterboard.

GUS Daughterboard: ISA board that adds a 48 khz 16 bit ADC/DAC to your existing GUS for high-quality sound recording and playback.

GUS MAX: GUS Classic and Daughterboard combined on a single ISA board. Also has 512 kb standard.

GUS PnP: AMD InterWave-based card. GUS-compatible. Standard model has no memory, and therefore won't work as a true GUS.
Pro model has 1 mb on board.
Both models are identical other than that, and can fit up to 8 mb in 2 30 pin SIMM slots.
It also has a 48 khz ADC/DAC, which I managed to use with some GUS MAX software, although it's not supposed to be compatible.

GUS Extreme: ESS AudioDrive 1688 and GUS ACE integrated on a single card. 1 mb standard.

I have a couple of GUS MAX, some Extremes, and a PnP Pro.
My experiences are that the GUS MAX itself is useless in Windows. The drivers are quite buggy. Using only the GF1 (for waveOut/DirectSound) is not a good option either, since the samples have to be uploaded to the GUS ram before they can be played, and this has considerable latency. I also had issues with using these old GUSes in fast PCs. The GUS MAX codec not being detected, random lockups and things like that.

The Extreme works fine in Windows, because of the ESS 1688. As far as I know, all Windows versions have a driver supplied for this card. I have used it with NT 4, Win98SE and Windows 2000 at least, without any problems.

The GUS PnP also works okay in Windows 98SE and Windows 2000, because there are working WDM drivers around for the InterWave chip.

All the cards worked 100% in DOS for me, never encountered any compatibility problems with any of them.

The Extreme is my favourite card. It gives you Sound Blaster compatibility, a true GF1, and it behaves nicely under Windows.

Hope this has been of help to anyone.
added on the 2002-04-10 00:49:26 by Scali Scali
Imo the GUS PnP Pro came with 512 KB onboard memory, at least my card has ...
added on the 2002-04-10 01:38:27 by Crest Crest
Yes you're right...
It was the Extreme that came with 1 mb standard.
My PnP pro does have 1 mb, but that's because I put 2 SIMMs on.
Standard it has 512 kb yes.
added on the 2002-04-10 02:31:39 by Scali Scali
Hey BadSector, do you feel like mailing one of those chips to me ? =)

I've just checked through the household hardware pile, but there were no PCI graphics boards that actually have the RAM in them =/
added on the 2002-04-10 03:18:33 by ript ript