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Old Network Adapters
lbyard May-19-00 02:24 PM
I usually set old NICs to IRQ 11. This works with most NICS and computers and avoids a conflict with many sound cards. It is usually done with jumpers for very old ISA NICs or with the software that comes with the adapter for newer ones. The most agreeable port address is 300h (h=hexadecimal).

While I am on the subject, most older NICs are Novell 2000 compatible. Windows 9X (and I believe Windows 3.X) has an annoying habit of always setting the Novell compatible driver to IRQ 3, 300h when it detects the board/installs the driver. The port address is usually OK, but the IRQ will almost always conflict with COM 2: (or many older ISA, non-PnP MODEMs), which also uses IRQ3 The IRQ is easily changed manually to 11. But in Windows 9X, Windows will indicate that changing the driver IRQ to 11 will conflict with an existing board because it knows there is a board with that IRQ, which happens to be the NIC. Change it to 11 anyway, despite Windows’ objections; Windows will successfully marry the board and driver on reboot. Larry

1. RE: Old Network Adapters
diletante May-22-00 02:45 PM
In response to message 0

I have one of those old 2000 compatibles, and when I installed it, Windows had already assigned IRQ 11. (For something interesting related to the PCI bus.) I put it on IRQ 10 instead, and the network works fine. Windows does not indicate any conflicts, but when Windows starts up the music hangs up for a couple of seconds, so I am wondering if I should force the reallocation of the IRQs.

To clarify a bit, I am still letting W'98se start up with the introductory dialog box that lets you use tours on the CD to learn about the OS. It has its own special music that plays for about a minute. Since I don't really know much about how the PCI/IRQ business works, I am guessing that Windows does some probing around at startup and maybe when it tickles the network card it causes the sound card to hiccup or something like that. It remains to be seen if there will be any problems at other times.

Is this a problem that should be ignored? Or should I reserve IRQ 11 for the ISA card using the BIOS?


2. RE: Old Network Adapters
lbyard May-22-00 03:14 PM
In response to message 1
LAST EDITED ON May-22-00 AT 03:18 PM (GMT)

Yes, reserving IRQ 11 for legacy boards may very well work. Try reserving 5 and 10 for sound. Stuttering sound is usually caused by an IRQ conflict. Soundboards like IRQs 5 and 10. PnP soundboards may grab something else, but many install 16-bit (DOS) parameters with IRQs 5 and 10 in the config.sys/autoexec.bat files. Sometimes (very rarely) the problem is caused by DMA. I have seen lot of IRQ/driver problems with no-name sound boards. Soundblaster 16's are pretty easy to work with. Packard Bell sound/MODEM boards are terrible, etc. Other ideas (I need to write an article on this subject…): When the computer first boots, AMI will display what devices are using what IRQs… Try going into the BIOS Setup and enabling OS is PnP aware. This will allow PCI IRQ sharing by Windows. Up to four well-behaved PCI boards can share a single IRQ. Unfortunately, in a loaded computer, one can almost always count on one them to be totally misbehaved, and another one to be partially misbehaved. Try setting the network board to IRQ 9 (12 is used by the PS2 mouse and 14 & 15 are used by the IDE ports). Try disabling USB if you don't need it. There are two places in the BIOS to disable it. One reserves an IRQ for USB the other disables USB. Well-behaved PCI boards can be reconfigured to use a different IRQ and port address in the Device Manager. You have entered the world of the IRQ troubleshooting art; it is not a science. Larry

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