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Incompatibility FAQ: Cirrus Video Cards & Creative Sound cards

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Archive-name: games/incompatibility/cirrus-soundblaster
Posting-Frequency: Monthly
Last-Modified: 27 August 1996
Version: 3.01

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Cirrus Logic Video cards and Creative Labs Sound Card Incompatibility FAQ
				by Gareth blades (

The latest version of this ASCII document can be obtained via ftp from as :-

This FAQ is posted monthly to, comp.answers,
and news.answers.



 1) What is the problem?
 2) What is the cause?
 3) What video cards are effected?
 4) What sound cards are effected?
 5) How to overcome the problem
 6) What programs are effected?


 1) What is the problem?
This incompatibility causes crackling in the sound during video animations
in high resolution modes in DOS mode.

The incompatibility also seems to cause the sound card to produce a
screeching sound when it is being initialised by a particular sound card
driver. Games that I know use this driver include:-
  Doom (screeches at start and end of game)
  Doom 2 ("")
  Descent ("" and when switching between the map and the game)
I have not found any way of getting rid of this problem.

 2) What is the cause?
There is an incompatibility between some Creative Labs sound cards (the
SB16 in particular) and Cirrus Logic based video cards.

I have had various reports of non Creative Labs sound cards being effected
and therefore I suspect the problem is due exclusively to Cirrus Logic

 3) What video cards are effected?
All cirrus logic based video cards are effected. This also includes:-
  Orchid Kelvin 64     (Cirrus Logic 5434)
  Diamond Speedster Pro
  VLB Genoa 8500 (Cirrus Logic 5429)

 4) What sound cards are effected?
It seems to be mostly the Creative Labs sound cards which are effected.
The list below shows other cards which have been reported as having the
same problem:-
  MediaVision Jazz 16
  Ess audio card

 5) How to overcome the problem

I have not found a way of getting rid of the screeching when the sound card
initialises. The crackling while animations are playing can be got rid of

To overcome the problem is relatively easy. You simply load a dos based
VESA driver for the video card. Cirrus have some drivers on their FTP site
which is

I personally use a program called Scitech Display Doctor which is a program
that can be used for many different video cards. It is small and apparently
faster than the available Cirrus ones although it is shareware and does nag
when you run it.

The current version of SDD is 5.2. It costs about $30 to register and
supports the Vesa 2 standard which means it can make some games run a lot

SDD 5.2 can be found at

 6) What programs are effected?
The incompatibility is with the VESA bios on the video card and therefore
it only effects games which use VESA. This includes all games which run in
SVGA modes. The following games are known to use VESA.

  * = VESA driver only used in high resolution graphics mode

  The 7th Guest
* Simcity 2000
* Theme Park
* Magic Carpet
* The Need For Speed
  Fatal Racing
  Nascar Racing
  Star Trek the Next Generation
* Wing commander 4
  Transport Tycoon
  Transport Tycoon Deluxe
  Links 386 Pro
  Under a Killing Moon
  Command and Conquer
  US Naval Fighters (and sequels)
* System Shock CD
* Flight Simulator 5.0
  Mechwarrior 2 (the console screen in particular)
  Warcraft 2
  Tie Fighter

Since producing this FAQ I have upgraded my system and no longer have a
Cirrus Logic based video card. Therefore I rely on other peoples
contributions to update this FAQ.

There are also a new type of game which require a Vesa driver supporting
the Vesa 2 standard. One such game is the 11th Hour. It comes with its own
copy of UniVbe to run the game.

Gareth Blades (home)

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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM