Section 17.7. Installing a Sound Card


17.7 Installing a Sound Card

A sound card physically installs just as any other expansion card does. Some sound cards require many system resources, so keep the following guidelines in mind:

If you are installing an ISA sound card

Before proceeding, use Device Manager or Windows NT Diagnostics to determine which resources (IRQ, DMA, and I/O ports) are already in use and which are available. If installing the card using its default settings would cause a resource conflict, either reconfigure the card to use resources that are not already in use, or (better) leave the card configured at its default settings and reconfigure other system components to free the resources that the card wants.

In particular, if you run DOS games, make sure the following resources are available and assigned to the card: IRQ 5, DMA 1, DMA 5, and I/O ranges 0220-022F, 0330-0331, and 0388-038B. DOS games often expect these exact resources, and fail to work if others have been substituted.

If you are building a new system

Install the PCI sound card before you install other components such as network adapters or SCSI host adapters, allowing the sound card to make first claim on system resources. Although PnP usually does a good job of juggling resources, we have sometimes experienced resource conflicts when installing a sound card in a system that was already heavily loaded with other adapters. If that happens, the best course is to disable all adapters in Device Manager (except essential ones like the video card and IDE interface), then physically remove those adapters, then install and configure the sound card, and finally reinstall the other adapters one by one. If your CMOS Setup program allows you to assign an IRQ to a particular PCI slot, use that feature to assign IRQ 5 to the slot where you plan to install the sound card. If you experience conflicts or improper functioning, try installing the sound card in a different PCI slot.

If you are replacing an existing sound card

Before you remove the card, delete it in Device Manager (if you are running Windows 9X) and delete all its drivers from the hard disk. Turn the PC off, take off the cover, physically remove the old sound card, and start the PC. Verify that all vestiges of the old sound card are gone. If the sound card is embedded, run CMOS Setup and disable it in BIOS. With all that done, turn off the PC again and physically install the new sound card. Start the system again and install the drivers for it.

Except for physically removing and replacing the sound card, we recommend following the same procedure when updating sound card drivers. That is, never upgrade sound card drivers. Instead, remove the old ones and install the new ones as a clean install. We have encountered problems more than once when attempting to upgrade existing drivers. A clean install avoids those.

If you are installing a sound card in a motherboard that has embedded sound

Before you install a sound card in a system with embedded sound, disable the embedded sound adapter either in CMOS Setup or by changing a jumper on the motherboard (or both). Every motherboard we know that includes embedded PCI sound allows you to disable sound in BIOS. Enabling or disabling sound usually has no effect on interrupts, because embedded PCI sound uses one or two shareable PCI interrupts. Older motherboards, however, may have embedded ISA sound adapters, which may use fixed ISA interrupts. Such motherboards may or may not allow sound to be disabled and the interrupt made available for other adapters. If it is possible to disable the interrupt, doing so usually requires removing a physical jumper on the motherboard.

When installing a sound card, remember to connect the CD audio cable from the Audio Out jack on the back of the CD-ROM drive to the CD Audio jack on the sound card. If you have two CD or DVD drives installed, you can connect Audio Out from the second drive to the Aux In jack on the sound card, if present. We always forget to connect these cables, which is a good reason to test the system before putting the cover back on.

17.7.1 Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows 95/98/2000/XP

Configuring a sound card requires similar steps in Windows 95, 98, and 2000/XP, with minor differences in the names and sequence of dialogs. To configure a sound card under Windows 9X or 2000, take the following steps:

  1. After removing the existing sound card and drivers, if any, verifying that all vestiges of the old sound card drivers are gone, and physically installing the new sound card, restart the system. Note that the drivers supplied on CD-ROM with some sound cards must be present in the CD-ROM drive when you start the system.

  2. Windows should recognize that the new sound card is present and display the Add New Hardware Wizard. Although Windows 9X includes drivers for many sound cards, you are usually better off using the Windows 9X drivers supplied by the sound card manufacturer. To do so, mark the Search for... option button and click Next.

    Windows 2000 and Windows XP include drivers for relatively few sound cards. The drivers they do include often have limited functionality, such as supporting only 2-channel sound on a 4-channel card. We strongly recommend downloading Windows 2000/XP drivers from the sound card maker rather than using those provided with the operating system. Install Windows 2000/XP drivers in the same manner described for Windows 98 drivers.

  3. When Windows displays the next dialog, either specify the location of the drivers or specify which drives to search for them. Click Next to continue.

  4. Windows should locate the proper drivers and load them. When the process completes, reboot the system. Most sound cards include an automated installation procedure for bundled applications, which usually autoruns immediately after the system restarts. Follow the prompts, and provide any necessary information to complete the installation.

  5. For Windows 98, right-click the My Computer icon, choose Properties, and then click the Device Manager tab. For Windows 2000, right-click My Computer, choose Properties, click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button. For either version, then expand the Sound, video and game controllers branch and verify that the sound card is installed properly and that no conflicts exist. Most sound cards also have a test utility that you should run to verify that all aspects of the sound card hardware and drivers are operating properly.

  6. From Control Panel, double-click Multimedia to display the Audio page of the Multimedia Properties dialog (Windows 9X) or the Sounds and Multimedia Properties dialog (Windows 2000). If you have more than one audio device in your system, use the Preferred Device drop-down lists in the Playback and Recording sections to select one of the installed audio devices as the default for each. Click the Advanced Properties buttons in the Playback and Recording sections to configure driver-specific options for such things as degree of hardware acceleration to be used, sample rate conversion settings, the type of speakers you are using, and so on.

17.7.2 Configuring a Sound Card Under Windows NT 4

The procedure required to install and configure a sound card under Windows NT 4 depends on the type of sound card. Before you can install drivers and configure the card, Windows NT must recognize it as present. Resources for PCI sound cards are configured automatically by the BIOS. Non-PnP sound cards must be configured manually, but present no other problems. PnP ISA sound cards are a problem, because Windows NT 4 does not recognize that they exist unless you take the following steps:

  1. Insert the Windows NT 4 distribution CD and browse to the \Drvlib\Pnpisa\i386 folder.

  2. Highlight the file Pnpisa.inf, right-click it, and choose Install from the context-sensitive menu.

  3. Restart the system.

When the system restarts, Windows NT 4 should display a New Hardware Found dialog. If it does, continue with the steps below to configure the sound card. If it does not, the file \Drvlib\Audio\Sbpnp\Readme.txt contains additional information that may be helpful. Once the sound card is recognized by Windows NT, take the following steps to configure it:

  1. Before starting, verify that the sound card is physically installed, that the BIOS is set to Non-PnP Operating system, and that all applications are closed.

  2. From Control Panel, double-click Multimedia to display the Multimedia Properties dialog. On the Devices page, click Add to display a list of available drivers.

  3. Select Unlisted or Updated Driver and click OK. Windows NT prompts you to enter or browse to the location of the driver you want to install. Do so, and click OK.

  4. Windows NT displays the Add Unlisted or Updated Driver dialog, with one or more drivers listed in the pane. Highlight the driver you want to use and click OK. Windows NT installs the driver and prompts you to restart the system. Do so.

  5. After the system restarts, run Start figs/u2192.gif Programs figs/u2192.gif Administrative Tools (Common) figs/u2192.gif Windows NT Diagnostics. View the Resources page to verify that the sound card is recognized properly and using resources that do not conflict with any other device. If the sound card has a testing utility, run it to verify that all functions are operating properly.

  6. If you have more than one audio device installed, display Control Panel and double-click Multimedia to view the Audio page of Multimedia Properties. Use the Preferred Device drop-down lists in the Playback and Recording sections to select one of the installed audio devices as the default for each.


    PC Hardware in a Nutshell
    PC Hardware in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition
    ISBN: 059600513X
    EAN: 2147483647
    Year: 2002
    Pages: 246

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