Installing a Computer Sound Card
An audio adapter physically installs just as any other expansion card does. Some audio adapters require many system resources, so keep the following guidelines in mind:
If you are rebuilding your system
Install the audio adapter before you install other components such as network adapters, allowing the audio adapter to make first claim on system resources. Although Windows and recent motherboards usually do a good job of juggling resources, we have experienced resource conflicts when installing an audio adapter 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 disk interfaces), then physically remove those adapters, then install and configure the audio adapter, and finally reinstall the other adapters one by one. If you have problems, try installing the audio adapter in a different PCI slot.
If you are replacing an existing audio adapter
Before you remove the card, use the Control Panel Add/Remove Programs applet to remove audio drivers and supporting software, delete the audio adapter in Device Manager and delete all remaining drivers from the hard disk. Turn the PC off (even though Windows or the driver's uninstall program may advise you to reboot, don't reboot yet, or Windows will try to reinstall the drivers), take off the cover, physically remove the old audio adapter, and start the PC. Verify that all vestiges of the old audio adapter are gone. If the audio adapter is embedded, run BIOS Setup and disable it. With all that done, turn off the PC again and physically install the new audio adapter. Start the system again and install the drivers for it.
OUT WITH THE OLD
Except for physically removing and replacing the audio adapter, we recommend following the same procedure when updating audio drivers. That is, never upgrade audio 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 an audio adapter in a motherboard that has integrated audio
Before you install an audio adapter in a system with embedded audio, disable the integrated audio adapter either in BIOS Setup or by changing a jumper on the motherboard (or both). Every motherboard we know that includes integrated audio 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.
THE CD AUDIO CABLE
All recent optical drives support digital audio, which means that they deliver the digital audio stream directly from a disc to the system via the ATA interface. Old CD-ROM drives did not support digital audio, and required a separate cable from the drive to an audio input on the motherboard or sound card. If you are upgrading a system with such a drive, don't forget to install this CD Audio cable. Better yet, replace the old optical drive with a current model.