I had the same problem on an old Dell Optiplex with a integrated sound card and I just got it working. I did several things that I did not work but I think the procedure below is what actually got it working. I am running Slackware 11.0 with 2.6.18 kernel and I have no idea how similar your distribution is.
When I would run 'alsaconf' it would find a CS4236 card but I would get the same message. By going to the Dell site I found that the correct driver was the snd_emu10k1 because it was a Sound Blaster Live card. What I had to do is edit was
#Uncomment the line that says
#Comment out any lines that are already in this file and add the following
alias sound-slot-0 snd_emu10k1
alias snd-card-0 snd_emu10k1
run 'alsamixer' and turn everything up
'su -' to change user to root
'alsactl store' to save the changes
This is some of the commands I was using to get the modules working.
lsmod #Lists loaded modules
depmod #loads new modules into modules.dep
modprobe module #Manually load a module
modprobe -r module #Manually removes a module
If this doesn't help you I hope it helps someone.