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well, i'm having some similar problem with sound too. but as far i saw i think you may need to know more about your sound chipset. i think a quick surf at compaq support web site would give enough information about your sound system..
Armada 7400 and 7800 uses the ESS1879 sound chip. Both RedHat Linux 5.2 and SuSE6.0 include a driver, which will
allow basic sound support. This driver currently supports basic audio functionality under Linux; therefore the extra
features of the ESS1879 are not available. For example, older Linux kernels included support only for the ESS688/1688,
which do not have full duplex, integrated 3D-audio, hardware volume control, or a DSP port. Newer kernels include
support for the ESS1878, which differs from the ESS1879 in that the 1878 don’t have integrated 3D-audio. Also, the
Armada notebooks include hardware volume control handled by the system firmware. This volume control works under
any OS but audio drivers must be specially modified to provide feedback to application programs that the volume has
been adjusted. For example, adjusting the volume using the hardware control will not be reflected in the status of any
audio mixer program. This is limitation also exists in Win* unless the Compaq specific ESS driver is used. The
hardware resources used by the ESS chip can be read or changed using BIOS setup. The defaults are ”base I/O= 0x220,
IRQ= 5, DMA= 1, MPU401 I/O= 0x330”. The kernel module sound driver RedHat uses is based on an older, free Open
Sound System (OSS) driver. SuSE comes without sound support compiled in the kernel; instead SuSE provides two
versions of the commercial OSS driver. The commercial OSS driver is available from www.4front-tech.com. In
addition, ALSA, Advanced Linux Sound Architecture is available at www.alsa-project.org.