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Well fixed it by doing a fresh install of SuSE 9.1 I still cant figure out if the kernel broke or something having to do with YAST or maybe X/ALSA/OSS etc.... I haven't updated yet... but I am pretty sure the 2.6 default kernel patch broke it, in the patch there is a fix for some local exploit using the sound server to bring down the machine...
hers another lsmod to show whats running incase anyone else is interested in comparing the two... going to pester SuSE about this =)
I 2 have the same sound (bulit-in) card also. I got the hiss and crackel as you have. It drove me nuts ! then one day I notice it loaded the drivers twice, saw it on the startup screen (via vt8233, via vt8233). SOoooo what did I do? I uninstall ALL sound drivers and then did a reboot, Va-la loaded ONE driver. From then on, works great, no hiss or.....well you get the idea. Hope this works for you 2.
I have a compaq that uses the VIA card with the AC97. Mine was working fine also when I first installed Suse 9.1. After a the kernal upgrade, it is now running and making sound, except, it is making them extremely slowly... In the Multimedia section of the control center. When you press the "Test Sound" button, the "music" can last well over 15 minutes... sometimes as much as 30 minutes!
I can also boot into Windows XP on the same box and the sound works ok there so I know it is not the card.
totally worked to run alsaconf! (this was the 9th thing i've tried)
I have a creative labs digital 4.1 that has worked through suse 7.3-9.1.
(intell 500mhz, nvidia gforce3, 1GBram,thanks java)
suse 9.1 blew the sound, but going backt to the command line roots paid off!