I have a laptop presario 710 laptop
1 ghz AMD Duron
256 pc133 Ram
16 meg S3 Twister K
AC '97 / SoundMAX Digital Integrated Audio
I have conversed with a number of people and read a number of documents and finally I have sound working.
What has happend, or so it appears is that the AC '97 chipset has been modified slightly for the SoundMAX codec. Luckily someone has been attempting to fix this since the early days of the 2.4.x kernel serious.
To get the sound working I applied the patch to the 2.4.18 kernel. I retrieved the patch from http://www.geocities.com/compaq_715US/
the file is infact located at http://www.geocities.com/compaq_715US/ac97_codec.c.
To apply the patch copy the ac97_codec.c file downloaded over:
Recompile your kernel with sound support and "via 82c686 Audio Codec"