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Old 08-25-2003, 12:00 AM   #1
Jane Delawney
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Mandy 9.1, Knoppix :)
Posts: 146

Rep: Reputation: 15
Another Laptop Sound Problem or Oh no not the AC'97 chipset again

Stop me if you've heard this before.

Actually I know this issue has been raised before, multiple times, but none of the people who've raised it seem to have the exact problem I have. Unless it's simply that i don't understand the problem -which is entirely possible. Excuse me if so, and of course if anyone has any suggestions toward a solution I'd be most grateful.

I have recently purchased an Evesham Micros laptop, with Intel Centrino 1.5Mhz processor and Asus motherboard. Being a laptop it's got onboard everything of course.

I installed Mandrake 9.1 on this laptop. After a false start during which the X server wouldn't start (I'd simply set the screen refresh rate wrong, easily sorted after a mild heart attack or two) it went in very nicely thank you. No trouble with screen resolution or lilo as others have reported. Mostly it works fine.


1. The modem doesn't work; but then I knew it wouldn't because I'd fired the thing up with Knoppix in the shop and it's an Actiontec PCI softmodem for which no Linux support appears to be available (unless the Lucent drivers might work? My modem uses an Agere driver under windows). But that's not my problem right now, I'd always planned to get an external modem for this machine for just that reason. Far more of a problem to me at the moment is that the sound doesn't work either.

I've checked this board and several people have had problems with this chipset - though not quite the same problem as I mentioned.

The sound controller is identified in lspci as follows:

00:1f.5 Multimedia audio controller: Intel Corp. 82801DB AC'97 Audio (rev 03)
Subsystem: Asustek Computer, Inc.: Unknown device 1743
Flags: bus master, medium devsel, latency 0
I/O ports at e000 [size=256]
I/O ports at e100 [size=64]
Memory at 1f800400 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=512]
Memory at 1f800600 (32-bit, non-prefetchable) [size=256]
Capabilities: [50] Power Management version 2

and on checking boot time messages in syslog, I find the following:

Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: Intel 810 + AC97 Audio, version 0.24, 15:29:58 Mar 14 2003
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: PCI: Enabling device 00:1f.5 (0005 -> 0007)
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: PCI: No IRQ known for interrupt pin B of device 00:1f.5. Please try using pci=biosirq.
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: PCI: Setting latency timer of device 00:1f.5 to 64
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: i810: Intel ICH4 found at IO 0xe100 and 0xe000, MEM 0x1f800400 and 0x1f800600, IRQ 0
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost kernel: i810_audio: unable to allocate irq 0
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: /lib/modules/2.4.21-0.13mdk/kernel/drivers/sound/i810_audio.o.gz:
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: Hint: insmod errors can be caused by incorrect module parameters, including invalid IO or IRQ parameters.
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: You may find more information in syslog or the output from dmesg
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: init_module: No such device
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: modprobe: insmod /lib/modules/2.4.21-0.13mdk/kernel/drivers/sound/i810_audio.o.gz failed
Aug 12 03:12:35 localhost modprobe: modprobe: insmod i810_audio failed

This was a few days back obviously, but of course each boot produces the same messages re: this card.

I could actually see this happening on the lilo boot splash screen. Not much use shouting at one's computer but when I noticed it was trying to allocate the audio controller to IRQ 0 I was tempted to say 'no, stop, you can't do that, that's the system timer, of course it won't work'. Which it doesn't.

I'm more or less certain that the first thing I ought to try is to disable p'n'pOS in the BIOS, so I rebooted and entered BIOS settings and lo and behold, no way to disable p'n'pOS, no way to set IRQs manually, nothing at all relevant. I got a couple other people to check in case I'd missed the setting. It's just not there.

I understand this is not so unusual with modern computers - tho' it's mighty frustrating. So I'm a teeny bit stuck. All I've managed to do so far is determine that this is not a distro specific problem. I've booted the system with Knoppix (again) and with a Slackware Live CD, and the same thing happens with both (spent much of yesterday going crosseyed over syslog files).

A couple other things which may or may not be relevant: syslog also gives me this message:

localhost kernel: ACPI: Subsystem revision 20030122
localhost kernel: ACPI: Disabled via command line (acpi-off)


localhost kernel: Probing PCI hardware
localhost kernel: ACPI tables contain no PCI IRQ routing entries

Other information I have gleaned thro' assorted cli and gui tools includes the following:

Interrupts (from KDE Control Centre):

0: timer
1: keyboard
2: cascade
4: usb-uhci
5: usb-uhci
8: rtc
11: usb-uhci, eth0
12: PS/2 Mouse
14: ide0
15: ide1

These are the same with all three distros. I note with some alarm that the syslog messages also included the following:

PCI: No IRQ found for interrupt pin A of device 01:05.0 Please try using pci=biosirq

which I strongly suspect refers to the PCMCIA socket, and may mean it's disabled as well - tho' that's a problem for another day. Under windows, all these PCI devices (including both sound 'card' and winmodem) apparently coexist and work happily together on IRQ 11 with no conflicts at all

Also: Harddrake lists the sound card and the driver it's attempted to use (the well known Intel 8x0 driver) and lists no alternates.

Can anyone give me some pointers where I might go next? In particular, is there any way around the brick wall I've run into with the BIOS - can this be worked around from within the operating system? Can I set pci=biosirq when I can't see what IRQs the BIOS might set (or even if it is configured to do so) and if so, how do I do it? Should I do it, even?

And is that really the problem, or do I need to start or look elsewhere? And what other information should I have included, which being a newb I've missed?

All assistance gratefully received.


PS Oh duh, shoulda said: please don't tell me to uprate or update the BIOS. This computer is brand new - there's nothing available.
Old 08-25-2003, 12:20 AM   #2
Senior Member
Registered: Jul 2003
Location: Indiana
Distribution: Suse 6.0+, Mandrake 5.0-10.0, Redhat 6.0-9.0, Gentoo 1.2+, Gnoppix, Knoppix, Sabayon, Ubuntu 5.04+
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Well... this has been asked by many.. many.. many people.. many.. many... many times.. and I don't know why since there are 5 billion pages on google explaining this.. but, anyway....

Laptops with Intel i810... 8x0... 8whatever.. are acpi systems...
you need to find which of the following commands is acceptable to a Mandrake system.. and put it in your lilo.conf or grub menu.lst whichever you use...

Old 08-25-2003, 07:53 PM   #3
Jane Delawney
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Mandy 9.1, Knoppix :)
Posts: 146

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Originally posted by Caeda

Laptops with Intel i810... 8x0... 8whatever.. are acpi systems...
you need to find which of the following commands is acceptable to a Mandrake system.. and put it in your lilo.conf or grub menu.lst whichever you use...

Thanks Caeda, I'll investigate this, but...

I said in my post that I wasn't sure what, if anything, the messages re: acpi had to do with my problem. This may have informed you that I don't actually understand this message, and as I implied, had no way of knowing whether it is relevant or how.

I gather from your response that yes, it's highly relevant, but what does it mean? that's what I don't understand. I realise that saying this simply makes it clear that I'm totally ignorant - but since that's true, I don't have a problem with admitting it. If you haven't the knowledge to see the relevance of some piece of information, it's difficult to google for answers.

So - What's an 'acpi'? I gather from many, many other entries on this board and elsewhere that Mandrake for some reason disables this option by default, and I've come across many, many suggestions as to how to rectify this, but none of them - including your response I have to say - have given me any direct confirmation that this has anything at all to do with the sound 'card'. Or what it's likely to do to the rest of the system if I change it. I'm no tech. I get nervous about these things

Perhaps I should already know this stuff - you obviously think I should. But I don't. I've no technical knowledge at all. I'm doing my best, and have read many books (amazingly few of which give any information at all on the subject of computer sound, let alone laptops - in complete contrast, when I hit the same problem loadsa folks have hit with laptops, ie X server refusing to start, the books were extremely helpful and I sorted this one out for myself) but none of the sources I've come across so far have given me the simple information that these two syslog messages did really have something to do with the problem, and that this is where I should start.

Instead I have apparently wasted a great deal of time wandering around the 'net seeking information on OSS vs. ALSA - the driver Mandrake uses by default for the Intel card is an OSS driver, when I gather is probably incorrect - though I haven't quite had the nerve to start messing with it, I was hoping for some input from this board first....

Thanks anyway for trying to help, it's just that I think you must be far more knowledgeable than I am, and therefore what you say just goes a little bit above the ol' head.

Old 08-25-2003, 08:44 PM   #4
Jane Delawney
Registered: Dec 2002
Location: UK
Distribution: Mandy 9.1, Knoppix :)
Posts: 146

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: 15
Oh drat, I knew there was something else here....

Caeda, your response seems to assume that it's a Mandrake problem (apologies if I've misunderstood this) with acpi - but as I mentioned in my original post, exactly the same thing happened with both Knoppix and a Slackware Live CD. The syslog messages were the same also.

Just in case this is relevant


PS and yeah, I know I should have noticed this when I fired up Knoppix on the computer before I bought it. But I didn't. My fault I know.


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