The problem you describe with the Intel 5 Series chip was supposedly fixed in alsa 1.0.23 as supplied in Slackware-13.1
You have not supplied a make and model of laptop, but I am guessing that it is a Dell model.
You can setup a file /etc/modprobe.d/snd-hda-intel.conf and include a specific model. See /usr/src/linux/Documentation/sound/alsa/HD-Audio-Models.txt for alternatives.
options snd-hda-intel model=dell-m6