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Trying to get an audio driver for my Dell Inspiron 6000 for Win7. I've tried the Sigmatel STAC 97 driver from the Dell website, running setup in XP compatibility mode as suggested, and tried a Realtek AC97 driver, but nothing works. I assume Realtek and Sigmatel are two completely different companies, yet both have a AC97 drivers. What's the difference?

How can I tell exactly what sound card I have? Where is the best place to find the correct driver?

Thanks for any info.

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Click start and type msinfo32 and press return/enter.

When the System Information box loads, on the left tree menu, select

Components -> Sound Device.

enter image description here

Alternatively, right click on My Computer and select Manage. On the left side menu, select device manager. Click your computer name and then select scan for hardware changes (see image below in red box). This will (hopefully) ensure it can see your audio device. Now, under Sound, video and game controllers, right click on your audio device and select update driver.

enter image description here

I am on XP here so my images may differ slightly to yours.

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OK, so I do have a SigmaTel C-major audio, and the appropriate driver is there, but no audio on the speakers (headphone socket works though). Maybe I need to go back to XP. Thanks – Graeme Sep 7 '12 at 8:22
Are the speakers on-board? Again, on XP go to Control Panel and then open Sound and Audio Devices. Under the volume tab you can set up your speaker settings - maybe it is set up for headphones only or something is muted (click on Advanced as well to see the mixer). – Dave Sep 7 '12 at 8:27
Yes, on-board speakers - all settings look fine. Just tried re-installing the drivers in Visat compatibility mode as Dell site suggests, but no change. :-( – Graeme Sep 7 '12 at 8:54
Please reboot and load up the BIOS - in there, there should be an option to enable/disable the onboard audio. – Dave Sep 7 '12 at 9:07
No option that I can see in BIOS to do with onboard audio. – Graeme Sep 9 '12 at 15:19

AC'97 is not a type of sound card but is a standardised interface for programs to be able to communicate with the soundcard drivers, the drivers themselves then translate that interface into whatever hardware is present in the system.

As you do not have a Realtek audio device their AC'97 drivers will not find any supported Realtek hardware then they will not work. This is why you cannot use one manufacturers AC'97 drivers with another device.

Dave Rook has shown you where to find what soundcard you have, the next problem is that if you have a Sigmatel sound card then things are more difficult as they disappeared in the Vista days. I've had some luck getting drivers for different machines that were compatible with Vista working in Windows 7.

I've found a driver here that claims to work with Vista 32-bit but it may not be compatible with 64-bit Windows if that is what you are using.

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just tried that and no difference - the version number is the same as I had, though the date of the exe was different. Installed in Vista SP2 compat mode. – Graeme Sep 9 '12 at 15:14
Are you using 64-bit or 32-bit Windows? – Mokubai Sep 9 '12 at 15:20
AC97 is not a driver interface at all! The name comes from a hardware interface between the chipset and audio/modem components. See – Robert Siemer Jun 28 '14 at 14:46
  1. Download a Ubuntu Live CD and boot the computer from it
  2. Open a terimal and execute aplay --list-devices

You will get output like this:

**** List of PLAYBACK Hardware Devices ****
card 0: MID [HDA Intel MID], device 0: ALC271X Analog [ALC271X Analog]
  Subdevices: 1/1
  Subdevice #0: subdevice #0
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