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Hello people,
I'm so glad i found this forum cuz my new mobo is really giving me headaches ever since i got it.

Among many other bugs and ill-functioning details, is the sound driver. The mobo's specs say that it has AC 97 chip installed, and i got mine with a driver cd that had Soundmax drivers on it. However, when i install the drivers, the sound works, but is a bit cracky. Since i bought the mobo for good money, I would like perfect sound - so I searched for newer versions of the driver. The Soundmax's site just redirects you to Asus, and they have the same version I have.
I also tried looking it up at driverguide and Google, but it seems this is a very exotic driver.
Is it possible to install a driver other then Soundmax? There are way more reliable and available AC 97 drivers, but i don't know if it's okay with the mobo.

The other thing is hdd recognition - I installed 2 HDDs (160 Gb maxtor as master and 40 Gb IBM as slave) at primary IDE connector. My Plextor DVD is on secondary. Sometimes when I boot, the BIOS tells me that there's nothing on primary, and puts all the devices on secondary, as 3rd,4th and 5th. I really don't see how this is possible.
Sometimes the mobo wont start up at all, because of "chassis intruded" altho it's not. Sometimes it says bad checksum, sometimes it won't recognize the other hdd at all.
I tried to flash BIOS using EZ Flash method, and of course - it didn't work - bios simply rolled back - this solved the hdd problem, but i still dont understand what triggered it.

I'm sorry for the looong post, but I'm really going crazy...

P.S. When I first installed the drivers, the sound behaved very unstable. I was losing sound after every 3rd or 4th boot up. The mobo is driving me nuts. After 2 weeks of tweaking and what-not, it's still a mistery what will happen when i boot up. It seems this mobo has a very stubborn mind of it's own.
 

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...Since i bought the mobo for good money, I would like perfect sound...
Hate to be bearer of bad news, but if you want perfect sound, don't look to onboard sound. Get a real soundcard, like something in the class of an Echo Mia or a LynxOne.

All the newest mobos have shifted away from sound chips and are instead using Codecs. A Codec is "a software module responsible for compressing and/or decompressing an encoded media format". This means it's essentially a program, little more than a series of software instructions designed to do a particular thing, in this case produce 6 channels of sound from a bunch of instructions blasted across a data bus at rates high enough to pass for sound. With this entirely software-produced sound, comes the possibility of dropouts when the PC or the bus get busy. Reviewers have pointed this out, but the speed of today's CPU processors has made this cost reduction --IMO that's where most of such changes stem from-- possible.

Your mobo contains a "ADI AD1985 SoundMAX 6ch Codec" which is the same thing Abit uses. Iwill and Gigabyte are using Realtek codecs. Soyo is using Cmedia Codecs. But they're all basically doing the same thing. The ICH5x chips provide hookups for up to 3 stereo Codecs, and they can either be 6 channels of sound, or some# of channels plus a modem & answer machine, stuff like that. (I sound like I know more about Codecs than I do, but it's all from reading reviews and researching different mobo's for purchase decisions.)

Is it possible to install a driver other then Soundmax? There are way more reliable and available AC 97 drivers, but i don't know if it's okay with the mobo.
It probably depends on device assignments within the mobo, and architecture of the mobo's AD1985 chip (it's a little chip about 5/16-inch square, between your PCI2 & PCI3 ), and how it's wired to the ICH5x chip on the mobo (remember I mentioned the hookups). Since the ICH5x is Intel, you might have the best luck trawling the Intel site for such things, but on at least some mobos they use something called "Flex 6 Audio" which might not be compatible. Because of the mobo specifics, certainly you'll be safer using what Asus provides.

Sometimes the mobo wont start up at all, because of "chassis intruded" altho it's not.
That sounds like a jumper is missing, and the pin is floating. Down at the lower right corner of the mobo are a header or two labelled "CHASSIS", it's just to the left of the "PANEL" header that goes to your power switch etc.. Assuming you truly have a P4C800 non-Deluxe as your topic suggests, on the "CHASSIS" header check that you have a jumper between the righthand two pins (see manual section 2.8.6).

I tried to flash BIOS using EZ Flash method, and of course - it didn't work - bios simply rolled back
See the topic, Asus P4P800/P4C800 Series: How to Update BIOS, maybe you will see something you missed.

Sometimes it says bad checksum
Some people are thinking weak/bad CMOS batteries. BIOS checksum errors should never happen unless power is being killed in the middle of things like making Setup changes, AFAIK. The battery can be a culprit here, regardless of mobo brand. A new battery costs a couple bucks and thus is a cheap test.

The other thing is hdd recognition - I installed 2 HDDs (160 Gb maxtor as master and 40 Gb IBM as slave) at primary IDE connector. My Plextor DVD is on secondary. Sometimes when I boot, the BIOS tells me that there's nothing on primary, and puts all the devices on secondary, as 3rd,4th and 5th. I really don't see how this is possible.
First, where are you getting the "3rd, 4th, 5th" from? There isn't any "5th" AFAIK. Are these POST messages? Or is this coming from within BIOS Setup?

First check all your drive strappings, make sure they are really master and slave strapped; don't rely on "cable select", "single", or other such fluff. Really nail it down. The DVD too, it should be Master if that's the only Secondary device.
Make sure you are using a high-quality 80-conductor IDE cable, not a 40-conductor cable. Flat 80's are smoother than flat 40's, but also contain a hidden pullup resistor I think.
Make sure the IDE cable is no longer than 18 inches end-to-end, the max spec for IDE (some folks run longer cables but that's out of spec).
With 2 HDD's I don't see how your cable could be installed backwards, but... just make sure it's not, just had to say this anyway.
In your BIOS setup then onthe Main screen you should see this:

Primary IDE Master = <your 160GB>
Primary IDE Slave= <your 40GB>
Secondary IDE Master= <your Plextor DVD>
Secondary IDE Slave= Not Detected
Third IDE Master= Not Detected (this is your SATA1)
Fourth IDE Master= Not Detected (this is your SATA2)


During POST you will see a similar sequence, first there will be messages about "Auto-Detecting" for each of these, in this same order. Then it will list what model it found for each, for example "Pri Master: Maxtor 6Y160P0 YAR41BW0". Note: POST only lists something for ports it thinks have something plugged into them.


So check all this stuff out and let me know what works, or if you still need more. Hope this helps,

-clintfan
 
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