Installing a Sound Card

A sound card physically installs just as any other expansion card does. Some sound cards require many system resources, so keep the following guidelines in mind:

If you are installing an ISA sound card

Before proceeding, use Device Manager or Windows NT Diagnostics to determine which resources (IRQ, DMA, and I/O ports) are already in use and which are available. If installing the card using its default settings would cause a resource conflict, either reconfigure the card to use resources that are not already in use, or (better) leave the card configured at its default settings and reconfigure other system components to free the resources that the card wants.


In particular, if you run DOS games, make sure the following resources are available and assigned to the card: IRQ 5, DMA 1, DMA 5, and I/O ranges 0220-022F, 0330-0331, and 0388-038B. DOS games often expect these exact resources, and fail to work if others have been substituted.

If you are building a new system

Install the PCI sound card before you install other components such as network adapters or SCSI host adapters, allowing the sound card to make first claim on system resources. Although PnP usually does a good job of juggling resources, we have sometimes experienced resource conflicts when installing a sound card in a system that was already heavily loaded with other adapters. If that happens, the best course is to disable all adapters in Device Manager (except essential ones like the video card ...

Get PC Hardware in a Nutshell, Second Edition now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.