If you would like to skip the long story and go straight to the instructions for the fix that worked for me – scroll down.

My brother was complaining that his computer wasn’t running as well as it used to so I recently decided to format and upgrade his Dell Optiplex GX280 to Windows 7 (32-bit). We got this computer a few years ago now and as such there was no luck in finding drivers for Windows Vista let alone Windows 7 on the Dell website. I decided to go ahead and install it anyway and find any drivers that I needed afterwards – I mean….how hard could it be?!?

The installation process was pretty simple (very quick too) and after a matter of time was presented with the Windows 7 desktop. It had managed to find generic drivers for most of the onboard equipment I needed such as the graphics adapter, network adapter, firewire etc.. (although they’re obviously not as good as the official drivers) however there was no sound. The onboard soundcard in question was a SoundMax ADI 198x family card. Apparently this wasn’t going to be easy…(but then is it ever easy?)

So I began to search on forum after forum for people in a similar situation and although a lot of suggestions were put forward for drivers to try, none worked for me!! They either said they were not compatible with the hardware or that the installer couldn’t find a particular file. One driver I found was for an Intel sound card but upon installation said that the software was incompatible with my hardware. I wasn’t going to give up so I manually selected this particular driver and effectively forced it onto the card and it worked perfectly. So….for other people with a similar problem, here is what I did :-

UPDATE – For Windows 7 64-bit Version please see below

Solution for Installing SoundMax ADI 198x Sound Driver

1. Download this zip file which contains the Intel sound driver (676 kb), extract it and note the path to this directory.

2. Goto Start and right-click on Computer and click Properties.

3. The System Properties windows should appear. Click Device Manager on the left pane.

4. Locate the sound card hardware from the list. This is likely to be found under Other Devices as a Multimedia Audio Controller. Right-click the controller and click Update Driver Software.

5. A new window should appear. Click Browse my computer for driver software. At the next window click Let me pick from a list of device drivers on my computer. Then select Show All Devices from the list and click Next to continue. At the next window click Have Disk and locate the extracted zip file directory. Find the W2K_XP Driver directory and select “smwdmCH0“.

6. A new window should appear with a list of drivers to choose from. Select the first SoundMax Integrated Digital Audio from the list and click OK. Then Click Next and Windows should start installing the driver.

7. Reboot your computer and you should be hearing sound (Hoorah!!)

The Zip file link above contains only the driver INF file and a few DLL’s. If you find this isn’t working, please try using this link which includes the entire Intel Audio Driver setup (23.7 mb). The Sound Driver can be found in “SMAXWDMW2K_XP” in the Intel Driver folder.

I cannot guarantee that this method will work with your computer – This just happened to work for me. Please make sure you also backup before installing drivers – I am not responsible if something happens to your computer!! :P

Windows 7 64-bit Users

Since writing this post many users have commented saying the above instructions did not work with their 64-bit versions but gave details of how they were able to get the sound card working. So, with thanks to ‘Kuwaiticrud’ and ‘Scott E’, here are some basic instructions on how to get the installer. I am unable to test this myself as I do not have a 64-bit system however this should work from feedback from others.

1. Download ‘R145149.exe’ on dells support ftp site by using this direct link here or by going to http://search.dell.com and searching for the file ‘R145149.exe’. The file should be the first listing in the search results.

The driver itself is a Windows Vista 64-bit version of the driver and is compatible with OptiPlex GX280, GX520, GX620 and SX280 as well as
Dell Precision WorkStation 370, 470 and 670.

2. Double-click ‘R145149.exe’ which will run the self-extractor. Once this has finished, note the extracting location and run the installer from that directory.

‘Scott E’ noted that he did not need to do anything else for the installer to work but if you have troubles you may want to use the ‘Run As Administrator’ setting or try changing the ‘Compatibility mode’.

Again, I cannot guarantee that this method will work with your computer – This just happened to work for me. Please make sure you also backup before installing drivers – I am not responsible if something happens to your computer!! :P

– Bondy