I'm not totally familiar with the "HD" audio - and someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think the HD audio only works with HDMI/audio out video cards like the 2900XT. You would need to use the AC97 for analog output to your speakers.
Maybe changing the audio from HD to AC97 would require you to install a new set of drivers - look in the manual to confirm this.
Also, have you checked the volume and everything is turned up to full and not muted. I know that in Vista you no longer get the Mixer that you get in XP but somewhere you must be able to adjust the analog output channel.
Last but not least, have you checked the Front Panel connections on the motherboard? When I was using my nForce audio, I had to short out the front panel jumpers if I wasn't to plug in any front panel audio connections, otherwise none of the rear connections would work unless I the loop was completed, either through plugging in the front panel audio sockets or by shorting the relevant pins with jumpers. Maybe things have advanced a lot from my ancient 2004 board but its worth a shot.
If you are using front panel connections, have you checked that nothing is plugged into these ports, and that these are securely connected to the motherboard. When these ports are used, by habit they usually cut off all the ports at the rear, unless your audio chipset is one of those new Realtek ALC8xx +2 chipsets which support multiple audio streams.
I'm going to see if I can help you out here. First of all. In the Bios setting the audio to HD or '97 audio is only for a seperate audio connector such as one that comes on the front of most cases. It has nothing to do with the audio ports on the back.
Have you tried other speakers? It possible that maybe your speakers are bad. (Most likely not, but you never know.) I know on my P5KC when I plug something into one of the ports on the back, the Soundmax software will ask me what I plugged in, if it was in the wrong plug, it will tell me where to move it to. Its kinda hard to see what the computer is registering because in the soundmax software the plug picture just gets a little bigger and bolder looking when you plug something into the port and it is registed.
You DO NOT have to get a 7.1 surround sound setup to use your audio card. The audio port that worked for me was lime green port. It may be in the middle towards the bottom. Its next to the black port.
After plugging in your speaker, go to the soundmax software. You should be able to see a drop down that allows you to select just stereo sound and not 7.1 or HD audio.
If you have any issues, feel free to email me me screen shots of what you are looking at and I can try to help you further.
UTAKA95, you wrote: I'm not totally familiar with the "HD" audio - and someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think the HD audio only works with HDMI/audio out video cards like the 2900XT. You would need to use the AC97 for analog output to your speakers.
Correction: HD Audio has nothing to do with a video card. You just get a better gaming experience if you have a sound card that can do surround sound, just as you get a better movie experience if you buy a surround sound theatre system for your living room. What you are thing of is an HD vido card will allow a user to use a monitor that is HD. The optical out (RF) is used for HD audio.
NabaruN, you wrote: I just got vista and not familiar with it, where can i put my software on 2 speakers?
Answer: Right click on the speaker in the lower right hand corner next to the clock, select playback devices > on the playback tab, select speakers. You can further configure this by clicking on configure. If you click on configure. You can tell you computer that you have stereo speakers and test from there. (Mine of course is set to 7.1)
I can confirm a few things for you since I bought exactly the same motherboard as you did, last week, and had exactly the same problem.
I'm running Vista Premium 32-bit as well. My PC was assembled by the vendor and when it came I had the same issue where the speakers were reported as "Not plugged in" and the SPDIF was working. I believe the "Not plugged in" means the motherboard/sound drivers don't recognise the speaker sound hardware (although the audio is integrated with the motherboard it uses seperate sound drivers - which is the soundmax thingee). "Not plugged in" has nothing to do with the jacks being plugged in or not, it means the sound drivers don't recognise the analogue audio hardware.
I re-installed my sound drivers. They come on the CD provided with the motherboard. When the CD autoplays select to install the sound drivers. A wizard comes up and select the Repair option. When I rebooted the speakers were then reported as "Working" instead of "Not plugged in".
I can confirm you can use headphones and 2.1 speakers in the lime green jack at the front and back of the motherboard.