about problem 1), here's what it says about the front panel audio connector in the mobo manual:
This connector is for a chasis-mounted front panel audio I/O module that supports either HD Audio or legacy AC'97 audio standard. connect one end of the front panel audio I/O module cable to this connector.
We recommend that you connect a high-definition front panel audio module to this connector to avail of the motherboard's high-definition audio capability
if you want to connect a high-definition front panel audio module to this connector, set the Front Panel Type item in the BIOS setup to [HD]; if you want to connect a AC'97 front panel audio module to this connector, set the item to [AC97]. By default, this connector is set to [HD]
so...if I just want to plug in simple earphones, do I need to go into the BIOS and change the settings?