I tried to post this at Intel Communities, but after going through the trouble of typing up the exposition, I got an unauthorized action response and the message was discarded, so I'll try with the pros over here.
I had previously been using an old Windows 7 install from a prior build, which I thought might be the cause of my problem, so I went ahead and did a clean installation of Windows 8 (that I grabbed last month while the discount was being offered), but the following problem remains: I am using the on-board video (HDMI) out since I'm not in dire need of blazing video performance. However, the Realtek audio driver is incapable of installing properly when using this configuration. I simply receive a "no audio device installed" error in the taskbar, and, I believe (going from memory), a "High Definition Audio Controller" entry under System devices in device manager that further expatiates that "audio device cannot start (code 10)". Additionally, there are naturally no "Sound, video and game controller" devices listed. I'm using the latest BIOS (1-29) and the newest audio and video drivers. The interesting thing is that when I uninstall that errant device, uninstall the Realtek driver, and then disable on-board audio followed by a reboot and subsequent re-enabling of that device, I am able to get on-board audio via what I assume to be an Intel driver. Will Realtek not behave with the on-board video? I am thinking of grabbing a relatively inexpensive Sapphire video card to see if this makes the Realtek driver behave (I found a report of a similar problem 2 years ago, and this very solution resolved the problem the person was experiencing). Since this is a board designed with the gamer and overclocker in mind, I suppose the device drivers might not have been written to accommodate my situation.
Thanks. It's not labeled as Realtek, however; just on-board audio with a submenu to either disable or enable HDMI audio. The hierarchical choice has to be enabled first, but if I uninstall the Realtek Driver and uninstall the HD audio controller from the device manager after/before disabling ALL on-board audio in the BIOS (and then a subsequent re-enabling after it's been removed within Windows), I think I can follow your suggestion (as I'm pretty sure that's what I did previously when I had audio functioning).
I would have liked to use Realtek due to its plug recognition capability, but that's not an absolute necessity. If it's absolutely not possible, I'll go that route unless I grab a video card.