Hi! I see we have similar systems..mine is an i915 chipset
and like your it has integrated AC'97 audio.
I don't know why in the world you would want to use ALSA with that!
It's buggy with linux 2.6 kernels..What I mean is it does not do
full sound mixing so if you play a song using one app
and then start another app, say a game of chess that clicks
audibly when u move the pieces. the clicks will be muted until the song finishes.
I have tried several linux distros and they all have this problem.
(5 years ago I had better linux sound with a PII and a cheap SOLO 1
PcBSD using OSS mixes sound perfectly.
You can however recompile linux kernels to use OSS
has some free drivers for linux