I recieved the Audigy 2 zs PCMCIA card yesterday. The thing is nice, however I had some rather severe issues with it:
Severe crackling during DVD-Audio playback
Medium crackling during Counterstrike Source
Zero sound in FEAR
Medium to severe crackling during HL:Lost Coast
Super-severe crackling to the point where it drowns out the rest of the audio in Linux. (Ubuntu Dapper development)
Mild popping to medium popping during mp3 or CD playback
Needless to say, I was quite dissapointed at my 109 dollar (including shipping) fancy new audio card. I did some research and here's what I found out:
There have been 2 versions of the Audigy 2 zs PCMCIA card. First one was short and did not plug in properly to many laptops (Box) Second one was longer and works fine in my PCMCIA slot.
Neither card plays nicely with laptops that have ENE CB-1410 Card Bus Controllers
My Sager np4750 has the ENE CB-1410 Card Bus Controller.
So, disheartened, I went about seeing if I could do anything about this.
I managed to find something that seems to have worked very well.
Step 1: Download latest beta driver from Creative. Find it here.
Also there is a driver specifically for the Audigy 2 ZS Notebook. It is supposed to fix some things, but does not mention anything about "Provides full OpenAL / EAX® ADVANCED HD support" which seems to be what the first driver mentioned is for.
Step 2: Download latest PCMCIA Controller driver for the ENE CB-1410. Find it here.
The .inf file include with the driver says its from 8/14/2002, so actually, the driver that you already have is probably fine. On a site I found, it is recommended to use the driver available from HP for the controller, which is what I did, however upon examination, the Sager driver and the HP driver appear to be identical.
Step 3: Download PCI Latency 3. It can be found here
Step 4: Install Creative Driver (I installed the Beta driver for the EAX gaming support, I do not know what the notebook specific driver will do) of your choice. Wait to reboot until Step 7
Step 5: Confirm Cardbus driver is installed.
Step 6: Install PCI Latency Tool 3. Open the program. Search for the Audigy Card. Verify that the latency of the Audigy Card is 64. Look for EME cardbus controller. Set Latency to 64 to match the Audigy Card. On the top tool bar, click "Settings". Then from that menu, "Apply" and "Save" then "Apply at Startup"
Step 7: Reboot.
Now hopefully your Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Notebook is working as well as mine!
This thing really is incredible, once you get it working. Using all the EAX HD sound effects, FEAR takes on an entirely new aspect. Everything sounds so much creepier. First time I played FEAR, I barreled through it. Going back with the advanced sound effects, I find myself jumping alot more. And music sounds great with the CMSS 3D effects on (EAX Menu). When I get out of this dorm and get an apartment, next year, the card is going to be the central point of my sound system. I'm excited.
I haven't done anything with it in Linux yet.
I Think I'll make a thread explaining this. don't know if it is a pressing need, but i think it may be nice having it anyway.