the driver! That's great that you got it to install correctly this time
you may want to at minimum make a note of the driver versions for the audio driver(s) (and the chipset driver) just in case an incorrect driver gets installed in the future and you can't roll back.
IDEALLY, now that it is working perfectly (from what I am hearing, anyway) I would make a full image backup of your system, so that if you ever run into any problems in the future - you'll be able to recover much faster to a working state, without the hassle of locating all the right drivers, and so forth!
Here's a tutorial on how to do that, it's both simple, and will be well worth your time and space on whatever storage media you decide to use: Backup Complete Computer - Create an Image Backup
. I highly recommend this step!
Either way, I'm glad to hear it's fixed, eiger! Thx for reporting back your results and checking solved too! I hope you have a Happy New Year (esp. now with a working system for a gift!)