What is an Azalia controller?

by Bharat Suneja

Last night I got my Media Center PC back from repairs with a brand new motherboard, new hard drives, and a new TV tuner. Yes, that’s almost like a new computer— one of those rare occasions when I’ve bought extended warranty for a computer and actually found it worthwhile.

After installing Windows Vista I tried to setup Media Center, but it failed to display any video or play any sound. The error— no sound device, a non-starter for Media Center PCs.

Vista’s Device Manager did not show any sound cards/devices! Did the repair department at Fry’s Electronics (parts of this electronics/computer retail chain are quite annoying to deal with, particularly their business processes that seem to be straight from the early twentieth century, or at least a few decades behind, including a total lack of customer service… ) replace the motherboard with one that does not have a sound card?

After fiddling around with the BIOS for a little bit, I realized the “onboard Azaliza controller” was disabled. Yes, I pass through that screen in the BIOS configuration for a few times with no clue what it was! Azalia is the development codename for Intel’s High Definition Audio Specification, a replacement for the Audio Codec ’97 (popularly known as AC97) spec for on-board audio.

Although I’m a big fan of cool-sounding product code names that can generate plenty of excitement amongst product teams, customers, and the media, this one certainly had me feeling like an annoyed and confused user. Wouldn’t it be a good idea to switch to a meaningful name when shipping the product— particularly a BIOS that generally comes with little or no documentation besides what’s on the screen?

Did you know about Azalia controllers? Do you have your stories of product names or code names that made no sense and proved to be annoyances? Feel free to post them in the comments.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Privacy Fails September 27, 2008 at 10:02 pm

Yeah, we just ran into that. I can think of a few better names.

Maybe something like, oh, “on-board audio controller” or “that audio thingie” or, maybe, “that one thing that makes it so your sound is horked”.


Unknown October 3, 2013 at 12:20 am

I fix computers over some years here in Brazil. And today I got a laptop bipping out loud when at power on, I mean, really OUT LOUD bipping! When I got into the setup BIOS to check it out, after changing ALL options for onboard components from Enable to Disable I found this “Azalia LAN” enabled… then I disabled it and the biiping stoped!

I felt like: “WHAT’S THAT?!” not even a fast Google research gave me the hint! After feeling like a common user, even being a technician for more than a decade, this code name really made me confuse and lost! THANK YOU for giving a great explanation about it!


Anonymous March 31, 2015 at 11:55 am

Thanks, I didn’t know what Azalia is for too :P


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