...went Ed's desktop.
I shut off the speakers, then decided on a reboot. I've said before that FREECELL sometimes screws up the sound on the machine, so I figured, "Well, what was I just doing?"
Except that the computer would NOT restart. I didn't select "restart"; I shut down, shut off power, waited 20 seconds, and then powered on again.
Blank screen, monitor in power save. Nothing on the TV, either, so it wasn't the random "reassign main desktop to TV" problem that crops up every once in a long while.
Get down on the floor, pull the cover from the machine, reseat video card--same problem. Mull that, pull audio card, power up--
--machine boots fine.
Shut down, reinsert audio card, power up, machine won't boot.
Ergo: sound card has died, and it's died pretty big, to boot. (So to speak. Pun intended.)
The big problem here is that I don't have a viable replacement part on-hand. Nearly every other sound card I own (I have at least six) are ISA bus cards; the desktop has PCI. The P3's sound card is PCI, but it's all-digital; if you want analog output you have to change the driver settings and then it sounds like utter ass. (I mean "AM radio but with bass" crappy--the signal to noise ratio is, shall we say, lacking.)
So! I get to go to Best Buy today! Whee!
...and it's going to cut into my "Ruger Mk II" fund, damn it. *sigh*
UPDATE: Maybe not. Looks like I can get a fair replacement for $50 at Best Buy.
I'm pretty sure I don't need the $150 Sound Blaster they've got.
I did pay that much for a sound card once--actually I think it was $200 for a Sound Blaster AWE-32, back when that was state-of-the-art in computer sound cards. 1992 or 1993 or so.
UPDATE 2: Yes I tried enabling the sound chip on the motherboard. All I got from that was incredibly unstable operation, so that I couldn't even run Control Panel without the system crashing. So I disabled that and plan on going to Best Buy.
UPDATE 3: New sound card in, and it works. As a bonus, I stopped at the nearest gun range, and it turns out I can shoot my .22 rifle there as well! So I'll be going ASAMFP with the Mossberg and the Astra. Hoody hoo!