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Avoid Intel DG965RY board with Linux

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm setting up a new backend Linux server, so I picked what I thought would be a stable reliable board, an Intel DG965RY. It's a workstation oriented board, not server, but for my home Linux server uses, that's not a problem. Even though it's a server now, I thought in the future I might use it as an HTPC client.. the intel X3000 video on the board has some nice video decoding capabilities that may be available in Linux with future open source driver development (intel is working on the API / driver, but it's not available yet). That's the main reason I ended up with this board, I wanted Core2Duo support, at least 4GB RAM support, and X3000 video. But, I apparently overlooked something more critical..

The main issue with these boards is that they eliminated the PATA (Parallel ATA, Standard IDE) ports from the new intel chipsets. They do have a single PATA connector on the board, but that is run by another chip, a Marvell PATA controller. That chip seems to be poorly supported in Linux, and is not recognized by the installers for the various Linux distributions I've tried (Ubuntu Feisty, Fedora 7).

This problem is fairly well known.. there are even messages on the kernel mailing list from Linus himself talking about this. And I thought it had been addressed in the 2.6.20 or 21 kernels. But, I'm still having all kinds of problems with my board.

I tried adding kernel options on boot ( all-generic-ide irqpoll pci=nommconf ), but that didn't help. I tried adding a PCI IDE controller card and hooking the CD to that, but the board didn't give the option to boot from that drive. I also tried booting from a USB connected CD drive, but that was a no-go as it appeared to not like the USB/drive.

My next workaround attempt will be to put a SATA DVD drive in it.. we'll see if some other problem comes up then.

So, for others looking at Linux systems for HTPC or other use, I would avoid the DG965RY for now.
post #2 of 12
patch to the MM branch of the kernel. I have been following the linux-ide mailing list and that marvel pata controller is supported under that
post #3 of 12
If possible, you may need to install linux on a different computer and then transfer the drive to the new system once you have the patched kernel installed as blackoper has mentioned. This will probably require a kernel compile.
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
I picked up a SATA DVD-R drive, so I don't have to use the Marvell controller.

I've tried Ubuntu Feisty, Fedora 7, and OpenSUSE 10.2, and all have roughly the same behavior.

I can get into the installation process now, but something is screwed up.. The system slows to a crawl, and installation would take hours to complete if I went through the whole thing. It's not clear what is causing it to perform so slowly. I went to a console window and tried a few commands, and it's operating very slowly. An 'lspci' command takes about 15 seconds to complete. 'top' shows the installer program taking all the CPU (anaconda on Fedora, y2base on OpenSUSE, etc.), and 'init' also shows a lot of cpu time used.

I tried disabling many things in the BIOS (multi-core, ethernet, firewire, usb, etc.) but it made no difference. I also tried the various IDE settings (AHCI / IDE modes, Native and Legacy modes), but it made no difference.

I have also tried the various kernel command-line options, but it still doesn't help.. These included disabling ACPI, disabling APIC, irqpoll, pci=nommrq, and more.

I have seen other reports of Linux working on this board, so I'm not sure what's up with mine..
post #5 of 12
make sure dma is turned on for both the drive and the dvd/cd rom. hdparm -d 1 /dev/
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. I tried checking & setting DMA for the drives, and I got an error message saying something about the ioctl not being recognized. This is the first SATA system for me, so I am not sure if it responds to all the same settings as PATA drives.

But, that's where I was looking, since it seemed like about the only thing that could slow the whole system that way.. an IRQ or DMA issue that slows everything down, but doesn't actually break it. When doing commands like lspci, there is a delay of ~15 seconds, then it spits out the result -- rather than taking 15 seconds to gradually output everything. So, that seems to me to be a timeout / failure of something like IRQ/DMA. But, the file data should be cached after the first access, so I'm not sure why it consistently takes 15 seconds every time.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
All of the OS's I had tried so far were 64 bit, because I have 4GB of RAM in the system.

So, I put the 32bit Ubuntu Feisty install disk in it and booted that up, and that runs just fine. So, I need to narrow down the 64 bit issue.. maybe it's just the BIOS version.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I found some similar problem reports from people using 64 bit Vista.. For them it works fine with 1,2, or 3 Gigs of RAM, but with 4 Gigs, it slows to a crawl. I verified this on my system, it's on ly when I have all 4 Gigs of RAM installed that I had the problem.

So, I backed out the BIOS to an older version (version 1669, I think), and now it works fine with 4Gigs.

I guess I was just very unlucky, having all the right issues to cause a problem: A bad BIOS released a month or so ago, 4GB of RAM installed, and using a 64 bit OS.
post #9 of 12
I have a DG965RY MB. Here's my experience...

http://forums.techguy.org/unix-linux...oot-2hdds.html

------------------------------------------------------------------------



Quote:
Originally Posted by tji View Post

I'm setting up a new backend Linux server, so I picked what I thought would be a stable reliable board, an Intel DG965RY. It's a workstation oriented board, not server, but for my home Linux server uses, that's not a problem. Even though it's a server now, I thought in the future I might use it as an HTPC client.. the intel X3000 video on the board has some nice video decoding capabilities that may be available in Linux with future open source driver development (intel is working on the API / driver, but it's not available yet). That's the main reason I ended up with this board, I wanted Core2Duo support, at least 4GB RAM support, and X3000 video. But, I apparently overlooked something more critical..

The main issue with these boards is that they eliminated the PATA (Parallel ATA, Standard IDE) ports from the new intel chipsets. They do have a single PATA connector on the board, but that is run by another chip, a Marvell PATA controller. That chip seems to be poorly supported in Linux, and is not recognized by the installers for the various Linux distributions I've tried (Ubuntu Feisty, Fedora 7).

This problem is fairly well known.. there are even messages on the kernel mailing list from Linus himself talking about this. And I thought it had been addressed in the 2.6.20 or 21 kernels. But, I'm still having all kinds of problems with my board.

I tried adding kernel options on boot ( all-generic-ide irqpoll pci=nommconf ), but that didn't help. I tried adding a PCI IDE controller card and hooking the CD to that, but the board didn't give the option to boot from that drive. I also tried booting from a USB connected CD drive, but that was a no-go as it appeared to not like the USB/drive.

My next workaround attempt will be to put a SATA DVD drive in it.. we'll see if some other problem comes up then.

So, for others looking at Linux systems for HTPC or other use, I would avoid the DG965RY for now.

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post #10 of 12
I recall reading about certain motherboards not working well with >2GB or >4GB of RAM, because they didn't allow the CPU to cache that RAM, effectively disabling the CPU cache. Perhaps something similar is taking place here.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Here is a more complete rundown of the problem and solution:

http://forums.fedoraforum.org/showthread.php?t=157232

Basically, it can be fixed in the current BIOS with a lot of tweaking of MTRR memory ranges. Or, it can be fixed by backing off to a previous BIOS version.

Intel is aware of the issue, and have released two BIOS updates since acknowledging the problem. But, the most recent release still has the bug.

Note that this only effects systems with 4GB+, in 64 bit mode or PAE mode. It effects any OS meeting those conditions, not just Linux.
post #12 of 12
FYI I went back at Intel support several times asking for a fix for the 4G slowdown problem. I finally asked for a refund and they are giving me one. I turned around and bought a DQ35JO motherboard to replace it and it seems to be working fine and mapping the memory correctly. In addition it's a newer, better motherboard and cost less!!
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