[svlug] More problems

Florin Andrei florin at sgi.com
Thu Jan 16 11:39:24 PST 2003

On Thu, 2003-01-16 at 02:39, J. Paul Reed wrote:
> 1600 and an MSI K7N2 mobo, with the nVidia chipset.

That actually must be the nForce2 chipset. (true? yes/no?)

> Despite a bent CPU pin (corrected with tweezers), a RedHat install went
> fine and the system boots Ok.
> The problems begin when the system is actually used: if I try to do any
> heavy lifting with my new Western Digital hard drive (the piece of the
> puzzle that started this whole mess), then system responsiveness is just
> GONE. By heavy lifting, I mean something like loading Mozilla or doing a
> 'cp -a' of a huge directory with lots of files will do it.
> Redrawing in X is jittery (as in 'top' refreshes in an xterm or simply
> drawing the output of dmesg); what I notice most, though, is the keyboard
> and the mouse are both very jumpy and non-responsive.

Excellent! :-)
No, sorry. I'm not glad you have problems.
However, i had similar problems with an MSI nForce1-based mobo, and it's
interesting to see a similar thing with an nForce2-based one.

My investigation led me to believe the problems were due to overlapping
interrupts. Please run "cat /proc/interrupts" and copy/paste the output
in an e-mail.
I fixed most of the IRQ issues with my mobo, but i'd still like to see
what's the situation with yours.

I suspect the problems on my motherboard are due to not being able to
activate APIC. I've heard that someone using the same nForce1
motherboard was able to activate APIC with Linux, and of course didn't
had any overlapping IRQ problems.
I suspect the cause is an interaction between the motherboard/BIOS and
the Red Hat kernel, because i'm pretty sure that that person didn't use
Red Hat.
But i could be all wrong.

I didn't tried yet a different kernel (perhaps a vanilla kernel.org or a
Con Kolivas patch), but i will, soon.

It would be interesting to see if a pattern emerges here.

> like that, not a crappy mainboard (and by crappy, I do not mean broken or
> defective... I mean crappy...)

The issue of IRQs aside, i still believe the nForce (1 or 2)
motherboards are great for a personal/gaming workstation:
- the chipset is blazing fast
- the memory bandwidth is amazing, provided that you have exactly 2 DDRs
installed, not 1 or 3 (basically, they double the bandwidth in this case
via a hardware trick); i'd like to see some benchmarks with some
bandwidth-intensive apps run on these things
- you simply can't beat the price/features ratio; i mean, for 150$ i got
a fast motherboard + embedded GeForce2 (pretty good at that time) +
embedded excellent digital soundcard (arguably at least comparable with
the best SoundBlaster at that time)
That being said, it might also be good for plain number-crunching
(benchmarks using large matrices, anyone?).

On the exact same type of MSI nForce1 mobo i installed Win2K for someone
else, and it works very well. Probably Win2K gets the IRQs right, but i
didn't verify.

I assume the nForce2 is even better price/features-wise (embedded:
FireWire, TV-out, RAID; plus it has GeForce4 embedded instead of Ge2).
Which one is your model?


How much did it cost? Where did you bought it from?

Florin Andrei

"I'm only arguing against stupid people who think they need a revolution
to improve - most real improvements are evolutionary." - Linus Torvalds

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