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Old 11-30-2007, 01:23 AM   #1
redger
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AMD AM2+ (790, 780, 770 7 SB600 Motherboard Chipset) Linux Support


Has anyone purchased a new AM2+ motherboard (for use with a Phenom quad processor CPU).

I would like to purchase a new CPU and favour the Phenom. I undestand that there are still a few issues eg. the Errata which has prevented release of the 2400 Ghz and above processors and the delay on the SB700 chipset .... plus some peculiarities of the IO speeds (lower than initially promised).

Still, I am looking to create a home server with multiple virtualised machines ie. multiple operating systems running on the same physical machine, using Xen or KVM, and the AMD chips look like a good fit.

I understand there are various flavours of the AM2+ chipset. Has anyone tried to install Linux on one (any) ? Was the attempt successful ? Do we need to wait for kernel enhancements ?
If successful, what was the brand and model of motherboard ?

It appears that these CPU will run quite happily on the existing AM2 boards but will miss out on the split power planes, HT3.0 etc., so it's better to go with the new baords if possible

I'd be most grateful for any feedback or advice

Thanks for your help
 
Old 11-30-2007, 07:21 PM   #2
Electro
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Linux is capable of using new hardware. The kernel will find the most compatible software if it does not have support for this hardware yet. In the past the kernel had trouble finding multiple cores in AMD processors. This is fixed, but this new processor might make these problems come to surface again.

At this time virtual hardware support is poor. I have not seen any module (driver) support for virtual hardware support. It seems manufactures still see this as a lost cause or a rare feature because Windows Vista does have support for it yet. I suggest use VMware Server instead.

ATI makes good hardware, but their software sucks in any OS. Only 3rd party driver developers that makes software for ATI hardware provides reliable and stable drivers.

For a server, you do not need a fast processor. Just need a reliable and stable setup. You can get by with 1 GHz or slower and still do well. What matters the most for a server is the hard drive's latency and throughput. The latency can not be changed, so pick a hard drive with a lower accessing time. To get high throughput, put the hard drives in RAID level 5, 6, or 10 to increase it to the desire bandwidth. I suggest use hardware RAID controllers when using RAID level 5 or 6.

It is a shame that AMD Phenom did poorly. I would wait until next year. Hopefully AMD can learn and figure something out to gain momentum for next year. Though AMD got something right, they use existing socket, so their customers do not have to trash their setup just to use the latest processors.
 
Old 12-01-2007, 04:18 PM   #3
redger
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Thanks Electro.
i imagine the CPU itself will perform ok under Linux, the SMP kernels seem stable and mature now.
I'm most interested in the supporting chipsets ..... which may be problematic given AMD/ATIs history with Linux.

It may well be better to wait for an NVidia chipset ... they seem to be well supported under linux.

Calling this a 'server' may have been overpromoting it a bit :-) I really want to run 4 guests ....
1) Linux for MythTv, with complete control over 2 DVB tuners. Needs horsepower for transcoding etc. 1 CPU should be adequate. This also means running MySQL, albeit with a very light workload
2) Linux workstation for software development etc. Needs horsepower for compiling etc. 1 CPU
3) Windows for other bits and pieces. May need horsepower if games are in its future. 1 CPU
4) Linux or other for experimentation.

Thanks fpr the comments about IO, I had planned a striped array (with parity), not sure about HW RAID tho .... what happens if/when the card develops a fault ie. would you need to buy 2 to ensure reliability

I am happy to run Windows and the experimental Linux without NICs, which means the hypervisor, Mythtv and workstation images would definitely need NICs - but not necessarily virtualised.
I thought I'd seen Xen drivers for NVidia graphics cards ... do they work ok under a hypervisor ?

I haven't used Linux based virtualisation yet, but thought that the latest hardware assists made the hypervisor invisible to the guests (there's a new privelege level for hypervisors .... and viruses) which means that a dedicated (to a single guest) hardware device need not be virtualised.
I was rather hoping to dedicate one of the 2 GPU ports to the hypervisor and the other to either Windows or the development workstation.

Which bring me back to the other question .... does anyone have experience running Linux on a Phenom-specific motherboard ie. AM2+ as either 790 or 770 with SB600 ?

Thanks again
 
Old 05-01-2008, 09:38 AM   #4
OralDeckard
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Thumbs down

Yes, and its bad.

I first installed my Phenom 9500 in an Asus M3A78-EMH with 4 GB of 1066 RAM. It was unable to find my SATA drives when I tried to install Fedora 8. With Fedora 9 Beta it found the drive and installed, but when I rebooted it could never find the drive again. Knoppix was unable to find the drives. I could never get the ethernet to work. lspci showed that it identified everything as unknown device.

Because I was able to find someone on LinuxQuestions.org who had it running with Linux I decided it was a bad board and returned it for a replacement. The replacement did the same thing. So I returned it for a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H.

With this board I can install Fedora 8, then reboot and find that it can't find /dev/root, /proc, resume device, etc.

Same thing with F9 Preview. The same drive boots fine when connected to an older dual core machine.

These AMD chipsets have been out for a while now. It looks like there would be drivers for them that worked with Linux.

I even used the IDE cable off the DVD to use a real IDE drive. Same result. Linux finds the drive to read grub.conf in /boot, then can't find the drive anymore.

The previous post in this thread is dated Dec 1 of last year, so I'm hoping you have had better luck since and can tell me about it.
 
Old 05-01-2008, 08:24 PM   #5
mdjenkins
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I ran Ubuntu on a gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DQ6 for 4 months while waiting for the nForce 780a chipset. The few weeks prior to the bios update for the TLB errata was a little unstable but those days are in the past.

I'm back to Gentoo on my new Asus M3N-HT. The only real hurdle I've encountered is figuring out that I needed to learn how to setup AHCI. Once AHCI support was properly setup, sata became plug n play and I've run into no further OS hurdles.

I did have a hell of a time getting my memory settings right in the bios so I could run all 8gb stable at stock 1066mhz but that wasn't anything OS related.
 
Old 05-01-2008, 11:41 PM   #6
OralDeckard
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Hello MDJenkins. Thank you for your encouragement. I was about to install Windows to act as a host to a Linux VM since Windows apparently can find its drives with this thing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mdjenkins View Post
The only real hurdle I've encountered is figuring out that I needed to learn how to setup AHCI. Once AHCI support was properly setup, sata became plug n play and I've run into no further OS hurdles.
Well, maybe that's my problem. I have AHCI checked in the BIOS, but did not realize that I have to do a settup on it. What kind of settup did you do? I'd love to try it.

I thought it might be driver support in the kernel for the chipset because when installing Fedora 8 I am told that I have no drives, but when installing Fedora 9 Preview it finds the drive and installs to it, then looses it.
 
Old 05-02-2008, 09:21 AM   #7
mdjenkins
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To get AHCI to work properly, I needed to ensure I had SCSI support and I needed to disable the PATA modules for my chipset. I did it all in kernel yet from what I've read on other distros, it's typically something as simple as finding the right kernel parameter and passing it on boot. I can't remember for certain what the common boot params were and don't have time ATM to review it but it was something like nomci or nomsi.

Hope this helps

Found it:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advance...ller_Interface
Quote:
In order for AHCI to work users must provide the "pci=nomsi" kernel boot parameter.

Last edited by mdjenkins; 05-02-2008 at 10:12 PM.
 
Old 05-03-2008, 08:37 AM   #8
OralDeckard
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Thank you very much MDJenkins. This looks like exactly what I need.
But I'm afraid I don't know how to provide a kernel boot parameter. Is that something I add to the grub.conf, file or what?
 
Old 05-03-2008, 08:42 PM   #9
mdjenkins
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in grub.conf you would append it to the end of the line that begins with kernel.
 
Old 06-05-2008, 07:07 PM   #10
usnay12345
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I also have just installed a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, and I am having the exact same problem where it can read GRUB off of the hard drive, then the kernel can't find the hard drive, and says it can't mount /dev/root . Using Fedora 8. Right now, I only have PATA/IDE drives. I'll try pci=nomsi tonight when I get home. I'll also try to look for other boot parameters, if pci=nomsi doesn't solve the problem.

I was able to boot my recovery disk, which has a 2.6.18 kernel and does not use libata (Fedora 8 uses libata). It finds the hard drive connected to the motherboard's IDE controller.

Also, when I have another IDE controller card installed, the BIOS lets me configure to boot off of one of the IDE drives connected to the controller card, but then when it tries to boot, even the BIOS doesn't seem to be able to read it. I tried putting my CD-ROM drive on this card, and it couldn't boot from CD, either. I tried two different cards of different brands and chipsets, so shouldn't be the card.

How are you doing with the problem, OralDeckard?

Thanks.
 
Old 06-06-2008, 03:19 AM   #11
Electro
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Quote:
Originally Posted by usnay12345 View Post
I also have just installed a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H, and I am having the exact same problem where it can read GRUB off of the hard drive, then the kernel can't find the hard drive, and says it can't mount /dev/root . Using Fedora 8. Right now, I only have PATA/IDE drives. I'll try pci=nomsi tonight when I get home. I'll also try to look for other boot parameters, if pci=nomsi doesn't solve the problem.

I was able to boot my recovery disk, which has a 2.6.18 kernel and does not use libata (Fedora 8 uses libata). It finds the hard drive connected to the motherboard's IDE controller.

Also, when I have another IDE controller card installed, the BIOS lets me configure to boot off of one of the IDE drives connected to the controller card, but then when it tries to boot, even the BIOS doesn't seem to be able to read it. I tried putting my CD-ROM drive on this card, and it couldn't boot from CD, either. I tried two different cards of different brands and chipsets, so shouldn't be the card.

How are you doing with the problem, OralDeckard?

Thanks.
The problem you are having is Fedora 8 uses the new setup for IDE. IDE are now designated as SCSI. I prefer the old way which is leaving IDE as an IDE drive.

You can try to mount by id, label, path, and uuid. uuid probably the best way and the most reliable way.

To mount using UUID and assuming the UUID that I want to mount is 470F-A930.

mount -t vfat -o rw UUID=470F-A930 /mnt/misc

To use mount by specifying a label, I would do the following.

mount -t vfat -o rw LABEL=MISC /mnt/misc

The partition is twelve but it can be any SCSI device node. Usually it stays on /dev/sda.

You can find the listing in /dev/disk or in /sys.
 
Old 06-06-2008, 05:43 AM   #12
OralDeckard
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I was able to boot IDE drives with F8 on the Gigabyte board, but neither F8 nor F9 on a SATA drive. I considered buying an extra IDE card, but that was $40 and required buying two new IDE HDs as well. Now I'm glad I didn't. Thanks for the info.

I finally sent the Gigabyte board back and got an ASUS M3N78-EMH HDMI. On it I wsa able too boot F9 on a SATA drive, but not F8. I strongly suspect that is just because a new kernel came out for F9.

I really prefer F8. Right now F9 is running only to host an F8 virtual machine. I am hoping that either F9 will get better or F8 will get a new kernel like F9 and finally boot.
 
Old 06-06-2008, 06:15 AM   #13
OralDeckard
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It has been so long I forgot the reason I sent to Gigabyte board back and got the ASUS. It was becaused I had determined that the problem was the AMD ATI chipset series. The choice of the ASUS motherboard was based on its having an nVidea chipset. That was supposed to end this problem once and for all. Well, it didn't end it for F8, but it did for F9. And it was not because of a new kernel in F9. F9 still had its not yet upgraded original installation. But because F8 will still not boot on a SATA drive, the real problem is yet undetermined. That being the case, my next motherboard will be an Intel. I haven't used one in years, but they don't have this problem.
 
Old 06-06-2008, 02:04 PM   #14
usnay12345
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Electro View Post
You can try to mount by id, label, path, and uuid. uuid probably the best way and the most reliable way.

To mount using UUID and assuming the UUID that I want to mount is 470F-A930.

mount -t vfat -o rw UUID=470F-A930 /mnt/misc

To use mount by specifying a label, I would do the following.

mount -t vfat -o rw LABEL=MISC /mnt/misc

The partition is twelve but it can be any SCSI device node. Usually it stays on /dev/sda.

You can find the listing in /dev/disk or in /sys.
I'll see what that does when booting the rescue CD, but it won't work for booting Fedora 8, because booting fails when it can't find the root device.

Thanks.


OralDeckard,
Thanks for the update. Now I got no idea what to build new machine out of
 
Old 06-07-2008, 12:34 AM   #15
usnay12345
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I don't keep UUID info, but I do have LABELs for all partitions. Tried mount LABEL=... and it fails. /dev/disk/by-label/... does not exist for partitions which are not equally mountable by /dev/sdX or /dev/hdX.

The May issue of Linux Pro Magazine has a DVD with a customized version of Ubuntu 7.10 on it. This boots (CD drive is on the IDE controller built into motherboard) and correctly identifies drives on both the IDE controller on the motherboard and the add-in IDE controller card. It can access devices on the motherboard's controller, but can't access devices on the add-in card. It's complaining about missing interrupts on the devices on the add-in card. It sees all of them as /dev/hdX. Tried pci=nomsi but it didn't change anything. Will try adding pci=biosirq irqfixup noirqdebug, next time I try to boot this machine.

Also noticed thread http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...=ga-ma78gm-s2h which says Slackware 12.0 with base-level kernel, and Slackware 12.1 with 2.6.25 kernel will boot SATA drives. On the other hand, http://www.linuxquestions.org/questi...=ga-ma78gm-s2h says Slackware 12.0 recognizes SATA HD's but then has trouble with IDE DVD.
 
  


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