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-   -   Motherboard compatibility question (http://www.linuxquestions.org/questions/linux-hardware-18/motherboard-compatibility-question-666576/)

haertig 08-31-2008 12:24 AM

Motherboard compatibility question
 
The HCL doesn't list any of the motherboards I am considering.

What kernel version would I need to use to get "most" functionality out of a mobo based on the SB700 southbridge? Most importantly, the SATA controller. I like the sounds of the 780G northbridge that goes along with this southbridge.

I am planning on installing Slackware 12.1, which I *think* uses the 2.6.24 kernel, but I'm not sure. I was also thinking about dual-booting a Debian Etch system, which uses an even older kernel, 2.6.18. I can easily compile the kernel I need, provided I can get far enough along in the installation to where I can boot up and compile a new kernel. which means the default kernel included with the distro has to work with the SB700 SATA.

The mobo's I'm considering (but I've just started shopping around):

Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H
Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-2SH
Biostar TFORCE TA780G M2+

I'm not tied into AMD, but I've had good success with them before, and they seem to be cheaper than Intel (at least the last time I bought a CPU they were). I'm not looking for high end. Currently considering a dual-core Brisbane in the 5000+, 5200+ or 5400+ flavor, or something else in that performance/price category. Be it Intel or AMD.

I will be building this system from scratch, all my existing components are too old to use, so I haven't decided on memory type, CPU, ATX or microATX, etc. I plan on using two 200gb PATA drives that I have available. This will take up the single IDE controller you find on most mobos. So I will need to buy a new SATA DVD drive to do the initial boot/installation. Hence my need to a kernel that will work with whatever southbridge I end up with.

Thanks for any recommendations. I am strongly leaning towards a sub-$100 mobo, a sub-$100 dual-core cpu (preferrable $150 or so for mobo AND cpu together), integrated graphics and sound, and probably DDR2-800 memory. Simply because I don't need any more power than this.

Bruce Hill 08-31-2008 02:15 AM

We have a Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-S2H in the HCL awaiting approval. However, like
most of the product submissions we get, there is no information about how the
board works with which Linux kernel. There is not even any lspci output. Just:
Code:

Micro ATX motherboard Supports AMD Phenom / Athlon series processors socket AM2, AM2+.
Dual Channel DDR2 to 1066 depending on Processor.
Integrated ATI Radeon HD3200-based graphics (DX10).
Ultimate graphics performance with PCI-E 2.0 x16 interface with ATI Hybrid CrossFireX support.
Integrated SATA 3Gb/s with RAID0,1,10,JBOD
Features Gigabit Ethernet and IEEE1394
High quality 106dB SNR ALC889A HD audio
Integrated HDMI/ DVI interface with HDCP
Up to 2 IEEE 1394a ports.
* Due to different Linux support condition provided by chipset vendors, please download Linux driver from chipset vendors' website or 3rd party website.

Chipset: 780G SB700

You see why a lot of Product Posts go from pending to deleted. If you aren't going
to give more information than that, what are you telling someone? We can learn
more from the manufacturer's website.

You should use Google and <Linux> Google and search LQ for those models, also.

We also have a Gigabyte GA-MA69G-S3H pending. This is his post:
Code:

Description:            The product works like a charm with Debian GNU/Linux etch, everything is detected correctly.
Keywords:        Am2 AMD-690G ATI-SB600 DDR2-800 ITE-IT8716 Realtek-RTL8110
/sbin/lspci output:        00:00.0 Host bridge: ATI Technologies Inc Unknown device 7910
00:01.0 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc Unknown device 7912
00:12.0 SATA controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 Non-Raid-5 SATA
00:13.0 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB (OHCI0)
00:13.1 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB (OHCI1)
00:13.2 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB (OHCI2)
00:13.3 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB (OHCI3)
00:13.4 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB (OHCI4)
00:13.5 USB Controller: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 USB Controller (EHCI)
00:14.0 SMBus: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 SMBus (rev 14)
00:14.1 IDE interface: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 IDE
00:14.3 ISA bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 PCI to LPC Bridge
00:14.4 PCI bridge: ATI Technologies Inc SB600 PCI to PCI Bridge
00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
01:05.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Unknown device 791e 02:0f.0 Ethernet controller: Realtek Semiconductor Co., Ltd. RTL-8169SC Gigabit Ethernet (rev 10)
Chipset:        AMD-690G ATI-SB600

I build and repair computers, and a few years ago quit buying any
brand of boards except Asus. Also, if you can afford it, I recommend
not buy micro boards, or boards with anything onboard, except maybe
a NIC. You can buy a PCI NIC with Realtek 8139 chipset for $5.00.

haertig 09-01-2008 12:47 AM

Well, I guess the money was just burning a hole in my pocket after my previous Linux box bit the dust (pwr supp and mobo went dead).

I ordered the Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H ATX motherboard (780G northbridge, SB700 southbridge). The integrated graphics are supposed to be pretty good on this mobo. It looks pretty feature rich (lots of rear panel connections and headers). We'll see how well it all works with Linux.

I went for a mid-range system. Antec "three hundred" case, OCZ 600w StealthExtreme power supply, that Gigabyte motherboard, 2Gb Kingston DDR2-800 ram (matched pair), AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Brisbane dual core cpu, and an LG SATA DVD burner. All that for less than $350 shipped. I've got two 200GB PATA harddrives, keyboards, mice, monitors, a card reader, a TV tuner card, extra 120mm fans, speakers and subwoofer, and a floppy drive that I can move to this new system. Network printer accessible on my home LAN.

I'll add a detailed review to the HCL once I get the system built and running.

pinniped 09-01-2008 01:13 AM

What I normally do is make up a list of the support chips on the MoBo:
Northbridge
Southbridge (if any)
Others (SATA, peripheral timer, USB ...)

Then I just search with the chip names and 'linux driver' and look at the most recent posts about what works and doesn't. If all the support chips on my MoBo are listed as working and there are no complaints about bugs, I can be pretty sure my MoBo will work. I've done that about 5 times in the past 3 years and never had problems.

Electro 09-01-2008 06:35 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by haertig (Post 3265737)
Well, I guess the money was just burning a hole in my pocket after my previous Linux box bit the dust (pwr supp and mobo went dead).

I ordered the Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H ATX motherboard (780G northbridge, SB700 southbridge). The integrated graphics are supposed to be pretty good on this mobo. It looks pretty feature rich (lots of rear panel connections and headers). We'll see how well it all works with Linux.

I went for a mid-range system. Antec "three hundred" case, OCZ 600w StealthExtreme power supply, that Gigabyte motherboard, 2Gb Kingston DDR2-800 ram (matched pair), AMD Athlon 64 X2 5200+ Brisbane dual core cpu, and an LG SATA DVD burner. All that for less than $350 shipped. I've got two 200GB PATA harddrives, keyboards, mice, monitors, a card reader, a TV tuner card, extra 120mm fans, speakers and subwoofer, and a floppy drive that I can move to this new system. Network printer accessible on my home LAN.

I'll add a detailed review to the HCL once I get the system built and running.

OCZ power supplies are OK, but not the best. I prefer Seasonic because they are actually better than OCZ.

LG sucks for any hardware for computers and appliances. For Linux, it is best to use a PATA version instead of SATA for optical drives. ASUS optical drives are very good for the price.

The Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H motherboard should work. I have suggested it in the past since it seems it should work OK in Linux from the list of hardware that it contains.

forum1793 09-01-2008 10:28 AM

The board you selected should be fine. I've the s2h version. Slackware 12.1 is a good choice (for me). Immediately upgrade kernel to at least 2.6.25 as that better recognizes the chips and better enables sound. I'm currently using 2.6.25.11 and have seen no real problems with 2.6.25.16.

When building new kernel see my other link to properly configure sata-dvd and pata.

The only minor issue is if using onboard graphics, they are still not greatly supported. If you intend on using 3d, mythtv, or wine, I would not use newer than Catalyst 8.5. 8.6-8.8 have problems and segfaults. If you go to kernel 2.6.26 Catalyst 8.8 is the only version whos install package works. If you're never going to use 3d graphics or the above programs, the open source drivers kind of work. They don't autorecognize many of the video modes and, in my case, when viewing over hdmi the screen and monitor don't match up nicely (part of screen is off screen). Works a little better over rgb.

If you intend on sound over hdmi (I can't remember if yours had that) you pretty much are stuck with the catalyst drivers as they are needed to enable the port. Radeonhd has an experimental patch for this but it hasn't worked for me.

Another point, when installing, hook the sata-dvd onto the sata port that can be set in bios separately from other ports (ahci vs ide mode). This needs to be in ide mode when loading OS or it will hang. Not sure on your board which sata port this is. For me it was one closest to ram slots (and numberd sata-4/5 I think). Not sure if there was a bios change that might have altered this. Early on I had really slow write speeds with dvd in ide mode (dma mode would not work) but it worked in ahci (sata) mode. But then maybe that was slack12.0 or a bios change helped. Both options in bios seem to work OK now for burning.

Everything else should work well. I think I have same ram as you (sounds similar) and bios automatically set it to 1.93V and it works fine.

Northbridge will get hot. I do not restrict airflow but have done nothing special to keep cool. I'm using micro-ATX Iwin IW-Z589 case. You can compare to yours to get idea if airflow might be problem. I do not have any ide cables to restrict flow. I also do not have floppy cable installed. I keep case in open area so no airflow restrictions to case.

I updated bios but can't remember exactly how. I tried, cd-rom, usb, and I think wine. If you have floppy that is way to go.

Hope this helps you.

haertig 09-01-2008 03:15 PM

Thanks for the reply.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Electro (Post 3265974)
OCZ power supplies are OK, but not the best.

I got it because it was cheap and a reasonable, but not necessarily top line, power supply. On sale and with a rebate (yeah, I hate rebates too!) $39. That seemed a pretty good price for +3.3V@36A,+5V@30A,+12V1@18A,+12V2@18A,+12V3@18A,+12V4@18A,-12V@0.5A,+5VSB@3.0A from a decent manufacturer.

Quote:

For Linux, it is best to use a PATA version instead of SATA for optical drives.
I have a nice older reliable NEC 3540A DVD burner that I'd love to use. It is PATA, but then, so are the two harddisks that I'm planning on using. And the mobo only has one IDE controller (two devices max). For $23, I figured the SATA LG drive would serve to get the OS installed. Eventually I will probably replace the HDD's with SATA, and then replace the LG with my NEC 3540A optical drive. The LG would end up in my parts graveyard. But you never know, it may work fine and earn itself a permanent home in this computer.

Quote:

The Gigabyte GA-MA78G-DS3H motherboard should work. I have suggested it in the past since it seems it should work OK in Linux from the list of hardware that it contains.
Yeah! Glad to hear that. Hopefully it will work well for me.

jay73 09-01-2008 03:27 PM

I would like to disagree on the PATA optical drives. There are all sorts of issues with the 2.6.24 kernel and PATA drives that SATA optical drives are not affected by. And this is a recurring phenomenon.I had issues with my PATA optical drives more than once (about one in every two or three minor versions of the kernel would reintroduce them) but SATA has always worked fine, one the very same motherboards (ASUS and MSI). I'm using SATA only now. What a relief.

haertig 09-01-2008 03:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by forum1793 (Post 3266129)
The board you selected should be fine. I've the s2h version...

Thanks a bunch for all the info you provided! I'll definitely keep it handy when I'm building this system. I thought about getting the microATX version like you have, but since the Antec case I wanted only advertised full ATX, I went with the bigger board. Chances are I could have gotten the microATX installed in there just fine though. The two boards look nearly identical in what they offer, except the microATX version adds eSATA on the rear panel whereas the ATX version had a few more PCIe slots. These differing capabilities were not a big deal for me ... I bought on size. The two boards cost about the same, give or take a few dollars. You see the microATX version you have mentioned in lots of articles and reviews, like it's somewhat of "standard" for the 780G/SB700 chipset.

haertig 09-01-2008 05:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by forum1793 (Post 3266129)
Northbridge will get hot. I do not restrict airflow but have done nothing special to keep cool. I'm using micro-ATX Iwin IW-Z589 case. You can compare to yours to get idea if airflow might be problem.

The entire reason I decided on this Antec case was for cooling design. It's got two front 120mm fans for the harddrives, one side 120mm fan for a graphics card, one rear 120mm fan, and one top 140mm fan. The PSU I bought also has a 120mm fan in it. I don't think I'll need all this cooling, but after that SFF PC that just died on me I'm swinging in the opposite direction and going for as much cooling as I can get.

With this particular Antec case, you have to buy the front and side fans yourself (it only comes with the rear and top). I've got extra 120mm fans to add to the case so I'm in good shape. The bigger brother to my case is the Antec Nine Hundred. It includes all the fans but they are those LED type, and it's got a clear side window. Good for the young gamers, but a little too fancy for this old guy. I prefer a more understated case. Also, the Nine Hundred's top fan is 200mm and I don't know where you'd find a replacement for that should it go bad. The Three Hundred has a 140mm up top. Not terribly common, but you can find replacements for those if you look.

jay73 09-01-2008 05:50 PM

Too many coolers will make a system quite noisy if you don't deal with heat more directly. Like if you buy a CPU cooler, remove the thermal goo that is often already applied and get some decent thermal paste. My CPU temps dropped by over 10 degrees. Likewise for the hard drives: the best things I have ever done is replace all my Western Digitals with Samsung Spinpoints (SATA) - they run more than 10 degrees cooler although they are noticeably faster. If you do that, you won't need much extra cooling at all. With just a single 120mm added and all the other coolers at 50% or less, the CPU and the system rarely get hotter than 25-30 degrees (in Summer that is). That leaves at least 50 degrees headroom so I would have to do some pretty freaky stuff to do any damage.

haertig 09-01-2008 06:19 PM

That SFF I had did OK with cooling, until I added a second HDD. Both HDDs are Seagates. You put two of those crammed into a small SFF case with only a single 70mm system fan, and you've got issues! The CPU had a separate 70mm fan/heatsink which was marginally OK for that Athlon 3000+. I used Arctic Silver paste. The video card was an nVidia MX4000 with heatsink only, no fan. I love that video card - perfect for Linux and only cost me $9.99 on sale (free shipping), but it is AGP so it won't work with newer motherboards. Obviously I'm not a gamer.


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