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Old 04-29-2013, 03:27 PM   #1
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nouveau with FX5500 [failure in open channel] hangs computer

It's a long story, first the background, then the problem.


So, I have an ancient P4 Soyo MB system that had a Nvidia Ti4600 128MB card. The card went on the fritz, but rather than give up on the whole system I bought a 3ds Nvidia FX5500 card. There is no on board video with this motherboard, and it will not boot without a graphics card.

I dual boot with Windows XP Pro SP3, used the driver disk provided with the card, and have no issues in Windows. (Driver Version I did try to update the driver to the latest 173.x.x.x driver in Windows, but for some reason, not sure, I had to roll back to the older version that came with the card.

I had been using the latest 96.x.x.x driver with Slackware and Ubuntu 12.04 on the same machine, but made the mistake of trying to install the 173.x.x.x driver, which borked the X setup. I also decided to scrap the Ubuntu setup, and reinstall something new.

The problem:

The machine will boot Knoppix 7.0.4 and the graphics run great. I tried a few other distro disks I have around. Linux Mint 13 and 14 hang the computer with no messages on install. Sabayon 5.1 hangs the computer with a nouveau driver failure to open channel 1. Ubuntu 12.10 Gnome remix installed, but hangs on logging in, also presumably because of the graphics card. I can't access Slackware easily right now, because unfortunately the grub 2 installer doesn't automatically mount it, although I can at least dual boot back to Win XP.

The question:

So bad graphics card that manages to work with Windows and Knoppix? Nouveau driver that is too current for this card? Any suggestions?
Old 05-01-2013, 01:37 PM   #2
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The new drivers don't support the old cards. You need to use legacy drivers. Do a little research for yours. I'm using nouveau with a FX 5400 on an older P4 and on a AMD II X2 GeForce 7025 in Arch and it works ok.
uname -r
Here is what Arch has that works.
libvdpau 0.6-1
    Nvidia VDPAU library
nvidia 313.30-5
    NVIDIA drivers for linux
nvidia-304xx 304.88-4
    NVIDIA drivers for linux, 304xx legacy branch
nvidia-304xx-lts 304.88-3
    NVIDIA drivers for linux-lts, 304xx legacy branch
nvidia-304xx-utils 304.88-1
    NVIDIA drivers utilities and libraries, 304xx legacy branch
nvidia-libgl 313.30-2
    NVIDIA drivers libraries symlinks
nvidia-lts 313.30-3
    NVIDIA drivers for linux-lts
nvidia-utils 313.30-2
    NVIDIA drivers utilities
opencl-nvidia 313.30-2
    OpenCL implemention for NVIDIA
opencl-nvidia-304xx 304.88-1
    OpenCL implemention for NVIDIA, 304xx legacy branch
xf86-video-nouveau 1.0.7-1 (xorg-drivers xorg)
    Open Source 2D acceleration driver for nVidia cards
mesa 9.1.1-1
    an open-source implementation of the OpenGL specification
mesa-libgl 9.1.1-1
    Mesa 3-D graphics library

Sorry I haven't used nvidia's modules on these machines. Nouveau is working with FX 5400.
Old 05-02-2013, 08:39 AM   #3
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Well 173.14.37 is the legacy driver for the 5500 and nvidia says it is supported on their page. Nouveau doesn't work. It seems that the driver that came with the card is an old 2009 195.62.x.x before they migrated support to 173.x.

Interestingly, even Win XP recognizes the driver can be upgraded, but the upgrade (which is the 173 branch) doesn't work. I tried downloading an old Linux nvidia driver 195.36.31, but it doesn't compile under a 3.x kernel.

So, I guess I'll have to find a 2.6 kernel distro and see what happens. Weird that Knoppix works though. Ahh adventures in old flaky hardware...


So I rebooted Knoppix, which works perfectly, and it is running nouveau, of course. Why does Knoppix 7.0.4's nouveau work but not any of the other distros? Should be the same, unless they (a) have a newer version with a regression (b) have a more aggressive Xconfig. More to come if I ever figure it out. The only other thing I wonder about is that the card is AGP 1/4/8 capable but the MB is only AGP 4x. Could the other distros think they can run the card at 8x? Just an idea..

Last edited by mostlyharmless; 05-02-2013 at 09:06 AM.
Old 05-12-2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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So... an update of sorts. It's not the kernel.

First, the error in nouveau is "[drm] failure to idle channel 1", with a crash, eventually, requiring a power button rescue. Googling this error shows it has been encountered in several distros, the suggestion being to try the nvidia binary blob. Or use the vesa drivers of course. So nouveau per se has a reported issue with these cards.

Strangely, although nvidia clearly states that 173.14.37.x is the driver for FX5500
and nvidia-settings clearly states that I have a GeForce FX 5500 VBIOS version, the driver causes the machine to freeze up also. How did I use nvidia-settings, you ask? Well apparently the 96.43.23.x driver works just fine. Unfortunately, the 96.x.x series driver only supports xserver-xorg ABI 12 and under, which is what I'm running under Slackware 14 right now, while Linux Mint 14, for example, needs ABI 14, which is supported by the 173.x.x.x series. Clear as mud, right?

I suspect the hardware on this particular cheap (SIB-corp) nvidia card is the culprit. Under Windows XP, the old 2005 195.62. series driver works great, but the WHQL 2008 173.series driver fails to load with the dreaded Windows code 10 error.

Hope this information is useful to anyone with the same problem. At this point the solution to these particular cards is to run the 96.x driver and make sure your distro doesn't have ABI > 12. It is unlikely that the 96.x series driver will ever get updated again. Perhaps the nouveau bug will get addressed, but since few people have such old hardware, I suspect there won't be any action on that front either.

Marking as [SOLVED]
Old 05-28-2013, 08:59 PM   #5
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Yet another update, on a SOLVED thread, *sigh* maybe I should start a blog. But I'm too old for that, and have never kept a journal or a diary. But I digress.

It's Cinnamon, and the nouveau drivers and the default gfxmode in Mint 13 and 14. (Haven't tested 15) The 173.14.37.x drivers work fine, as long as you run gnome classic. xfce seems OK, but for some reason no characters appear in terminal windows, which are my preferred method of using the GUI .

Cinnamon is a non-starter, perhaps because my CPU is a Pentium 4 and can't keep up. So, men and women of Linuxquestions and hardy web surfers of the world, if you manage to get the thing installed, edit out the gfxmode line in grub, and the quiet and the splash if you want to see normal boot up stuff and not corrupted characters. After that it doesn't matter, just run gnome classic. From there you can install the NVIDIA driver of your choice.

Or you could just keep running slackware!
Old 12-16-2013, 02:54 PM   #6
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GeForece FX-5500 still not working.

Update: still didn't work with, 32-bit 14.1 slackware and FX-5500 card. nvidia173 packages didn't work either.

If nvidia doesn't issue a newer driver soon, I'll go to the computer store and get a better card.

Last edited by lesechang; 12-17-2013 at 02:41 PM.


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