nForce2 Linux support
Anyone here with experience using nForce that can tell me what to expect of when and if nVidia will have support for the nForce2 chipset? Will existing drivers and distributions such as Mandrake correctly configure this thing without hitch? How well have the nForce boards been holding up? Just need some insight as my only experience is using a nVidia video card under linux. THX
my nforce borad worked fine in redhat version 7.2 but when using 7.3 i can't get it to rebuild the drivers correctly so i can install the network card and the sound drivers (sound works sometimes but isn't working everytime when system is started)
I'm currently running an nForce based board (MSI K7N420 Pro), and the support under Linux has been a bit of a mixed bag.
First, the good. IDE and USB worked perfectly right out of the box. I'm using the integrated video which also worked with no trouble with the standard nVidia drivers.
Now for the not-too-bad.. the integrated NIC was supported a short time after I bought the board (I bought one of the first few nForce boards that were actually available on the market). It has mostly worked, though it is a closed-source driver, so naturally my kernel complains about being tainted. I've heard some people complain about some problems with the NIC driver, particularly with reference to ARP, but I use it only in a VERY simple setup (home LAN with 3 computers, one of which is a gateway/firewall that all traffic goes through).
The sound card support is also kinda weak to say the least. It's only used as an AC97 card, which is a far cry from the true potential of the built-in sound chip. I also found that with the precompiled drivers I only get sound from one speaker. However I did download the source tarball and install that way, and it then works ok as a low-end audio solution. Sound is fine, though it doesn't seem quite as crisp as it sounds in Windows (maybe that's just my imagination, I haven't done any real objective testing).
I've also had a real odd-ball problem related to nForce and my Adaptec SCSI card causing the kernel to lock-up, but I believe that is entirely related to how Mandrake compiled the Adaptec driver into their pre-compiled kernels (note that this problem is NOT related to the nForce drivers at all, it happens whether they are loaded or not).
So, long story short, I would expect Linux support for the nForce2, but not to the level that Windows is supported. It would be nice to see nVidia release good quality Linux support for the nForce, but I'm not holding my breath just yet.
My experience getting Mandrake 8.1 on it sort of bombed. The good news is that nVidia had come out with Linux drivers. The bad, some distros don't seem to bring one to a prompt so they can get them on.
In my case, the install went through but upon reboot, there was just some disk activity and then a black screen. No prompt, no login screen, no error messages, no nothing. With a black screen, one just can't get in to load nVidia's chipset drivers with.
The only changes since I last installed Mandrake 8.1 were the motherboard (Asus A7V vs Asus A7N266-E) and the GeForce 3 Ti500. My guess is that it isn't taking too well to the chipset. If anyone has any ideas...but when loading it from CD, if I then get a black screen I don't know what can be done without a prompt. The computer just has no I/O that way...
Vid card problem?
My guess is that the problem you're running into has to do with the new video card first and formost, and possibly with a related problem with the new AGP drivers that would be needed for the motherboard.
It sounds to me like what is happening is that your system is booting up ok, but then failing to load X properly, which tends to cause either a complete lock-up, or just causes X to freeze. The trick is to boot the system without loading X.
There are a couple ways to do this. First, you could try booting up normally and then killing the X server when it freezes up at the blank screen (hit CTRL-Alt-Backspace to kill an X-server). Otherwise you can try booting into "safemode" (Mandrake normally puts this in as a LILO option). Finally you can manually go into single user mode in Lilo by typing "linux single" at the Lilo prompt.
The next step would be to fix up the driver that is used. Mandrake probably has some sort of utilitiy to do this automagically, but I haven't used Mandrake enough to know what it is. I do know that it can be done manually by editing the /etc/X11/XF85Config.4 file. In that file there should be a section which talks about your graphics card and would have some sort of line dealing with the driver used. If you change that line to use the "nvidia" driver, you should be good to go into X at least. After that you could probalby use some of Mandrake's graphical tools to fix up a few other things.
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