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Old 02-19-04, 11:03 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Discovery Bay, Hong Kong
Posts: 28
Default Mandrake 9.2 and GeForce FX 5600 - Installation Problems

Mandrake 9.2 and GeForce FX 5600 - Driver Installation Problems (1.0-5336)

X is very unstable and will crash often. It seems to crash for no apparent reason. Sometimes I have noticed that crashes have occurred while surfing the net using Mozilla. The most recent crash came when I was closing a pop-up window. The crashes occur when using regular programs (web browser, e-mail, word processing and sometime the gimp). I don't play games very much but I have tried Tux Racer which doesn't work. When a crash occurs X goes to top of the process list (top command) and takes up 99% or more of available CPU cycles. The mouse and keyboard are unresponsive. I can log in from another box with SSH, su to root and kill the X server process ID with a "kill -9" command.

I am somewhat lucky that I can do this (NVIDIA staff please take notice!) but for people with only one computer this must be *extremely* frustrating. They will have to do a hard reset with all the nasty file system checking and attendant problems. I can imagine them cursing their monitors wondering what all the Linux fuss is about when they have to reboot their computer more than did when they ran Windows 95 more than 10 years ago! Sure you can tell them that Linux hasn't really crashed and that it's just the X server and that underneath it all the kernel is still chugging away but somehow I don't think they will care. Another note for the NVIDIA folks... For many, many users, X *is* Linux. Bad X, bad Linux.

Political Comment
I am a geek. I am willing to help you sort out the problems with your driver and/or installation program, but you should remember that the vast majority of people are not geeks. They will just give up and take your card back to the store. Heck, even I gave up on ATI cards and took mine back trading it in for the GeForce FX5600. Let me say that I strongly believe the best policy is to open your drivers. "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow" - Linus's Law (Eric Raymond). IMHO, the road to a great video card driver with rock solid stability is an *open* one. There is probably an alpha-geek out there who could fix most of the worst bugs/problems in just a few hours.

Linux Version Information
Mandrake 9.2 Download Edition - I am using the stock install with a newer kernel. After installing the OS, I installed the 2.4.22-26 kernel and kernel source code. This is the only change I made to the standard install from CD-ROM. Here is the kernel version:

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/version
Linux version 2.4.22-26mdk ( (gcc version 3.3.1 (Mandrake Linux 9.2 3.3.1-2mdk)) #1 Wed Jan 7 10:47:21 MST 2004

After installing the new kernel I then installed the NVIDIA driver. The installation seemed to go well and no errors were reported. After installing the new driver, I installed all the Mandrake 9.2 updates.

Hardware Information
I am using a home brew computer. Here is what I have assembled:
Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-7VT600
Processor: AMD Athlon XP 2600+ (2.0 GHz)
Memory: 1.0 Gigabyte of PC2700 DDR RAM
Chipset: VIA KT600 Memory/AGP/PCI Controller (PAC) and,
Chipset: VIA VT8235 / VT2837 Integrated Peripheral Controller (PSIPC)
Monitor: Sony SDM-X93 19-inch flat panel display
Interface: I am using the DVI connection
Graphic Adaptor: NVIDIA GeForce FX 5600

Driver Information
Here is the output of the various files in /proc/driver/nvidia:

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/driver/nvidia/version
NVRM version: NVIDIA Linux x86 NVIDIA Kernel Module 1.0-5336 Wed Jan 14 18:29:26 PST 2004
GCC version: gcc version 3.3.1 (Mandrake Linux 9.2 3.3.1-2mdk)
[lyndon@tuxbox nvidia]$

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/card
Fast Writes: Supported
SBA: Supported
AGP Rates: 8x 4x
Registers: 0x1f000e1b:0x00000000

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/host-bridge
Host Bridge: VIA Technologies, Inc. VT8377 [KT400 AGP] Host Bridge
Fast Writes: Supported
SBA: Supported
AGP Rates: 8x 4x
Registers: 0x1f000a1b:0x00000000

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/driver/nvidia/agp/status
Status: Disabled

[lyndon@tuxbox]$ cat /proc/driver/nvidia/cards/0
Model: GeForce FX 5600
IRQ: 16
Video BIOS: ??.??.??.??.??
Card Type: AGP

I don't want this post to become too long so I am going to attach the XF86Config-4 file and the XFree86.0.log file in the next two post. I'll then mention a few more things I've noticed about Mandrake 9.2 and the 1.0-5336 driver.



Last edited by Lyndon; 02-20-04 at 12:12 AM.
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