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Old 07-23-06, 09:48 PM   #1
DrJ
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Default Drivers and MPX SMP

I am considering an upgrade of my graphics card -- currently an old Matrox G450 -- because I need at least some 3D capabilities for scientific visualization work that uses OpenGL. The older Workstation cards have come down quite some in price (the FX1000 looks attractive), but I have been reading in many places that there can be compatilibility issues with some of the nVidia cards with the MPX dual Athlon boards (which I use).

Are there any issues I should be aware of using SMP on an MPX motherboard running FreeBSD 6.1 with nVidia's drivers with older AGP workstation cards? I'd be using dual CRTs, but I don't think that would cause any issues. Would the most recent drivers support this configuration well?

Thanks! Sharing of any experiences, either negative or positive, would be most appreciated.

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Old 07-24-06, 05:18 AM   #2
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

There's a problem with some older AMD AGP chipsets that could result in lockups on SMP FreeBSD systems at this point. I'm not sure if the 760 MPX chipset is affected by this problem; what's your chipset's PCI ID?
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Old 07-24-06, 08:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

Thanks for the reply.

dmesg says:

agp0: <AMD 762 host to AGP bridge> port 0x1850-0x1853 mem 0xf8000000-0xfbffffff,0xf5400000-0xf5400fff at device 0.0 on pci0

for the apg port.

pcioconf -v -l gives:

pcib1@pci0:1:0: class=0x060400 card=0x00000000 chip=0x700d1022 rev=0x00 hdr=0x01
vendor = 'Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)'
device = 'AMD-762 CPU to PCI Bridge (AGP 4x)'
class = bridge
subclass = PCI-PCI

The Southbridge is the AMD 768, but that probably is not important.

This board is one of the last released for this chipset (a Tyan S2469), so it should be the latest revision.

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Old 07-24-06, 09:58 AM   #4
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

It's possible that you'd experience stability problems with AGP enabled with current NVIDIA FreeBSD graphics drivers if you're using an SMP kernel; the system should be stable with AGP disabled. I'll have to check if this problem can be worked around with current FreeBSD kernels.
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Old 07-24-06, 10:49 AM   #5
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

I would appreciate it if you would check. Loss the of the AGP would be very disappointing.

Is this behavior specific to the FreeBSD driver? I may be able to gather some anecdotal information from others, if I can target those requests properly.

Also, I have an MX440 in another computer. It would be about a week before I could check this, but if I were to install it, are there tests I could do that could determine if the driver operates properly? Or would I just have to run it for a while to see if it is stable?

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Old 07-26-06, 10:56 AM   #6
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

The problem itself is not specific to FreeBSD, but it's not currently worked around on this platform. If you have an AGP GeForce4 440MX, you can use it for basic stability testing on your SMP system by starting/killing lots of OpenGL applications concurrently and making sure that they run on both processors. It is recommended that you use the builtin NvAGP AGP GART driver.
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Old 07-26-06, 11:12 AM   #7
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

Thanks again from the reply. If I pursue anecdotal information, then, it should be specific to FreeBSD and MPX SMP. That does limit the universe a bit!

I may well try the 440MMX, but it will have to be deferred for about a week. I am in crunch mode (a major proposal is due shortly) and these sorts of things take a lot of work.

One other question, if I may. I have read conflicting things about the OpenGL version supported by the earlier FX series of workstation cards (the 1000/1100/2000/3000). Claimed OpenGL support ranges from 1.4 to 2.0. Is this handled by the driver, or are there different versions of the cards? Namely, need I be concerned about the version of hardware, or would a current driver take care of it?

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Old 07-26-06, 11:42 AM   #8
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

The OpenGL version differs between driver releases and graphics cards; as of the 1.0-76xx driver release, OpenGL 2.0 is supported on all Quadro FX GPUs (please see http://download.nvidia.com/developer....0_Support.pdf).
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Old 07-26-06, 11:52 AM   #9
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

Thank you! That's how I interpreted the variations I saw, but I prefer facts to interpretation some often-unreliable Internet sources.

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Old 08-04-06, 10:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Drivers and MPX SMP

I did purchase and install an FX1000 (cheap on eBay) and the nVidia drivers. Everything installed smoothly, and the driver manual (the README) is wonderful. So far it works well, but I've not pushed it hard yet.

I have a question on performance of TwinView and Xinerama, but I'll start another thread for that.

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