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Old 10-06-04, 11:29 AM   #1
signals42
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Default DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

I just bought a new computer. It's based on the Iwill DK8N NForce3 250 motherboard. It has 2 Opteron 250s, 4GB of memory (4x Corsair 1GB Registered ECC DDR400, 2 per CPU, dual-channel, NUMA) and an XFX GeForce 6800 GT. I bought it specifically to run Linux x86_64.

So far, I've had more than a little trouble with the graphics card. I'm running Debian pure64, but I've also tried Fedora Core 3 test2. I have similar problems on both.

My first problem is that the NVidia x86_64 GPU drivers don't install on pure64 very well, but I managed to solve that by extracting the archive with "-x" and installing by hand. I think this is a known problem, but it should be fixed...

My second problem (and the reason for this post) pertains to AGP. I can't make the card run in AGP mode with 4GB of ram in the system.

The Linux AGPGART (amd64-agp) fails completely on this machine. I'm not at the machine at the moment, so I'll have to post specific logs later (if requested) but it complains that the AGP aperture is pointing to RAM, and that it can't allocate a 4096MB AGP aperture, AND that the aperture is too small, when I load the driver...

So, I tried NvAGP. This worked slightly better. The X server comes up and /proc/drivers/nvidia/agp/status shows that AGP 8x is enabled. I see my gdm login screen. If I log in, I can usually get about 1 second or so into the login process, then I get an X server hard lockup. I can move the mouse, but I can't do anything else, including switching VTs. I've had to use the magic SysRq key to reboot.

Since I've got 4GB of memory, there's no place for the PCI/AGP memory mapped IO to map to, so I loose quite a bit of my memory to the PCI/AGP addresses. I'm down to about 3.2 GB reported by the BIOS. Anyway, I started thinking that this might be the root cause of my issue with AGP and tried an experiment:

I removed 2 GB of the memory, leaving just 2GB on one of the Opterons. Then I tried the X server with NvAGP again. Everything works perfectly. ...agp/status shows AGP 8x and I can log in, and my OpenGL works as expected.

As soon as I add the other 2GB back, I can't make AGP work without locking up the system.

I don't think it's a hardware problem because Windows XP works great with the card, even with 4GB in the system.

So, First: Is this a known issue with 4GB in an NForce3 MB, using the Linux drivers? Is there a fix/work-around for it? Or, am I the only one who is having the problem?

Second, is there something I can set/change/try to see if I can make it work? Or is there a way to get the driver to output more debugging information? (There doesn't appear to be any log of a problem when it locks up.)

I'd be more than willing to do whatever it takes to track down the problem, because I spent a lot of money on this thing, and REALLY want it to work correctly. I'm perfectly comfortable compiling kernels, collecting logs, patching source code, etc. So let me know what I can do to help figure out what's happening here.

Let me know what logs/information I can post, and I will.

I would appreciate any help anybody can lend.

Thanks,
-Kevin
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Old 10-06-04, 02:15 PM   #2
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Do you have High Memory Support compilled into your kernel?
Have you tried lowering AGP rate to x4?
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Old 10-06-04, 04:37 PM   #3
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Yes, I've edited the kernel driver source and set it to 4x. It shows as 4x in /proc/drivers/nvidia/agp/status, but crashes as soon as I try to do anything in X, just like at 8x.

Is there a High Memory Support for the 64-bit kernels? I can't find anything like that in my .config...

-Kevin
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Old 10-07-04, 06:38 AM   #4
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Have you tried vesa driver to see if its a problem with the nvidia drivers or with mainboard?
Also have you tried turning AGP off by adding this to your devices section of xorg.conf
Code:
Option "NvAGP" "0"
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Old 10-07-04, 06:42 AM   #5
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Quote:
Originally Posted by signals42
Yes, I've edited the kernel driver source and set it to 4x. It shows as 4x in /proc/drivers/nvidia/agp/status, but crashes as soon as I try to do anything in X, just like at 8x.

Is there a High Memory Support for the 64-bit kernels? I can't find anything like that in my .config...

-Kevin
Actually I meant change in BIOS.
BTW what kernel are you running, I would suggest trying the latest vanilla kernel.
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Old 10-07-04, 06:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

No, I have not tried the vesa driver, but with NvAGP set to 0, the system seems to work fine. (Although the graphics are SLOW.) I also ran 3dmark2003 for 7 hours overnight last night and everything was still running fine this morning. So, Windows can do it. The drivers in Windows report AGP 8x SBA and FW enabled.

I suppose there could be a mainboard problem of some sort, but it only manifests itself under Linux.

-Kevin
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Old 10-07-04, 06:50 AM   #7
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Quote:
Actually I meant change in BIOS.
BTW what kernel are you running, I would suggest trying the latest vanilla kernel.
I don't think I can change it in the BIOS. All I can change pertaining to the AGP setup is aperture (32-512 MB), SBA (auto/disable), and FW (auto/disable).

But I did use the trick from the NVidia readme to compile the driver so it won't use anything higher than 4x. It didn't help.

I am running a custom kernel compiled from the 2.6.8 sources with Debian patches.

I will attempt to install a vanilla kernel tonight. I've had trouble with that on Debian in the past, since they use a cramfs initrd and there needs to be a patch applied to the kernel to make it work, but if I am careful about including drivers in the kernel so it can mount the disks without modules, I can install a kernel without an initrd.

-Kevin
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Old 10-07-04, 06:52 AM   #8
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Out of curiosity what opengl apps is it you wish to run?
IMHO amd_64 in linux drivers are a little buggy.
In Benchmarks 64bit seems to be marginally faster. But it really depends on what apps you use.
The question is what programs do you use that will benefit from 64bit OS?
Everything I use (Games, xvid, divx) is considerably slower in 64bit, so basically abandoned and kept to 32bit.
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Old 10-07-04, 06:59 AM   #9
signals42
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

I'm considering that myself. I still have a 72 GB drive with nothing on it. I might attempt a 32-bit install on to it.

For the most part, I'm trying to run linux for x86_64 to stay ahead of the game, so to speak. I figure in the next couple of years most people will be moving to a 64 bit OS, and I'm one step ahead (sort of). Also, I wanted a SMP system, so it was Opterons or Xeons. I chose the Opterons because of amd64.

-Kevin

(Oh, and the big OpenGL app that I'd like to run is ut2k4 x86_64 )
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Old 10-07-04, 07:08 AM   #10
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

Ut2004 runs fine in 64bit Ha.... Faster Ha....
Benchmarks show it to be faster. ok
In reality it is slower and much more so if running a mod like Red Orchestra.
Untill everyapp you need or at least the majority of them are available 64bit native and running faster, I really see no need for it.
Until intel and microsoft start pushing 64bit I really dont see it taking off.
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Old 10-07-04, 07:29 AM   #11
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

@signals42: can you attach the output of dmesg after booting the system with 4GB installed?
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Old 10-07-04, 07:37 AM   #12
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Default Re: DK8N, 6800GT & 4GB mem

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Last edited by blueworm; 10-07-04 at 07:44 AM. Reason: sorry
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