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Old 03-08-06, 06:58 AM   #1
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Exclamation Linux (Debian) and nForce4 SATA/NIC problems

After some searching I couldn't find a topic concerning this, so I open a new topic:

These are the specs:
Asus A8N-VM
AMD Athlon64 3700+
2GB DDR400
2x Maxtor SATA 6L0080M0 Disks

I've freshly installed Debian (etch, sarge/stable wouldn't install because it cannot use the sata_nv driver during installation) for x86, not AMD64 due to the software intended to run on the machine.

First of, the driver for the onboard NIC is giving problems as I read on several forums. This problem however reflects throughout the systems Network cards and thus also affected the 3com card. After commenting out the onboard nic in /etc/network/interfaces the problem with networking was resolved. The problem was simply that for some reason at any random moment all network traffic seemed to stop and die completely. No errors, nothing found. Unloading and Reloading the drivers did not work, only a reboot would make the network work again.

Second, the disk-issue's. I've got 2 maxtor SATA disks, not affected with the firmware problem as stated at the Maxtor support site. Independent they work great, I can perform massive read/write operations on each disk without problems. However, the moment I start copy data from one disk to the other, the system starts behaving odly. This is what happens:

The system starts copy'ing nicely, but then at random intervals just locks up for approximately a minute or so. (Any command that uses a disk wil lock, non-disk (i.e. cached) commands don't) Then, on the First TTY, it then gives this message:
ata1: command 0xc8 timeout, stat 0x50 host_stat 0x24
ata2: command 0xca timeout, stat 0x50 host_stat 0x24
0xc8 is DMA-Read and 0xca is DMA-Write if I recall correctly.

Sometimes it succesfully copy's a lot of data before this behaviour reoccurs, but mostly it just keeps popping up directly again and again, causing any disk-to-disk transfer to drop to the wopping copy speed of arround 1K/s
1K/s is the avarage speed /proc/mdstat reported after 3 hours of rebuilding

I first encountered this behaviour when I created a Software RAID1 array. After investigating, it doesn't just occur on resyncing the mirror drive, but with virtually every disk-to-disk transfer. I can recreate this behaviour at any given moment by simply start copy'ing stuff from disk 1 to disk 2 and vice versa.

I'm using a freshly build kernel with nVidia SATA and nVidia chipset support installed in it (In multiple fashions, currently at install #5 and back to the kernel I compiled first time, since that is the only one working properly to get the system to boot from SATA).

The nVidia 'chipset' drivers that can be downloaded, don't appear to include any SATA/chipset drivers, but only contain Audio/LAN driver.

The system works perfectly if I use only 1 drive.
Anyone have similar problems?
compano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-06, 08:50 AM   #2
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Default Re: Linux (Debian) and nForce4 SATA/NIC problems

which ports are you plugged into?
You also might want to try a different distrib. I'm running Kanotix w/ the Asus CSM board and two WD Caviar RE2 using software RAID/LVM on ports 3/4 of the board. It's very stable. I actually installed w/o LVM and had to migrate the single drive install to LVM (lots of data copied, obviously)...
kenyee is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-08-06, 08:59 AM   #3
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Default Re: Linux (Debian) and nForce4 SATA/NIC problems

The drives are plugged into the only 2 SATA (1 and 2) ports on the mainboard I'm not using the nVidia RAID by the way.

Another Distro would give me some trouble, since I've been testing a certain Linux Config on Debian, and under debian all the required packages are easily installed without wasting time compiling and finding dependecie for them.

Since Ubuntu is also Debian based, I could try that distro, but the Ubuntu distro's have older kernels then the versions propperly supporting sata_nv during install like debian etch does have...

I'm suspecting that these maxtor drives, although they have different firmware, are also having problems with the nForce4 chipset, however, since these are SATA1 (I know, SATA1/2 is not correct naming, but for clarity used) I'm afraid I'd have to doubt that...
compano is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-13-06, 07:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Linux (Debian) and nForce4 SATA/NIC problems

Ok, after encountering some problems with a realtek NIC, I found on the Internet that ACPI was causing the problems with the NIC.

And strangly, now that ACPI is disabled, disk-to-disk transfers appear to be working again.

Strange, I'd expect ACPI to be working properly in this system, since in all Linux systems I've build so far, ACPI never caused me any problems.

For now, the problems seems to be solved. I've just managed to copy 3gigabytes from one disk to the other without the problem resurfacing...
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Old 04-11-06, 05:49 PM   #5
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Default Re: Linux (Debian) and nForce4 SATA/NIC problems

I've got one of these boards, too. Debian doesn't auto-recognize the network controller, (labeled RLT8201).

Which driver should I use? The obvious ones don't seem to work.

Or, do I need to pass IRQ info, or something?
merreborn is offline   Reply With Quote

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