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    SubjectRe: NForce2 pseudoscience stability testing (2.6.0-test11)
    Jump down for my replies..

    On Wed, 2003-12-03 at 00:36, wrote:
    > Regardless of BIOS version, doesn’t the kernel get to
    > fix values if things are "wrong?" I've seen this message
    > on several boards where various tables and ACPI and APIC
    > things are "fixed up." The only reason I want to find out so bad
    > is that board survives unusual amounts of abuse on Windows 2000. (I
    > havent been able to hang Windows as Prakash had.)
    > Right now I can't even afford to test 2.6.0.test11 in terms
    > of time but very similar problems exist in 2.4, suggesting
    > something fundamental?
    > About the IDE, it seems to be the easiest way to promote the
    > problem but time seems to be the biggest factor. Some have
    > suggested wrt this NFORCE2 problem that idle time makes it
    > worse, but I've seen the hang under both conditions.

    Not idle time.. my PC idles (with KDE/xchat/evolution running , if that
    is idling :)) while i am out or sleeping.. thats at least 4 hours non
    stop per day...

    > I have a very minimal set of things running on this board, I
    > shut off the USB1.x and 2.0 controller, jumpered the Si SATA
    > off and turned of Audio and the NVIDIA Lan. (Prakash suggested
    > the Si SATA was the evil but I have it jumpered off.)

    Audio on and used, USB 2.0, 1.x on but nothing plugged, NVIDIA lan off,
    3com lan on and connected at 100Mbit.

    > For me the formula to reproduce this problem is this simple:
    > - Do anything (including passing the noapic nolapix noapixio etc)
    > in a UP-kernel with APIC compiled in, get hang.
    > - To avoid the problem, recompile the UP-kernel with APIC turned
    > off.
    > What probably isnt the problem:
    > - Motherboard flavor (This problem has cropped up on all nforce2 boards)

    a7n8x deluxe v2 with standard clocked athlon xp 2600+

    > - BIOS (This problem can change nature with a BIOS rev, but I havent
    > seen it go away and I tried several).

    bios 1007.

    > - SATA - problem appears even if SATA is shut off via jumper, as does Craig.

    SATA is shut off on jumper. no SATA in kernel

    > - Memory - I swapped memory in a test to see. I also tried the dual
    > channel and the single channel mode. No change.

    dual channel 2x256mb

    > - SMP / UP / passed flags Julien said: "I run strictly non-SMP kernels
    > and they always crash if APIC (or local APIC?) is enabled." - I see the
    > same things.

    smp off, preempt off. lapic on, apic on, acpi on

    > (Julien also suggest a quick way to see if the system is stable: type
    > hdparm -t /dev/hd<someharddrive> several times).

    as my uptime below suggests.. that didnt hurt a thing. I havent rebooted
    since that test.

    > - ASUS. I have a rev2.0 PCB, and several rev 1.x PCB, and they all
    > suffer. Others also report boards from different manufacturers hanging
    > with the NFORCE2. (Prakash: Abit NF7-S V2.0), Lenar (Epox 8RDA+ , 8RDA3+ )
    > - Kernel 2.4 or 2.6 specifically. This problem occurs both in later 2.6
    > builds and 2.4.23 (and below)
    > - IDE (NFORCE/AMD IDE driver in kernel) It seems the problem is easily
    > exacerbated by IDE, but I think that this is not the root cause. In
    > NO-APIC mode the IDE behaves reliably.
    > Craig said he ran it for 18 hours with abuse, including Juliens hdparm
    > test.

    Uptime is 4 days 1:55 and counting...

    Things I can remember running in that time:
    apache, mysql, proftpd, kde, evolution, xchat2, mozilla, konsole,
    scribus, any updates including gcc 3.2.3 from 3.2.2 that came through
    gentoo's portage system, gcc recompilation of scribus quite often (cvs
    updates and own coding), gdb for about 3 hours finding one scribus
    segfault testing over and over again with many crashes (fixed now btw
    for those scribus users out there :))

    > -> Craig, which kernel are you using? Distro (RedHat Taroon's kernel has
    > LAPIC turned off)? PCB Rev of motherboard? Bios revision? Whats the
    > lspci, cat /proc/interrupts look like? dmesg?

    I'm using Gentoo's gentoo-dev-sources 2.6.0_beta11 which is 2.6 test11
    plus the patches to be found at:

    They have released a 2.6_beta11-r1 that I ahvent upgraded to which uses

    and i notice there is a 0.8 directory.

    So.. sorry if my comments have misled.. its not exactly standard 2.6 now
    that I do check it. There is one nvidia nforce network patch.

    As above, PCB is 2.0, BIOS is standard 1007 from ASUS.

    lspci and proc/interrupts follow. dmesg has been wiped out by some
    packet command errors with drive seek errors on hdc (dvdrw) from when i
    was playing music with that drive.

    00:00.0 Host bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce2 AGP (different version?)
    (rev c1)
    00:00.1 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation nForce2 Memory Controller 1 (rev
    00:00.2 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation nForce2 Memory Controller 4 (rev
    00:00.3 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation nForce2 Memory Controller 3 (rev
    00:00.4 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation nForce2 Memory Controller 2 (rev
    00:00.5 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation nForce2 Memory Controller 5 (rev
    00:01.0 ISA bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce2 ISA Bridge (rev a4)
    00:01.1 SMBus: nVidia Corporation nForce2 SMBus (MCP) (rev a2)
    00:02.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation nForce2 USB Controller (rev
    00:02.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation nForce2 USB Controller (rev
    00:02.2 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation nForce2 USB Controller (rev
    00:05.0 Multimedia audio controller: nVidia Corporation nForce
    MultiMedia audio [Via VT82C686B] (rev a2)
    00:06.0 Multimedia audio controller: nVidia Corporation nForce2 AC97
    Audio Controler (MCP) (rev a1)
    00:08.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce2 External PCI Bridge (rev
    00:09.0 IDE interface: nVidia Corporation nForce2 IDE (rev a2)
    00:0c.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce2 PCI Bridge (rev a3)
    00:0d.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): nVidia Corporation nForce2 FireWire (IEEE
    1394) Controller (rev a3)
    00:1e.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation nForce2 AGP (rev c1)
    02:01.0 Ethernet controller: 3Com Corporation 3C920B-EMB Integrated Fast
    Ethernet Controller (rev 40)
    03:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon R250 If
    [Radeon 9000] (rev 01)
    03:00.1 Display controller: ATI Technologies Inc Radeon R250 [Radeon
    9000] (Secondary) (rev 01)
    cat /proc/interrupts
    0: 350520478 XT-PIC timer
    1: 346366 IO-APIC-edge i8042
    2: 0 XT-PIC cascade
    8: 2 IO-APIC-edge rtc
    9: 0 IO-APIC-level acpi
    12: 3568875 IO-APIC-edge i8042
    14: 2286009 IO-APIC-edge ide0
    15: 153023 IO-APIC-edge ide1
    19: 26315864 IO-APIC-level radeon@PCI:3:0:0
    21: 855007 IO-APIC-level ehci_hcd, NVidia nForce2, eth0
    22: 3 IO-APIC-level ohci1394
    NMI: 0
    LOC: 350520402
    ERR: 0
    MIS: 0
    > -> Josh, Craig & anyone else who gets this working on 2.6.test11 or some
    > other fork of 2.6 can they please try 2.4.23-release as well and see if
    > the machine hangs as well?

    I was running gentoo's 2.4.23 pre 8 before this.. its still on the
    machine. I get no hangs with it.

    This machine has never run Win* (its only 3 weeks old). Wouldnt go near
    an Uber BIOS on a still warranted motherboard.

    Hope some of it helps.


    > The Linux APIC code generically works on most other hardware. Something
    > specific to the NFORCE2 chips and its interaction with Linux's APIC code
    > causes the hard hangs. The Windows 2000's APIC code was made before the
    > NFORCE2 existed, and it seems to run fine there.
    > - About that Uber BIOS bios for the Asus Deluxe board, Anyone running
    > this: a) do you really want to run a hacked bios when other OS run fine
    > on the unhacked BIOS b) do you believe that any of the un-hidden
    > settings the uber bios or settings you may have changed helps solve this
    > problem?
    > These bugs on the LK Bugzilla seem related:
    > Loosely related:
    > Does anyone know which developers would be interested in looking at
    > this? I think it would be better if a specific
    > patch fixed this problem than try a kernel from bitkeeper
    > on a daily basis and wait for the problem to go away without
    > ever knowing what caused it.
    > > To me the strangest thing is that when I first got this
    > > board a month or so ago it would hang with APIC or LAPIC
    > > enabled. Now it works fine without disabling APIC. All I
    > > did was update the BIOS and use it for a while with APIC
    > > disabled. 2.6.0-test9-mm through 2.6.0-test11 all work just
    > > fine. Still at the same time some people are reporting that
    > > it works, some are reporting that it doesn't. I probably
    > > wouldn't think to much of this except I was one of the ones
    > > that said APIC causes crashes with IDE load, but now it
    > > doesn't?
    > >
    > > On approximately Tue, Dec 02, 2003 at 10:13:46AM +0000,
    > > ross.alexander wrote: Alistair,
    > >
    > > I upgraded the BIOS about a week ago to 1007. I personally
    > > found it to be less stable than 1006. I don't believe it is
    > > a problem with my hardware combination since it has been
    > > stable for long periods of time. I was running the SMP
    > > kernel simply because I (wrongly) presumed a) you needed it
    > > to get the IO-APIC working, and b) it didn't do any harm.
    > >
    > > It is clear that the UP kernel is considerable more stable
    > > than the SMP kernel. This is a very useful fact since it
    > > suggests that it is not a problem with the IDE device
    > > driver per se. The whole purpose of my testing is to try to
    > > determine which options increased the stability and hence
    > > highlight where the problem could be.
    > >
    > > One of the reasons I don't like ACPI is the huge amount of
    > > additional complexity it adds and the amount of stuff it
    > > could screw up. Now I have not heard that any of the VIA
    > > KTxxx based motherboards have any problems. If this is true
    > > then the problem does not lie with the LAPIC, since that is
    > > in the processor, not the MB. The fact that it seems to
    > > only occur with the NForce2 chipset means it could well be
    > > some interrupt coming into the LAPIC from Interrupt Bus.
    > > However I certainly don't claim to be an expert on this so
    > > I could well be talking complete crap.
    > >
    > > Conclusion: More testing required.
    > >
    > > Cheers,
    > >
    > > Ross
    > >
    > > Alistair John Strachan <s0348365 28/11/2003
    > > 04:46 p.m.
    > >
    > > To: ross.alexander
    > > <brendan cc: linux-kernel
    > > Subject: Re: NForce2 pseudoscience stability testing
    > > (2.6.0-test11)
    > >
    > > On Friday 28 November 2003 15:13,
    > > ross.alexander
    > >
    > > The conclusion to this is the problem is in Local APIC with
    > > SMP. I'm not saying this is actually true only that is what
    > > the data suggests. If anybody wants me to try some other
    > > stuff feel free to suggest ideas.
    > >
    > > Cheers,
    > >
    > > Ross
    > >
    > > It's evidently a configuration problem, albeit BIOS,
    > > mainboard revision, memory quality, etc. because I and many
    > > others like me are able to run Linux 2.4/2.6 with all the
    > > options you tested and still achieve absolute stability, on
    > > the nForce 2 platform.
    > >
    > > My system is an EPOX 8RDA+, with an Athlon 2500+ (Barton)
    > > overclocked to 2.2Ghz, and 2x256MB TwinMOS PC3200 dimms.
    > > FSB is at 400Mhz, and the ram timings are 4,2,2,2. One
    > > might expect such a configuration to be unstable,
    > >
    > > but it is not.
    > >
    > > I'm currently running 2.6.0-test10-mm1 with full ACPI (+
    > > routing), APIC and local APIC, no preempt, UP, and
    > > everything has been rock-solid, despite the machine being
    > > under constant 100% CPU load and fairly active IO load.
    > >
    > > Also, many others have found that just disabling local apic
    > > (and the MPS setting in the BIOS) as well as ACPI solves
    > > their problem, so I'm skeptical that SMP really causes
    > > *nForce 2 specific* instability.
    > >
    > > -- Cheers, Alistair.
    > >
    > > personal: alistair()devzero!co!uk university:
    > > s0348365()sms!ed!ac!uk student: CS/AI Undergraduate
    > > contact: 7/10 Darroch Court, University of Edinburgh.
    > >
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