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SubjectRe: Tx timeouts with el-cheapo PCI-ne2000
> I got a bunch (few dozen over 8 hours) of these the other day on a P100
> running 2.0.28 with a realtek PCI ne2k card during a backup/compare over
> the network to this system's DAT. The source comments around
> this printk make it sound like this isn't a very good thing to see.
> eth0: Tx timed out, cable problem? TSR=0x6, ISR=0x0, t=27.
> eth0: Tx timed out, cable problem? TSR=0x6, ISR=0x0, t=27.
> eth0: Tx timed out, cable problem? TSR=0x6, ISR=0x0, t=26.

From 8390.h:

/* Transmitted packet status, EN0_TSR. */
#define ENTSR_PTX 0x01 /* Packet transmitted without error */
#define ENTSR_ND 0x02 /* The transmit wasn't deferred. */
#define ENTSR_COL 0x04 /* The transmit collided at least once. */
#define ENTSR_ABT 0x08 /* The transmit collided 16 times, and was deferred. */

In your case, the above indicates that you had at least one collision, but
the xmit happened anyway. The astute reader (Russ, are you listening? ;)
will note that the 8390 and 83905 docs both list bit 0x02 in the TSR
as reserved, but I assume that Donald got the above on good authority.

The problem arises because your card never posted an interrupt (based
on the zero ISR). Either bit 1 or bit three in ISR should be set,
depending on whether the card thinks the Tx was okay or in error,
and when ISR is non-zero the hardware will/should raise the IRQ line.
In your case, the card doesn't recognize the Tx as either a success
*or* a failure, since the ISR sits at zero. Ugh.

> How bad are these errors, and should I start looking into putting a
> different ethernet card in...or are there bugs in the 2.0.28 ne2k support
> that have been fixed?

If you can put up with the messages, and the minor delays that happen
each time, then don't worry about it. Given the amount of garbage
hardware that the ne2k/8390 driver has had thrown at it, it handles
most unexpected errors semi-gracefully. On the other hand, if you are
looking at a replacement card, I can't really advocate the purchase of
these el-cheapo PCI ne2k clones, since intelligent bus-mastering cards
based upon the DEC Tulip chip are going for about the same price.


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