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    SubjectHARDWARE HELL - POSSIBLE LINUX BUG AND/OR HARDWARE FAILURE ?
    First of all, I sincerely apolgise for being off topic here and I don't
    want to bother the great work you guys are doing on the linux kernel and
    system but this is a problem I been dealing with for 6 months or so and I
    am desperate for a answer. Personally I would be happy if my computer
    were to burst into flames, at least then I would know what I have to
    replace. IF YOU ARE TOO BUSY TO HELP WITH A HARDWARE PROBLEM, PLEASE DON'T
    WASTE YOUR TIME AND READ ON :) I KNOW YOU GUYS ARE BUSY

    Oh I forgot to mention I fix pc's for a living and been using linux for
    almost 4 yrs so I am not a newbie.

    MY SYSTEM

    -AMD K6-2 400 BOXED CPU (NEVER OVERCLOCKED)
    -SOYO 5EHM MOTHERBOARD - VIA MVP3 CHIPSET, AT STYLE 1 MEG L2 CACHE
    -2 32 MEG PC100 DIMMS
    -WESTERN DIGITAL 10 GIG HD UDMA33, (ALSO HAD THE
    PROBLEM WITH A MAXTOR 5.7 UDMA33 WAS IN THERE INSTEAD)
    -CREATIVE LABS TNT 16 MEG AGP 2D/3D CARD - NVIDIA TNT CHIPSET
    -AUREAL VORTEX1 CHIPSET PCI SOUNDCARD (ALSO HAD THE PROBLEM WITH A
    ENSONIQ AUDIOPCI ES1370 SOUNDCARD IN THERE INSTEAD)
    -NETGEAR FA310TX 10/100 PCI NETWORK CARD - PNIC TULIP CLONE CHIPSET
    -NO CDROM CURRENTELY INSTALLED DUE TO FAILURE

    If my wording looks weird or does not make sense it's because my nerves
    are shot over this. Please feel free to ask me what something means

    [Software]
    WINDOWS 98
    Slackware 7.0 BARE.I bootdisk glibc based distro and Slackware 4.0 rescue
    rootdisk libc based distro. GNU SHRED from unstable fileutils series
    statically compiled in a redhat 5.x or 6.0 glibc system.


    Okay I few months ago while doing a disk shred for various reasons
    (no not porn or hacking darnit!) using GNU shred, a file/device shreder,
    Linux just suddentely crashed for no apprentely reason. From then on,
    win98 began to just freeze after sitting for a while or while doing
    something intensive like a 3d game or demo. Linux off a bootdisk would
    sometimes fail to uncompress the kernel due to crc errors or refuse to
    load a ramdisk due to invalid size, both of which point to memory
    problems. Windows 98 or Linux would just sometimes reboot by themselves in
    the middle of stuff. Windows98 would sometimes bomb for no apprentely
    reason. The system would sometimes even crash before it started loading a
    os and would freeze in the middle of printing a bios message sentance.
    Sometimes reseating the ram, playing with buss speeds, etc would seem to
    make the problem go away but this was always temporary. Well after many
    months of problems I finally got desperate and took the system compleately
    apart, cleaned all the pci card contacts and dimm memory contacts with a
    eraser and then scrubbed the pci cards, motherboard, cpu, and memory all
    with a toothbrush and isopropyl alchol. From then on the system ran fine
    with no problems. That lasted only a few months as we will soon see.


    About a month ago while doing a disk shred, the problem appeared again
    and Linux just oop'ed in the middle of running GNU shred, sometimes, it
    would just crash the program, many times the whole kernel would crash with
    "unable to handle null pointer at virtual address, etc" or "stack dump
    process ........" (correct me if I got the messages wrong). I have not
    had windows98 back on the system since the crashes started again so I
    don't know if the problem is back there also but I do know it's not a
    power supply, a pci card or a hard drive bug because all those parts have
    been swapped out before when the problem arose and the problem was still
    there although sometimes it would go away for a while. Just a few days
    ago now, Linux has also begun to blow major chunks just doing a dd
    if=/dev/zero of=/dev/hda bs=1024k on my 10
    gig hd with the process crashing or the whole kernel dying or rebooting.
    I managed one time to get a weird error about LRU TABLE CORRUPT or
    something

    After many runs to try to duplicate the problem I finally managed to
    get enough consistant crashes to discover that when the system starts to
    get into one of it's "moods" and crashes almost every time you boot linux
    and run that problem or even just turn on the system and have it crash
    into the middle of bios messages, ALL THE PROBLEMS STOP IF YOU DISABLE THE
    EXTERNAL L2 CACHE. I figured I finally found the source of the problem, a
    bad l2 cache but to be sure I played with the ram, first removing 1 of the
    dimms and it still crashed, then moving the other dimm to that slot and it
    was stable. Now the system is behaving with both dimms in but it has
    pretended to be fixed before and started misbehaving very soon. I also
    noticed the problem seems to go away for a while if the system if left off
    for a while but nothing is overheating from what I can tell.

    OKAY!!!! lemme finally end this horribly long message but I am desperate
    for advice. I really suspect the motherboard is shot since I had the ram
    tested and it was okay. I also forgot to mention that my k6-2 400 is a
    boxed cpu which means while you get a 3yr warrenty, you also get a glued
    on small heatsink and a cheap ball bearing fan that even with ball
    bearings only lasted me 1.5 months. Since I did not want to wait for a
    warrenty replacement and I did not want to have to use a fan of the same
    crap size and design, I attempted to pry off the glued on heatsink so I
    could use a better heatsink fan combo, and I managed to chip ceremanic off
    the corner of the cpu. There were no exposed wires or silicon and after
    I replaced the fan the systems worked fine for months after that. I am
    very tempted to just replace the motherboard and see if this stops the
    problems I am having but I wanted to make sure that it's not another
    problem that is giving the same symptoms of a bad motherboard. Thanks for
    any help and God Bless.

    P.S. if this letter gets me booted off the mailing list or is ignored, I
    understand completely but this was my last ditch cry for help before I
    give up and jump off a bridge or save up for a athlon.

    Jason Salopek







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