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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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