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SubjectRE: dying hdd causing MCE and panic (libata)
Date
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It's unresolved machine check error and don't switch to register mode
and read the task file in the driver is the only way to avoid this
error.

BRs
Peer Chen


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Robert Hancock [mailto:hancockr@shaw.ca]
> Sent: Monday, April 21, 2008 2:21 AM
> To: Rumi Szabolcs
> Cc: linux-kernel@vger.kernel.org; Peer Chen; Kuan Luo; Allen Martin
> Subject: Re: dying hdd causing MCE and panic (libata)
>
> Rumi Szabolcs wrote:
> > Hello all!
> >
> > A SATA drive in one of my servers has made some final steps towards
> > the grave and it has put out some obvious signs of this onto the
> > console (ATA transactions failing) but then it has also
> thrown an MCE
> > (CPU context corrupt) and then the kernel has panicked.
> > This server is rock stable otherwise and used to make
> uptimes measured
> > in months between planned restarts.
> >
> > The machine has been removed from power completely and restarted
> > multiple times but during the boot process it always
> crashed with an
> > MCE or a panic or both.
> >
> > Sorry but I cannot provide exact debug information right
> now because I
> > wasn't physically there at the time and I'm still 250kms away from
> > that server. In fact I've remotely guided two people without a clue
> > through the phone and they have read things from the
> console for me,
> > restarted the machine, etc.
> >
> > So in the end I told them to open up the server and pull the SATA
> > cable from that particular drive. Suddenly all the MCEs and
> panics had
> > gone away and the machine is running fine since then.
> >
> > Hardware:
> >
> > - Nforce4 based motherboard (chipset integrated SATA ports)
> > - Athlon64 single core CPU
> > - Diamondmax 9 SATA hard drive
> >
> > Kernel:
> >
> > 2.6.23-gentoo-r3 (no preempt, no smp)
> >
> > My questions:
> >
> > - Is it normal that a simple hard disk failure (that is not
> even the
> > system disk) causes MCEs and kernel panics?
> >
> > - Is this a problem that is induced completely on the
> hardware level
> > (eg. the southbridge going crazy and making the whole hardware
> > platform unstable) or a problem that could be fixed or handled
> > properly on the software (kernel) level?
>
> It's known that nForce4 ADMA can in certain cases hang on
> error handling and cause an MCE when we attempt to switch the
> controller into register mode and read the ATA registers in
> order to diagnose the problem. The MCE indicates the CPU
> timed out waiting for a register read from the chipset on the
> HyperTranport bus. It's not presently known why this is, or
> what we could do differently to avoid this problem. We're
> presently hampered by lack of public information from NVIDIA
> on this controller to fix this, so the ball is kind of in
> NVIDIA's court.
>
> In the latest kernels sata_nv ADMA support is being disabled
> by default, which may prevent this from happening. However,
> some odd hotplug/error handling behavior was seen on these
> controllers before ADMA support was implemented, so it may
> not entirely fix the problem.
>
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