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View Full Version : Re: Socket AM2 motherboards -- best chipset for Linux, BSD?


Stefan Patric
October 22nd 07, 01:42 AM
On Fri, 19 Oct 2007 04:40:56 -0700, Igor wrote:

> On Fri, 19 Oct 2007 16:17:09 +0800, Man-wai Chang ToDie
> > wrote:
>
>>> I'm putting together an AMD Athlon 64 X2 based PC. I plan on running
>>> (dual-booting) both Windows 2000 and one of the Unix-based OS's
>>> (either one of the more user-friendly Linux distros or something like
>>> PCBSD or Desktop BSD) on this machine.
>>
>>Do you have a budget?
>
> Yes. I'm trying to build the whole thing (including monitor, mouse,
> etc.) for under $1000.

I build my current system in January for about $600 US, excluding
monitor. I could have done it for about $150 less, but there was a big
electronics/computer convention in town, and they bought up every stick
of DDR2 RAM in the city. Had to wait two weeks for the stores to
resupply and pay full retail to boot: $250 for 2 gigs. Same stuff is
selling "on special" now for about $80.

As far as specs: After much research, I went with the Abit KN9, AM2
socket motherboard with the nVidia nForce 4 Ultra chipset, SATA and IDE,
RAID, 160 GB SATA HD, 80GB IDE HD (from the "old" machine. used mainly
for backups), IDE DVD burner, 8 GB RAM max, AMD Athlon 64 (single core)
CPU. Bought everything through Newegg, except the graphics card, a
GeForce 6600 256 MB PCI-X, which I got used -- one month old -- from one
of the guys in the local Linux users group ($50!!!), RAM as mentioned
above, and keyboard and mouse.

It's been running almost continuously since mid-January, except for 3
weeks in May, when I went on vacation and shut it down, and have yet to
have any problems or over-heating.

Oh! And Fedora Core 6 64-bit.

Stef

Igor
October 23rd 07, 02:55 PM
On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 00:42:44 GMT, Stefan Patric >
wrote:

>
>I build my current system in January for about $600 US, excluding
>monitor. I could have done it for about $150 less, but there was a big
>electronics/computer convention in town, and they bought up every stick
>of DDR2 RAM in the city. Had to wait two weeks for the stores to
>resupply and pay full retail to boot: $250 for 2 gigs. Same stuff is
>selling "on special" now for about $80.
>

Note to self: Don't buy memory when there's a big computer convention
in town.

>As far as specs: After much research, I went with the Abit KN9, AM2
>socket motherboard with the nVidia nForce 4 Ultra chipset, SATA and IDE,
>RAID, 160 GB SATA HD, 80GB IDE HD (from the "old" machine. used mainly
>for backups), IDE DVD burner, 8 GB RAM max, AMD Athlon 64 (single core)
>CPU. Bought everything through Newegg, except the graphics card, a
>GeForce 6600 256 MB PCI-X, which I got used -- one month old -- from one
>of the guys in the local Linux users group ($50!!!), RAM as mentioned
>above, and keyboard and mouse.
>
>It's been running almost continuously since mid-January, except for 3
>weeks in May, when I went on vacation and shut it down, and have yet to
>have any problems or over-heating.
>
>Oh! And Fedora Core 6 64-bit.
>

The Abit KN9 looks like a decent board, and it's good to know there
aren't any problems under Fedora Core 6. I wish it had a serial port!
How well does the abit Silent OTES heatpipe system work?

The two boards that have interested me the most so far in my searches
are the Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 and the ASROCK ALiveNF5-eSATA2+.
Unfortunately, it seems that, whenever I find a board that has
everything I want, there's always a fly in the ointment.

According to user reviews on Newegg.com, the Gigabyte board doesn't
quite follow the ATX standard (even though it claims to) and so it
doesn't quite fit a standard size case. Not a deal breaker if true,
but I'd rather have something that fits the case properly.

The ASRock board has relatively tedious procedures for disabling the
onboard RAID and preparing SATA drives. Both procedures require a
floppy drive, and I was hoping to dispense with the floppy drive on
this machine. I've also read at least one report of problems running
Linux on this board. I'm sure there are workarounds, but I don't want
the hassle.

I'm starting to get tired of reading manuals. I may just get a plain
but predictable board that has the bare essentials. I've seen a few
from ECS and Biostar that would probably fit the bill.
--
"Those of us whose brains did not die in college are
actually stunned by just how stupid academic ideas
are." -- Robert W. Whitaker, http://readbob.com/

Andy
October 25th 07, 12:25 AM
On Tue, 23 Oct 2007 06:55:29 -0700, Igor >
wrote:

>On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 00:42:44 GMT, Stefan Patric >
>wrote:
>
>>
>>I build my current system in January for about $600 US, excluding
>>monitor. I could have done it for about $150 less, but there was a big
>>electronics/computer convention in town, and they bought up every stick
>>of DDR2 RAM in the city. Had to wait two weeks for the stores to
>>resupply and pay full retail to boot: $250 for 2 gigs. Same stuff is
>>selling "on special" now for about $80.
>>
>
>Note to self: Don't buy memory when there's a big computer convention
>in town.
>
>>As far as specs: After much research, I went with the Abit KN9, AM2
>>socket motherboard with the nVidia nForce 4 Ultra chipset, SATA and IDE,
>>RAID, 160 GB SATA HD, 80GB IDE HD (from the "old" machine. used mainly
>>for backups), IDE DVD burner, 8 GB RAM max, AMD Athlon 64 (single core)
>>CPU. Bought everything through Newegg, except the graphics card, a
>>GeForce 6600 256 MB PCI-X, which I got used -- one month old -- from one
>>of the guys in the local Linux users group ($50!!!), RAM as mentioned
>>above, and keyboard and mouse.
>>
>>It's been running almost continuously since mid-January, except for 3
>>weeks in May, when I went on vacation and shut it down, and have yet to
>>have any problems or over-heating.
>>
>>Oh! And Fedora Core 6 64-bit.
>>
>
>The Abit KN9 looks like a decent board, and it's good to know there
>aren't any problems under Fedora Core 6. I wish it had a serial port!
>How well does the abit Silent OTES heatpipe system work?
>
>The two boards that have interested me the most so far in my searches
>are the Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 and the ASROCK ALiveNF5-eSATA2+.
>Unfortunately, it seems that, whenever I find a board that has
>everything I want, there's always a fly in the ointment.
>
>According to user reviews on Newegg.com, the Gigabyte board doesn't
>quite follow the ATX standard (even though it claims to) and so it
>doesn't quite fit a standard size case. Not a deal breaker if true,
>but I'd rather have something that fits the case properly.

I have the GA-M61P-S3 and have installed it in two different ATX cases
without any mounting hole problem. I don't know why some of the
reviewers think the board is micro ATX. There is also one guy
complaining the board is rectangular.
My primary complaint with this board is the BIOS does not enumerate
the hard disks correctly. Other than that, the board's all right.

>
>The ASRock board has relatively tedious procedures for disabling the
>onboard RAID and preparing SATA drives. Both procedures require a
>floppy drive, and I was hoping to dispense with the floppy drive on
>this machine. I've also read at least one report of problems running
>Linux on this board. I'm sure there are workarounds, but I don't want
>the hassle.
>
>I'm starting to get tired of reading manuals. I may just get a plain
>but predictable board that has the bare essentials. I've seen a few
>from ECS and Biostar that would probably fit the bill.

Igor
October 26th 07, 11:53 PM
On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 16:25:22 -0700, Andy > wrote:

<snip>

>
>I have the GA-M61P-S3 and have installed it in two different ATX cases
>without any mounting hole problem. I don't know why some of the
>reviewers think the board is micro ATX. There is also one guy
>complaining the board is rectangular.

The more I read online reviews, the less faith I put into them. With
some of them, you're left scratching your head wondering if the person
is even reviewing the right product. You also have to wonder if some
of these negative reviews couldn't be a part of astroturfing campaigns
being waged by rival manufacturers.

>My primary complaint with this board is the BIOS does not enumerate
>the hard disks correctly. <snip>

I'm not sure I understand what that means. Does the board have trouble
recognizing the size of the hard drives that are attached?
--
"Those of us whose brains did not die in college are
actually stunned by just how stupid academic ideas
are." -- Robert W. Whitaker, http://readbob.com/

Andy
October 29th 07, 09:07 AM
On Fri, 26 Oct 2007 15:53:41 -0700, Igor >
wrote:

>On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 16:25:22 -0700, Andy > wrote:
>
><snip>
>
>>
>>I have the GA-M61P-S3 and have installed it in two different ATX cases
>>without any mounting hole problem. I don't know why some of the
>>reviewers think the board is micro ATX. There is also one guy
>>complaining the board is rectangular.
>
>The more I read online reviews, the less faith I put into them. With
>some of them, you're left scratching your head wondering if the person
>is even reviewing the right product. You also have to wonder if some
>of these negative reviews couldn't be a part of astroturfing campaigns
>being waged by rival manufacturers.
>
>>My primary complaint with this board is the BIOS does not enumerate
>>the hard disks correctly. <snip>
>
>I'm not sure I understand what that means. Does the board have trouble
>recognizing the size of the hard drives that are attached?

A Bios that does not enumerate the hard disks correctly causes
problems like this:
<http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.windowsxp.general/msg/2482e94beb9f00ee?hl=en>.
What happened in this situation is:
1. the Bios is set to boot the second disk.
2. the Bios should tell Windows setup that the second disk is the boot
disk, i.e., the first enumerated disk.
3. instead the Bios tells Windows setup that the first disk is the
boot disk, causing Windows setup to store its boot files on that disk.
4. as long as the Windows CD is in the optical drive, Windows boots,
because the boot process is facilitated by the Windows CD, which sees
the first disk as the boot disk.
5. when the CD is removed, the Bios boots the second disk, but booting
fails because the boot files are on the other disk.

R. C. White
October 29th 07, 05:04 PM
Hi, Andy.

Thanks for the clearest explanation of that process that I've heard.

I've often tried to explain how the System Partition winds up on the "wrong"
hard drive, but I'm just not techie enough ("enumerate" means something else
to us accountants) to spell it out the way you did.

RC
--
R. C. White, CPA
San Marcos, TX

Microsoft Windows MVP
(Running Windows Live Mail beta 2 in Vista Ultimate x64 SP1 beta v.275)

"Andy" > wrote in message
...
> On Fri, 26 Oct 2007 15:53:41 -0700, Igor >
> wrote:
>
>>On Wed, 24 Oct 2007 16:25:22 -0700, Andy > wrote:
>>
>><snip>
>>
>>>
>>>I have the GA-M61P-S3 and have installed it in two different ATX cases
>>>without any mounting hole problem. I don't know why some of the
>>>reviewers think the board is micro ATX. There is also one guy
>>>complaining the board is rectangular.
>>
>>The more I read online reviews, the less faith I put into them. With
>>some of them, you're left scratching your head wondering if the person
>>is even reviewing the right product. You also have to wonder if some
>>of these negative reviews couldn't be a part of astroturfing campaigns
>>being waged by rival manufacturers.
>>
>>>My primary complaint with this board is the BIOS does not enumerate
>>>the hard disks correctly. <snip>
>>
>>I'm not sure I understand what that means. Does the board have trouble
>>recognizing the size of the hard drives that are attached?
>
> A Bios that does not enumerate the hard disks correctly causes
> problems like this:
> <http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.windowsxp.general/msg/2482e94beb9f00ee?hl=en>.
> What happened in this situation is:
> 1. the Bios is set to boot the second disk.
> 2. the Bios should tell Windows setup that the second disk is the boot
> disk, i.e., the first enumerated disk.
> 3. instead the Bios tells Windows setup that the first disk is the
> boot disk, causing Windows setup to store its boot files on that disk.
> 4. as long as the Windows CD is in the optical drive, Windows boots,
> because the boot process is facilitated by the Windows CD, which sees
> the first disk as the boot disk.
> 5. when the CD is removed, the Bios boots the second disk, but booting
> fails because the boot files are on the other disk.

Igor
October 30th 07, 02:47 AM
On Mon, 29 Oct 2007 01:07:48 -0700, Andy > wrote:

<snip>

>>I'm not sure I understand what that means. Does the board have trouble
>>recognizing the size of the hard drives that are attached?
>
>A Bios that does not enumerate the hard disks correctly causes
>problems like this:
><http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.windowsxp.general/msg/2482e94beb9f00ee?hl=en>.
>What happened in this situation is:
>1. the Bios is set to boot the second disk.
>2. the Bios should tell Windows setup that the second disk is the boot
>disk, i.e., the first enumerated disk.
>3. instead the Bios tells Windows setup that the first disk is the
>boot disk, causing Windows setup to store its boot files on that disk.
>4. as long as the Windows CD is in the optical drive, Windows boots,
>because the boot process is facilitated by the Windows CD, which sees
>the first disk as the boot disk.
>5. when the CD is removed, the Bios boots the second disk, but booting
>fails because the boot files are on the other disk.

Thanks. Like the other poster said, your explanation was very clear.

So when you have a motherboard with a BIOS that doesn't enumerate
properly, is your only recourse to boot from the first drive? What do
you do?
--
"Those of us whose brains did not die in college are
actually stunned by just how stupid academic ideas
are." -- Robert W. Whitaker, http://readbob.com/

Andy
November 1st 07, 09:49 PM
On Mon, 29 Oct 2007 20:47:14 -0500, Igor >
wrote:

>On Mon, 29 Oct 2007 01:07:48 -0700, Andy > wrote:
>
><snip>
>
>>>I'm not sure I understand what that means. Does the board have trouble
>>>recognizing the size of the hard drives that are attached?
>>
>>A Bios that does not enumerate the hard disks correctly causes
>>problems like this:
>><http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.windowsxp.general/msg/2482e94beb9f00ee?hl=en>.
>>What happened in this situation is:
>>1. the Bios is set to boot the second disk.
>>2. the Bios should tell Windows setup that the second disk is the boot
>>disk, i.e., the first enumerated disk.
>>3. instead the Bios tells Windows setup that the first disk is the
>>boot disk, causing Windows setup to store its boot files on that disk.
>>4. as long as the Windows CD is in the optical drive, Windows boots,
>>because the boot process is facilitated by the Windows CD, which sees
>>the first disk as the boot disk.
>>5. when the CD is removed, the Bios boots the second disk, but booting
>>fails because the boot files are on the other disk.
>
>Thanks. Like the other poster said, your explanation was very clear.
>
>So when you have a motherboard with a BIOS that doesn't enumerate
>properly, is your only recourse to boot from the first drive? What do
>you do?

You disconnect the first drive, using the bios to disable the port
it's connected to, if possible. Otherwise, physically disconnecting
the cable.

Gary Avrett
December 13th 07, 12:33 AM
I too went with the Abit KN9 SLI motherboard along with a 6000+ Processor
socket AM2 , NVidia Geforce 7900GS, 320gb Seagate Sata Perpendicular
recording harddrive with 16mb ram, 2GB Corsair Memory 1.8volt, a 650 watt
Power supply, DVD



"Igor" > wrote in message
...
> On Mon, 22 Oct 2007 00:42:44 GMT, Stefan Patric >
> wrote:
>
>>
>>I build my current system in January for about $600 US, excluding
>>monitor. I could have done it for about $150 less, but there was a big
>>electronics/computer convention in town, and they bought up every stick
>>of DDR2 RAM in the city. Had to wait two weeks for the stores to
>>resupply and pay full retail to boot: $250 for 2 gigs. Same stuff is
>>selling "on special" now for about $80.
>>
>
> Note to self: Don't buy memory when there's a big computer convention
> in town.
>
>>As far as specs: After much research, I went with the Abit KN9, AM2
>>socket motherboard with the nVidia nForce 4 Ultra chipset, SATA and IDE,
>>RAID, 160 GB SATA HD, 80GB IDE HD (from the "old" machine. used mainly
>>for backups), IDE DVD burner, 8 GB RAM max, AMD Athlon 64 (single core)
>>CPU. Bought everything through Newegg, except the graphics card, a
>>GeForce 6600 256 MB PCI-X, which I got used -- one month old -- from one
>>of the guys in the local Linux users group ($50!!!), RAM as mentioned
>>above, and keyboard and mouse.
>>
>>It's been running almost continuously since mid-January, except for 3
>>weeks in May, when I went on vacation and shut it down, and have yet to
>>have any problems or over-heating.
>>
>>Oh! And Fedora Core 6 64-bit.
>>
>
> The Abit KN9 looks like a decent board, and it's good to know there
> aren't any problems under Fedora Core 6. I wish it had a serial port!
> How well does the abit Silent OTES heatpipe system work?
>
> The two boards that have interested me the most so far in my searches
> are the Gigabyte GA-M61P-S3 and the ASROCK ALiveNF5-eSATA2+.
> Unfortunately, it seems that, whenever I find a board that has
> everything I want, there's always a fly in the ointment.
>
> According to user reviews on Newegg.com, the Gigabyte board doesn't
> quite follow the ATX standard (even though it claims to) and so it
> doesn't quite fit a standard size case. Not a deal breaker if true,
> but I'd rather have something that fits the case properly.
>
> The ASRock board has relatively tedious procedures for disabling the
> onboard RAID and preparing SATA drives. Both procedures require a
> floppy drive, and I was hoping to dispense with the floppy drive on
> this machine. I've also read at least one report of problems running
> Linux on this board. I'm sure there are workarounds, but I don't want
> the hassle.
>
> I'm starting to get tired of reading manuals. I may just get a plain
> but predictable board that has the bare essentials. I've seen a few
> from ECS and Biostar that would probably fit the bill.
> --
> "Those of us whose brains did not die in college are
> actually stunned by just how stupid academic ideas
> are." -- Robert W. Whitaker, http://readbob.com/

Sudsy
December 14th 07, 02:33 AM
> I'm starting to get tired of reading manuals. I may just get a plain
> but predictable board that has the bare essentials. I've seen a few
> from ECS and Biostar that would probably fit the bill.

I picked up an Asus M2A-VM HDMI which has an ATISB600 Southbridge and
integrated Radeon
X1250 graphics. With an AMD64X2 5600+ and twin 250GB SATA2 drives,
Oracle 10g under
RedHat Enterprise Linux 5 positively screams! There were absolutely no
glitches with software
installation and everything was recognized properly. The only
difficulty arose when I went from
2GB to 4GB of DDR2 RAM. A BIOS upgrade was required to sort out the
problem but it would
have been nice to get a better response from technical support.
Overall, it's a very powerful and stable database server and I put it
together for around $500 by
reusing a case, DVD drive and power supply. BTW, 120mm fans are highly
recommended for
betting cooling and quieter operation.

Sudsy