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I never dreamt that after FIVE years of Linux experience I will not be able to get my new system up and running. New HP 4999d System includes: Phenom 9600 ...
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  1. #1
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    nVidia (nForce) Raid, sata, dmraid, HEADACHE(S)!!!


    I never dreamt that after FIVE years of Linux experience I will not be able to get my new system up and running.
    New HP 4999d System includes:
    Phenom 9600 quadcore cpu.
    6 gig ram.
    nVidia 8400 video.
    nVidia (nForce?) Raid controller.
    Two 500 gig (465gig in reality) drives.
    Windows Vista Premium, pre-installed.
    ----------------------------------------------
    First let me say that after weeks of trials and tribulations I have WIPED OUT the entire Vista partition including the special HP partition, hoping that a clean drive would make things easier. nada.

    I have tried *many* distros with various degrees of failure(!), all seem to have a problem with the disk raid.
    BTW, HP's answer was. Listen to this: By [attempting to] install Linux you VOID the warranty! (They did say "software warranty", whatever that is.)

    One more point before getting into more details. The hardware is good. It ran Vista without a hitch (except slow as Vista!) and passed rigorous ram tests.

    Also: I have tried various bios settings for the drives, including striping, mirroring, spanning, and more.

    Some distros actually work for an hour or so, before going bonkers, usually with funny partition errors.

    Some distros installers correctly understand the drives, raid, and all, but still don't work.

    Fwiw, here is a little report:

    Fedora 8, anaconda, refuses to budge unless I give it a driver disk.
    Fedora 9, anaconda, works normally but never finishes the final step of the install. This, regardless if I let it do the partitions as it wants, or if I try to manually partition it. LVM or not. Same story.

    Suse 10.x does not get off the ground.
    Suse 11 (just released 6/19) installs nicely and runs. For about an hour, before hanging *cold* on a disk operation. Gnome, kde 3.59, or kde 4.

    Ubuntu 8.04 hangs cold in beginning of install.

    Solaris 2006-05 (yes, I am desperate!) install dumps to root and Solaris folks simply shrug it off. Not on the hardware list.

    Mandriva Spring 2008 live-cd boots and loads great. Understands the hardware (including video) best of all, but kills the drive and data when you choose to actually install it.

    Oracle 5.2 (bran spankin new; must have dmraid in their installer; right? my foot!) refuses to use the nForce driver on their cd and simply refuses to install until I give it a driver. Maybe smartly so.

    And.... Centos 5.2 is downloading as we speak.....

    Please, pretty please. Give me some solid help!

    Oh. One more thing. The nVidia site does offer Linux drivers for their raid cards, but NOT for OEM stuff. (Basically call your manufacturer, type of response.) I have no idea which of their cards corresponds to the card in my system, if any.

    Thank you!

    Oh. Just remembered one more thing. Back then, a l-o-n-g 3 weeks ago I was able to run Fedora 9 as a virtual machine under Vista. It was SLOW. I forget which Virtual technology I tried then. (It used a virtual drive under ntfs, controlled by Vista.)

    Woops, one more thing. Ubuntu, also installed nicely UNDER VISTA using ntfs. That [wibi?] method installs itself as a Win application. Ahem.

  2. #2
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    If you're having chipset issues, you may want to boot a LiveCD like Knoppix or Backtrack so that you can run lspci to get some specifics on what chips are onboard. Then you can Google for any issues related to them.

  3. #3
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    lspci reports "nVidia Corporation Unkown device", for EVERY category including Raid, Ethernet, USB, RAM(!), PCI. Except for CPU, which is AMD, and Firewire which is Agere systems.

    nat

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  5. #4
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    Hmh. To install Linux you should know there is no RAID on your motherboard. There is software RAID, driven/configured by BIOS. You may rethink your Windows & Linux configuration. You have two disks, why not use Windows for one of them and install Linux to the other one? You can still use Linux software RAID if you want to, just not dmraid which is similar to Windows software RAID and cannot use partitions instead of drives.

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    The raid controller forces me to use *some* form of raid. It does not have the option of simply two disks. I understand that this is software raid, but Linux needs to understand that too!
    Anyhow, BOTH drives are clean, without Windows at this point.

  7. #6
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    No way to turn RAID off? What's the PCI ID of your nVidia SATA controller? Output of lspci -n.

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    Slight update!
    I tried Suse 11 (because it saw the raid drives best) again, and told it to ignore acpi.
    I still get hangups,(especially if I manually power my monitor off), but a least I can reboot into the system. It is still far from stable and for some reason used less than 100gig although I told it to use ALL of the disk.
    Anyhow, it gives me a far better report on lspci than Mandriva did. Here it is:
    phenom9600:~ # lspci
    00:00.0 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation Device 0754 (rev a2)
    00:01.0 ISA bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 075c (rev a2)
    00:01.1 SMBus: nVidia Corporation Device 0752 (rev a1)
    00:01.2 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation Device 0751 (rev a1)
    00:01.3 Co-processor: nVidia Corporation Device 0753 (rev a2)
    00:01.4 RAM memory: nVidia Corporation Device 0568 (rev a1)
    00:02.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation Device 077b (rev a1)
    00:02.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation Device 077c (rev a1)
    00:04.0 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation Device 077d (rev a1)
    00:04.1 USB Controller: nVidia Corporation Device 077e (rev a1)
    00:07.0 Audio device: nVidia Corporation Device 0774 (rev a1)
    00:08.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 075a (rev a1)
    00:09.0 RAID bus controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0ad8 (rev a2)
    00:0a.0 Ethernet controller: nVidia Corporation Device 0760 (rev a2)
    00:10.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 0778 (rev a1)
    00:12.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 075b (rev a1)
    00:13.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 077a (rev a1)
    00:14.0 PCI bridge: nVidia Corporation Device 077a (rev a1)
    00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] HyperTransport Configuration
    00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Address Map
    00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] DRAM Controller
    00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Miscellaneous Control
    00:18.4 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] Family 10h [Opteron, Athlon64, Sempron] Link Control
    01:05.0 FireWire (IEEE 1394): Agere Systems FW323 (rev 70)
    02:00.0 VGA compatible controller: nVidia Corporation Device 06e2 (rev a1)
    phenom9600:~ #

    And...
    phenom9600:~ # lspci -n
    00:00.0 0500: 10de:0754 (rev a2)
    00:01.0 0601: 10de:075c (rev a2)
    00:01.1 0c05: 10de:0752 (rev a1)
    00:01.2 0500: 10de:0751 (rev a1)
    00:01.3 0b40: 10de:0753 (rev a2)
    00:01.4 0500: 10de:0568 (rev a1)
    00:02.0 0c03: 10de:077b (rev a1)
    00:02.1 0c03: 10de:077c (rev a1)
    00:04.0 0c03: 10de:077d (rev a1)
    00:04.1 0c03: 10de:077e (rev a1)
    00:07.0 0403: 10de:0774 (rev a1)
    00:08.0 0604: 10de:075a (rev a1)
    00:09.0 0104: 10de:0ad8 (rev a2)
    00:0a.0 0200: 10de:0760 (rev a2)
    00:10.0 0604: 10de:0778 (rev a1)
    00:12.0 0604: 10de:075b (rev a1)
    00:13.0 0604: 10de:077a (rev a1)
    00:14.0 0604: 10de:077a (rev a1)
    00:18.0 0600: 1022:1200
    00:18.1 0600: 1022:1201
    00:18.2 0600: 1022:1202
    00:18.3 0600: 1022:1203
    00:18.4 0600: 1022:1204
    01:05.0 0c00: 11c1:5811 (rev 70)
    02:00.0 0300: 10de:06e2 (rev a1)
    phenom9600:~ #

    I wish I could just turn raid off, use the two drives the old way and have a stable system.

    Thanks
    nat

  9. #8
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    This SATA controller works with AHCI driver, present in Linux kernel since 2.6.23.
    Here is link.
    What happens if you disconnect the other drive?
    If there's no way to turn off RAID then you have to force dmraid, see boot options. There used to be dodmraid option.

  10. #9
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    > This SATA controller works with AHCI driver, present in Linux kernel since 2.6.23
    So then I don't need another driver?

    > What happens if you disconnect the other drive?
    I didn't want to play with the hardware. If I recall correctly (from my old hardware days) one might need to change a terminator and/or otherwise somehow indicate via hardware that a drive was removed.

    > see boot options. There used to be dodmraid option.
    Is this for Redhat/Fedora/Oracle/Centos only, or for ALL distros?

    Thank you much.
    nat

  11. #10
    Linux Engineer Segfault's Avatar
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    You are still confused with the RAID thingy, there is no RAID, there is SATA controller which works with AHCI driver. However, with some additional software in BIOS it can be configured to look like RAID. Windows "driver" reads this configuration from BIOS and configures Windows software RAID according to your settings. In Linux dmraid is supposed to do the same.
    dodmraid option is passed to kernel, it is not distro-specific.

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