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  1. #1

    Question am2 motherboard for linux

    Hi, I'm new on this forum and am seeking some advice on choosing am2 mobo that would be well supported by linux.

    I have my eyes on those 3 motherboards:
    Asus M2N-E - nForce 570 Ultra, ADI 1988 sound chip, "nForce built-in Gigabit MAC with external Marvell PHY" <-- no idea which Marvell chip that would be
    Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 - nForce 550, Realtek ALC883 sound, Marvel 88E1116 lan
    MSI K9N Neo - nForce 550, Realtek ALC883 sound, Vitesse VSC8601 lan

    They are all budget mobos as you can see and are similary priced. The board will be paired with dual core Athlon64 X2.

    My main concern is linux support for onboard sound and lan. I think that Gigabyte board with Realtek and Marvell chips should not be problematic for any recent linux distro, but I might be wrong on this.

    The second thing is dual core support. I'm guessing it would be no prob for any linux, but I'd like to know how to make the best use of X2 CPU under linux.

    I would be grateful for any information on those matters.

  2. #2
    Linux Guru AlexK's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    For dual core support, make sure you install an SMP kernel which will utilise the 2nd core in your CPU.

    As for wether those peripherials are supported, I'd say perform a google search along the lines of:
    peripherial_name linux driver
    peripherial_name linux module
    Life is complex, it has a real part and an imaginary part.

  3. #3
    I did google, but didn't found much information. Figured it would be nice to have some opinions from linux users. Especially that there not much reviews of am2 boards and even less on how well they work with linux.

    Thanks for your advice, I'll be sure to remember about SMP.

    Anyway, I'll post an update here when I get the mobo

  4. $spacer_open
  5. #4
    Here's promised update.

    I decided to go with Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3. It's working together with X2 4200+ and 2 GB of Geil DualDDR2 CAS 5 PC6400 ram modules. And I had no problems installing linux on my new machine. I'm now running gentoo with 2.6.17 kernel with SMP enabled (also installed Ubuntu which also had no problems). Onboard sound and lan were working right out of the box. The system is perfectly stable. hdparm -t shows 68 MB/s for SATA2 drive and 56 MB/s for SATA drive (both Seagates). What I'm really happy with is that the infamous "nvidia X freezes" are now gone (which would suggest mobo's fault, but nevermind) and the system is rock stable.

    There are 3 quirks thought.
    1. As of current bios revision, there is no way to manually set CPU fan speed for different temperature ranges. I hope this will appear in later bios updates (this was the case with my previous Gigabyte board)
    2. Problem with getting cpu frequency scaling to work, as I see on the net, this is quite common issue:
    "powernow-k8: MP systems not supported by PSB BIOS structure"
    I saw some hacks posted on the net, but not tried them yet.
    3. When playing sounds, the mobo makes a quite annoying noise (my old video card made the same noise on some occasions, only louder). It's quiet, and probably not audible for most people, but it can still be annoying in some circumstances.

    Hope this can be usefull info to someone.

    One curiosity, I did not succeded in installing windows on this machine, the installer freezes just at the beginning

  6. #5
    I'm thinking about buying Gigabyte GA-M55S-S3 for my HTPC and I wonder what kind of noise you can hear from the motherboard?
    3. When playing sounds, the mobo makes a quite annoying noise (my old video card made the same noise on some occasions, only louder). It's quiet, and probably not audible for most people, but it can still be annoying in some circumstances.
    Is it only the motherboard that makes the noise, or does the noise sound go through the audio output? (SPDIF/TOS and analog out)?
    Can you hear it through the chassis?

    Have you experienced any problems with SATA/SATA2

  7. #6
    The annoying sound comes from motherboard and I can hear it through chassis. It was audible to me even when I had stock cooler on my nvidia card (and those are loud). I can only compare it to the sounds that were coming from my previous video card (Gigabyte 6600 SilentPipe). It's a very high pitch sound, similar to the ones you can hear comming from some TVs in stand-by mode. Note that this does not happen on windows, so I guess alsa drivers handle the hardware differently or something. The quality on audio output is ok, no noises or interferences from other components.

    Mind you that not everyone can hear this sound. I'm guessing it's outside of hearing range for some people.

    And SATA works perfectly. I have 2 Seagate drives, one SATA and one SATA2, and they both work flawlesly. I'm guessing any fairly recent distro should handle them "out of the box".

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