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.
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.