Re: Problems with IDE on GA-7VAXP motherboard

Date: Fri Jun 20 2003 - 02:52:51 EST

I believe I have nailed the problem to the wall. Your talk about the
bios misdetecting the cable got me to thinking - I hadn't actually been
able to see what the bios said it was configuring the disks attached to
since lilo's menu came up microseconds later.

I still haven't bothered checking, however I believe the bios is on a
very unhealthy volume of crack. :)

using hdparm -i /dev/hda shows the disk wasn't configured to do any pio
mode or udma/dma mode at boot time. Strange, right?

Stranger when you do hdparm -I on the disk again and it shows the disk
is set to use udma4 - and the disk only understands up to udma2! - now
add in the fact I currently have a 40 wire cable connected to the disk
and my brain starts frying :)

At a suggestion of a friend, I set the disk to use mdma2 - via the line:

hdparm -Xmdma2 -d1 /dev/hda

It worked, for all of two seconds. Remember, this is a WD drive. WD
drives, or at least mine, like to screw up in pretty amazing ways when
you turn dma on initially. Mine throws a screenful of CRC errors,
causing the kernel to reset the ide channel. Oddly, I noticed that dma
was still on despite the fact the channel had been reset - so I checked
with -I again, only to find out now the disk was told to use udma*3*! -
this wasn't getting me anywhere. >D Anyway, the simple fix was to force
it to keep settings across a reset by doing:

hdparm -Xmdma2 -k1 -d1 /dev/hda

- I am no longer getting any hda: lost interrupt messages, nor am I
  getting any errors at all about the disk losing data or getting
  confused. It's running slower than I'm used to, as I used to run it in
  ata66 mode, but MUCH faster than it was a day ago. :) All I need to do now is migrate the information from this disk to one of my maxtors and I'm all set. Finally, I can start setting this machine up. Note, I could get this disk to use ata66 again if I switched cables to the 80 wire variant - but I plan on replacing this disk asap anyway.

So, to summarize: The BIOS in the Gigabyte GA-7VAXP motherboard (and
likely all variants using the same bios) is getting confused and
misdetecting both the cable's abilities and the hard disks abilities,
causing linux to have a very nasty fit when you try using it without
manually changing the settings using hdparm.

I have not tried, nor will I likely try, setting the PIO modes up with
this motherboard as I don't need to. However, it is very likely that the
same problem occurs with dma disabled as with dma enabled - you need to
manually reconfigure the hard disk and disk controller using hdparm to
the correct values, or it just basically gets all confused and whines.

Also note, I tested this setup after configuring with hdparm in three
ways: First, I did a test using hdparm -t -T /dev/hda - Passed. A little
slow, but understandable considering. Second, I did a simple test doing
find / - this almost always caused the thing to throw a hda: lost
interrupt before at some point or another. Passed. Finally, I'm
currently doing a kernel compile. As I said, a P1 133 was outpacing this
machine before. This is a AMD XP 2600+ - it's absolutely ludicrous for a
P1 to outpace this thing, unless some unsane overclocker ... no, I don't
want to encourage anyone. :P Anyway, even with the slow settings, the
kernel compile is going quite nicely, and is going much faster than the
P1 could ever hope to do.

Note that the bios in this motherboard does not support turning OFF dma
support - the only options are 'auto' 'ata33' and 'ata66/100/133' - all
of which don't appear to actually work. For instance, I have the bios
set to ata33 right now as I write this, and despite this, it was still
trying to set the disk up to use udma4!

A buggy bios a happy linux user does not make. :)

  Thank you for all your help, time and effort. It was greatly

  Tim McGrath
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Jun 23 2003 - 22:00:32 EST