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Install Report: MSI K8N Neo Platinum / Athlon 64 3200+ / Serial ATA

I recently purchased an MSI K8N Neo Platinum and an Athlon 64 3200+ processor, new case, memory, and a Western Digital WD360GD "Raptor" Serial ATA drive. I'm writing this email from the new machine, so you can be glad to know that there is a happy ending. However, things did get a bit bumpy on the way.

I used the sid-amd64-netinst.iso to install the system. I was glad to have been very familliar with the installation system, because I had to do a lot "blind".

In the 2.6.8 kernel, there is a bug in the sata_nv driver, which is the one used for the Serial ATA controller on this board. To call it verbose is an understatement. The following is what gets dumped to the console every time there is any disk activity (including the periodic ext3 journal syncs):

nv_sata: Primary device added
nv_sata: Primary device removed
nv_sata: Secondary device added
nv_sata: Secondary device removed

That gets printed about 3 or 4 times on every access. As you can imagine, this makes using the installer a bit difficult. Luckily I was able to get the install far enough along to get a barebones system, install SSH, and complete the setup on my laptop enough to compile my own kernel.

Before I could do that, the install had to be helped out a little bit finding my network card. The onboard ethernet uses the forcedeth driver, which seems to work very well. However, the installer never bothered to try and find it, instead trying to run DHCP on the ethernet-over-firewire driver eth0 that was automatically loaded. I've never used firewire before, and I don't have any firewire devices, so it was a bit of a shock to find this driver loaded. A little bit of modprobe -r <assorted ieee1394 crap> and modprobe forcedeth got me to where I could continue.

So far I am very pleased with the system. After figuring out I needed to be running the gcc-3.4 stuff to have a working copy of thunderbird, it has been incredibly stable. All of the onboard stuff (sound, ethernet, USB) seem to be working as advertised.

If anyone needs any info from me to get a similar setup working, like my kernel .config or something, feel free to ask. Thanks everyone for all the hard work you put into this port, you have at least one very happy customer.


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