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Re: "rock solid" motherboard

On Wed, 12 Jan 2005, Hank Barta wrote:

I have an ABIT AV8 (v1.1) The LAN driver did not load so I put in a
RealTek card and moved on. Sound on the motherboard works fine.

I do have RAM issues in that I have to run the RAM at DDR333 instead
of DDR400 (for which it is speced) and this board is known to be
sensitive to the quality of the RAM. (I think that means that not all
RAM will work at advertised rates. ;) But at DDR333 the system is rock

(I should probably disclaim that I'm currently running Ubuntu, but
under the covers it sure looks like Debian.)

I could say this is another "vote" for the Via chipset; I have an Asus K8V Deluxe. However, the road has not been entirely smooth.

For one, I had exactly the same problem with instability and RAM speed that my colleague describes here. I figured Asus and Kingston were two brands big enough to work out their issues with each other, but it took something like 4 rounds of RMA replacement with Kingston to get a stable system operating at rated (DDR400) speeds. That was a raving nightmare. My strong advice would be to "buy the expensive RAM" if you are building yourself (Corsair, Mushkin).

Another note would be that if you plan on using SATA, make sure you stay current with kernels (even despite this not being an nvidia board), and if you plan on trying a SATA RAID, you will not be able to dual boot with it the way you expect. This is because the Via SATA RAID drivers are software RAID implemented in a Win32 driver. There is a binary only Linux module of same. Don't use it. I ended up doing an LVM2 Linux RAID with Win32 installed non-RAID on a single partition on one of the disks.

Another note: I had to do this LVM raid setup by hand; at the time I tried it, the amd64 debian installer couldn't get through an LVM raid install without crashing. Root raid was even harder, requiring a hand-assembled init RAM disk. Don't know if there has been much movement in the installer since.

All that said, the board does work very well now that I have it going (100% stable), and it is indeed fast. Fully functional USB, quite good audio quality, SATA, IDE, AGP, Serial/Parallel, ethernet (at 100Mb only for me), on board sensors, etc. Did not try the packaged Wifi hardware.

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