Linux, Asus M2V, Attansic Ethernet and SATA hard drive problems.

At work, I got a shiny new Linux development machine — And AMD 64 Dual Core 3800+ processor running on an Asus M2V 1.xx motherboard.

After installing Fedora Core 6, I ran into two problems. First, the built-in Attansic L1 Ethernet adapter wasn’t recognized. Google research revealed that an Attansic L1 driver will probably appear in the mainline Linux kernel in a few months. Rather than wait, I plugged in a supported Ethernet card.

Second, the SATA hard drive driver timed out. Occasionally, the system froze up without many error messages showing up in the system log. I logged in at the console as root and ran “exec tail -f /var/log/messages” (redirecting syslog to a remote machine is a better solution). The next time the system froze up, I saw more output in syslog. It contained approximately the following:

ata1.00 exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x2 frozen
ata1.00 BMDMA stat 0x4 timeout
ata1.00 qc timeout (cmd 0xec)

Google helped me stumble on the following workaround, which seems to work. I don’t know what it does. Edit /etc/grub.conf. Find the lines that say “kernel” and add “acpi=force irqpoll noapic hda=noprobe” to the end, and reboot.

title Fedora Core (2.6.19-1.2911.fc6)
        root (hd0,5)
        kernel /vmlinuz-2.6.19-1.2911.fc6 ro root=LABEL=/ rhgb quiet acpi=force irqpoll noapic hda=noprobe
        initrd /initrd-2.6.19-1.2911.fc6.img

Useful commands (helpfully documented on this blog):

  • dmidecode – tells me what motherboard I have
  • lspci – Tells me what built-in ethernet adapter I have
  • cat /dev/cpuinfo – Tells me about my CPU