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  • Linux is a No-Go on My System :(

    I've been tryng for over a week to get Ubuntu 6.06 installed onto my system, and the Ubuntu people (both forums and IRC channel) can't help (but not for lack of trying). I figure I must have either a defective hard drive, or a defective motherboard. Here's my tale of woe

    System:
    ASRock 939Dual Sata2 motherboard with 2.10 BIOS
    AMD64 3500 Winchester (not overclocked)
    1GB Patriot PC3200 RAM (not overclocked)
    eVGA 7900GTX (not the overclocked one, and not overclocked by me) (brand new)
    hda=new Seagate 200gb EIDE (brand new)
    hdb=80gb Western Digital EIDE
    sda=SATA1 160gb Western Digital
    sdb=SATA2 160gb Western Digital
    cda=LITE-ON CD/DVD writer (brand new)
    keyboard and mouse are PS/2
    19-inch LCD monitor with native resolution of 1280x1024.

    Other info:
    1) I'm using the onboard NIC and sound components.

    2) I'm NOT using raid.

    3) I'm NOT using the SATA2 controller at all, but it's set to "IDE " and is disabled in BIOS.

    4) I'm NOT dual booting.


    Observations:
    1) Windows 2000 Pro runs flawlessly on this box. In case you're wondering, I have Wndows installed on a separate boot drive (80gb Western Digital EIDE), and I swap the two boot drives using a removable drive tray setup.

    2) The Ubuntu 6.06 live cd boots up fine (even sees the NIC and sound components)


    Problems:
    1) If I try to install with the SATA drives connected, the install freezes at seemingly random spots near the end of the install process (88-97%).

    2) If I disconnect the SATA drives, the install hangs after I click "restart computer" in the final dialog box. It hangs when it's trying to "shutdown the LVM volume groups". If I do a cold restart, it will start to boot into Linux, but will hang at "loading hardware drivers".

    3) Last Monday, I got it installed, and it even booted into the OS, but I had other Windows things to do, so I shutdown and swapped the boot drives out. I used Windows for the rest of the week.

    4) Just this last Saturday, I swapped the boot drives and tried to boot Ubuntu and it hung up at "loading hardware drivers". I haven't been able to boot or reinstall successfully since.


    Things I've Tried:
    1)Physically disconnecting the SATA drives

    2) Disconnecting all USB devices

    3) Turning off legacy USB and USB 2.0 support in the BIOS

    4) Burning the distro CD at speeds from 8x to 48x

    5) Burning to different brands of writable media

    6) Installing the amd64 version of the distro

    7) Non-graphical installers

    8) Installing other distros (including older versions of Ubuntu).

    I've tried everything I know to try, and some things other people have suggested, but the box is simply rejecting any install of Linux.


    [b]Conclusion:

    I consider myself to be pretty freakin' savvy where building a PC is concered - I've been doing it since about 1986 - but this has me completely stumped. Since there's no incompatible hardware in my setup, I think that one of two things is wrong:

    1) The motherboard is flakey

    2) The 200gb hard drive that I'm trying to install Linux on is flakey

    My first instinct is to say that the act of installing Linux has somehow exposed a flaw in the motherboard, but at this point, it's just a guess since the live-cd boots without any problems at all.

    Can anyone here provide any guidance?

  • #2
    I've tried out the 939Dual-SATA2 on Fedora Core 5 and (I think) one of the earlier Ubuntu Dapper builds... Based on your comments, it sounds like it could potentially be a flaw with the motherboard. Had you tried the IDE driver in an alternate computer?
    Michael Larabel
    http://www.michaellarabel.com/

    Comment


    • #3
      It sounds like there is something wrong with the SATA/IDE controller on the MB. Have you tried using hdparm to enable/disable DMA/32BitI/O for the target drive? Have you tried using a controller add-on card?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Michael
        I've tried out the 939Dual-SATA2 on Fedora Core 5 and (I think) one of the earlier Ubuntu Dapper builds... Based on your comments, it sounds like it could potentially be a flaw with the motherboard. Had you tried the IDE driver in an alternate computer?
        I have a server, but it's full up (and in use) as far as drives go.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Patrick
          It sounds like there is something wrong with the SATA/IDE controller on the MB. Have you tried using hdparm to enable/disable DMA/32BitI/O for the target drive? Have you tried using a controller add-on card?
          I don't have any controller cards to try, and it would cost almost the same money to just replace the motherboard.

          Disabling performance features isn't the best approach (afterall, I paid big bucks for that performance).

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by jsimmons
            Disabling performance features isn't the best approach (afterall, I paid big bucks for that performance).
            Have you checked that DMA is enabled? I had problems installing slackware on an older IBM until I enabled DMA for the installation drive.

            Comment


            • #7
              I had an IRC chat with the developer of Kanotix not long ago, Kano. He warned me the ULI chipset isn't very compatible and doesn't behave all that well with linux, even with some of the bleeding edge stuff he's using with that distro.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by arcturus
                I had an IRC chat with the developer of Kanotix not long ago, Kano. He warned me the ULI chipset isn't very compatible and doesn't behave all that well with linux, even with some of the bleeding edge stuff he's using with that distro.
                The review here said that my motherboard was very Linux-compatible. Others with this motherboard have also said that. What gets me is that the live CD boots up without a single complaint, but the install won't complete... Makes no sense at all.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Also, had you tried flashing the BIOS or taking any other steps?
                  Michael Larabel
                  http://www.michaellarabel.com/

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hmm...

                    Dude, have you tried Xubuntu? Try the alternate install iso, as the graphical one has a glitch that prevents a complete install. If it still fails, then your PC officially doesn't want any *Buntu installed and you should look at another distro (Arch, Slax, SUSE etc.)

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Michael
                      Also, had you tried flashing the BIOS or taking any other steps?
                      The BIOS is already at the latest version. Nothing to flash.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by 1c3d0g
                        Dude, have you tried Xubuntu? Try the alternate install iso, as the graphical one has a glitch that prevents a complete install. If it still fails, then your PC officially doesn't want any *Buntu installed and you should look at another distro (Arch, Slax, SUSE etc.)
                        Dude, that's the only one I haven't tried, and I'm not inclined to try when all the rest (including, as already stated, the alternate installs) have failed miserably.

                        At this point, I think the motherboard is toast (well, maybe not toast, but certainly incompatible with Linux in its current state), and I'm trying to decide if a) Linux is worth this much hassle right now, and b)if I decide to get a new motherboard, do I get another copy of the one I have, or a different brand. There are pros and cons no matter which way I decide:

                        1) If I get another Asrock 939Dual, I don't have to reinstall Windows on my other drive, and it might allow me to install Linux, but as we all know - if you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.

                        2) If I get a different brand (considering a Gigabyte board), Linux compatibility might improve, but I'd have to reinstall Windows (and that's a freakin hassle).

                        I don't want to buy another Asrock just to find out that it's just plain not compatible, and I don't want to get a different brand because i'd have to reinstall windows. It looks like I'm stuck between ASRock and a hard place. (I love puns .)

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          jsimmons,

                          What did you end up trying? Any successes yet?

                          ~ Michael
                          Michael Larabel
                          http://www.michaellarabel.com/

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Michael
                            jsimmons,

                            What did you end up trying? Any successes yet?

                            ~ Michael
                            As far as hardware, nothing yet. With the impending price decrease on 939 chips, I'm gonna upgrade to a faster (dual core) CPU, so I decided to wait to order a new motherboard so that I'd get everything at once. Once I get the new motherboard, I'll RMA the existing one (it's always nice to have a backup motherboard laying around).

                            I've pretty much decided that I don't want to reinstall Windows yet again, so I'm just going to go ahead and get another ASROCK 939Dual Sata2. If it doesn't work with the new board, I guess I'm gonna have to wait for a new version of Ubuntu to be released, and try again.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ordered a new m/b (the same brand/model) a shiney new 4200 X2 ($199!!), and another GB of Patriot XBLK RAM from egghead this morning. Should get them next week, so we'll see if the new M/B fixes my install problems.

                              Silver lining: If nothing else, Linux will fail to install at a faster pace.

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