1. Computers
  2. Display Drivers
  3. Graphics Cards
  4. Memory
  5. Motherboards
  6. Processors
  7. Software
  8. Storage
  9. Operating Systems


Facebook RSS Twitter Twitter Google Plus


Phoronix Test Suite

OpenBenchmarking.org

Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy-E Takes Big Dive On Linux

Linux Kernel

Published on 12 December 2011 04:03 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Linux Kernel
15 Comments

While the thousand-dollar Intel Core i7 3960X "Sandy Bridge" Extreme Edition processor can build the Linux kernel in under 60 seconds, this morning it took a nasty dive under Linux.

This morning when booting up the Core i7 3960X system, which is paired with the Intel DX79SI motherboard also sent over by Intel Corp, the Ubuntu 12.04 LTS snapshot couldn't boot from the SATA3 disk. Nothing changed in the software or hardware configuration between last night when it was running smoothly and this morning. The Sandy-E system also couldn't boot the live USB images of Ubuntu 11.10 or Ubuntu 12.04 LTS.

When changing around the GRUB2 configuration so that there was no splash screen (Plymouth) displayed on boot and removing the quiet parameter, it was discovered that about two seconds into the boot process of the Linux 3.2 kernel the system would just sit there...

Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy-E Takes Big Dive On Linux


Then after about two minutes of no output, the kernel call trace would be printed as it looked like the CPU stalled. And then that was the end of it, with nothing further. The trace begins with print_other_cpu_stall or on some boots it turns out to be check_cpu_stall.isra.

Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy-E Takes Big Dive On Linux


Upgrading the BIOS/UEFI yielded no results nor did swapping out the DDR3 RAM, pulling the battery, changing any kernel command line parameters, or making other changes yield anything to improve the situation... Until playing with the UEFI. After trying out several options unsuccessfully to get Ubuntu Linux to now boot, even though it worked just fine on Saturday and Sunday, the critical option was discovered. When disabling the Intel dynamic power option from the UEFI interface, Ubuntu Linux went back to booting and working just fine.

Intel Core i7 3960X Sandy-E Takes Big Dive On Linux


However, this option was enabled in the tests over the weekend just fine. Besides disabling Intel's dynamic power technology leading to an increase in power usage, when this option is disabled, Turbo Boost also gets disabled. Turbo Boost has a measurable benefit on the system's performance with the Intel Core i7 3960X being able to go from 3.3GHz to 3.9GHz when needed. But now Ubuntu 12.04 LTS won't work in this configuration, even after making several other changes.

I then proceeded to overclock the system and it will still run with Linux fine, up to 4.5GHz (or 4.625GHz with an occasional lock-up), but it can't boot the Linux kernel at its overclocked speeds or stock when dynamic power is enabled. (At last when running her at 4.5GHz, the kernel build goes from being just shy of 60 seconds to now building in less than 50 seconds.)

I'm just sharing this posting now in case any Phoronix readers happen to come across this issue with new hardware or have experienced it in the past. If you have any information, please contact me or post in the forums.

Aside from this snafu, the Intel Core i7 3960X Extreme Edition has been running fantastic and delivering some impressive Linux performance numbers. I should have a bulk of the Sandy-E benchmarks to publish in the next day or two, which were recorded on Saturday and Sunday prior to experiencing this problem. Worth noting though is that the i7-3960X and the Intel X79 motherboard were both pre-production parts, with the UEFI version on the board up until that point being marked with "beta - evaluation use only." Assuming this isn't some widespread Linux or hardware bug, I'm still loving the Core i7 3960X.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
Latest Linux Hardware Reviews
  1. Intel Xeon E5-1680 v3 & E5-2687W v3 Compared To The Core i7 5960X On Linux
  2. Intel 120GB 530 Series SSD Linux Performance
  3. Btrfs/EXT4/XFS/F2FS RAID 0/1/5/6/10 Linux Benchmarks On Four SSDs
  4. AMD's Windows Catalyst Driver Remains Largely Faster Than Linux Drivers
Latest Linux Articles
  1. Apple OS X 10.10 vs. Ubuntu 14.10 Performance
  2. Mesa 10.5-devel Brings Some Intel Haswell HD Graphics Changes Over Mesa 10.3
  3. NVIDIA vs. Nouveau Drivers With Linux 3.18 + Mesa 10.4-devel
  4. Is The Open-Source NVIDIA Driver Fast Enough For Steam On Linux Gaming?
Latest Linux News
  1. Meizu's Ubuntu Phone Not Expected Until Early Next Year
  2. DragonFlyBSD 4.0 Drops i386 Support, Improves Graphics
  3. Expensive "Free/Libre Software Laptop" Uses A NVIDIA GPU
  4. QEMU 2.2-rc3 Released, Final Release Pushed Back By Couple Days
  5. 64-bit ARM FreeBSD Support Is Taking Shape
  6. GCW Zero Starts Seeing New Game Releases
  7. Intel's Cherry Trail Delayed To Next Year
  8. Bq Introduces More Android Devices, But Still No Ubuntu Phones
  9. Qt 5.4 Release Candidate Expected Later This Week
  10. ArrayFire Accelerated Compute Library Open-Sourced
Latest Forum Discussions
  1. Updated and Optimized Ubuntu Free Graphics Drivers
  2. Hurrican SDL Port
  3. Roadmap to Catalyst 14.10 ?
  4. how to configure module phoromatic ?
  5. PulseAudio 6.0 Is Coming & Other Linux Audio Plans For The Future
  6. Debian Developer Resigns From The Systemd Maintainership Team
  7. Cant get working Kaveri APU - A10-7850k
  8. Script for Fan Speed Control