Now that most of my key Intel Ivy Bridge tests under Linux have been completed for now, this morning I began trying out the Core i7 3770K when using *BSD. Well, at least trying to test out BSD...
First I tried running Debian GNU/kFreeBSD using the latest daily net install image as of 22 June so the very latest packages were to be used. Debian's text-based installer booted on the Ivy Bridge i7-3770K system with the ECS motherboard I've been using in many other Phoronix articles. The text installer worked fine and the installation proceeded without any problems -- the motherboard with Intel's latest chipset also didn't have any network troubles.
However, after Debian GNU/kFreeBSD Wheezy/sid installation with the kFreeBSD 9.0-1-amd64 kernel was complete, it never successfully booted. It was a no go. Trying different UEFI/BIOS settings and other FreeBSD kernel options were tried, but the Ivy Bridge system with Debian GNU/kFreeBSD never successfully booted. The screen would blank and the system would just restart a few seconds into the boot process. Below is a video demonstrating this show-stopping problem. An ATI Radeon X1950PRO (R500) graphics card was also installed in case it came down to an issue with the integrated HD 4000 graphics and the lack of proper driver support there on kFreeBSD, but nothing changed.
Debian GNU/kFreeBSD was then tested on an older Intel system to verify the latest Debian packages were in a sufficient state. When installing on the older Intel hardware, there were no problems at all. The system's running just fine and I'm proceeding with new Debian GNU/kFreeBSD benchmarks there, but that can't be done for Ivy Bridge.
I next proceeded to try out PC-BSD on the Ivy Bridge system. Rather than using the PC-BSD 9.0 release from January, I pulled PCBSD9-STABLE-20120605 from earlier this month to benefit from the latest packages. When booting the Ivy Bridge system with the old Radeon X1950PRO (R500) graphics card installed, it booted similarly to when using the Debian installer. This time around, however, the latest PC-BSD9 packages were trying to use Radeon KMS. However, kernel mode-setting for this old ATI hardware failed, so the X.Org Server failed to start.
The X.Org Server would start when using the VESA driver so that the PC-BSD graphical installer could proceed. However, using the xf86-video-vesa driver led the X1950PRO to not mode-setting at 1920 x 1080 to match the display's native resolution.
When using the Intel Ivy Bridge HD 4000 graphics, there is no KMS/DRM support on FreeBSD at this point for this latest-generation hardware. The VESA driver did work, but some colors were distorted. But making the experience more interesting besides having to battle the sub-standard BSD graphics support is that the USB mouse wouldn't work for this Panther Point motherboard. The USB keyboard would work, but the USB Razer mouse on any of the USB 2.0/3.0 ports on the latest Intel motherboard wouldn't work on PC-BSD.
In the end, running the latest Intel Ivy Bridge CPU with Z77 "Panther Point" motherboard was to no avail using the latest packages on Debian GNU/kFreeBSD and PC-BSD 9-STABLE in an "out of the box" manner or with basic tweaks. However, the two BSD operating systems did work just fine on older hardware with these packages, so at least there will be some new benchmarks there in the coming days on Phoronix.
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 Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.