Computer upgrades

updated Feb 2012

I started having an issue with my computer maybe back in May, where anytime I powered my machine off I had to reconfigure my Bios settings, as my primary Bios had failed, after several months of this I guess I just got tired of dealing with it, so I sold my android tablet (yes I did! and no I didn’t own more than one…) and bought a new Gigabyte Ga-990FX`-UD3 motherboard, which right now I am not very happy with, but I’ll get to that later, a new MD PhenomII x6 1090T CPU, a new XFX AMD Radeon 6850 Video Card, and 3 new Seagate 1.5TB HDDs. I have to reimburse myself for the hard drives however, as they were not paid for by selling my tablet. Hopefully selling my old Video Card, Motherboard, and CPU will cover their costs.

I’ve had all kinds of interesting episodes while trying to get this new hardware to work over the last, almost, 3 weeks. the good = back on linux, bye bye Microsoft. The bad=bye bye Google cloud print (kind of), possibility of getting Nuance Dragon Naturally Speaking to work (outside of a VM), possibility of getting my digital camera to work by just plugging it in the computer (for now). Here are a list of some of the issues I’ve run into, if they have lengthy resolutions, or attempted resolutions, I’ll link to another post (after I write it!) describing my efforts to get things working.

First up: Microsoft Windows 7 x64 Ultimate edition

  1. The only thing on the motherboard that works immediately after installation are the CPU, Ram, Keyboard, and Mouse.
    • NIC, eSATA, on-board RAID, USB 3.0, none of it worked until after installing the drivers from the MB CD.
  2. The motherboard has 2 or 3 different RAID chipsets, at least one Marvell 88SE9172 and a Realtek (I think), each can be enabled separately as IDE/AHCI/RAID, I’ll check and get back to you on this one.
    • One for the internal SATA ports 0-3.
    • One for the internal SATA ports 4 and 5.
      • Can only be enabled as RAID when ports 0-3 are also enabled as RAID.
        • This seems a little bit backwards to me, as the only way to mirror your boot drive is to enable RAID on all ports… or lose ports 2&3 and mirror on 0&1, then not set RAID on 4&5 giving you only a mirror plus 2 drive slots on the MB. Else you are forced to RAID 0/1 on ports 0-3 and to use 4/5 for your boot mirror.
      • One for the eSATA port
        • When enabled and nothing is connected, it reports 2 available ports; however when the cable is connected I have gotten 3 drives (out of 4) in my external drive caddy to show up.
  3. I ran into one issue where I had a device not identified in Windows 7, even after installing the drivers from the CD. I checked on the CD again and it actually has an installer to put Driver Agent on your computer to scan for out of date drivers. well I ran it.
    • It found the missing driver and also told me about 6 others were either out of date or had the wrong drivers installed. of the ones it wanted me to update, only one was free, the others were available after paying a $29.99 annual fee.
      • The first link took me to the Gigabyte home page for the MB but did not list any driver that was not also included on the CD.
      • The second link took me to a driver website download page for an Nvidia driver package!
        • Well I gave it a shot, and sure enough it recognized the device and installed the driver, from an Nvidia driver package on my AMD chipset MB.
  4. Then I started getting BSODs on the RAID driver MV91xx.dll.
    • After moving all my data around so I could setup a RAID5 5 drive array of 1.5TB drives, I had to undo it all and move data around to use them as normal disks, so I could disable the Marvell RAID in the BIOS (internal SATA ports 0-5) to prevent windows from loading the driver (which was the newest version from their website).
      • This did indeed stop the BSOD for that DLL.
  5. Then the system started shutting itself off randomly after 4-45 minutes from windows bootup.
    • I have not yet figured this one out, Gigabyte support wants me to disconnect all USB devices to test… (no mention of how I am to connect my KB or mouse) fyi no issues with the USB devices when my old MB was in the case, and no issue with the USB devices when booted to a linux live CD, nor any issues with random power offs at all, now that I am booting to Ubuntu 11.10 x64.
  6. If you press a key (such as ctrl+f or del or F4 or F8 or Shift or anything else really) at anytime during bootup that the system is not expecting a keypress, the boot up process hangs and you have to press the reset button or manually power off the computer.
    • What this means is if you are trying to get into the RAID BIOS controller setup, or the “change boot device” menu, or to get the GRUB menu to show up when hidden, or to start windows in safe mode, and you do not press the key/key combination one time at the exact time necessary, the system will hang and you cannot get in to that boot submenu
    • It often takes me 10-30 boot attempts to get into what ever submenu I need to change the configuration.

    Next up: Ubuntu 11.10 x64

  7. Ubuntu runs fine on the system, except for two issues…
    1. The network adapter will not work. I’ve tried many suggestions from forums, even downloaded the Realtek 8111e driver direct from realtek. It will not connect to anything (you may need to blacklist the wrong drivers, there are some 8 different models included in the linux driver package download).
      • Current resolution, I installed a GB NIC PCI card, works great.
    2. I cannot get my Radeon HD6850 working, multiple issues.
      • Any changes to the AMDCCLE configuration disappears after closing the interface. even if I open it right back up, the settings are back the way they were. Help with manually configuring AMDCCCLE
      • Any time I restart the computer it hangs after “checking battery state [ok]”.
        • This is when it loads the graphical settings to launch X.
          • As a note, I have a dual monitor setup, both on the two DVI ports; however because one DVI port is a DVI-d I have to have my right monitor connected as monitor0 and my left one connected as monitor1 (this makes things backwards, moving the mouse to the right puts it on the left screen and vice versa, unless you specify it in the configuration.
        • Current resolution for this problem (short incomplete version):
          1. Reboot into Ubuntu recovery mode from GRUB (good luck!).
          2. Mount/remount all devices and read/write.
            • Then press enter to exit that screen.
          3. Then select root command prompt.
            • Because the onboard NIC does not work, there is no point in selecting root command prompt with networking, as it won’t enable the PCI NIC.
          4. Now enter the following to remove all AMD video drivers from the system:

          5. apt-get purge -qq --no-download fglrx* xserver-xorg-video-ati xserver-xorg-video-radeon
            rm /etc/X11/xorg.conf*
            Xorg -configure

            • learn more about the xorg.conf settings
            • Hopefully you have manually created the deb packages for your ati drivers, if not, you can reboot now and use the default drivers for xorg to download the drivers and put them in the /root/amd6xxx directory on your system (you will need to create the amd6xxx directory under /root). you may need to install two things before going back into the root recovery mode

              sudo apt-get install execstack modaliases

              those are required for the new AMD drivers, then follow these instructions after booting back in to the recovery mode root command prompt after remounting devices as read/write, instructions above.

            • sudo /root/amd6xxx
              ./ --buildpkg Ubuntu/oneiric

            • You either already had the files, or you just created them (only follow the creating .deb files section), so we can move on to install the AMD drivers for the Radeon 6xxx series card.

            • dpkg -i *.deb

              • This should run without much of an issue, might be a couple of mini errors (file not found, skipping), but nothing to prevent the installation from finishing.
            • And to finish up:

            • aticonfig --initial=dual-head --screen-layout=right --xinerama=on --effective=startup --input=/etc/X11/xorg.conf

              • I am not 100% sure the “effective=startup” part is necessary or even works.
            • You can now reboot and cross your fingers.
              • I have to do this every time I restart my system, and sometimes it does not work and I have to do it 2-5 times before I can get back in. (no longer, with the new 12.1 drivers I have not been having this issue)
              • There are also times when I boot and get 1 flickering screen and one working screen (both tinted like my background image).
              • There are also times when I get one flickering screen and the other not, but both are nearly all white. Pressing CTRL+ALT+DEL initiates a reboot, so I know Ubuntu booted at least.
              • There are some times when I get cloned displays in 1024×768 resolution (not my default or preferred).

    Any attempt at a total and complete resolution is still a work in progress


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