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Archive for January 2011

Debian Squeeze and Jetway NF76-N1GL-LF and Jetway ADPE4S daughterboard Experiences

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For a NAS I’m building, I got a Jetway NF76-N1GL-LF motherboard with a ADPE4S daughterboard that adds an additional 4 SATA ports. I wanted a VIA processor to take advantage of Padlock while keeping power consumption low.

I chose to throw on Debian Squeeze x86_64 even though it’s in beta so I could use ext4. Squeeze uses kernel version 2.6.32.5.

Turns out it doesn’t boot on my processor. In order to boot I had to update to BIOS version A06 and use idle=halt boot parameter. See the Red Hat bugzilla and the LKML.

Additionally, the pata_marvell driver that Debian loads to handle the Marvell 88SE6145 chipset on the ADPE4S daughterboard, based on what I’ve read, seems like it was written for PATA and not for SATA. In order to get this hardware to work, I had to blacklist the pata_marvell driver and set an option for the ahci driver to enable support for the Marvell chipset. See the Debian wiki.

Padlock acceleration doesn’t seem to work. When I dd /dev/zero to an encrypted partition it still generated a huge amount of CPU usage and hdparm speeds didn’t seem all that different when I unloaded padlock_aes. I couldn’t test using OpenSSL because Debian’s version of OpenSSL on x86_64 didn’t compile in support for the Padlock device. Whatever.

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Written by notatypewriter

2011 January 12 at 7:16 pm

Posted in Nerding out

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Ultimate BootCD and FreeDOS and GA-X48-DQ6 Experiences

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I have a Gigabyte GA-X48-DQ6 with my drives running in AHCI mode. FreeDOS on UBCD doesn’t boot on this without some changes.

  • Disable RAID or AHCI in the BIOS. Remember to set it back or else Windows gets all mad.
  • When booting FreeDOS, at the memory settings menu, select optimal not silent or quiet. It should be the second option. Make sure to boot without APM.

Written by notatypewriter

2011 January 12 at 4:26 pm

Hard drive died… no problem!

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I came back from Winter Break to a bunch of updates for squeeze, one of which was my kernel. So I update, and then I hear a bunch of clicks. Cue the “Oh shit no. Fuck no. Fuck fuck fuck.” moment. Pop over to /var/log/messages and yes, a shitton of errors from the SATA controller for /dev/sda, which is my 3 year old Velociraptor drive.

Thankfully, /dev/sda contains only my Windows partition and my /boot partition. Since I only use Windows for gaming and watching TV (Windows Media Center blows away everything in terms of ease of use), this isn’t that big of an issue. As long as I don’t reboot, I don’t need /boot. My computer can continue running with the broken drive and did while I was away for four weeks. Here’s how I transferred to a new boot drive.

  1. Plug a new drive in via USB. I have a SATA to USB dongle.
  2. Unmount /boot.
  3. Partition the new drive and mount it in /boot
  4. Reinstall the linux-image packages.
  5. Reinstall grub to the new drive.
  6. Reboot and replace the dead drive.

There should be a way to do this without rebooting, but I didn’t know how to do SATA hotplugging in Linux (I forgot the term so I couldn’t google for it :\) and how my computer would react if I just unplugged a drive from the power supply. (Note to self: read this)

Written by notatypewriter

2011 January 8 at 7:59 pm

Posted in Nerding out

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