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View Full Version : Hang while booting Knoppix -- VIA IDE problem?



preater
11-24-2002, 01:25 AM
Hello.

First post! :)

I'm having problems booting from my Knoppix 3.1 CD - it always hangs during boot, specifically, at this point:

VP_IDE: IDE controller on PCI bus 00 dev 39
VP_IDE: chipset revision 6
VP_IDE: not 100% native mode: will probe irqs later
VIA vt92c686a (rev 1b) IDE UDMA66 controller on pci 00:07.1
ide0: BM-DMA at 0xd000-0xd007, BIOS settings: hda:DMA, hdb:DMA
ide1: BM-DMA at 0xd008-0xd00f, BIOS settings: hdc:DMA, hdd:DMA

And we see nothing more. I'm using a board based on VIA 694X. Yes, I know my board is cheap, old and slow (UDMA66, really!).

To get here in the first place, I've had to avoid using framebuffer with vga=normal or knoppix-txt. I've had exactly the same hang in the same place with both Debian woody and Mandrake 9.0 (by the way, I am dual-booting them) -- in these cases it's been the fault of the framebuffer, but avoiding using it has been enough to get around the problem. If I use framebuffer with Knoppix, it hangs on the line:


Unknown bridge resource 0: assuming transparent.

Which is right at the beginning of the messages shown! I do have the Knoppix "cheatcodes" and have tried disabling hardware autodetection for everything I can, i.e. noapm noapic noagp nodma noscsi nousb, but it's made no difference at all. No damage is caused by this hang, and I can restart and boot using LILO without any problems. But I want my Knoppix! :)

What surprises me is that although the same thing happens with woody (and Mandrake), I can fix the problem easily -- but my solution doesn't work in Knoppix. This doesn't make sense, given what Knoppix is based on.

I'd appreciate any advice about how I might go about fixing or just bypassing this problem.

DNapalm
11-25-2002, 07:11 PM
I had a similar problem with a VIA chipset, but the "knoppix nodma" worked for me.


Hello.

First post! :)

I'm having problems booting from my Knoppix 3.1 CD - it always hangs during boot, specifically, at this point:

And we see nothing more. I'm using a board based on VIA 694X. Yes, I know my board is cheap, old and slow (UDMA66, really!).

Which is right at the beginning of the messages shown! I do have the Knoppix "cheatcodes" and have tried disabling hardware autodetection for everything I can, i.e. noapm noapic noagp nodma noscsi nousb, but it's made no difference at all. No damage is caused by this hang, and I can restart and boot using LILO without any problems. But I want my Knoppix! :)

I'd appreciate any advice about how I might go about fixing or just bypassing this problem.

12-26-2002, 12:42 AM
Many older motherboard (especially VIA) don't support DMA on the secondary channel (the second IDE connector on the motherboard). Some of them actually corrupt data on the secondary channel. This means if you have a 3rd or fourth hard disk you have to at least turn off DMA for the secondary channel. Maybe you can't use the secondary channel for hard disks at all.

When I was running Mandrake Linux 6.1 DMA would work fine on the primary channel IDE. When I went to use a HD on the secondary channel, the computer would pause, turn off the secondary channel DMA, and then work normally.



I had a similar problem with a VIA chipset, but the "knoppix nodma" worked for me.


Hello.

First post! :)

I'm having problems booting from my Knoppix 3.1 CD - it always hangs during boot, specifically, at this point:

And we see nothing more. I'm using a board based on VIA 694X. Yes, I know my board is cheap, old and slow (UDMA66, really!).

Which is right at the beginning of the messages shown! I do have the Knoppix "cheatcodes" and have tried disabling hardware autodetection for everything I can, i.e. noapm noapic noagp nodma noscsi nousb, but it's made no difference at all. No damage is caused by this hang, and I can restart and boot using LILO without any problems. But I want my Knoppix! :)

I'd appreciate any advice about how I might go about fixing or just bypassing this problem.

Loper
12-26-2002, 02:34 AM
<snip>
I'm having problems booting from my Knoppix 3.1 CD - it always hangs during boot...
</snip>

Check your BIOS version -- upgrade it if necessary. It is a known fact that the VIA 686A Southbridge has problems, especially the early steppings, but the right BIOS can patch things pretty well. From a search on Google, there IS a "secondary channel DMA" problem with the 686A, but it may well be stepping-dependent -- that is, early versions of the chip are more likely to exhibit this problem than those manufactured later in the cycle.

Though this is slightly off-topic, it is still worthy of mention: DON'T upgrade the BIOS from a physical device, that is, a floppy or hard drive. I use the MSI technique:

1. Boot from a Win98 Emergency Boot Disk (either version). You don't need CD support. This creates a RAMdisk in memory.

2. Copy the flashing utility and the BIOS image (usually with a .BIN or .ROM extension) to the RAMdisk.

3. CD to the RAMdisk and run the flash process from there.

In a sense, flashing the BIOS "pulls the rug from under" the hardware, plus the floppy is too slow and error-prone. I have had the best results using the above technique.

preater
01-31-2003, 02:01 AM
Sorry for the very late reply -- I'd left it a while and wasn't expecting any more replies to this question.


Check your BIOS version -- upgrade it if necessary. It is a known fact that the VIA 686A Southbridge has problems, especially the early steppings, but the right BIOS can patch things pretty well. From a search on Google, there IS a "secondary channel DMA" problem with the 686A

Thanks for the help. I am working on updating the BIOS, but it's proving hard to find exactly the right BIOS version for my motherboard (an Azza, their web site isn't very helpful) and I want to take it slowly for fear of destroying said BIOS. I'd Googled, but found nothing about DMA problems with VIA chipsets. Probably I'd phrased the search badly.

Problems with DMA on the secondary channel would explain a LOT. I put my old 10GB Fujisu hard disk on the secondary channel when I got a new, larger disk -- I was having all sorts of DMA problems with it, culminating in me removing it. Sadly I have too many drives that need/want (U)DMA, and not enough IDE channels. I need to get SCSI! :D

I will work on it some more.

Cheers.

Loper
01-31-2003, 02:32 AM
<snip>
I need to get SCSI!
</snip>

No, actually you can get away with a Promise (or similar) PCI-based IDE controller. I got one for about $30 at a computer trade show; it may be possible to find it for even less used. You would then disable the secondary IDE and let the PCI card take over, at least as secondary. From experience, I know the Promise cards work with Knoppix.

preater
02-23-2003, 03:46 AM
No, actually you can get away with a Promise (or similar) PCI-based IDE controller. [...]
From experience, I know the Promise cards work with Knoppix.
Mmm. But then we run into "known issues" with Promise controllers and VIA vt82c686a. :twisted: Well, at least from what I've read, I think it's been fixed by 2.4.20.

I still want SCSI, man! Through the right channels I hope to procure a suitable controller and disk(s), if-and-when that happens I will put this sorry problem to bed once and for all.

The VIA IDE saga lumbers on. My friend gave me an old motherboard (it's the same spec. as my problematic one) with the promise that he'd had DMA working on the secondary IDE channel no problems. The same things happen as before -- annoyingly, I've seen the mobo. working in his machine with no problems whatsoever.

I've not been able to track down a BIOS update that matches my current BIOS. You'd think the manufacturer's site would be the place, but no! I'm not mad-keen on fucking up the BIOS, so I'm leaving it until my friend (same as above) tracks down his CD-R with the BIOS update on it that he knows will work.

Googling since my last post hasn't helped, I've ended up going round in circles. The only proper "solution" is to avoid running a drive on secondary IDE that wants DMA. Not good seeing as I have three such drives.

preater
03-31-2003, 09:18 AM
The VIA IDE saga lumbers on. My friend gave me an old motherboard (it's the same spec. as my problematic one) with the promise that he'd had DMA working on the secondary IDE channel no problems.
I know it's old, but I want to put this one finally to bed.

I couldn't fix it, but a friend has given me an Asus P3V4X (http://www17.tomshardware.com/mainboard/20000410/via_ap133a-07.html). God bless Windoze gamers who always have to be on the cutting edge! :) The new motherboard is old -- same vintage as my previous one -- but rock-solid and very well made. The problem has melted away, no problems with secondary IDE channel DMA and/or Knoppix.

I s'pose the moral is "Don't buy crappy hardware".