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Installing Ubuntu on a Core i7 DX58SO motherboard

UPDATE:  2009-03-17 — It appears that hard drive issues I encountered are likely due to the HW RAID formatting on the drive I tried.  I just tried a brand new hard drive, and Ubuntu 8.10 installed flawlessly, and everything works.

I’m not sure why computer upgrades are always such an epic struggle for me, but here I go again …

The goal is to upgrade my aging AMD X2 system to a new Intel Core i7 system.  So after researching it a bit, I decided on the Intel DX58SO motherboard.  I liked the architecture, and have had good luck with Intel motherboards.  And since I don’t upgrade all that often, I try to get something good when I do.  As I learned later, I should have researched Linux compatibility a little more …

The plan was to simply replace the CPU/MB/RAM in my existing box as I already have a raid controller, decent case, etc.  However, the first challenge was the existing PS does not supply a EPS/ATX12V8 pin connector — it only had the 4-pin version.  So, I got to upgrade my PS to a Corsair CMPSU-650TX which seems very nice, and quiet.

After I put everything together, the raid array (3ware 9500S-4LP PCI) was detected, but the system would not boot.  So I booted from a Ubuntu install disk and selected boot from 1st hard disk, and then it seemed to boot fine.  However, the Ethernet controller and CDROM don’t work under Ubuntu 8.04 (64-bit) which was currently installed on the raid array.  However, everything else works pretty well, and it is quite fast.  Because the core-i7 brought back hyperthreading, Linux now shows 8 cores.

Several days later in an attempt to get the system booting from the hard drive, I upgraded the BIOS to the latest version.  However, this broke booting from the raid array; even with a Ubuntu install disk.

At this point, I decided to just rebuild the system by re-configuring the 4 hard drives currently in a hardware raid-5 array to two raid-1 software raid arrays.  As the raid card is only PCI, I think this would provide better performance and be simpler to maintain in the future.  So, I copy all my data off to a USB HD, and then try to install Ubuntu to a HD attached to the motherboard.  To my suprise, I can’t get MB attached hard drives to work.  Lots of messages like:

[  361.943329] ata1.01: status: { DRDY ERR }
[  361.943332] ata1.01: error: { ABRT }
[  362.043760] ata1.01: configured for UDMA/133
[  362.043771] ata1: EH complete
[  362.218194] ata1.01: exception Emask 0x0 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x0 action 0x0
[  362.218200] ata1.01: BMDMA stat 0x45
[  362.218207] ata1.01: cmd c8/00:08:00:00:00/00:00:00:00:00/f0 tag 0 dma 4096 in
[  362.218209]          res 51/04:08:00:00:00/04:00:1d:00:00/f0 Emask 0x1 (device error)

I tried booting a 32-bit Ubuntu 8.10 live CD and I get the same thing when trying to fdisk a hard drive attached to the MB.  So for now, the only way to get this running is to go back to the old RAID controller.  Fortunately, Intel keeps old BIOS versions on their web site and after two tries, I was able to find one that works again with the HW RAID controller.

The Ethernet and CD ROM did work with the Ubuntu 8.10 32-bit live CD, so once I upgrade to 8.10, hopefully that will all work.  So for now, I’ll limp along with my raid controller and a USB->Ethernet adapter for networking.

Anyone else have success with Linux on the DX58SO?

I’ve filed a bug on launchpad.