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Final report on the Shuttle XPC (SN95G5v3) with an AMD X2 dual-core cpu in it, running DragonFly

From: Matthew Dillon <dillon@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2005 15:47:52 -0800 (PST)

    Here's my final report:

    * APIC based interrupt routing is broken, but a kernel built with SMP
      and *without* APIC_IO will route interrupts and operate pretty well.
      With this particular shuttle you also have to set the
      CPU_AMD64X2_INTR_SPAM kernel option when building your kernel to
      fix a bug in Shuttle's BIOS.  Note that the 1.2 release will not work,
      you have to use the latest 1.3 (HEAD as of now) or later.

    * All devices work well except the NVidia ethernet device.  The
      NVidia ethernet on the motherboard will work for a time, but will
      suddenly start getting watchdog timeouts and eventually get into a
      state where not even the reset button fixes the problem.... you have
      to physically unplug the power cord and plug it back in again.

      This is likely due to bugs in the NVidia ethernet driver, in particular
      the NVNET blackbox object module that Nvidia supplies (for linux) and 
      hasn't handed out the source for.   They seem to be making only a
      half-hearted effort to suppot Open Source, which is really unfortunate. 
      We really need the source code to properly support devices.

      This means that I'm at a dead-end... there is no further work I can do
      on the Nvidia ethernet driver to make it work.  NVidia has to step up
      to the plate and fix their driver.

    * With the AMD X2 dual-core cpu, an SMP build recognizes both cpus and
      performance is really quite incredible.

    In order to use this box reliably, I recommend purchasing an Intel
    PRO/1000 Etehernet adapter (e.g. PWLA8391GTBLK), sticking it into
    the PCI slot, and purchasing an AGP graphics card (e.g. MX4000-T64),
    preferably one that does not need a fan, and sticking that in the AGP
    slot (this shuttle does not have MB video).  Then simply do not use
    the on-board NVidia ethernet.  This is what I have done, and I now 
    have two of these boxes happily banging away.

    Other then the above quirks, I am *very* happy with this box.  It is 
    a lot quieter then shuttle's older boxes, mainly owing to the fan speed
    control being done in hardware now.  I am hoping that Nvidia eventually
    fixes their ethernet driver and that Shuttle eventually fixes their BIOS,
    but it works *now* with these work-arounds so I am happy.


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