Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

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ChristianAchatz
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Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by ChristianAchatz » 2010/03/27 21:40:51

Hey guys,

at the moment I am searching for hardware suitable to run a CentOS 5.x that is used as a vmware (vmware server 2.x) host with 2 virtual machines. Due to budget limitation I have decided to build the box on an Intel Core i5-750. Given the fact, that I want to install a RAID 10 volume with 4 Seagate Barracuda discs connected to an Adaptec SATA RAID controller the number of boards I can use is restricted.

Thus, I have searched for articles focusing on the hardware compatibility using a Gigabyte GA-P55M-UD4 mainboard and CentOS 5.4. Some of the articles (see http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=article&item=intel_p55&num=4) named various compatibity problems with the Intel chipset drivers included in kernel < 2.6.31. Since the latest kernel version in CentOS 5.4 is 2.6.18-x, I am wondering if CentOS is the right choice.

It would be nice if you could give me some advice - of course including RTFMs ;). Maybe it is better to use some "older" hardware to be guaranteed hardware compatibility.

Thanks in advance!

Cheers,
Christian

pschaff
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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by pschaff » 2010/03/27 21:55:42

Welcome to the CentOS fora. The following reading is recommended for new users:
[url=http://www.centos.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=14274&forum=47]Readme First[/url]
[url=http://www.centos.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=14408&forum=47]Installing Software[/url]
[url=http://www.centos.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=14273&forum=47]Where to Find Answers[/url]
[url=http://www.centos.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=25128&forum=47]How to provide information about your system[/url]


[quote]
ChristianAchatz wrote:
...Maybe it is better to use some "older" hardware to be guaranteed hardware compatibility.
...[/quote]
That seems to me to sum it up nicely. :-) An Enterprise Linux distro is not going to support all the latest hardware. Can't give specific recommendations as I have not bought any new hardware lately, and I'm not completely sure I comprehend your requirements. When I buy a motherboard I try to use a reasonably new design known to work with the distro. Same for other components.

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toracat
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Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by toracat » 2010/03/27 23:02:49

I can share my experience with Gigabyte P55M-UD2 and the i5 750. CentOS 5.4 has trouble with the SCSI controller if it is set to AHCI. Fedora 12 did not have any problem with this hardware. I suppose/hope CentOS 6 will install fine if it is going to be based on F12/13.

[EDIT] It is not SCSI, It should have read [b]SATA[/b]. Thanks to [b]jlehtone[/b] for noticing.

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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by jlehtone » 2010/03/28 15:35:24

[quote]toracat wrote:
... CentOS 5.4 has trouble with the SCSI controller if it is set to AHCI. ...[/quote]
I do smell a typo there.

The primary SATA controller on P55's is ICH, and that is solid. The "Gigabyte SATA2"
are third-party chips, and they generally are better ignored, regardless of OS.

For example (not directly related), GA-EP45-DQ6 does have two "devices" hardwired to
the JMicron "GSATA2" chip. Those "devices" are Silicon Image "hw raid" chips, and BIOS
allows about one option: RAID1 [yes|no]. I've never had any HHD connected to those
SilI ports, and still to this day CentOS 5.4 boot has huge timeouts while figuring out that
there is nothing behind the GSATA2 ports. And P45 is "ancient" by now. But I think
Gigabyte has changed the chip that they do use as "GSATA2", and most board do not
have those SilI behind it.

Where one might have trouble, is the Realtek NIC. But thanks to elrepo, one has more
than one driver to test with.

Adaptec RAID cards are naturally a topic entirely separate from the motherboard.

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toracat
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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by toracat » 2010/03/28 15:51:49

[quote]
jlehtone wrote:
[quote]toracat wrote:
... CentOS 5.4 has trouble with the SCSI controller if it is set to AHCI. ...[/quote]
I do smell a typo there.
[/quote] [/quote]
It is. :-x

Thanks for noticing. I meant [b]SATA[/b], of course. I added a correction to my post. :-)

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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by ChristianAchatz » 2010/03/28 18:07:10

Hey guys,

thanks for you replies.

@pschaff: as I am familiar with red hat (used it for many years for a web application cluster), I supposed it yould be a good idea to use some mainstream software to have better support. But the question now is what hardware can I use.

Asking google did not led me to any hardware compatibility list saying "chipset p55 with intel core i5-750 is compatible with kernel x using additional drivers y". Either, the pages are from 2007 (e.g. TLDP hardware howto) or the list is not including the relevant parts (e.g. RedHat hardware compatibility list). So if there is such a list, please tell me and I am not asking further questions. ;) Looking for linux drivers on the vendor sites (intel for the chipset), I just found few information about what is supported and wht drivers are available.

Thus, I have searched for an alternative - GA-EP45T-UD3LR - using intel P45 and ICH10R chipset. It seems to be supported as jlehtone mentioned. With this board I can install an intel core 2 quad with almost the same power. This seems to be a good alternative. Are there any objection to this configuration from your points of view?

Thanks,
Christian

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jlehtone
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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by jlehtone » 2010/03/28 19:44:11

I'd say that if [b]toracat[/b] is already playing with "GA-P55M-UD2 & i5-750", then I would
ask where does UD4 differ from UD2.


Though, as anecdote, there were once two Asus P4T boards. The first Pentium 4 boards,
About the same version. Actually, some chips on one had higher version, and other chips
were "newer" on the other. On one Nvidia gfx failed every way, on other only partially.
On one, Intel's workstation NIC card choked with latest e1000 (that had new optimizations),
on another it was fine. There are so many ways to fail ...

Tweaktown has a forum for Gigabyte. They mostly talk about overclocking and some
proprietary OS, but there are hints about universal hardware issues now and then.

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Re: Hardware compatibility using new intel p55 chipset?

Post by ChristianAchatz » 2010/04/01 20:18:07

Thanks for your replies! I have now decided to use the GA-EP45T-UD3LR together with an intel core 2 quad. I will report my success or defeat. :)

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