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PC: Overview of the Linux related features of the Tyan Thunder K8W (S2885)

Table of contents

1. Preface

This is a quick survey of the Linux related stuff to run a 64 bit multi processor (SMP) system under Linux based on a Tyan Thunder K8W mainboard. I don't try to explain the usual installation details (for instance, which partitions I have made, what they are good for and so on and so on...). Requests for additional information may be directed by eMail to the author.

I choose the Tyan Thunder K8W (S2885) mainboard, because it

2. Installation

The system runs on Gentoo Linux (2008.0), because this is one of the last distributions to come without autoprobing or -configuration, which is really not wanted here. The nice one with Gentoo is, that you are not bound to a specific hardware architecture after the final installation.

The system runs a plain-vanilla Torvalds kernel 2.6.30.

3. General Hardware Data

3.1 Mainboard information:

There are a few notes to get the system up and running nicely:

3.2 CPUs

The mainboard supports AMD Opteron(s) 244 and higher. My system is powered by two AMD Opteron 250 CPUs.

Output from "cat /proc/cpuinfo":

   processor       : 0
   vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
   cpu family      : 15
   model           : 5
   model name      : AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 250
   stepping        : 10
   cpu MHz         : 2390.767
   cache size      : 1024 KB
   fdiv_bug        : no
   hlt_bug         : no
   f00f_bug        : no
   coma_bug        : no
   fpu             : yes
   fpu_exception   : yes
   cpuid level     : 1
   wp              : yes
   flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 syscall nx mmxext lm 3dnowext 3dnow ts fid vid ttp
   bogomips        : 4786.05
   clflush size    : 64

   processor       : 1
   vendor_id       : AuthenticAMD
   cpu family      : 15
   model           : 5
   model name      : AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 250
   stepping        : 10
   cpu MHz         : 2390.767
   cache size      : 1024 KB
   fdiv_bug        : no
   hlt_bug         : no
   f00f_bug        : no
   coma_bug        : no
   fpu             : yes
   fpu_exception   : yes
   cpuid level     : 1
   wp              : yes
   flags           : fpu vme de pse tsc msr pae mce cx8 apic sep mtrr pge mca cmov pat pse36 clflush mmx fxsr sse sse2 syscall nx mmxext lm 3dnowext 3dnow ts fid vid ttp
   bogomips        : 4781.48
   clflush size    : 64

Output from "dmesg | grep Bogo":

   Calibrating delay using timer specific routine.. 4786.05 BogoMIPS (lpj=9572119)
   Calibrating delay using timer specific routine.. 4781.48 BogoMIPS (lpj=9562977)
   Total of 2 processors activated (9567.54 BogoMIPS).

As noted above, Opteron processors tend to get very, very hot. AMD talks about operating temperatures from 70 degrees (Celsius). It is essential to place them in a case, which provides adequate airflow. So I got a Chieftec Mesh big tower, which I configured with 2 120mm fans on the back and two 92mm fans on the side. This case also provides additional air vents in the main side panel.

Typical CPU Temperatures (Celsius)
Processor Normal Temperature Temperature Under Load
CPU0 38 42
CPU1 32 36

I wrote a little Perl script for monitoring the temperatures, voltages an so on. It depends on the i2c modules w83627hf, i2c_sensor, i2c_isa and i2c_core and is available as pc-0703b.gz on my download site.

The system monitor gkrellm displays running under X also the i2c stuff out-of-the-box in nice charts, when the same modules are loaded.

3.3 RAM

The mainboard supports 128-bit DDR Register DIMM at 266, 333 or 400 MHz. Each of the 8 DIMM slots supports sticks up to 2 GByte. The DIMMs have to support registered (Reg) ECC memory validation.

Each CPU adresses it's own RAM -- so you'll have to configure memory symmetrically for each CPU to get best performance.

I run four 512 MByte KingstonValue DIMM 400MHz modules (ECC, Reg). To get Linux/x86 working with 2048 MByte, I had to turn on the Kernel options 'CONFIG_NOHIGHMEM' and 'CONFIG_HIGHMEM4G'.

Output from "free":

                total       used       free     shared    buffers     cached
   Mem:       2076384    1171372     905012          0        204     817916
   -/+ buffers/cache:     353252    1723132
   Swap:      2987996          0    2987996

3.4 Controller

I prefer SCSI over IDE systems, but one can't afford them anymore. So the hard disk storage devices are hosted on the onBoard SATA controller (Silicon Image SIL3114, 4 channels, 48 bit LBA support), which works well with all free Unices.

The mainboard's got another 2 IDE ports on the southbridge, which hosts on my machine the optical and DVD drives.

Output from "lshw -class storage":

   *-storage
        description: Mass storage controller
        product: SiI 3114 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller
        vendor: Silicon Image, Inc.
        physical id: b
        bus info: pci@0000:01:0b.0
        logical name: scsi0
        logical name: scsi1
        logical name: scsi2
        version: 02
        width: 32 bits
        clock: 66MHz
        capabilities: storage pm bus_master cap_list emulated
        configuration: driver=sata_sil latency=64
   *-ide
        description: IDE interface
        product: AMD-8111 IDE
        vendor: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
        physical id: 7.1
        bus info: pci@0000:00:07.1
        version: 03
        width: 32 bits
        clock: 33MHz
        capabilities: ide bus_master
        configuration: driver=AMD_IDE latency=32

3.5 Hard disks

Output from "lshw -class disk":

   *-disk:0
        description: SCSI Disk
        product: ST3808110AS
        vendor: ATA
        physical id: 0.0.0
        bus info: scsi@0:0.0.0
        logical name: /dev/sda
        version: 3.AA
        serial: 4LR2JVL3
        size: 74GB
        capabilities: partitioned partitioned:dos
        configuration: ansiversion=5

3.6 DVD-ROM / DVD-RW

Output from "lshw -class disk":

   *-cdrom:0
        description: DVD reader
        product: DVD-ROM GDR8164B
        vendor: HL-DT-ST
        physical id: 0.1.0
        bus info: scsi@4:0.1.0
        logical name: /dev/cdrom
        logical name: /dev/dvd
        logical name: /dev/scd0
        logical name: /dev/sr0
        version: 0L06
        capabilities: removable audio dvd
        configuration: ansiversion=5 status=open
   *-cdrom:1
        description: DVD-RAM writer
        product: DVDR   PX-750A
        vendor: PLEXTOR
        physical id: 1
        bus info: scsi@5:0.0.0
        logical name: /dev/scd1
        logical name: /dev/sr1
        version: 1.01
        capabilities: removable audio cd-r cd-rw dvd dvd-r dvd-ram
        configuration: ansiversion=5 status=open

3.7 MO drive

Output from "lshw -class disk":

   *-magnetooptical
        description: SCSI Magneto-optical Disk
        product: MCR3230AP-S
        vendor: FUJITSU
        physical id: 0
        bus info: scsi@4:0.0.0
        logical name: /dev/sdd
        version: 0010
        serial: +
        capabilities: removable
        configuration: ansiversion=4
      *-disc
           physical id: 0
           logical name: /dev/sdd

The optical devices are IDE devices connected to an AMD-8111 dual channel PCI IDE controller and work quite well with the new PATA (libata) drivers in later kernels.

3.8 Graphic adapter

The graphic adapter is an ATI Radeon 9600 with 256 MByte SDRAM. The card produces a nice 2D output (which is mostly needed here), but is also capable to run 3D games based on the Doom III, Quake III or Quake II engine (sometimes needed here).

The ATI Radeon series got their own frame buffer driver in the kernel, which runs smoother and faster than the standard VESA driver. To get it up and running, you'll need the following kernel options:

   # Graphics support
   #
   CONFIG_FB=y
   CONFIG_FB_DDC=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_FILLRECT=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_COPYAREA=y
   CONFIG_FB_CFB_IMAGEBLIT=y
   CONFIG_FB_MODE_HELPERS=y
   CONFIG_FB_TILEBLITTING=y
   CONFIG_FB_RADEON=y
   CONFIG_FB_RADEON_I2C=y

The kernel needs an append switch, like "video=radeonfb:1280x1024@75" (which turns the console in a graphic mode of 1200x1024 with 16 bit colors) to make use of the frame buffer driver.

The graphic card provides a nice X display on 1600x1200 with 24 bit colors with the following settings in the file /etc/X11/xorg.conf:

   Section "Module"
     Load  "glx"
     Load  "dri"
   EndSection

   Section "Device"
     Identifier  "Generic Videocard"
     VendorName  "ATI"
     BoardName   "Radeon 9600 AGP"
     Driver      "radeon"
     VideoRAM    131072
     BusID       "PCI:05:00:0"
     Option      "AGPMode" "8"
   EndSection

   Section "DRI"
     Mode 0666
   EndSection

The cream of the crop: The Radeon 9600 is a passive cooled card, which don't cause heat or cooler noise.

3.9 Sound

The loud device on my system is an onBoard AMD-8111 AC97 Audio chip, which is supported by every application here around and runs fine.

It needs the kernel module snd_intel8x0 and some other modules, especially for compatibility you should activate snd-pcm-oss.

Output from "lshw -class multimedia":

   *-multimedia
        description: Multimedia audio controller
        product: AMD-8111 AC97 Audio
        vendor: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD]
        physical id: 7.5
        bus info: pci@0000:00:07.5
        version: 03
        width: 32 bits
        clock: 33MHz
        capabilities: bus_master
        configuration: driver=Intel ICH latency=64 module=snd_intel8x0

3.10 Keyboard

I prefer my good, old IBM 102 keys 'klick' PS/2 keyboard -- 'nuff said.

3.11 USB

The mainboard comes with 5 USB 1.1 ports. As of today the Linux kernel 2.6.20 recognizes with it's uhci driver.

I added an additional 32-bit PCI card with an NEC USB 2.0 chip with 4 ports, which run at high speed with the kernel based ehci driver.

3.12 Ethernet chip

The Tyan Thunder K8W comes with an on board Broadcom NetXtreme BCM5705 Gigabit ethernet controller, which provides data rates from 1000, 100 or 10 Mbit per second. It needs the tg3 driver (CONFIG_TIGON3 in the Ethernet 1000 Mbit section).

Output from "mii-tool -v eth0":

   eth0: negotiated 100baseTx-FD flow-control, link ok
     product info: vendor 00:08:18, model 22 rev 2
     basic mode:   autonegotiation enabled
     basic status: autonegotiation complete, link ok
     capabilities: 100baseTx-FD 100baseTx-HD 10baseT-FD 10baseT-HD
     advertising:  100baseTx-FD 100baseTx-HD 10baseT-FD 10baseT-HD flow-control
     link partner: 100baseTx-FD 100baseTx-HD 10baseT-FD 10baseT-HD flow-control

3.13 Firewire

As I got not a single other device running with Firewire, I can't say something anything about the firewire capabilities of this board.

3.14 Power Unit

The Tyan Thunder K8W needs an EPS 12/ATX power unit to run properly. I installed an Enermax 651AX-VH 550W EPS, which feeds up to 550 Watt into the machine, runs very stable and comes with lots of connectors and adapters.

4. Survey PCI Devices

Output from "lspci":

   00:06.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 PCI (rev 07)
   00:07.0 ISA bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 LPC (rev 05)
   00:07.1 IDE interface: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 IDE (rev 03)
   00:07.2 SMBus: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 SMBus 2.0 (rev 02)
   00:07.3 Bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 ACPI (rev 05)
   00:07.5 Multimedia audio controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 AC97 Audio (rev 03)
   00:0a.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8131 PCI-X Bridge (rev 12)
   00:0a.1 PIC: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8131 PCI-X IOAPIC (rev 01)
   00:0b.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8131 PCI-X Bridge (rev 12)
   00:0b.1 PIC: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8131 PCI-X IOAPIC (rev 01)
   00:18.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
   00:18.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
   00:18.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
   00:18.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
   00:19.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] HyperTransport Technology Configuration
   00:19.1 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Address Map
   00:19.2 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] DRAM Controller
   00:19.3 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] K8 [Athlon64/Opteron] Miscellaneous Control
   01:00.0 USB Controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 USB (rev 0b)
   01:00.1 USB Controller: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8111 USB (rev 0b)
   01:0a.0 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 43)
   01:0a.1 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB (rev 43)
   01:0a.2 USB Controller: NEC Corporation USB 2.0 (rev 04)
   01:0b.0 Mass storage controller: Silicon Image, Inc. SiI 3114 [SATALink/SATARaid] Serial ATA Controller (rev 02)
   02:09.0 Ethernet controller: Broadcom Corporation NetXtreme BCM5703X Gigabit Ethernet (rev 02)
   04:00.0 Host bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8151 System Controller (rev 14)
   04:01.0 PCI bridge: Advanced Micro Devices [AMD] AMD-8151 AGP Bridge (rev 14)
   05:00.0 VGA compatible controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200] (rev 01)
   05:00.1 Display controller: ATI Technologies Inc RV280 [Radeon 9200] (Secondary) (rev 01)

5. Survey PnP Devices

No P'n'P devices all around in this area.

6. Survey System Management

The mainboard comes with i2c capabilities, especially

I'm still working on getting the fan monitors displayed, but Linux displays only 0 rpms. OTOH there is no real need for me to see rpms, when the CPU temperatures are as modestly as on this board.

The monitored informations are readable with tools like lm_sensors or gkrellm. I wrote a little Perl script to get the information, which is mentioned in the CPU section of this document.

7. Conclusion

A really nice machine to run Linux. The computing power by the 2 processors comes very handy with threaded applications, like Firefox, The Gimp or OpenOffice and when compiling software.

8. Disclaimer

This document has nothing to do with AMD, Tyan, and all the other companies named in this document, they don't even know it exists. There is no guarantee that the information on this page is accurate, please don't hold me responsible if your experience is different from the information here. If you have found any glaring typos or outdated info in this page, please send an eMail to the author.


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