Tyan's Tiger MPX motherboard : review - link

Robert G. Brown rgb at phy.duke.edu
Wed Mar 13 15:09:44 EST 2002


On Wed, 13 Mar 2002, Donald B. Kinghorn wrote:

> It's there, even in the 1.0 bios. I used it to temporary get around the fact 
> that the board wont boot with a SIS video card ... this is fixed in the 1.01 
> bios by the way ... should update.  The console rederect  line in the bios 
> screens is at the bottom of the first or second bios screen (don't remember 
> at the moment) you wont see it unless you scroll down :-)
> 
> FYI the 2466 is looking to be good ... I just used 12 of them in a system and 
> only had 1 failure ...

A remark/comment/question:  We just tested MSI's MPX motherboard
yesterday which doesn't appear to have a video console at all.  It came
with a very cheap 32/33 ATI Rage video card in a 64/66 PCI slot.  When
we first tried booting it and PXE installing it the system continually
locked up.

By experimenting (swapping and pulling cards) we determined that the
reason it was locking was the video card on a 64/66 slot.  If the video
card was in a 64/66 slot it would boot, sort of, but hang at random
times.  The network card would lose huge numbers of packets (inferred by
the delay and the fact that it eventually delivered corrupted
information) until eventually the system hung.  In a 32/33 slot the
system booted and installed fine and now is running happily.

This is a real problem for a system intended to be used with a 64/66
riser and no serial console, and a bit unsettling anyway as it seems
like it is a bug somewhere (but who owns it?) and a potential system
destabilizer.

The question is then:  Does the Tyan exhibit this behavior?  Did you try
PXE booting it with a 32/33 card in a 64/66 slot?  We haven't yet tested
the installed MSI system to see if it remains unstable once booted from
local disk with the video card put back in a 64/66 slot, but that might
be worth knowing as well.  Or course the same question would hold for
other 32/33 cards -- is it a card problem (some specific cards don't
work) a card KIND problem (some KINDS of cards don't work) or just a
(762 MPX?) problem (NO cards work)?

I had thought that 64/66 slots were supposed to automatically adjust for
older narrower slower cards.  If they don't that will be a real problem
for node designers who are likely to have only one or two riser slots,
probably on the 64/66 part of the PCI bus, and may need to put a cheap
video card or other 32/33 device onto it.

With the Tyan this is less of an issue because it does have a working
serial console and even an onboard 100BT NIC (so one should only need
the riser slot(s) for a high speed 64/66 NIC, but I'd still be very
interested to know if this is a generic problem with the underlying
chipset, a particular problem of the MSI board, or an accidental problem
with that particular video card and a 64/66 slot.

Comments, remarks, instruction, suggestions welcome.

  rgb

-- 
Robert G. Brown	                       http://www.phy.duke.edu/~rgb/
Duke University Dept. of Physics, Box 90305
Durham, N.C. 27708-0305
Phone: 1-919-660-2567  Fax: 919-660-2525     email:rgb at phy.duke.edu



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