Linux support for AMD Opteron with Broadcom NICs

Mark Hahn hahn at physics.mcmaster.ca
Wed Jul 2 10:38:05 EDT 2003


> However, as far as I am aware, it should be possible to install a vanilla 
> x86-32 distribution

it is.  dual-opterons are very xeon-compatible.  I was in a hurry to 
fiddle with one that came into my hands, so I just ripped the HD out
of a crappy i815/PIII system (containing a basic RH9 install),
and plugged it into the dual-opteron (MSI board).  worked fine.
I compiled a specific kernel for it, and it was even finer
(I don't use modules, but the AMD Viper ide controller and broadcom
gigabit drivers seemed to work perfectly fine.)  the machine is now 
in day-to-day use as a workstation running Mandrake (ia32 version,
I think, though probably also with a custom kernel).

I did some basic testing, and was pleased with performance - about
what I'd expect from a dual-xeon 2.6-2.8.  none of that testing was 
with an x86-64 compiler/kernel/runtime, though - in fact, I was just
using Intel's compilers ("scp -r xeon:/opt/intel /opt"!)

do be certain that your dimms are arranged right - our whitebox vendor
seemed to think that all the dimms should go in cpu0's bank first,
with no inter-bank or inter-node interleaving.  performance was ~30%
better under Stream when the dimms were properly distributed and 
both kinds of interleaving enabled in bios.

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