[Beowulf] A question about antique hardware

Gus Correa gus at ldeo.columbia.edu
Wed Dec 16 15:03:34 EST 2009


Dear Beowulfers

Did anybody ever get Gigabit Ethernet NICs to work on
the Tyan Tiger S2466-4M motherboards under Linux?

If so, I would appreciate any words of wisdom about which
NICs work, the appropriate BIOS settings,
which PCI slots to use, etc.

***

I flashed the Tyan S2466-4M BIOS to the latest version,
V4.06 (super, final 2003 edition).

I need to set this head node up with two GigE ports.
I have two Intel 82543 Fiber Gigabit Ethernet PCI adapters,
which use the e1000 driver.
However, I would happily use other NICs and drivers,
anything that works, including copper based GigE.

***

I googled up to find tips and solutions,
and I tried  a number of different combinations:
disabling the onboard 3Com Ethernet 100 port with a jumper;
placing the NICs on the PCI-64 and on the PCI-32 slots;
disabling the BIOS "option RAM scan" on the NICs' PCI slots;
disabling USB on BIOS;
trying one NIC at a time; etc.

However, so far no game.
The NICs are recognized,
link LEDs light up,
ping works,
but the system seems to be unstable,
ifdown/ifup hangs,
hence the system hangs when it tries to
take down the GigE ports during shutdown.

Moreover, I get many of this kernel message on dmesg:

Warning: kfree_skb on hard IRQ f88e47b2

***

This is the head node of our old Linux NetworX cluster.
The original head node motherboard, ASUS A7M266,
supported the aforementioned Intel NICs.
Unfortunately it seems to have died.

I bought an used-but-functional Tyan S2466-4M board
on E-Bay as a replacement.
These S2466-4M boards seem to have been very popular
on servers and Beowulfs.
It sounded to me as a good choice.
After all, we have this board on all compute nodes.
The compute nodes don't have GigE,
only the onboard 3Com Ethernet 100 for service and I/O,
plus Myrinet-2000 for MPI.
They have been working fine for 8 years now.

***

Thank you.

Happy Holidays!

Gus Correa
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Gustavo Correa
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory - Columbia University
Palisades, NY, 10964-8000 - USA
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