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AMD Athlon + AMD 751/756 Chipset UNUSABLE in Linux [Debian]

Sep 18, 2000, 00:06 (43 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Ken Hendrickson)

[ Thanks to Ken Hendrickson for this report: ]

I have found the Athlon + AMD 751/756 Chipset to be UNUSABLE in Linux. Apparently, I am not the only one.

The specific page for this CPU/Motherboard combo indicates that it works for Mandrake and SuSE. I found that it doesn't work at all with either Debian Potato or Woody. (I would have submitted a comment to the page pointed to above, but they required me to provide a valid email address and I refused to do that. I wonder how many other sites have incomplete information due to their anti-privacy policies. Note that the site that would not accept my comments without a spam target, www.LinHardware.com, is Ziff-Davis.)

Details:

  • Motherboard Gigabyte GA-71XE
    CPU AMD Athlon 750 MHz
    Memory Type Two CAS-2 128 MB DIMMs
    Memory Slots All combinations (1&2, 1&3, 2&3) tried.
  • Windows 98 and Windows NT were installed. Only a few blue screens were noted. (Nothing out of the ordinary.)
  • Debian Potato was installed. System had severe problems with virtual memory and page swapping.
  • The kernel was recompiled with MTRR support. A SuSE page indicates that this is necessary for the Athlon/K7. Using the new kernel with MTRR support did not help.
  • In an attempt to make the system usable, it was underclocked. The front-side bus was clocked down to 90 MHz, and the CPU was thus clocked down to 675 MHz. Underclocking didn't help. The system continued to be instable under Linux.
  • Only 12 MB was recognized without a special LILO append line to force the 256 MB to be used.
  • Debian System was upgraded to Woody. System continued to have severe problems with virtual memory and page swapping. The Debian package management system database was corrupted several times. I finally gave up after the kernel panicked over corruption in the ext2 root filesystem.
  • In my 9+ years of using Linux (since Oct '91), I have never seen so many kernel panics.

Conclusions:

  • The Athlon CPU & AMD 751/756 Chipset motherboard combination SHOULD NOT BE USED for Linux.