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  1. #1
    Mar 2002

    Post Linux friendly mainboards

    There is so little information a about mainboard compatibility that the selection of a such important component is very dificult.

    I hope this post will be helpfull when you choose to upgrade your motherboard.. All the data was collected from replies to my post in several forums (with limited success), the Tomshardware article and the web sites of some manufacturers, I believe that is correct but I am not completly sure that it is. So do your homework before you buy.

    Thoroughbread support means that the board can provide the 1.5 to 1.65 volts that the new chips will need ---not all is lost, with higher speeds higher voltages will be required, specialy with Barton, so with a little of more patience, any of these boards will be able to run the new chips with a BIOS update, obvioulsy I am speculating. Another thing, looks like some brands can regulate lower voltages than the ones stated by the reviewers on the WEB, have this in mind when you read this post, Actual support will be known when the board manufacturers release the proper BIOS updates and PRs or when you try it and works.
    Recent logs on the stable kernell shows that software raid is or will be supported for Promise, High Point and other brands, just be patient.

    1)MSI 745 no info yet, the onboard sound is a realtek that I do not know the model. It has some problems related to the FSB- multipler settings. Update: A beta BIOS has been released that apears to resolve this problem. For the OCrs this thing can run at more than 170 MHz.

    2)MSI kt3 ultra aru is functional under MDK 8.2 [aparently the onboard sound under RH 7.3 does not work, however, the promise raid could work ...Warren has a post about this, and Promise has posted the driver in their website] except for the promise raid --maesus thanks for your input. The onboard sound is a Realtek ALC650 that seems to perform quite well. Thorougbred is supported . USB NEC 2.0 .

    3)Gigabyte &VXRP; the Promise raid has to be disabled?. the VIA USB 2.0 has not been reported as tested. The board works under MDK 8.2, thanks TitanMan.. Voltage range 1.725 to 1.925 no thorougbread support??. Sound is Creative 5880? and it is supported.

    4)Epox kt3+ works at list, under MDK 8.2. The only quirk is the lack of a USB 2.0; Voltage range 1.1 to 2.0. Audio Realtek ALC650. Raid High Point. You will need a very good PSU, watch specialy the 5+ volt line.

    a. A7S333 (unknown) It must work, as with the rest of the SIS 745 based boards it has a two phase voltage regulator that allows higher fluctuations in voltage, IMO no cheap PSUs here.

    b. A7V333 must work, except for the raid, but I have read that, lately, this brand has been particularily problematic, some hackers where trying to fix this but I do not know the status... Moreover, some early adopters under Windows (no necesarily to do with Linux support) have had stability problems that hopefully, Asus will resolve soon. Sound Cmedia C3DX6 (8378?). Voltage Range 1.675 to 1.85 Thorougbread is supported.. Raid is Promise.

    6)Shuttle ak35gt2 and ak35gt2r works (I have one), the onboard sound is the Cmedia 8378? --that performs very well--. Raid is High Point 372 Voltage range 1.1 to 1.85 Thorougbread is supported (I received an e-mail from Shuttle stating this, and MS from Lost Circuits, says that they told him that the 0.13 micron chip is recognized as a 1800 (its true MHz speed). 6 PCI, no acr or cnr. A recent beta BIOS (look at Lost Circuits forums) allows PCI dividers of 1/5 and 1/6 but no one has been able to run this board at 200 FSB.

    7)Soyo Dragon kt333 (must work, the kt266a series is totally supported). Voltage range 1.1 to 1.85, High Point, Cmedia sound.. thor.. ready, etc.

    8)Soltek ..DRV5.. Sound is VIA1611A (not tested). Voltage range 1.1 to 1.825,, Status probably works, the sound is a big ?...

    9) ABIT KX7-333R Must work, High Point Raid, USB 1.1..

    10)ECS KTS6A, SIS 745. everything Works, but you will need a recent distribution (tested under Winlin2000 and SUSE), othewise you will need a recent ALSA driver (late 0.9.x or kernel >=2.5.5). Anyway, the sound doesn't sound all that great. Thanks Alvaro (, Amstel78 and ShadowDrake of the ECS Ocworkbench forum. Looks like a very decent price-performance solution. From what I read there you can love or hate this board, depending on your luck, memory brand and PSU.

    IMHO the Linux friendly AMD XP boards are:
    {1}SOYO Dragon (I believe is fully funtional and possibly upgradeable to a xp2300 or more);
    {2}Msi KT3+ Ultra aru, USB 2.0 works, it has the best price-features- performance you can buy;
    {3) AK35gt2r, great sound, high point raid, 6 pci, low cost --gt2+-$73, gt2r+- 95;
    {4} Gigabyte 7VXRP, best performance, second in price-features... to the MSI;
    {5}ASUS A7V333;
    {6}Epox KT3+ great overcloker;
    {7}ABIT KX7-333R the best for the overclocker (205 Mhz achieved, I don't remember the review but is recent)

    Other brands with same components must work without problems, perhaps with better features, stability and or price, if you test one, please let us know..

    The KT400 based boards are almost in the market, while the Thorougbread FSB will remain at 133(2) the new features of the board can be very atractive and cost effective.

    Some boards use sound chips from Realtek but there are at list 3 models used, please verify the model before you buy.

    Is important to remember that AMD said that from june 10 all the boards must have onboard thermal diode monitoring (shutdown) a la ASUS.

    If Raid is important choose High Point not only because is supported but because you can use it as an independent ide controller --at list under windows = )~

    Several boards have USB chips that are 1.1 compliant so be carefull if this is important to you.

    In a shutout of kt333 mainboards by Toms.hardware there is a table of features that will be very helpfull --didn't post the link because I do not know if it is allowed.

    Update: in the Via arena forum there is a post on ALSA support for the integrated sound in the 8233a south bridge (not necessarily related to these boards but interesting).

    Also, in the via hardware forum there is a thread about High point drivers and successfull experiences and how to.

    Probably NVIDIA chipsets will be better supported by the distros soon. These boards could be the core of a cheap efficient system. The integrated NIC and sound of the 420s are very, very good. Look for cheap Nforce or the new Nforce2 based boards.

    ________In retospective: Linux developers, VIA and the boards manufacturers had done a very good job with the kt333 and the features incorporated on the Mainboards. .
    Last edited by biomet; 07-17-2002 at 01:23 PM.

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