>I'm searching for people who are running Linux on a Pentium system. I like
>to know more about their hardware configurations, and if they had problems
>with running Linux.
Hi, I'm running Slackware 2.0.2 (Linux 1.1.54) on a Pentium 90 system.
Hardware configuration looks like this:
o ASUS PCI/I-P54NP4 motherboard
(AWARD BIOS 4.50G, 4 PCI slots, 4 ISA slots, 512MB max RAM, 512kb max cache,
2 onboard 16550A serial ports, onboard IDE controller, onboard parallel port)
installed: Pentium 90, 256kb cache, 8MB RAM (soon to have more RAM).
o ASUS PCI-PCISC200 SCSI-II controller (NCR 53C810)
o Micropolis 2217 SCSI-II disk (1.7GB, 10ms access time, 5 yr warranty).
[this drive is available for $899 from many Computer Shopper vendors (e.g.
Dirt Cheap Drives)].
o Apple CD-300 external SCSI-I CD-ROM drive.
o Conner 420MB IDE drive (12ms, running DOS/Windows).
[can sometimes find these on sale for $190 or so at computer stores like Fry's]
o 1.44MB floppy drive (not sure what brand).
o Linksys Ether16 LAN Card (16bit NE2000 compatible ISA ethernet card, combo
coax and twisted pair). [these are cheap, between $30 and $60 depending
on where you look]
o ATI WinTurbo (OEM version of Pro Turbo) with 4MB VRAM. [between $475 and $539]
o IDEK Vision Master 17 (model 8617, $769 from Insight Direct).
o The all-important ;) BogoMips is 36.08 (this is the same as many of the other
P5-90 systems about which people have posted).
o No free XFree86 driver exists that takes full advantage of the ATI mach64;
however "X Inside" does advertize (on comp.os.linux.announce) an accelerated
X driver for Linux (and other OS's) that supports the ATI mach64
(accelerated and at 8/15/16/32 bits of color depth) for $99. You can run
the free XFree86-3.1 (included in Slackware 202) but it doesn't take advantage
of the accelerated functions and it is limited to a dot clock of 80 meaning
that 1024x768 at 8 bits and 71Hz refresh is about the best you can do without
going under 60Hz refresh. Also someone is apparently working on adding full
ATI mach64 support to XFree86 for a future release (ATI alledgedly sells the
tech specs to the card for $50).
o The ASUS SCSI-II card requires the NCR BIOS to be on the motherboard (the
ASUS motherboard has it). The NCR BIOS version I have is NCRPCI 3.04.00.
The Slackware 202 release has the driver required for the NCR 53C810 chip
(if you choose the scsi kernel).
o The IDEK 8617 is a midrange 17" monitor (as far as price goes). It has some
pitch. 135Mhz dot clock. digital controls for contrast, brightness,
horizontal size and position, vertical size and position, pincushion,
trapezoid, raster rotation, red and blue color balance, signal select,
degauss, auto power saving on / off. I'm happy with it so far although
comments on the net have ranged from "love it" to "had to send three of them
back because of defects before ordering a Sony instead". I've seen more
"love its" than not. IDEK does have a 30 day DOA policy and a 2 yr standard
warranty (3 yr if you buy from an authorized dealer). The DOA policy
says if the product experiences a major failure within 30 days of purchase
date then IDEK will replace it immediately and pay shipping both ways.
Major failure includes any condition which contributes to the product's
inability to produce a display on the CRT (apparently including shadow
mask problems). Whew...
o Regarding installing and using Slackware 202 on the machine --
So far I've seen three problems:
1) Reading a scratched CD-ROM disc caused the "NCR SCSI Reset NOP" error
to occur and hang the machine. Rebooting solved the problem but there
were filesystem errors (correctable).
2) Once in a while at boot time I see a kernel panic ("Aiee, killing
interrupt handler ..."). Others have seen the same problem. Apparently
this can be worked around by disabling "PCI to memory bursts" in the BIOS
setup (I haven't verified this). Powering down the machine and rebooting
brings it back up (no filesystem damage since no filesystems are mounted
at the time the hang occurs).
3) Once at boottime the system was unable to mount the root filesystem on
08:03 (whatever 08:03 means). Booting from a boot diskette worked okay.
Reinstalling the A1-A4 diskettes of Slackware solved the problem. Problem
may have been caused by damage incurred during one of the kernel panic
episodes described above (I don't know for sure).
o Installing Slackware 202 was a breeze though the XFree86-3.1 configuration was
a bit of a pain (I think its a Linux rite of passage ;).
o I have the machine using the campus ethernet (TCP/IP) right now and am having
fun digging through the kernel sources.