1. Are the rumors about Linux compatibility issues with Athlon motherboards just rumors or are they true?
[LhD]: Are the rumors about Linux compatibility issues with Athlon
motherboards just rumors or are they true?
Full formatted text & motherboard list:
In just a matter of months the AMD Athlon has done a lot for computer users:
At 20%-40% less (SharkyExtreme Weekly CPU prices) than an equivalent Intel
chip, the Athlon has put tremendous price pressure on the Pentium III. It
has reignited rivalry between AMD and Intel, sparking the race to 1GHz. Most
of all it has brought some serious computing horsepower within the reach of
even the most budget constrained buyers.
With Athlon came the introduction of several new motherboards using new,
unproven chipsets from AMD (750) and VIA (K133). Although these chipsets
bring new features and push the performance envelope, the near-term success
of the Athlon under Linux depends largely on the stability and compatibility
of these new chipsets.
Several sources have indicated that these new chipsets might cause problems
under Linux. The RedHat 6.2 Hardware Compatibility List points to possible
problems with the chipsets and motherboard architecture:
"... The Athlon CPU itself seems quite stable, but problems reside with the
new motherboard architecture being used and the cutting edge technology
implemented in their chipsets. Red Hat Linux may or may not install properly
on the board according to its components. ..."
SuSE issued a workaround to address installation problems with Athlon
equipped systems. (It is unclear whether the problems were caused by the
motherboard or the Athlon itself.)
In a recent PenguinHardware interview of John Tsai, head of ABIT's Gentus
Linux distibution team, mentioned "serious" chipset and compatibility
One of the local computer resellers has stopped carrying Athlon systems
after the first two customers returned them after failing to get Linux
running on them.
Despite all this anecdotal evidence and rumors, we have not seen many
reports of problems by LhD users. Is this another case of an outdated,
static hardware compatibility list? Is ABIT trying to drum up interest in
Gentus? Or are Linux users actually experiencing problems with the Athlon
Given the outstanding price/performance value of the Athlon we felt that the
question "How well do Athlon motherboards work under Linux?" demands a
serious answer. So we assembled a list of 50 motherboards (let us know if we
missed any) that support the Athlon - help us get to the bottom of this
question by rating your motherboard, sharing workarounds and suggesting
A follow-up article will attempt to arrive at a partial answer by analyzing
the ratings of the different K7 products and matching it with other Athlon &
The LhD Team
For list of K7 motherboards, see:
Linux Hardware Database
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