[CentOS] Re: New System Build

Paul subsolar at subsolar.com
Thu Mar 15 04:00:31 UTC 2007

On Thu, 2007-03-15 at 11:01 +0800, Mel wrote:
> > Slightly OT, but what are the best boards for CentOS (if any) and how do
> > ECS boards stack up?
> > 
> I strongly recommend staying away from ASRock boards.
> I recently had an MB die. The only replacement I could afford that was 
> available quickly was an ASRock. I bought it and have been suffering 
> ever since.

My daughter's system running FC6 on an ASRock P4i65G (intel 865G chipset
based) works fine ... onboard sound, video, networking, IDE & SATA. I've
been happy with their Intel chipset boards in the past.

> My old board had 3 parallel IDE devices. The new board can only support 
> 2. OK. This is not special to ASRock. But ....
> I got 2 new SATA drives to go with it. I thought I would set them up in 
> a RAID configuration. Was I wrong.
> This MB apparently has some special BIOS code that only works with M$ 
> software. There is NO Linux support for it. I found other references to 
> this on the net.
> ASRock support simply replied to use the Nvidia drives from the Nvidia 
> site. Well they didn't solve the BIOS problem. ASRock did not reply when 
> I re-asked for their help.
> CentOS 4 will not recognize these drives.
> I am now using FC6 and booting with NODMRAID. By doing this I was 
> finally able to use booth drives. If I don't use NODMRAID, I get device 
> mapping and everything is fine until I reboot - there is that BIOS 
> problem again.

The motherboard almost certainly uses "Fake Raid" and other than
initially booting the OS is pretty dim.  This is the same as 99.9% of
all other desktop boards that advertize having RAID.  The only boards
you see "Real RAID" are high-end workstation boards and server boards. I
would not fault ASRock for this.

See http://linux-ata.org/faq-sata-raid.html

It comes down to doing research as to what hardware is supported in your
distrobution of choice before buying the hardware.  If you are using a
fairly cutting edge distro like Fedora, OpenSuSE or Ubutu and the
chipset is at least a year or so old your probably OK, but if you want
the latest wizz-bang chipset your probably not going to be happy trying
to install linux on it.

My personal preference is usually Gigabyte & ASRock for budget boards
and Tyan & ASUS for mid to upper range desktop boards.

Paul Berger

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