Debian GNU/Linux (sid) on the VIA Epia SN-10000EG

Specification

VIA Epia SN-10000EG
  • VIA Epia C7 processor 1000 MHz
  • for exact details have a look at VIA's page

Kernel

I'm always using one of the latest 2.6 kernels, at present 2.6.24. Here's my config-2.6.24 in case you want to have a look at it. It's the first time that I'm using an initramfs, but as my root partition is on LVM, this is necessary.

X11

First I was using the unaccelerated VESA driver of Xorg without any special effort. Now I use the OpenChrome driver. In addition, you may want to compile the DRM module. Check it out from SVN and compile it like this:

svn co http://svn.openchrome.org/svn/trunk openchrome
cd openchrome
./autogen.sh
./configure --prefix=/usr/local/stow/openchrome
make
make install
cd /usr/local/stow
stow openchrome

For this to work, you'll need the Linux kernel source available (and depending on the kernel version you'll have to apply the patches listed in the OpenChrome Wiki, and the Xorg configuration must list /usr/local/lib/xorg/modules as ModulePath. For reference, here is my xorg.conf.

SATA

This is (apart from my T60) my first computer with SATA hard disc. And things are not that straight forward than I hoped. In the syslog I get messages like the following:

ata4: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
ata4.00: ATA-7: SAMSUNG HD080HJ, WT100-41, max UDMA7
ata4.00: 156301488 sectors, multi 16: LBA48 NCQ (depth 0/32)
ata4.00: configured for UDMA/133
...
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x400100 action 0x2 frozen
ata4.00: irq_stat 0x08000000, interface fatal error
ata4: SError: { UnrecovData Handshk }
ata4.00: cmd 35/00:00:c6:d9:07/00:04:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 524288 out
         res 50/00:00:0d:fd:50/00:00:07:00:00/e7 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY }
ata4: soft resetting link
ata4: SATA link up 3.0 Gbps (SStatus 123 SControl 300)
ata4.00: configured for UDMA/133
ata4: EH complete
...
ata4: limiting SATA link speed to 1.5 Gbps
ata4.00: exception Emask 0x10 SAct 0x0 SErr 0x400100 action 0x6 frozen
ata4.00: irq_stat 0x08000000, interface fatal error
ata4: SError: { UnrecovData Handshk }
ata4.00: cmd 35/00:08:de:19:08/00:03:00:00:00/e0 tag 0 dma 397312 out
         res 50/00:00:dd:19:08/00:00:00:00:00/e0 Emask 0x10 (ATA bus error)
ata4.00: status: { DRDY }
ata4: hard resetting link
ata4: SATA link up 1.5 Gbps (SStatus 113 SControl 310)
ata4.00: configured for UDMA/133
ata4: EH complete

I read a lot on the net about bad SATA cables causing such troubles. After having replaced the SATA cable with another one, those errors indeed went away and now the connection stays at 3.0 Gbps. So, if you experience similar problems, try replacing the cable before doing lots of other effort.

Sound

Sound is kind of a mixed bag. Using the ALSA Intel HDA driver you can get sound, but you have to mute the left channel of Mic and both channels of Line as otherwise you get a very annoying and high pitched noise on the speakers. The system beep (aka pcspkr) does not work however, which is a pity. If you know how to get the beep going, please get in contact with me!

Network

There are two network controllers onboard: one VIA Velocity Gigabit and one VIA Rhine-II 10/100 MBit/s. They appear as eth0 and eth1 when the via_velocity and the via_rhine modules are loaded. There was no special configuration necessary to make them work.

BIOS

The BIOS is an AMI BIOS, shipped with a development version 1.00, but now upgraded to BIOS version 2.01.

Problems

I have the feeling that the BIOS is quite a bit buggy, e.g. setting the boot device order in the BIOS is not saved and after the next reboot, everything is back to default. If you want to boot from another device, you have to press F11 during powering up in order to get at the boot device chooser.

Related pages

None so far.

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Stefan Bellon (), 28-Apr-2008