FreeBSD 5.3-SMP/IRQ problems (again)

Lucas Holt luke at
Mon Jan 17 08:52:50 PST 2005

On Jan 17, 2005, at 6:01 AM, O. Hartmann wrote:

> Dear Sirs.
> I reported very strange behaviours of FreeBSD 5.3 on a suspicous 
> hardware platform of mine and now I would like to repeat this and hope 
> someone can offer me some help. The reason why I repeat this suspected 
> bug is because I do not really beliefe in a hardware fault due to some 
> very strange behaviours of FreeBSD 5.3 on this box.

After reading your post, I find it rather odd that you do not suspect 
hardware problems at least with compatibility with your hardware.  I 
have a Dell Precision 650 dual xeon 2.0 ghz system with an onboard 
version of your Intel NIC.  The network driver has known issues and 
takes a very long time to negotiate the speed at which it operates.  
Most of the time my system is almost completely booted before the NIC 
interface is up.  Aside from that issue, my system behaves normally and 
seems very stable.  I am using FreeBSD 5.3 Release P5.

I've had problems with several asus motherboards in the past.  I used 
to love them, but after I built a 733mhz P3 system for a friend, i soon 
realized that their bioses were not good.  I believe the decline 
occured when they switched to "soft bios" instead of jumpers.  (I miss 
jumpers!)  Seriously, the system had problems with video and sound 
cards in WINDOWS depending on the slot they were placed in.  Its the 
same problem you describe only in windows from a mobo thats probably 
from about the same time period.  The 733 was one of the lowest chips 
that would go in the board at the time.  In addition, i've had problems 
with FreeBSD 5.2.1 with patchlevel greater than I think 4 but below 5.3 
release on an asus nforce2 AMD Athelon XP 2000+ based system.

My point is that not all freebsd SMP systems have problems, so its not 
a global fault in the OS as your post may suggest.  (note: i have 
hyperthreading disabled on my system)  Also, ASUS boards are known to 
have problems.  I asked about my reboot problem on freebsd-questions at 
the time and I was told many horror stories about asus boards and non 
windows/linux oses.

Finally, I'd like to ask why you are running stable?  Did someone 
suggest that you upgrade to stable to try to resolve an issue?  Stable 
occasionally has new features or changes that are not tested 
thoroughly.  It might be more reliable with 5.3 Release P(whatever).

I'll close with a summary of the hardware in my system which is known 
to work in 5.3 release.

Dual Xeon 2.0 ghz  (dual cpu working great, no HTT)
1 gig ecc memory
Intel gigabit nic onboard using em0 driver  (slow to negotiate speed, 
fine afterword unless i'm stress testing)
Creative Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer
ATI AIW Radeon 9600 XT (2d acceleration only since dri isn't supported 
on this one) AGP 8x
ATA100 IDE disks using onboard IDE controller
DVD reader, cd burner
firewire 400, USB 2/1.1 ports

I have the onboard sound, onboard LSI scsi ultra 320, serial ports, and 
paralell port disabled to make windows happy. :)

Also, I have gentoo installed and quite frankly its very slow!  Its 
running on the 2.6.9 linux kernel w/ smp enabled.  If only I didn't 
need it for my CS class, i'd be running 6 current too :)

(i'm not subscribed to the stable mailing list, but am on SMP)

Lucas Holt
Luke at
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