Ubuntu 8.04.1 and the D945GCLF (Little Falls)

Although compatibility is nothing new to those who follow things closely, we have now approved the Intel D945GCLF (Little Falls) mainboard for use with Ubuntu.

The board did not originally work with Ubuntu 8.04, and as a lot of people found out, the problem was with a bug in the driver for the NIC it used.  Apparently, this was bad enough to cause it to not really work at all.
You could disable the NIC in the BIOS, which would force you to run a separate network card, which in a lot of cases (catch the dual meaning, there) does not really work out for us.

However, Canonical released an update to Hardy Heron, 8.04.1, which includes a number of updates over the original release. Installing onto the Little Falls board with this release is a much different story, everything works out of the box with no special actions required. I was pretty pleased with how well things worked, everything feels pretty snappy even with the graphics settings turned up.

As a side note, we have been working with 8.04.1 for the base of our installs, for a better overall out of the box experience. We are also looking ahead to the next release, 8.10, due out sometime next month.

Edit: The successor to this board, the D945GCLF2 (same board with an Atom 330 packing dual-core action) also passed testing.  Both cores are recognized and utilized, and that’s the only big change.

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9 Responses to Ubuntu 8.04.1 and the D945GCLF (Little Falls)

  1. Arun Khan says:

    I have also done trials of this board with openSUSE 11.0 and Ubuntu 8.04.1.

    It is true that with above versions all the devices are recognized and work BUT the both distros install the Realtek 8169 driver for the NIC.

    Whereas the chip is Realtek 8102EL. It does work with the 8169 driver but if you do “ifconfig eth0″ you will notice a humongous number of dropped packets.

    Intel does provide source code for the 8102 chip on their site. I have not had a chance to compile and install it and verify it’s usability.

  2. Chris Thompson says:

    That’s pretty interesting, and I hadn’t looked that deeply into it. Certainly worth looking into further when I get a chance.

  3. Mike Kozlowski says:

    Er, GCLF2 has gigabit Ethernet, which must also be a change…

  4. Mark Lanett says:

    There is also a big problem with lockups with both boards. I have two D945GCLF and 1 D945GCLF2 and all 3 have lockups; the kernel reports “no CPU time for 11s” forever. Somtimes only the console locks up and ssh connections still work. I haven’t tracked it down but it appears to be related to acpi (which can not be disabled in the BIOS). Running with kernel options “noacpi acpi=no” mostly removes the problem. Oddly it showed up much more reliably with Debian Etch but Ubuntu Hardy suffers from it also.

    It’s not NIC-related: It makes no difference whether using a PCI network card or USB-based wireless dongle.
    Also not HD/sata related: I’ve run off of USB flash drive and still locked up.

    BTW the GCLF2 is totally superior as a board because it doesn’t have the ridiculously large heat sink of the orginal. The dual core, TV out, theoretical gig ethernet and 2nd internal USB header are all just extra bonuses.

  5. Guillaume ferland says:

    I am currently testing this board with Ubuntu as well.

    Ubuntu 8.04.1 had issues as well for me:
    - The network card was not always starting properly when doing a cold boot. It was not able to get an IP address from DHCP, and would not come up every time either (MAC address was not visible on the switch either).
    - Sound wasn’t as good as it should, and alsa was having issues finding which entry is which (the mic in was detected as line-in).

    8.10 is working alot better for me.

  6. Carl Bellingan says:

    We had significant issues with 8.04.1 on C7 mother boards (in fact the North Bridge is the issue), this manifested as SATA, IDE and network issues. To cut a long story short, post 2.6.20, the kernel defaults to the Intel AHCI and this is a problem. This was fixed by forcing the kernel to check for applicable drivers using the pci=nomsi argument. This fixed the issues with the realtek 8169 gig card too. Systems work perfectly now.
    You just add this command to your boot line, works on live CDs too.

  7. Brian Wilson says:

    > There is also a big problem with lockups with both boards … the kernel reports “no CPU time for 11s” forever.

    I tried the 64 bit version of 8.04.1 and saw no problems for the last few months of use.

    Then I installed 8.10 yesterday and started seeing the above error.

    I upgraded to the latest BIOS (103) and it seems okay now.

    When I was running 8.04.1 I gave up on the Realtek NIC and stuck a 3com card in the PCI slot. I will be trying to install the 8102 driver now.

  8. Brian Wilson says:

    I have installed the latest RTL810x driver (which is 1.010.00) and so far it seems to be working great.

    You can get the driver source from http://realtek.com.tw/, not from Intel; they have an older driver that will not compile on Ubuntu 8.10 without some patches.

    Here is a link to page with instructions on how to blacklist the r8169 driver so that the r8101 driver will be loaded instead. (He also tells how to patch the driver, you don’t need to do that.)

    http://en.alessiotreglia.com/articles/how-to-compile-r8168-and-r8101-modules-for-realtek-ethernet-adapters/

  9. Pingback: The Internet made me do it! » Realtek RTL8101E NIC dropped frames on Hardy Heron

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