New dev machine (yay!)

So I finally had the time to assemble my new dev machine after a long wait for the arrival of its components.

As with every new machine I have found some issues:
  • My Logitech G15 keyboard did not work until the OS got booted. So I wasn't able to use that keyboard for accessing the mainboard and the RAID-controller BIOS or navigate in grub until I upgraded the motherboard's BIOS to the latest available version.
  • Somehow the onboard SATA doesn't work reliably. All devices other than my optical devices won't get even detected by the OS. Most likely a driver and/or configuration problem in the kernel but still very disappointing.
  • I had to replace my good ol' Adaptec 4805SAS RAID controller with an Areca ARC-1680ix-12 as the new mainboard does not even recognize the old controller during POST. That also required me to re-create all the RAID-arrays (one RAID-10, two RAID-1) on the new controller which required to first backup all data on those arrays.

One positive effect is that my new graphics device which needs the amdgpu driver finally works. As I wrote in an earlier post, it didn't work in my old dev machine.
I am now a happy user of a dual eight-core AMD Opteron 6328 machine with 128GB of ECC-RAM. That should be enough for a couple of years doing Gentoo development.

Very late success story with a PCI-X eSATA controller

Since 2003 I only use Linux as operating system on any of the computers I own.
Back in 2010 my decision to buy an eSATA expansion card for my computer was because USB3 still wasn't widely spread, USB3 support in Linux still was kinda experimental and all my external hard drive enclosures already supported eSATA but not USB3 and I didn't want to buy the rare and expensive USB3 enclosures that were available on german market.
So I decided to buy an eSATA expansion card and my choice fell on a Sonnet Tempo SATA X4P although the manufacturer's website didn't mention Linux support at all. I naively thought that it shouldn't be that hard to get the card working as it has a well supported Marvell chip from which I knew that the latest Linux kernels already support it (CONFIG_SATA_MV).
Unfortunately I was wrong with my assumption.

I only use so called LTS (Long Term Support) Linux kernel versions and the versions I used through the years all didn't work with the card:


This was such a frustrating experience that I even wrote a forum entry in the Gentoo Forum about this.

I didn't try with 4.1.x Linux kernel series but two weeks ago I tried to use the card again with Linux kernel version 4.4.6 and this time it succeeded. So anywhere between the Linux kernel versions 3.18 and 4.4.6 there might have been committed a fix to the Linux kernel that makes the card finally useful for me :-)