Linux on ASUS A8V-MX

This is a cheap motherboard here in Vancouver (Jan 2006)

So far, with Fedora Core 4:

  • Hard drive (IDE PATA, not SATA as previously stated) works (need kernel 2.6.15 to get DMA working, so install is slow off CD/DVD using 2.6.11). Will accept "idebus=41" which may be 24% faster.
    • * Bastiaan Jacques reports that a vendor patch is required for SATA to work in FC4, as per VIA arena thread 68455. He says he has posted (April 2006) a patch on the libata mailing list which he expects will make it into the 2.8.12 kernel tree.
  • Video works with xorg VESA driver. No direct access stuff, but it's just about fast enough to play DVDs/video in mplayer (too slow in Xine)
  • LAN works
  • USB works (memory sticks, digital camera, MP3 player)
  • Sound is broken (install test tone hangs, sox cuts off after about a second). Accepts "dxs_support=5" to enable variable rate (but still cuts off...)
    • Bastiaan Jacques has posted a patch on sourceforge. It didn't work for me
    • Have sound working on 2.6.15 (built from FC4 src rpm), with this patch
    • ALSA Bug 1622 is now closed; patch may be merged into alsa-driver-1.0.11. I made an attempt to build it against 2.6.16-FC4 and 2.6.15-FC4 but get missing symbols. I'm fed up with this; I have something that works...

Using AMD Athlon 64 3200+ @ 1GHz. Outperforms everything in sight on ancient Byte Dhrystone benchmark except for high-end SGI box. Guess it's whining around in cache real fast.

Both 32-bit and 64-bit x86-64 distros work. But there seems a lack of commercial software for 64-bit (Flash plugin, Realplayer) which may prove irritating on a desktop. Currently have 3 system partitions, one with 32 and one with 64.

Found that Asus actually ship Linux drivers on a CD with the board. Didn't think to look right away ... (thanks, Asus ...)
However, audio driver (alsa) supplied is the same as on Asus' website (alsa-driver-1.0.9b_2), and only supports up to rev 60 of the VT823x audio chip, while the board has rev. 70. Have mailed Asus tech support - got generic Windows-type reply (reboot, update drivers) and told to call phone hotline. Tried that; they have one Linux tech (Kevin) who I have managed to talk to a couple of times after waiting on hold many times only to find he's not there. He suggested I try the asus.com.tw site for a driver, and also the (IMO futile) procedure of resetting the BIOS by removing its battery to force a device reconfiguration in an attempt to resolve IRQ/DMA conflicts. The driver I found was only slightly different from the stock ALSA one or the one on the included CDROM, and still didn't work. The BIOS reboot was predictably useless. Someone suggested I get a USB audio interface instead, which I may well consider (having no spare slots for a PCI one)

ALSA Bug 1622
VIA Arena question
Asus also provide a LAN driver and a VGA driver. But the stock FC4 LAN driver seems to work OK. I haven't tried building the VGA one yet. The install script is written for RedHat 9.