[Fwd: Tyan Tiger 2460]

Maurice Hilarius maurice at harddata.com
Fri Apr 26 08:25:51 PDT 2002

With regards to your message at 06:09 AM 4/26/02, Karen Keadle-Calvert. 
Where you stated:
>Thought this might be of interest.  Didn't know if it would apply to
>your situation or not.
>-------- Original Message --------
>Subject: Tyan Tiger 2460
>Date: Thu, 25 Apr 2002 03:19:01 -0400 (EDT)
>From: "Robert G. Brown" <rgb at phy.duke.edu>
>To: Beowulf Mailing List <beowulf at beowulf.org>
>CC: Matthew Durbin <matthew.durbin at amd.com>
>Dear List,
>We've had problems (as have others on this list) getting our 2U
>rackmount Tyan Tiger 2460 motherboards to boot/install/run reliably and
>stably.  Seth (our systems guy) and I worked on a couple of the boxes
>today armed with a 32 bit riser, a 64 bit riser, and an ATI rage video
>card and a 3c905m NIC.
>We took the PCI cards off of their frames so we could mount them
>vertically directly in the slots for testing.  We also dismounted the
>risers so we could try them in different slots as well. The following is
>a summary of our findings.
>   a) Only the video card would work in slot 1.  Period.  If we put the
>3c905 in slot one all by itself (using the BIOS console), the system
>would behave erratically, actually mistaking the number and speed of
>processors during boot and crashing under heavy network loads if and
>when it booted.

That is basically correct, with SOME video cards.
In general the BIOS and bus setup seem to prefer the first slot be used by 
video, but it really seems to matter what card it is more than anything 
else. In general the ATI RageXL cards are not happy, but the RAGE Pro are, 
and many TNT2 cards work well over all slots.

>   b) If slot one had video or was empty, the system would work fine for
>all other vertical configurations.  That is, video in 1, net in 6, video
>in 2, net in 3 or vice versa, video in 5, NIC in 2, etc.  I don't know
>that we tested every combination but we didn't find another that failed
>in all our tests.  Slot 1 alone seems to be the ringer.

If you are using a riser the other slots are mainly irrelevant.
In some risers they use extension boards to derive addressing from the next 
two slots, and in others they use some logic on the riser. It is advisable 
to use the Tyan M2039 riser as it seems to behave well with this, although, 
depending on cards used sometimes we see the ability to only support two 
out of three cards on the riser.

>It is not a 64 vs 32 bit slot question or a power question per se, as
>far as we can tell.  Slots 1-4 are all apparently identical 32 bit, five
>volt slots, slots 5+ are 32 bit five volt slots, and both the 3c905 and
>ATI are slotted for 3.3/32 bit slots with the extra notch near the
>back.  There is no reason that we can see for the 3c905 to work in slot
>2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 but not in slot 1.
>This is further verified by the fact that we had a 2566 to play with as
>well, which has two 64/66 3.3 volt slots, and the cards worked perfectly
>in them in any order.

In the case of the 2466 the only drawback with what you describe is that 
generally to get 33MHz cards running off a riser in slot1 or 2 usually 
requires the motherboard to be jumpered to 33MHz on the 64 bit PCI. There 
ARE however NICs and video cards that will run on a 66MHz bus successfully, 
but it does require some testing to find the right choices..

>   c) Our real torment comes from the riser.  Most riser cards are
>designed so they HAVE to plug into slot 1 so that their physical
>framework can hold the cards sideways in the remaining room over the PCI
>bus.  Plugged into slot 2, there isn't generally room to fit a full
>height card (or the support frame) into the remaining space to the side.
>With the riser in slot 1, no combination of cards in the riser that
>included the NIC would work, and even the video alone in the slot that
>should have been a "straight through" connection appeared to have
>problems, although a system without a NIC is useless to us so the issue
>is moot.  Again, the most common symptom was that the system wouldn't
>even get the CPU info correct at the bios level before any boot is even
>initiated, and if the boot/install succeeded at all the system was
>highly unstable under any kind of load.

Again, I think you are mostly seeing a riser card issue. We have used 
different risers with 3COM, Intel, and DLink NICs successfully, with the 
riser plugged into slot 1.
These have included some 32 bit, and a few 64 bit risers. In general we 
have the best results, supporting 64 bit, on the Tyan riser. But with 32 
bit only cards we are successful with more generic models.

Of course the RIGHT solution would be to keep our perfectly good cards
>and risers and get Tyan to replace the 2460's (if there isn't a bios
>upgrade that fixes the ones we have).  Given the frustration and
>downtime and lost productivity we have suffered, giving us 2466
>replacements seems reasonable to me:-).
While I am sure that this would be a possible solution, I feel that the 
right solution is to use a different (better) riser card.

>Anyway, this explains to at least some extent why such a wide range of
>experiences has been reported for these motherboards on the list.
Most of the problems I see are caused by:
1) Obsolete BIOS versions
2) Poor RAM
3) problems with cooling
4) In appropriate BIOS setup choices
5) Riser cards with issues

>BTW, so far the 2466 runs fine, as noted by many listvolken.

2466 is actually MUCH more difficult to deal with, especially if you want 
to use a 64 bit/66MHz card, as the bus is very particular about what cards 
you use. 5 volt cards are definitely going to make problems on most risers, 
in our testing.

Still as you mention, people have had success, but you can not just throw 
ANY riser or NIC or (especially) video card in and have it work..

With our best regards,

Maurice W. Hilarius       Telephone: 01-780-456-9771
Hard Data Ltd.               FAX:       01-780-456-9772
11060 - 166 Avenue        mailto:maurice at harddata.com
Edmonton, AB, Canada      http://www.harddata.com/
    T5X 1Y3

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