[Gllug] Hardware problems / good replacements

Phil Reynolds phil-gllug at tinsleyviaduct.com
Fri Feb 10 19:40:21 UTC 2012

Since I upgraded my motherboard, processor and memory last summer I have
found that virtual machines (be they under kvm or virtualbox) perform
less well than expected. My host system is Debian squeeze, with some
backports including the kernel. The problem is most noticeable with kvm
running FreeBSD - lots of WRITE_DMA timeouts on the emulated disk.

The motherboard is an Asus M5A99X EVO, and I am using a 6 core Phenom
processor (1090T I think). I currently have 8GB of RAM, far more than I
am allowing VMs, and I am not, at least at present, trying to run more
than one at a time.

I have just updated the BIOS on the motherboard - the timeouts are still
happening, but more quickly, and there seems to be more processing by
the VM between them. (I do have the "SVT" option enabled in the BIOS)

I am wondering whether this problem is likely to be down to the
motherboard or RAM, or a defective processor. Or could it possibly be
the graphics card? I am running the VM with the -nographic switch when
using BSDs, but with graphics for other systems.

If it is likely to be the motherboard, is there a particularly good one
for Linux systems at the moment, with at least nine SATA ports?

I mention my graphics card because, in the last few weeks, I have had
several odd crashes where everything except X kept working, but the
display was frozen - even killing X left the display on. tvtime and
Anagram Genius (under wine) both appeared to cause some display
corruption shortly before this happened.

Is there a good graphics card on the market, preferably with
DFSG-compliant drivers available, that would be adequate for office use
and some multimedia, but no particularly intense games? If so, I might
try replacing it anyway. I have tended to avoid on-board graphics in the
past, but if things have improved, that would be acceptable.

Suggestions are welcome on these problems.

Phil Reynolds
mail: phil-gllug at tinsleyviaduct.com
Gllug mailing list  -  Gllug at gllug.org.uk

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