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Occasional temporary freezes

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libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04

I'm not sure what would be the right place to post this, but since it *could* be distro specific I am throwing it here. Every now and then I experience a short temporary freeze of my system. It lasts for a few seconds when I can't do anything, not even move a mouse. While it lasts I see my disk LED constantly on and the DVD light turns on as well (despite it not being in use and there not being a CD/DVD in it).

After it comes back to it, everything resumes fine, except that if I'm using beep-media-player it sometimes pauses the music so I have to hit play again.

The thing is, these sort of freezes shouldn't normally happen on this system. In fact it shouldn't happen even on much older systems. The machine really isn't under any significant load.

I'm wondering what could it be? A renegade process? Damaged filesystem? I just hope it's not an indication of any serious hardware problem..

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
libervisco wrote: A
libervisco wrote:

A renegade process?

If so, this should be detectable. Try running top and keeping an eye on it while using the computer normally, and see if you notice any unexpected load during or near the freezes.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Yes, I'll try, though it

Yes, I'll try, though it happens rather rarely so I'll be lucky if I can see the htop while this happens. I should hold the terminal with htop running on top of all windows all the time.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
It just happened again and

It just happened again and while I missed looking at htop I did look at /var/log/messages. This is what I found and I definitely think it is related (the time is exactly when this happened):

May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: hdf: status error: status=0x58 { DriveReady SeekComplete DataRequest }
May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: ide: failed opcode was: unknown
May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: hdf: status timeout: status=0xd8 { Busy }
May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: ide: failed opcode was: unknown
May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: hdf: DMA disabled
May  6 04:15:27 proxyon kernel: hdf: ATAPI reset complete

It could be an issue with the kernel and how it deals with this JMicron IDE subsystem that this motherboard uses for PATA drives (both of my drives are PATA instead of SATA which the Intel 965P natively supports so both go over JMicron as master and slave). I have heard that the kernel 2.6.18 is the first with decent support for this motherboard (and this chipset) so it could be that it isn't quite ironed out yet...

That said... above may suggest a problem with DMA, but I've no idea. Maybe I can set something up in BIOS, or maybe pass some kernel related options on boot to avoid this?

Anyone has any ideas?

Thanks

a thing's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
heat?

Upgrade your kernel if you haven't. Try messing around in the BIOS. I doubt this one, but make the PC as cool as possible as it might be a heat issue. If all those fail, report it as a bug.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
This installation is

This installation is currently fully up to date with Debian Testing (now "lenny"). The kernel is 2.6.18.

I doubt it's a heat issue, despite some weirdness in how BIOS reports it (even if it was at 45 it's probably a sensor near the PCI-E card).

After a bit of searching I can only conclude that it is an issue with the JMicron controller which provides support for PATA drives on this motherboard. The Intel 965P chipset doesn't natively support PATA (only SATA) so Gigabyte (and many other motherboard manufacturers) added a JMicron controller onboard to allow for one IDE port for PATA drives. But it's been having issues with the Linux kernel.

My kernel, 2.6.18 is the first with some support for this motherboard, but apparently it's not yet very stable. I will have to wait for a new kernel and maybe try some tricks in the meantime.

Here are the related posts from elsewhere:

JMicron JMB363 problems
JMicron PATA problems
"JMicron controller issues + how do I permanently remove a module from the kernel?"

I'll try some of the tricks that have been mentioned in those topics.. but it does appear to be a certain JMicron issue. From what I read 2.6.20 should have this fixed. Ubuntu has that kernel...

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
Why don't you compile your

Why don't you compile your own 2.6.20.1 (latest) kernel?

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
I'm paranoid about that. If

I'm paranoid about that. If I compile my own kernel I have to maintain it instead of relying on the Debian crew and their fixed up one. Compiling my own kernel might be something I'd do on Slackware, but I'm not sure about Debian... I'm pretty much a "it should all just work" guy lately, who doesn't want to tinker with the basic stuff like that anymore..

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
You don't have to maintain

You don't have to maintain it as such, just install the kernel which has the fixes, have both the Debian and vanilla kernels in the GRUB menu. You don't have to update the vanilla kernel after that, just wait until the Debian folks release a newer kernel.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
Hm you gotta point. I think

Hm you gotta point. I think I'll try it then. The only issue which may remain is if the new kernel doesn't operate too well with the rest of the system..

Maybe I could just download a pre-build kernel from sid and install it manually? This way I don't need to compile.

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
After around 6 recompiles I

After around 6 recompiles I did it. I'm on a 2.6.20.9 kernel now compiled in line with these instructions (debian way) and it supports everything and it seems my jmicron isn't freezing anymore.

I'll blog on it, as it was quite an experience and I gathered some useful infos regarding support for Core 2 Duo systems.

Thanks

dylunio's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-20
I'm glad you've got this

I'm glad you've got this fixed, compiling a kernel wasn't that hard was it? Smiling

libervisco's picture
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Joined: 2006-05-04
It wasn't. It's just time

It wasn't. It's just time consuming if I miss to enable everything the first time (or even second for that matter). But then I got some experience and it'll be faster next time. Smiling

Thanks for suggesting it.

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