[Udpcast] Suspected SATA problem with Toshiba Tecra M5

Brian Dykstra bdykstra at virtualwar.com
Tue Sep 12 04:53:25 CEST 2006


Hi,

I've been using Udpcast for about a year know with from both CD and PXE
boot. It's been working great for us.  We've been imaging a bunch of old
IBM A31 Thinkpads for a training course from a high-end Toshiba Qosmio G35
laptop.  Everything has been gold.

Recently we were able to purchase a bunch of new Toshiba Tecra M5-S433
laptops with gigabit nics and 100GB SATA drives.  We were all psyched up
to image at lightspeed but then the pain started.

When we boot the systems from CD the network adapter is properly detected
as a Intel Pro/1000 using the e1000 driver.  It gets a DHCP address with
no problem.

Because the disks are SATA we load the optional SATA drivers.  The CD
detects the hardware and offers the ata_piix - SCSI low-level driver for
Intel PIIX/ICH ATA controllers.  This seems to match what we've found in
the Toshiba documentation and it sucessfully finds the hard disk.

The problem comes when we start imaging (sending or receiving).  After
about 1.5GB at roughly 130Gbps everything starts spirally downward until
eventually we are transferring data at about 14Gbps.  On a 100GB disk this
is painful.

We've swapped out as much stuff as possible (various switches, cables,
even used a PCMCIA GB network adapter in the Tecra M5).  We've done all
the normal stuff with capping the transfer rate at speeds down around
30-40Mbps but the transfer still spirals down to the teens.

Since we've swapped out all the server hardware (which works fine imaging
other laptops) and all the network gear we are left with the Tecra SATA
drive and the ata_piix driver.  We've tried loading other SATA drivers but
no luck.

The only interesting part of the output from the Kernel Message after
loading the driver looks like this:

<driver version stuff>
<6>PCI: Found IRQ 11 for device 0000:00:1f.2
<6>PCI: Sharing IRQ 11 with 0000:00:1d.1
<4>ata: 0x170 IDE port busy
<7>PCI: Setting latency timer of device 0000:00:1f.2 to 64

It then continues with hard disk configuration information.  The latency
timer bothers me.

I hope I've provided enough information to be useful.

Thanks
-- 
Brian Dykstra
bdykstra at virtualwar.com
http://www.virtualwar.com




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