You are hereFrom the 'Why did I buy this motherboard?' dept: DFI K8M800-MLVF

From the 'Why did I buy this motherboard?' dept: DFI K8M800-MLVF


By steve - Posted on 28 April 2005

I wanted a low-cost SATA/LAN/VGA motherboard for use in almost-embedded systems. What I got was a disappointment.

The K8M800-MLVF is a nice enough micro-ATX SATA (RAID 0/1) board. I installed XP on it with some hassles getting the SATA drivers working, but it eventually worked. But the XP test was just to make sure everything worked before I tried to set up a 'production' system with it.

The trouble started when I installed Fedora Core 3 on it. That part went fine, but when I went to reboot, GRUB would not load the operating system. It would stall and hang at 'GRUB loading stage2...'. Endless googling left me with nothing of use. I eventually found a few other users that had attempted to get the same motherboard to work and been unable to get a GRUB boot off the SATA drive. I could reboot with the FC3 CD #1 in the drive, enter linux rescue, chroot /mnt/sysimage, then run the system fine, but I could not get past the GRUB stage2 failure.

A grub boot floppy also failed to get past stage2.

I disabled the grub splash screen, just in case, but no good.

GRUB stage2 failure usually indicates that the drive is readable (stage2 lives on the file system in /boot/grub/, so it had to have been able to get that far), but the version of GRUB that comes with FC3 couldn't get the system going.

I flashed the BIOS, just incase, but that didn't help.

I've installed FC3 on several SATA-only systems, so the problem isn't really with FC3 compatibility (not to mention that the rescue disk works fine).

I eventually installed a standard IDE drive, went through the installation again, and GRUB worked fine. So I've narrowed it down to a problem with the K8M800, the VIA SATA chipset and GRUB.

I'm bailing on it for now and using the IDE drive, because I have to get some other things done. I've sworn off using the DFI boards until I can get a better answer on the SATA/GRUB boot problem.

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