Gigabyte released a new BIOS for their GA-M55S3 motherboard and I couldn’t resist updating. To make it short: if you’re running Linux, don’t… After updating Linux will boot only with “noapic” as kernel option – again. I guess only BIOS version “F6″ doesn’t have this error (see this post). I skipped version “F7″ so I can’t say anything about this version, but all versions prior to “F6″ had the same issue. If you don’t have any real needs for updating your BIOS you shouldn’t consider an update anyway. It’s just me…
Already available since March 20th, I just recently decided to update my Gigabyte motherboard “GA-M55S-S3 (rev 1.0)” with the latest BIOS, which is by the time of writing version “F6″. And – HURRAY, HURRAY – I don’t need to boot Linux with the “noapic” kernel option anymore!! The guys from Gigabyte finally fixed it! So, to everybody who owns the same motherboard I’d recommend updating your BIOS to the latest version. Get the BIOS files from here and follow the instructions from this Gigabyte help page. Good luck!
So, I went for Ubuntu Edgy. Fedora Core 6 gave me some hard times updating because yum couldn’t resolve some dependencies – I never had this kind of trouble with Debian’s apt.
My former experience with Kubuntu Edgy taught me to download the “alternate” install-CD right away. The installation is pretty much the same as with the “desktop” install-CD, but you have the choice to install “grub” not only to the MBR. As I mentioned, my motherboard (and I found some clues that there are a lot of boards with nForce5/AM2 chip set with similar problems) has some issues with Linux. To be precise, without additional kernel options almost no distro would boot. There are two options which made the kernel boot correctly:
- noapic (preferred!)
With “acpi=off” Linux boots but you have no ACPI support what so ever. This means no “powernow” (CPU frequency scaling) and no automatic power-off after shutdown. If applicable I’d go for the second option “noapic”. I don’t no exactly what it does, but I think it has something to do with PCI interrupts. This option works pretty well and you still have ACPI support.
To boot the Ubuntu install-CD you have to press “F6″ at the boot screen and add “noapic” (without the quotation marks) at the end of the line right before the “–” and then hit “Enter”. That’s it – for now… The bad news is that the installer doesn’t remember that extra option and won’t add it to the Grub-boot loader configuration file automatically. I’m going to write a short HOWTO about installing Ubuntu on a system like mine where I’ll explain how to overcome this issue.
By the way, Ubuntu doesn’t have the problem (like Kubuntu) that all drives mounted under /media disappear after logout/login – either they fixed it or it never appeared in Ubuntu.