Intel Sandy Bridge NIC Driver for Linux (e1000e)

The short version of this story is “don’t have any spaces in your directory path.”

My recent multi-boot build was based on an Intel DH67CL motherboard with an H67 chipset.  The NIC is an Intel 82579V, PCI ID 8086,1503.  I downloaded the Intel driver direct from the Intel site: Network Adapter Driver for PCI-E Gigabit Network Connections under Linux.

It built, installed, and worked on several Linuxen in this multi-boot machine – including a live CD image (with persistenct) that I keep in the boot partition – but failed for Suse Enterprise Linux V11.

The error message during build was something like “no rule to make target xxxx.”

Turns out it was nothing to do with Suse.  Since I didn’t have a working NIC, I was downloading to a windows machine, copying to a thumb drive, and copying that to the target Linux install. The download directory on the Windows box was something like “Intel NIC Driver”.  By chance, I had copied its contents to most of my Linux installs, but copied the entire directory to the Suse install.

The spaces in the directory name were confusing make, and causing the less-than-helpful error message.  Got rid of the spaces, and make was happy again.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Sandy Bridge NIC vs. Solaris 10 & 11

I’ve been working with a new multiboot build: Intel DH67CL motherboard and i3-2120.  It needs to boot Solaris 10 and 11 (among several other OSen) for PCI board and driver testing.

Networking isn’t absolutely necessary, but sure would be handy.  I was prepared to do without, since this is new-ish hardware that may not have Solaris driver support, but was pleasantly surprised – mostly.

The i3 graphics are fine on both S10 & 11, and run my monitor at full resolution out of the box.  Networking worked out of the box for Solaris 11 using the e1000g driver (included in the Solaris distro), but not for ’10.

The chipset NIC is an Intel 82579V, PCI ID 8086,1503.  The usual trick of just adding the PCI ID to the existing driver didn’t help:

update_drv -a -i '"pci8086,1503"' e1000g
Driver (e1000g) successfully added to system but failed to attach ..

Tried every other trick I could think of including copying the Solaris 11 driver. (It still seems like that should have worked using the process below, but maybe I missed something).

Finally out of desperation I installed Solaris 10 U10.  (update 10).  Had been working with U9.  Continuing in this optimistic mode I tried the driver update again:

update_drv -a -i '"pci8086,1503"' e1000g
(no error message - yay!)

Since the networking wasn’t auto-configured during install, I had to manually set up the NIC and configure for DHCP.  Per Rich Teer’s Solaris DHCP guide http://www.rite-group.com/rich/solaris_dhcp.html:

ifconfig e1000g0 plumb  (that's a ZERO on the end)
touch /etc/hostname.e1000g0
touch /etc/dhcp.e1000g0 (which will use defaults)
(verify /etc/nodename is already configured to the desired
hostname if not - edit accordingly)
reboot...

And I had an operating network connection.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Freeze Your Hard Drive

(Full disclosure: Bob at Bainbridge Computer Services showed me this trick a few years back.)

Sometimes a dead or dying hard drive can be resurrected long enough to rescue important files, or even pull a full clone.

Drives sometimes fail in a heat-related way.  Freezing and then quickly pulling off important data works in a surprisingly high percentage of cases.

I wrap a drive in plastic to prevent condensation (an anti-stat bag is preferred) and freeze it for 2 or 3 hours.  Then pull it out of the freezer and quickly attach to a computer.  If necessary, re-install it in the original host machine, but it’s better to connect via an external USB to IDE/SATA adapter so it can be kept cold longer.  Another approach is to connect to a desktop machine with the case open so the cables can be brought outside the machine.

If using an external adapter or cables to the outside, with the drive still wrapped in plastic, sandwich it between two freezer gel-packs (or bags of frozen peas) and wrap the whole mess in a towel.

If you are lucky, the drive will return to life long enough to copy the important stuff.   In the best case, you may be able to clone the drive and avoid a long re-install process.

Here’s an example of an external USB to  IDE/SATA adapter.  Most of them are USB 2.0 just now.  Since speed is of the essence, USB 3 or a direct IDE or SATA/eSATA connection would be better.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Bainbridge Computer Services

Looking for computer support in the Bainbridge Island, WA, USA area?  Check this out.  The dude has skills.

Bainbridge Computer Services

Posted in Default | Leave a comment

Notes About Laptop Drive Noise and Performance

After experimenting with three 500GB 7200RPM laptop drives for the ThinkPad T400, I’ve finally settled on one.  For now…

The StinkPad had a perfectly good 320GB 7200RPM Hitachi drive installed, but it was rapidly filling up with virtual machines.  Time for a 500GB drive.  Simple clone job using Acronis: Cloning Hard Drives With Acronis

I specifically wanted an old-style 512-bytes per sector drive to avoid possible problems with Advanced Format drives.  That didn’t actually go that well: Windows Update Broken After Cloning Hard drive, but back to the story…

Drive number 1: Western Digital WD5000BEKT.  Performance seemed excellent but it made a maddening intermittent noise: Strange Laptop Drive Noise: “Whoosh”

Drive number 2: Hitachi 0S02858.  This had been shipping as a 7K500 drive with 512-byte sectors.  Mine had the 0S02858 model number on the box but it contained a 7K750 Advanced Format drive (see “Windows Update Broken…” above).  Hitachi support says that 0S02858 model number is only guaranteed to be a 500GB 7200RPM drive, but could be either “7K” model, or even some other drive.

I got past the AF issues, but performance didn’t seem as snappy as the WD drive.  Purely subjective observation.

Drive number 3: I found a good deal on a SAMSUNG Spinpoint MP4 HM500JJ.  $50 at NewEgg.  That’s a 512-byte per sector drive.  I was hoping for better performance.  No joy there.  Subjective performance was the same as the Hitachi.  In addition, the Samsung introduced a very noticeable vibration in the StinkPad palmrest.  Some folks, with some laptops, might not find it objecionable.  I’m waaaay to picky for my own good.

As of now, I’m back to the Hitachi drive.  Its vibration level is almost imperceptible.  Performance is OK.  Advanced Format issues are solved.  And it runs a little cooler than the Samsung.

Below are the HD Tune reports for all three.

Posted in Default | Leave a comment