Nvidia Woes

In my office desktop I have an Asus M3N78-EM main board with a GeForce MCP78S controller and 8300 GPU. For several years I ran the system in my living room as a full blown home theater PC (HTPC). With my recent network revamping and death of my office main board, I moved the M3N78-EM into my office.

For all of those years I used the Nvidia 304 series drivers.

With the move I decided to run the nouveau drivers. While nouveau mostly worked, I experienced problems watching videos, sometimes resulting in a complete desktop freeze. With every boot I saw the following ugly message repeated several times:

nouveau E[ PBUS][0000:02:00.0] MMIO read of 0x00000008 FAULT at 0x1002e4

Curious after all of these years I checked the Nvidia web site and was informed I should use the 340 series drivers. That is not a typo — there is both a 304 and 340 series.

After compiling and installing the 340 drivers, I experienced worse problems. My computer would freeze hard when running glxgears.

I did what most sane people would do. I uninstalled the 340 drivers and installed the 304 drivers. I noticed the 304 drivers had been updated since the last time I compiled a 304 package set. I compiled the more current version.

All is well again.

On another system I help maintain that has an Nvidia MCP73 controller and GeForce 7050 GPU, the nouveau driver refuses to boot when using the quiet kernel boot parameter. The system halts with:

nouveau E[ DRM] Pointer to flat panel table invalid

A hardware reset is required to restore the computer. The system boots fine without the quiet parameter.

Through the years I have grown weary of tangling with Nvidia chip sets. I never have trouble with Intel GPUs. Future purchases will reflect my observation.

Does anybody really expect non technical users to tolerate this kind of nonsense?

Perhaps Linus has good reason with his infamous single finger salute.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: General

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