A New Workstation

At work I convinced the owner to roll out Linux workstation replacements. The current systems are more than a decade old. One workstation in particular is temperamental and freezes anywhere from once a day to several times.

All of the workstations now run Debian 10. Testing different video cards did not resolve the freezing. Disabling various power saving options failed to help. Nor did a PS/2 and mouse. Memory tests proved nothing. Something in the Linux design did not like this motherboard.

The new workstation has an Asus PRIME B450M-A motherboard with an AMD 3200G APU. A Crucial 250 GB SSD and 16 GB of RAM. A convenient removable drive bay with a 2.5 inch disk adapter.


There were nominal speed bumps.

First was updating the BIOS firmware. To their credit the Asus engineers make this easy and straightforward, although the Asus web site is a typical bane of the web steaming pile of excrement.

To support the newer chips I installed the 5.8 kernel and latest firmware from the Debian Backports repository. I installed the following packages from Backports:

  • firmware-amd-graphics 20200918-1~bpo10+1
  • linux-headers-5.8.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 5.8.10-1~bpo10+1
  • linux-headers-5.8.0-0.bpo.2-common 5.8.10-1~bpo10+1
  • linux-image-5.8.0-0.bpo.2-amd64 5.8.10-1~bpo10+1
  • linux-image-amd64 5.8.10-1~bpo10+1
  • linux-kbuild-5.8 5.8.10-1~bpo10+1

On boot there was an NFS warning that eventually was resolved.

One boot blurb not yet resolved is AMD-Vi: Unable to read/write to IOMMU perf counter.

All in all, not bad. My general approach with Linux and hardware support is not to buy hardware less than a year old. While I performed reasonable due diligence to ensure the new hardware would function, I nonetheless am pleased at how well everything functions. So is the user, not just with the speed improvements but the absence of freezing and the quiet performance.

The owner approved the replacement of additional Linux workstations.

Posted: Category: Usability Tagged: Debian

Next: Plain Text Email

Previous: NFS4 Remote Path Warning