Sunday, March 28, 2010

27 Mar 2010

Spent a whole day working on my beloved main workstation, finally got around for some time to be spent changing the motherboard and practice some basic case modding. The latter part was easy and took little time, however the new motherboard provided major headaches:

1. Intel Matrix RAID BIOS fails to start if a SATA optical drive is present, probably due to the super-fast AHCI BIOS . Thank goodness I am aware of this from the Japanese vendors, however the same information seems to be missing from anywhere else....Digging up the mess of Supermicro FAQs ended up with some information suggesting something to do with shadow ram, will find out if there is a cure. Short term solution: Make a shrouded PATA cable and swap for a PATA drive.

2. Some incompatibility with my VX450 PSU: boots up spontaneously exactly 2s after mains power switch flicked on; will not boot once shutdown, unless one cuts off mains power and let it stand for about a minute and it goes full circle again. Does not appear to have problems with any other power supply, however I am reluctant to pay for another right now....

(Update: Spontaneous boot was apparently my fault to have put some pins in the wrong place, however the blinking 5VSB problem returned)

3. Layout hell, too tired to take a photo now but word cannot explain how cramped my case has become, now every minor hardware change will result in a complete overhaul, since my hands are not exactly of the right size and dexterity of a midwife. Long term solution: buy a P193.

4. Supermicro BIOS: I really don't understand what they have been thinking, features they claimed did not exist, or existed in the source code but not actually turned on in any version of their BIOS updates. Speaking of which I am still running 1.0a, last board had to be replaced because it failed right after a seemingly successful BIOS flashing, well they did warn you right....

Note for Sunday: Chemistry tuition, pick-up the UPS, check server conditions and shutdown since I should be busy studying next week.