The Haus

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Fun with USB 2.0

Not long ago, I bought a VIA-based USB 2.0 card and a SanDisk ImageMate hi-speed card reader. Unfortunately, whenever I have the reader plugged in, my box will randomly lock up hard. I have to hit the reset switch to reboot it (thank God for journalling filesystems!). I unplugged the reader and my box was crash-free for a week. I plugged it back in today and rebooted. My box froze within 15 minutes. I'm trying a newer kernel ( to see if that helps. If not, I'm not sure how to fix this.

Unfortunately, the USB 2.0 card demands three (count 'em, three) interrupts: one for EHCI and two for UHCI. It was trying to share the EHCI (aka USB 2.0 hi-speed) interrupt with my video card. That just screamed "bad news" so I moved the card in my box. Now the EHCI one is free, but one of the UHCI ones is still shared. I long for the old days when I could set a jumper and force the card to use a certain interrupt. Actually, I really long for the days when I won't have to worry about interrupts anymore. Obviously the card location wasn't the main problem because it still locked up. Joy.

The good news out of this is that I figured out that it's not my hard drive or mobo going south on me. I've also learned that the ext3 filesystem is very robust. Upon rebooting it recovers the journal and continues merrily on its way. It adds virtually no time to the regular boot-up process. I've heard that ReiserFS is faster, but I've been pleased with the simplicity (and backward-compatibility to ext2) that ext3 provides.

Update! Well, that didn't take long to figure out. The kernel didn't help at all. I wonder if this card just doesn't like my mobo or what the problem is.

The Master comments: My machine has been very flakey lately as well, but I think mine is due to a degrading hard drive. It's a Western Digitial and it's been acting very odd for a couple months now. As soon as I can get a 160GB Seagate at < $100, I am so rebuilding my box.

News for 09/23/2004

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