Getting Linux to Run on Intel DG33FB Motherboard

Last Updated on 08/15/2010 by dboth

I love Linux, but running it on very new motherboards can be problematic. I just purchased a new Intel DG33FB motherboard for my primary workstation. The reason for this is that my ultimate objective is to get my mother back onto a Linux box. This box will have an Intel Quad core processor and the replacement motherboards will filter down through my Linux boxes until I put a reasonable one into my mother’s new computer. See “Getting Momma back on Linux.”

Although Intel is Linux friendly, it took me a bunch of Googling and a couple hours to get this one running.

Fortunately I have two main computer cases that I switch between use for my main workstation and my development workstation. All of the experimentation was done on my development box. When it is all finished, I will move the hard drives and a couple other I/O devices from my current primary workstation to the development box and it will become the primary.

All that makes it much easier to invest the time to get the new motherboard working because I don’t have the time pressure since my current primary box is still up and running.

The first thing I did was install the memory and CPU on the motherboard. I then replaced the motherboard in my development box with the new one. I reconnected the DVD and hard drives and tried to boot. Unsuccessfully.

The discussions I found on the Internet using Google showed a number of issues.

  • Internal NIC not recognized
  • On-board video graphics adapter not supported by X
  • Won’t boot

The last one seemed to be the worst as you cannot get to the others until it is possible to boot. I first downloaded the latest BIOS ISO from Intel and burned it onto a CD. This is a bootable CD so you do not need to fuss with trying to create a bootable diskette using DOS or early and unsupported versions of winbloze. Be sure to also download the installation instructions and follow them to the letter.

But this is not yet enough to get your linux box to boot. I also had to configure BIOS so that the SATA mode is IDE. This is not the default. If you do not do this your motherboard cannot find the hard drive partitions.

At this point it would boot but hang at the “uncompressing the kernel” message. In order to go beyond this point, I had to enter “Edit” mode at the Linux splash screen. I then added “pci=nommconf” to the end of the kernel line – usually the middle line.

I booted and X was confused because of the new on-board graphics adapter. It had been configured for an older adapter which was no longer present. Fortunately Fedora 7, which is my current distribution of choice is pretty smart about this. It told me that it could not start X and asked me if I wanted to reconfigure. Of course I said yes. After a few minutes it gave me the X configuration GUI and I selected the native resolution for my temporary display, 1280×1024.

I logged in as root and X is now working fine.

In order to make the reboots work without hanging I now added the “pci=nommconf” line to each kernel line in each stanza of /etc/grub.conf.

After going through this, the system now boots and reboots without manual intervention, the on-board video works, and the on-board NIC works.

I just can’t wait until Intel gets really Linux friendly.

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