Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD? - BSD

This is a discussion on Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD? - BSD ; My office file server runs FreeBSD and been getting slower. With a little experimentation, I've finally narrowed the problem down to the network adapter (Realtek 8139 chipset). As it happens, the file server happens to have a VIA Rhine II ...

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Thread: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

  1. Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    My office file server runs FreeBSD and been getting slower. With a
    little experimentation, I've finally narrowed the problem down to the
    network adapter (Realtek 8139 chipset).

    As it happens, the file server happens to have a VIA Rhine II
    integrated into the motherboard.

    The reason I've never used it is because back a few years, the VIA
    Rhine II stank. It was either not supported on FreeBSD or didn't work
    well.

    Have other people used it lately? I'm thinking of swapping it in for
    the other adapter, but I don't want to if I'm going replace something
    that works badly with something that works badly. In that situation,
    I'm going to run down to the for a brand new card.

    Jim

  2. Re: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    On Tue, 7 Oct 2008 15:34:07 UTC, Jim Zoetewey
    wrote:

    > As it happens, the file server happens to have a VIA Rhine II
    > integrated into the motherboard.
    >
    > The reason I've never used it is because back a few years, the VIA
    > Rhine II stank. It was either not supported on FreeBSD or didn't work
    > well.
    >
    > Have other people used it lately? I'm thinking of swapping it in for
    > the other adapter, but I don't want to if I'm going replace something
    > that works badly with something that works badly. In that situation,
    > I'm going to run down to the for a brand new card.


    I have three FreeBSD machines here that use the VIA Rhine II (vr). One
    is my firewall, and the other two are the main servers. They've been
    running for well over a year (18 months for the firewall) with no
    problems.
    --
    Bob Eager
    UNIX since v6..
    http://tinyurl.com/2xqr6h


  3. Re: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    Bob Eager wrote:
    >
    > I have three FreeBSD machines here that use the VIA Rhine II (vr). One
    > is my firewall, and the other two are the main servers. They've been
    > running for well over a year (18 months for the firewall) with no
    > problems.


    Same here. Three mini-ITX machines from VIA, all with on-board ethernet.
    Zero problems with the network.

    bob prohaska


  4. Re: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    On Tue, 7 Oct 2008 08:34:07 -0700 (PDT), Jim Zoetewey
    wrote:

    >
    >As it happens, the file server happens to have a VIA Rhine II
    >integrated into the motherboard.
    >
    >The reason I've never used it is because back a few years, the VIA
    >Rhine II stank. It was either not supported on FreeBSD or didn't work
    >well.
    >
    >Have other people used it lately? I'm thinking of swapping it in for
    >the other adapter, but I don't want to if I'm going replace something
    >that works badly with something that works badly. In that situation,
    >I'm going to run down to the for a brand new card.



    Its not the greatest card, but there have been substantial changes in
    RELENG_7 to the driver and it works a LOT better than before.

    For a list of changes, see
    http://www.freebsd.org/cgi/cvsweb.cg...dev/vr/if_vr.c

    ---Mike

  5. Re: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    Jim Zoetewey wrote:

    > My office file server runs FreeBSD and been getting slower. With a
    > little experimentation, I've finally narrowed the problem down to the
    > network adapter (Realtek 8139 chipset).


    Realtek can be OK for low bandwidth home use such as 768/128 Kb/s DSL
    connection. However, in a workplace related professional environment they
    are hard pressed to get within 50-55% of the either the theoretical
    throughput or the throughput of a superior NIC. When under a true load they
    just do not perform.

    > As it happens, the file server happens to have a VIA Rhine II
    > integrated into the motherboard.
    >
    > The reason I've never used it is because back a few years, the VIA
    > Rhine II stank. It was either not supported on FreeBSD or didn't work
    > well.


    I have only one vr interface built into a mobo in one of my home machines
    that I only very recently discontinued using (home is now all GigE). I had
    never experienced any problem. But then again, come to think of it, mine is
    a VIA Rhine III (VIA KT-8235 South Bridge).

    > Have other people used it lately? I'm thinking of swapping it in for
    > the other adapter, but I don't want to if I'm going replace something
    > that works badly with something that works badly. In that situation,
    > I'm going to run down to the for a brand new card.
    >
    > Jim


    If it were me, and this is a workplace server, I'd consider something like:

    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Produc...82E16833106121

    instead of any of the other cheap cards. I have several D-Link sk type cards
    in use at home and they work fine, but for work I'd lean towards the Intel
    cards instead. Both the Intel and the D-Link are both in the ~$27 price
    range, but IMHO the Intel is probably the superior product. Just my $.02

    -Jason


  6. Re: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?

    On Wed, 8 Oct 2008 02:37:53 UTC, bob prohaska's usenet account
    wrote:

    > Bob Eager wrote:
    > >
    > > I have three FreeBSD machines here that use the VIA Rhine II (vr). One
    > > is my firewall, and the other two are the main servers. They've been
    > > running for well over a year (18 months for the firewall) with no
    > > problems.

    >
    > Same here. Three mini-ITX machines from VIA, all with on-board ethernet.
    > Zero problems with the network.


    Yes, mine are mini-ITX too. All running on 6.3-STABLE.
    --
    Bob Eager
    UNIX since v6..
    http://tinyurl.com/2xqr6h


  7. 50% Packet Loss Even with Different Network Cards (formerly: Does VIARhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?)

    Thanks for all the responses... I tried swapping in the Via today and
    then found something interesting...

    The Via Rhine dropped about as many packets as the the Realtek based
    card.

    Which means that the problem is something else (probably). I tried a
    different cable and a different network jack and found that that made
    no difference. Putting a different computer on the same jack didn't
    cause the new computer any problems.

    Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should do next?

    Jim



    On Oct 8, 2:26*am, "Bob Eager" wrote:
    > On Wed, 8 Oct 2008 02:37:53 UTC, bob prohaska's usenet account
    >
    > wrote:
    > > Bob Eager wrote:

    >
    > > > I have three FreeBSD machines here that use the VIA Rhine II (vr). One
    > > > is my firewall, and the other two are the main servers. They've been
    > > > running for well over a year (18 months for the firewall) with no
    > > > problems.

    >
    > > Same here. Three mini-ITX machines from VIA, all with on-board ethernet..
    > > Zero problems with the network.

    >
    > Yes, mine are mini-ITX too. All running on 6.3-STABLE.
    > --
    > Bob Eager
    > UNIX since v6..http://tinyurl.com/2xqr6h



  8. Re: 50% Packet Loss Even with Different Network Cards (formerly: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?)

    On Wed, 8 Oct 2008 20:44:55 UTC, Jim Zoetewey top
    posted:

    > Thanks for all the responses... I tried swapping in the Via today and
    > then found something interesting...
    >
    > The Via Rhine dropped about as many packets as the the Realtek based
    > card.
    >
    > Which means that the problem is something else (probably). I tried a
    > different cable and a different network jack and found that that made
    > no difference. Putting a different computer on the same jack didn't
    > cause the new computer any problems.
    >
    > Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should do next?


    Last time I had that problem, it was a faulty network switch. Changed it
    and the problem disappeared...

    --
    Bob Eager
    UNIX since v6..
    http://tinyurl.com/2xqr6h


  9. Re: 50% Packet Loss Even with Different Network Cards (formerly: Does VIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?)

    Jim Zoetewey wrote:

    > Thanks for all the responses... I tried swapping in the Via today and
    > then found something interesting...
    >
    > The Via Rhine dropped about as many packets as the the Realtek based
    > card.
    >
    > Which means that the problem is something else (probably). I tried a
    > different cable and a different network jack and found that that made
    > no difference. Putting a different computer on the same jack didn't
    > cause the new computer any problems.
    >
    > Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should do next?
    >


    If I'm understanding you correctly you have localized the problem to the
    specific machine? That the second machine you plugged up to the same
    jack/patch cord does not show the same symptoms? Proceeding under this
    assumption...

    Using two different cards and the associated driver swapping producing the
    same packet loss would tend to make me suspect it might not be a
    software/OS problem, but rather possibly hardware.

    Short of more data points my gut feeling would be try to eliminate excessive
    ripple by swapping in a known good power supply. The machine that you tried
    on the jack that did not exhibit the problem might be a candidate. This
    would be something that could readily get eliminated from the picture. I've
    just seen problems in the past where I've chased my tail all over and it
    wound up being the power supply (looked into the possibility only after
    extensively exhausting everything else I could think of).

    Another idea would be to check for IRQ sharing/routing difficulties. In an
    older pre-ACPI machine there were usually one or more PCI slots which
    shared IRQs. Very common for PCI slot 1 to share several IRQs with onboard
    devices (such as NIC) and PCI slot 4 and 5 to share an IRQ. Try sorting out
    your IRQs, possibly disabling the onboard NIC (and USB if present and
    unused) and place the PCI NIC in a slot that does not share any IRQs. The
    motherboard manual is a good source for this info.

    Compare vmstat -i before and after this change and see if there is any
    significant change in the numbers. IRQs getting missed can drop packets.
    That's all I can think of right this minute - good luck to you in any
    event!

    -Jason



  10. Re: 50% Packet Loss Even with Different Network Cards (formerly: DoesVIA Rhine II Still Suck on FreeBSD?)

    Just for the record, I'd like to add to this thread that it did turn
    out to be the power supply in this case.

    Thanks for the help.

    Jim


    On Oct 8, 6:11 pm, Jason Bourne
    wrote:
    > JimZoeteweywrote:
    > > Thanks for all the responses... I tried swapping in the Via today and
    > > then found something interesting...

    >
    > > The Via Rhine dropped about as many packets as the the Realtek based
    > > card.

    >
    > > Which means that the problem is something else (probably). I tried a
    > > different cable and a different network jack and found that that made
    > > no difference. Putting a different computer on the same jack didn't
    > > cause the new computer any problems.

    >
    > > Does anyone have any ideas as to what I should do next?

    >
    > If I'm understanding you correctly you have localized the problem to the
    > specific machine? That the second machine you plugged up to the same
    > jack/patch cord does not show the same symptoms? Proceeding under this
    > assumption...
    >
    > Using two different cards and the associated driver swapping producing the
    > same packet loss would tend to make me suspect it might not be a
    > software/OS problem, but rather possibly hardware.
    >
    > Short of more data points my gut feeling would be try to eliminate excessive
    > ripple by swapping in a known good power supply. The machine that you tried
    > on the jack that did not exhibit the problem might be a candidate. This
    > would be something that could readily get eliminated from the picture. I've
    > just seen problems in the past where I've chased my tail all over and it
    > wound up being the power supply (looked into the possibility only after
    > extensively exhausting everything else I could think of).
    >
    > Another idea would be to check for IRQ sharing/routing difficulties. In an
    > older pre-ACPI machine there were usually one or more PCI slots which
    > shared IRQs. Very common for PCI slot 1 to share several IRQs with onboard
    > devices (such as NIC) and PCI slot 4 and 5 to share an IRQ. Try sorting out
    > your IRQs, possibly disabling the onboard NIC (and USB if present and
    > unused) and place the PCI NIC in a slot that does not share any IRQs. The
    > motherboard manual is a good source for this info.
    >
    > Compare vmstat -i before and after this change and see if there is any
    > significant change in the numbers. IRQs getting missed can drop packets.
    > That's all I can think of right this minute - good luck to you in any
    > event!
    >
    > -Jason



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