I wouldn’t want to be AMD in a Wintel world …

I have to admit that I really haven’t had much to complain about AMD and their products … until recently. I have long been an Intel fan, but I had no reason to believe that AMD was not “Intel-compatible”. Over the last year, I bought a few rack-mount systems that contained AMD motherboards and processors. I was able to install Linux (Fedora Core 4) on them, and everything seemed well. All of that ended about three months ago.

About three months back, I chose to take one of my rack-mount systems, and reconfigure it to take the place of one of my last two Novell NetWare servers. (Yes … I worked for Novell and still have two NetWare boxes running some services … if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!) To replace the one NetWare box, I needed to have two network cards in the server. Easy enough … I’ve done this with Linux before … add the card, configure the driver/interface settings, and off you go. Now I’m not doing this as a full time job, so this is something that I do when I have the time late at night … between e-mail, blogging, coding, etc.

I installed an old 3Com 10/100 ethernet card into the working system, and chose to reinstall Linux from scratch … a brand new shiny copy of Fedora Core 6! It installed on the AMD hardware flawlessly … until I rebooted. The 3Com ethernet card would not obtain a DHCP address. Hmmm. I went through Google, tried a different card … an Intel 10/100. Same results. The ethernet on the motherboard worked … the card in the PCI slot seemed to work, but wouldn’t get an IP address. I ended up going through three more cards (five total!) and then tried Fedora Core 4, and Fedora Core 2, then Knoppix. Crap!

All of this was done over a period of two months … on and off … trying various things one or maybe two nights a week. I ended up doing dozens of installations before trying to install Windows XP. It installed flawlessly … and both adapters worked! Crap! Crap! So now I’m starting to guess … Linux and this AMD motherboard? I took the machine to a friends place and had him look at it also … and he gave up.

Last week I went and bought an Intel motherboard, and Intel processor, and installed it into the rack-mount case … replacing the AMD hardware. I ran through the Fedora Core 6 installation … rebooted … and everything worked as expected! Both cards were recognized, and obtained addresses … I did some reconfiguration and testing and now am close to having my machine ready to install in my data center.

If only I had given up on the AMD/Linux combination sooner … I truly wasted far too many hours not believing that such an incompatibility could exist. But it did … crap, crap, crap. I have learned my lesson … at this point I don’t care if I ever buy another piece of AMD hardware again .. it’s just not worth my time. My Intel solutions? They just work!

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