Linux and PCI slots


I'm having a little trouble with an install of Linux. I have an old-ish PC that I recently installed Mandrake 9.1 on. My goal was to get a system with the ALSA sounds drivers pre-installed for me. Of course ALSA doesn't do too well with ISA soundcards, so my old ISA SB16 was out and I borrowed the SB Live that was in my PC. This was when the fun started.

The system I have in installed in has an Intel 440-LX (not the pov EX) based motherboard (MSI 6111) with a P2-233 and 128Mb ram. Graphics are provided by a dodgy old PCI S3 Trio32 and the only other card in the machine is a 3com 3c905 PCI ethernet card.

Now, depending on the position of the various cards, they either work or not. For example, if the graphics card is not the last card in (i.e. the furthest from the CPU), it only partially works. Various windows don't draw correctly, and Xwin is slowed to a crawl. Shuffling the video card around then makes other cards not work - the ethernet card is usually not recognised in certain slots. I know this works - I've had it working before. Currently I have both sound and video working fine, but the ethernet is dead.

Can anyone tell me what this might be? The only thing I can think is that the power supply is dodgy - it's a common-as-dirt Codegen.


I'm not up to speed on Linux so I don't know if yours has any form of plug'n'play support. But since it's a non-Windows OS, my guess would be that somehow you have to manually assign IRQs and the like in your BIOS, since the BIOS will manage this kind of stuff rather than the OS.

Also, enabling/disabling PCI IRQ steering might make a difference. These are really just half-educated guesses on my part... but I just have this feeling...


Staff member
I borrowed the SB Live that was in my PC. This was when the fun started.
The SB Live is known to have some issues with some chipsets (Via mostly, but nobody seems to agree on all the details). Do your problems happen to magically go away if you pull it out?


Member update: I've given up.

My bios has no option to disable PCI IRQ steering, nor does it let me reserve IRQs for certain slots. In regards to what Ex said on the old forums, I think that the problem lies in some kind of IRQ conflict between the devices. I really can't be bothered sorting that particular mess out, so I pulled the Live back out of the box and it's sitting in my main PC once more. I suspect that if I got an AGP graphics card, my problems would vanish. Oh well. I was always going to upgrade that system anyway... <_<