Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

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Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Martín Coco
Hi there,

We are beginning to do some tests with Compact Flash IDE adapters and
OpenBSD 3.8.

We installed the OpenBSD 3.8 using a SanDisk 1.0GB CompactFlash on a
Pentium 4 (dmesg at the end of this message). The installation finished
flawlessly. But when booting, it seems to take ages to boot. The last
time we checked, it took about 55 minutes for it to finish booting. Once
it has booted, all the speed issues seem to disappear.

We went through the BIOS to find anything related to PIO or DMA, but
found nothing suitable.

We tried the very same card with a VIA Chipset and it worked like a
charm, we couldn't tell the difference from booting from a normal HD.

Any input on this will be greatly appreciated :)

Thanks,
Martmn.

I attach the dmesg of the machine that seems to be having problems when
booting:

OpenBSD 3.8 (GENERIC) #138: Sat Sep 10 15:41:37 MDT 2005
     [hidden email]:/usr/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/GENERIC
cpu0: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz ("GenuineIntel" 686-class) 2.42 GHz
cpu0:
FPU,V86,DE,PSE,TSC,MSR,PAE,MCE,CX8,APIC,SEP,MTRR,PGE,MCA,CMOV,PAT,PSE36,CF
 
LUSH,ACPI,MMX,FXSR,SSE,SSE2,SS,HTT,TM,SBF,SSE3,MWAIT,CNXT-ID
real mem  = 536391680 (523820K)
avail mem = 482537472 (471228K)
using 4278 buffers containing 26923008 bytes (26292K) of memory
mainbus0 (root)
bios0 at mainbus0: AT/286+(ec) BIOS, date 03/16/04, BIOS32 rev. 0 @ 0xfb210
apm0 at bios0: Power Management spec V1.2
apm0: AC on, battery charge unknown
apm0: flags 70102 dobusy 1 doidle 1
pcibios0 at bios0: rev 2.1 @ 0xf0000/0xd9a4
pcibios0: PCI IRQ Routing Table rev 1.0 @ 0xfd8b0/224 (12 entries)
pcibios0: PCI Exclusive IRQs: 3 4 5 7 10 11 12
pcibios0: PCI Interrupt Router at 000:31:0 ("Intel 82371SB ISA" rev 0x00)
pcibios0: PCI bus #2 is the last bus
bios0: ROM list: 0xc0000/0x8000 0xc8000/0x1800 0xca000/0x1800
cpu0 at mainbus0
pci0 at mainbus0 bus 0: configuration mode 1 (no bios)
pchb0 at pci0 dev 0 function 0 "Intel 82865G/PE/P CPU-I/0-1" rev 0x02
ppb0 at pci0 dev 1 function 0 "Intel 82865G/PE/P CPU-AGP" rev 0x02
pci1 at ppb0 bus 1
uhci0 at pci0 dev 29 function 0 "Intel 82801EB/ER USB" rev 0x02: irq 5
usb0 at uhci0: USB revision 1.0
uhub0 at usb0
uhub0: Intel UHCI root hub, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub0: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
uhci1 at pci0 dev 29 function 1 "Intel 82801EB/ER USB" rev 0x02: irq 3
usb1 at uhci1: USB revision 1.0
uhub1 at usb1
uhub1: Intel UHCI root hub, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub1: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
uhci2 at pci0 dev 29 function 2 "Intel 82801EB/ER USB" rev 0x02: irq 10
usb2 at uhci2: USB revision 1.0
uhub2 at usb2
uhub2: Intel UHCI root hub, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub2: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
uhci3 at pci0 dev 29 function 3 "Intel 82801EB/ER USB" rev 0x02: irq 5
usb3 at uhci3: USB revision 1.0
uhub3 at usb3
uhub3: Intel UHCI root hub, rev 1.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub3: 2 ports with 2 removable, self powered
ehci0 at pci0 dev 29 function 7 "Intel 82801EB/ER USB" rev 0x02: irq 7
usb4 at ehci0: USB revision 2.0
uhub4 at usb4
uhub4: Intel EHCI root hub, rev 2.00/1.00, addr 1
uhub4: 8 ports with 8 removable, self powered
ppb1 at pci0 dev 30 function 0 "Intel 82801BA AGP" rev 0xc2
pci2 at ppb1 bus 2
fxp0 at pci2 dev 0 function 0 "Intel 82557" rev 0x0c, i82550: irq 10,
address 00:02:b3:41:67:11
inphy0 at fxp0 phy 1: i82555 10/100 PHY, rev. 4
vga1 at pci2 dev 2 function 0 "S3 ViRGE DX/GX" rev 0x01
wsdisplay0 at vga1 mux 1: console (80x25, vt100 emulation)
wsdisplay0: screen 1-5 added (80x25, vt100 emulation)
fxp1 at pci2 dev 4 function 0 "Intel 82557" rev 0x0c, i82550: irq 10,
address 00:0e:0c:6c:48:47
inphy1 at fxp1 phy 1: i82555 10/100 PHY, rev. 4
skc0 at pci2 dev 9 function 0 "Marvell SKv2" rev 0x13: irq 11
skc0: Marvell Yukon Lite rev. A3 (0x7)
sk0 at skc0 port A: address 00:0d:61:75:19:cf
eephy0 at sk0 phy 0: Marvell 88E1011 Gigabit PHY, rev. 5
ichpcib0 at pci0 dev 31 function 0 "Intel 82801EB/ER LPC" rev 0x02
pciide0 at pci0 dev 31 function 1 "Intel 82801EB/ER IDE" rev 0x02: DMA,
channel 0 configured to compatibility, channel 1 configured to compatibility
pciide0: channel 0 disabled (no drives)
wd0 at pciide0 channel 1 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
wd0(pciide0:1:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
"Intel 82801EB/ER SMBus" rev 0x02 at pci0 dev 31 function 3 not configured
isa0 at ichpcib0
isadma0 at isa0
pckbc0 at isa0 port 0x60/5
pckbd0 at pckbc0 (kbd slot)
pckbc0: using irq 1 for kbd slot
wskbd0 at pckbd0: console keyboard, using wsdisplay0
pcppi0 at isa0 port 0x61
midi0 at pcppi0: <PC speaker>
spkr0 at pcppi0
sysbeep0 at pcppi0
it0 at isa0 port 0x290/8: IT87
npx0 at isa0 port 0xf0/16: using exception 16
fdc0 at isa0 port 0x3f0/6 irq 6 drq 2
fd0 at fdc0 drive 0: 1.44MB 80 cyl, 2 head, 18 sec
biomask f7fd netmask fffd ttymask ffff
pctr: user-level cycle counter enabled
dkcsum: wd0 matches BIOS drive 0x80
root on wd0a
rootdev=0x0 rrootdev=0x300 rawdev=0x302

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Nick Holland
Martmn Coco wrote:

> Hi there,
>
> We are beginning to do some tests with Compact Flash IDE adapters and
> OpenBSD 3.8.
>
> We installed the OpenBSD 3.8 using a SanDisk 1.0GB CompactFlash on a
> Pentium 4 (dmesg at the end of this message). The installation finished
> flawlessly. But when booting, it seems to take ages to boot. The last
> time we checked, it took about 55 minutes for it to finish booting. Once
> it has booted, all the speed issues seem to disappear.

whoa.
Flash isn't as fast as disk...but..not 55 minutes!

Where is it spending its time?

> We went through the BIOS to find anything related to PIO or DMA, but
> found nothing suitable.

Nah.  I run OpenBSD on lots of machines without DMA, boot time is hardly
any different.

> We tried the very same card with a VIA Chipset and it worked like a
> charm, we couldn't tell the difference from booting from a normal HD.

ok, good media, good install.  Good test. :)

> Any input on this will be greatly appreciated :)
>
> Thanks,
> Martmn.
>
> I attach the dmesg of the machine that seems to be having problems when
> booting:
>
> OpenBSD 3.8 (GENERIC) #138: Sat Sep 10 15:41:37 MDT 2005
>      [hidden email]:/usr/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/GENERIC
> cpu0: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz ("GenuineIntel" 686-class) 2.42 GHz
...
> pciide0 at pci0 dev 31 function 1 "Intel 82801EB/ER IDE" rev 0x02: DMA,
> channel 0 configured to compatibility, channel 1 configured to compatibility
> pciide0: channel 0 disabled (no drives)
                               ^^^^^^^^^
> wd0 at pciide0 channel 1 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
> wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
> wd0(pciide0:1:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
...

I see one oddity and another POSSIBLE explanation...

The oddity is you have the flash on the SECOND disk channel.  That
should work, but a buggy BIOS might get in the way.

The other POSSIBLE explanation is really a stretch, but it is so good
and explains things so well (fortunately, you didn't give details of
what part of the boot process took the time :), I gotta mention it:

I see you have a P4.  Could the heat sink have fallen off/not been
mounted properly?  Supposedly, the P4 will slow itself down when it
overheats.  IF the heat sink were not on at all (or a tiny air gap
existed), the thing would probably reach critical temp within a couple
seconds of power-on, and slow to an absolute crawl.  The kernel is
loaded by the BIOS, so until the kernel was completely loaded.  At that
point, OpenBSD would be halting the processor when it was idle, and it
would probably stay cool enough to keep running at respectable speed.

Yeah, that's a wacko explanation, but it fits the facts so far (I think.
 I live in a P4-free house, so I can't test this theory).  I fixed a P3
machine over the phone that did the P3 version of the same problem
(started to boot, then froze, as P3's hang, rather than go glacial).
Blew a good service call by doing that. :)


Assuming those two ideas are not worth they electrons they were written
on, next test would be to try an ordinary HD in this machine.

Next thing I'd like to see is a running commentary on what's on the
screen at, say, every five or ten minute intervals, so we can get some
idea where the slow-down is, and what is going on in the machine at each
point.  Booting is fairly complicated, a combination of ROM, boot
loaders, OS and hardware...lots of places for things to go wrong.
However, never heard of this one before...

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Martín Coco
Nick,

First of all, thanks for all your input!

My comments below:

Nick Holland escribis:

> Martmn Coco wrote:
>
>>Hi there,
>>
>>We are beginning to do some tests with Compact Flash IDE adapters and
>>OpenBSD 3.8.
>>
>>We installed the OpenBSD 3.8 using a SanDisk 1.0GB CompactFlash on a
>>Pentium 4 (dmesg at the end of this message). The installation finished
>>flawlessly. But when booting, it seems to take ages to boot. The last
>>time we checked, it took about 55 minutes for it to finish booting. Once
>>it has booted, all the speed issues seem to disappear.
>
>
> whoa.
> Flash isn't as fast as disk...but..not 55 minutes!
>
> Where is it spending its time?
>
>
>>We went through the BIOS to find anything related to PIO or DMA, but
>>found nothing suitable.
>
>
> Nah.  I run OpenBSD on lots of machines without DMA, boot time is hardly
> any different.
>
>
>>We tried the very same card with a VIA Chipset and it worked like a
>>charm, we couldn't tell the difference from booting from a normal HD.
>
>
> ok, good media, good install.  Good test. :)
>
>
>>Any input on this will be greatly appreciated :)
>>
>>Thanks,
>>Martmn.
>>
>>I attach the dmesg of the machine that seems to be having problems when
>>booting:
>>
>>OpenBSD 3.8 (GENERIC) #138: Sat Sep 10 15:41:37 MDT 2005
>>     [hidden email]:/usr/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/GENERIC
>>cpu0: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz ("GenuineIntel" 686-class) 2.42 GHz
>
> ...
>
>>pciide0 at pci0 dev 31 function 1 "Intel 82801EB/ER IDE" rev 0x02: DMA,
>>channel 0 configured to compatibility, channel 1 configured to compatibility
>>pciide0: channel 0 disabled (no drives)
>
>                                ^^^^^^^^^
>
>>wd0 at pciide0 channel 1 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
>>wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
>>wd0(pciide0:1:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
>
> ...
>
> I see one oddity and another POSSIBLE explanation...
>
> The oddity is you have the flash on the SECOND disk channel.  That
> should work, but a buggy BIOS might get in the way.
>

I tried to move it to the first channel, but the speed problem was still
there when booting:

...

wd0 at pciide0 channel 0 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
wd0(pciide0:0:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
pciide0: channel 1 disabled (no drives)

...

> The other POSSIBLE explanation is really a stretch, but it is so good
> and explains things so well (fortunately, you didn't give details of
> what part of the boot process took the time :), I gotta mention it:
>
> I see you have a P4.  Could the heat sink have fallen off/not been
> mounted properly?  Supposedly, the P4 will slow itself down when it
> overheats.  IF the heat sink were not on at all (or a tiny air gap
> existed), the thing would probably reach critical temp within a couple
> seconds of power-on, and slow to an absolute crawl.  The kernel is
> loaded by the BIOS, so until the kernel was completely loaded.  At that
> point, OpenBSD would be halting the processor when it was idle, and it
> would probably stay cool enough to keep running at respectable speed.
>
> Yeah, that's a wacko explanation, but it fits the facts so far (I think.
>  I live in a P4-free house, so I can't test this theory).  I fixed a P3
> machine over the phone that did the P3 version of the same problem
> (started to boot, then froze, as P3's hang, rather than go glacial).
> Blew a good service call by doing that. :)
>

It is a really good theory :), but as I mentioned before, the install on
this machine went flawlessy, this meaning that when we boot from the
floppy, no speed issues were encountered. We only get slow speeds when
booting from the CompactFlash.

>
> Assuming those two ideas are not worth they electrons they were written
> on, next test would be to try an ordinary HD in this machine.
>
> Next thing I'd like to see is a running commentary on what's on the
> screen at, say, every five or ten minute intervals, so we can get some
> idea where the slow-down is, and what is going on in the machine at each
> point.  Booting is fairly complicated, a combination of ROM, boot
> loaders, OS and hardware...lots of places for things to go wrong.
> However, never heard of this one before...
>

I'm not sure of what you mean by this. When you boot the box, first the
boot> prompt takes a while to appear. Even the part that says using
"disk 0 partition 3" (or something like that) is slow. When you get to
the boot> prompt, and you hit enter, you start to get the "/-\|..."
progress indicator, going reeeeally slow, but one can tell that some
progress is being done, and that is why we left it to see how much it
took to boot. For 55, 56 minutes, it's the same thing, and then the
kernel is load and everything seems to start to work fine. The speed
issue seems to disappear, so it's definitely a BIOS thing or something
like that.

I will use this CompactFlash in the VIA System to move on with the
upgrade, and will try to do some more tests, but I really don't know how
could I continue testing, other than upgrading the mobo's firmware (it's
a Gigabyte board), but I really don't think that will do the trick.

Thanks again for your reply,
Martmn.

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Ted Unangst-2
In reply to this post by Martín Coco
On 11/30/05, Martmn Coco <[hidden email]> wrote:

> We installed the OpenBSD 3.8 using a SanDisk 1.0GB CompactFlash on a
> Pentium 4 (dmesg at the end of this message). The installation finished
> flawlessly. But when booting, it seems to take ages to boot. The last
> time we checked, it took about 55 minutes for it to finish booting. Once
> it has booted, all the speed issues seem to disappear.
>
> We went through the BIOS to find anything related to PIO or DMA, but
> found nothing suitable.
>
> We tried the very same card with a VIA Chipset and it worked like a
> charm, we couldn't tell the difference from booting from a normal HD.

only from what i've read, i recall reading about flash cards that
didn't like being accessed in certain ways (too small or too large
reads) that resulted in very slow performance.  the bootloader uses
bios calls to work its magic, and maybe some bioses work a little
differently.  just speculation.

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Johan-11
In reply to this post by Martín Coco
Try putting the card on the first controller and turning off the second
controller.

Johan

On 12/1/05, Martmn Coco <[hidden email]> wrote:

>
> Nick,
>
> First of all, thanks for all your input!
>
> My comments below:
>
> Nick Holland escribis:
> > Martmn Coco wrote:
> >
> >>Hi there,
> >>
> >>We are beginning to do some tests with Compact Flash IDE adapters and
> >>OpenBSD 3.8.
> >>
> >>We installed the OpenBSD 3.8 using a SanDisk 1.0GB CompactFlash on a
> >>Pentium 4 (dmesg at the end of this message). The installation finished
> >>flawlessly. But when booting, it seems to take ages to boot. The last
> >>time we checked, it took about 55 minutes for it to finish booting. Once
> >>it has booted, all the speed issues seem to disappear.
> >
> >
> > whoa.
> > Flash isn't as fast as disk...but..not 55 minutes!
> >
> > Where is it spending its time?
> >
> >
> >>We went through the BIOS to find anything related to PIO or DMA, but
> >>found nothing suitable.
> >
> >
> > Nah.  I run OpenBSD on lots of machines without DMA, boot time is hardly
> > any different.
> >
> >
> >>We tried the very same card with a VIA Chipset and it worked like a
> >>charm, we couldn't tell the difference from booting from a normal HD.
> >
> >
> > ok, good media, good install.  Good test. :)
> >
> >
> >>Any input on this will be greatly appreciated :)
> >>
> >>Thanks,
> >>Martmn.
> >>
> >>I attach the dmesg of the machine that seems to be having problems when
> >>booting:
> >>
> >>OpenBSD 3.8 (GENERIC) #138: Sat Sep 10 15:41:37 MDT 2005
> >>     [hidden email]:/usr/src/sys/arch/i386/compile/GENERIC
> >>cpu0: Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 2.40GHz ("GenuineIntel" 686-class)
2.42GHz

> >
> > ...
> >
> >>pciide0 at pci0 dev 31 function 1 "Intel 82801EB/ER IDE" rev 0x02: DMA,
> >>channel 0 configured to compatibility, channel 1 configured to
> compatibility
> >>pciide0: channel 0 disabled (no drives)
> >
> >                                ^^^^^^^^^
> >
> >>wd0 at pciide0 channel 1 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
> >>wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
> >>wd0(pciide0:1:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
> >
> > ...
> >
> > I see one oddity and another POSSIBLE explanation...
> >
> > The oddity is you have the flash on the SECOND disk channel.  That
> > should work, but a buggy BIOS might get in the way.
> >
>
> I tried to move it to the first channel, but the speed problem was still
> there when booting:
>
> ...
>
> wd0 at pciide0 channel 0 drive 0: <SanDisk SDCFB-1024>
> wd0: 1-sector PIO, LBA, 977MB, 2001888 sectors
> wd0(pciide0:0:0): using PIO mode 4, DMA mode 2
> pciide0: channel 1 disabled (no drives)
>
> ...
>
> > The other POSSIBLE explanation is really a stretch, but it is so good
> > and explains things so well (fortunately, you didn't give details of
> > what part of the boot process took the time :), I gotta mention it:
> >
> > I see you have a P4.  Could the heat sink have fallen off/not been
> > mounted properly?  Supposedly, the P4 will slow itself down when it
> > overheats.  IF the heat sink were not on at all (or a tiny air gap
> > existed), the thing would probably reach critical temp within a couple
> > seconds of power-on, and slow to an absolute crawl.  The kernel is
> > loaded by the BIOS, so until the kernel was completely loaded.  At that
> > point, OpenBSD would be halting the processor when it was idle, and it
> > would probably stay cool enough to keep running at respectable speed.
> >
> > Yeah, that's a wacko explanation, but it fits the facts so far (I think.
> >  I live in a P4-free house, so I can't test this theory).  I fixed a P3
> > machine over the phone that did the P3 version of the same problem
> > (started to boot, then froze, as P3's hang, rather than go glacial).
> > Blew a good service call by doing that. :)
> >
>
> It is a really good theory :), but as I mentioned before, the install on
> this machine went flawlessy, this meaning that when we boot from the
> floppy, no speed issues were encountered. We only get slow speeds when
> booting from the CompactFlash.
>
> >
> > Assuming those two ideas are not worth they electrons they were written
> > on, next test would be to try an ordinary HD in this machine.
> >
> > Next thing I'd like to see is a running commentary on what's on the
> > screen at, say, every five or ten minute intervals, so we can get some
> > idea where the slow-down is, and what is going on in the machine at each
> > point.  Booting is fairly complicated, a combination of ROM, boot
> > loaders, OS and hardware...lots of places for things to go wrong.
> > However, never heard of this one before...
> >
>
> I'm not sure of what you mean by this. When you boot the box, first the
> boot> prompt takes a while to appear. Even the part that says using
> "disk 0 partition 3" (or something like that) is slow. When you get to
> the boot> prompt, and you hit enter, you start to get the "/-\|..."
> progress indicator, going reeeeally slow, but one can tell that some
> progress is being done, and that is why we left it to see how much it
> took to boot. For 55, 56 minutes, it's the same thing, and then the
> kernel is load and everything seems to start to work fine. The speed
> issue seems to disappear, so it's definitely a BIOS thing or something
> like that.
>
> I will use this CompactFlash in the VIA System to move on with the
> upgrade, and will try to do some more tests, but I really don't know how
> could I continue testing, other than upgrading the mobo's firmware (it's
> a Gigabyte board), but I really don't think that will do the trick.
>
> Thanks again for your reply,
> Martmn.

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Nick Holland
In reply to this post by Martín Coco
Martmn Coco wrote:
...
>> The oddity is you have the flash on the SECOND disk channel.  That
>> should work, but a buggy BIOS might get in the way.
>>
>
> I tried to move it to the first channel, but the speed problem was still
> there when booting:

bah. :)

...
>> I see you have a P4.  Could the heat sink have fallen off/not been
>> mounted properly?  Supposedly, the P4 will slow itself down when it
>> overheats.  IF the heat sink were not on at all (or a tiny air gap
>> existed), the thing would probably reach critical temp within a couple
>> seconds of power-on, and slow to an absolute crawl.  The kernel is
>> loaded by the BIOS, so until the kernel was completely loaded.  At that
>> point, OpenBSD would be halting the processor when it was idle, and it
>> would probably stay cool enough to keep running at respectable speed.
...
> It is a really good theory :), but as I mentioned before, the install on
> this machine went flawlessy, this meaning that when we boot from the
> floppy, no speed issues were encountered. We only get slow speeds when
> booting from the CompactFlash.

yeah...unless the heat sink fell off between install and reboot.  Yeah,
I'm REALLY Stretching there...

>> Assuming those two ideas are not worth they electrons they were written
>> on, next test would be to try an ordinary HD in this machine.

I'm still curious about this...but I am not sure what the answer would
tell me at this point...well, I guess if this is slow, I say "broken
BIOS!"...if it is fast, sounds like what TedU was describing.

>> Next thing I'd like to see is a running commentary on what's on the
>> screen at, say, every five or ten minute intervals, so we can get some
>> idea where the slow-down is, and what is going on in the machine at each
>> point.  Booting is fairly complicated, a combination of ROM, boot
>> loaders, OS and hardware...lots of places for things to go wrong.
>> However, never heard of this one before...
>>
>
> I'm not sure of what you mean by this.

EXACTLY what you provided...

> When you boot the box, first the
> boot> prompt takes a while to appear. Even the part that says using
> "disk 0 partition 3" (or something like that) is slow. When you get to
> the boot> prompt, and you hit enter, you start to get the "/-\|..."
> progress indicator, going reeeeally slow, but one can tell that some
> progress is being done, and that is why we left it to see how much it
> took to boot. For 55, 56 minutes, it's the same thing, and then the
> kernel is load and everything seems to start to work fine. The speed
> issue seems to disappear, so it's definitely a BIOS thing or something
> like that.

yes, that's what I wanted to know.
What I was curious about was did the kernel load quick but the /etc/rc
run slow?  stuck fsck'ing on a big flash disk?  But no...you decribed it
clearly, it is obviously having trouble of some kind reading the kernel
via BIOS...that's what it's doing with the twirly.

> I will use this CompactFlash in the VIA System to move on with the
> upgrade, and will try to do some more tests, but I really don't know how
> could I continue testing, other than upgrading the mobo's firmware (it's
> a Gigabyte board), but I really don't think that will do the trick.

Eh, when things go strange, upgrade the BIOS.  It rarely fixes things,
but you feel silly when it actually does.  And obviously, it is a
BIOS-ish issue.  Might want to try a different brand flash module, or
even a PCI IDE interface card, just to get a different connection to the
existing one.

YEARS ago, machines used to have "fast" and "slow" modes of operation.
some had a "smart" mode, which was supposed to get around the problems
some copy protection had when running on a faster-than-expected
computer.  I thought of this with your problem, but I think those
systems ran slow when the BIOS accessed the /floppy/, which you say
works fine, not the hard disk, which you are having problems with.  And
I don't recall seeing that option in the last many years...though I
don't look for it, either.  Relatively recently, I had a complaint of a
"very slow" computer...dug around for viruses and spyware, blew away the
HD, installed OpenBSD, and that was slow, too.  After way too much time,
I noticed the BIOS speed was set to "compatable"...which was Dell's way
of turning a 333MHz Celeron into an 80286.  But since "compatable"
sounded "good", I looked at that screen probably half a dozen times
until I saw that it's alternative was "fast"... ooops. :)

That does it, I'm out of ideas. :(

Nick.

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Re: Booting very slow when using CompactFlash adapters

Ted Unangst-2
On 12/1/05, Nick Holland <[hidden email]> wrote:
> >> I see you have a P4.  Could the heat sink have fallen off/not been
> >> mounted properly?  Supposedly, the P4 will slow itself down when it
> >> overheats.  IF the heat sink were not on at all (or a tiny air gap
> >> existed), the thing would probably reach critical temp within a couple
> >> seconds of power-on, and slow to an absolute crawl.  The kernel is
> >> loaded by the BIOS, so until the kernel was completely loaded.  At that
> >> point, OpenBSD would be halting the processor when it was idle, and it
> >> would probably stay cool enough to keep running at respectable speed.

just for the record, p4's without heatsinks aren't that slow.
obviously much slower than normal, but they are functional.  you may
not even notice.