Hein (fub) wrote,

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MACH F: The second coming

So, the new hardware came in, and I set on building the new MACH F. I had quite a bit of trouble -- I had to change the memory banks around to get the machine to even show me the BIOS screen...

Also, everyone who says that Windows 'just works' and that Linux is too complicated does not know of what they speak. I tried installing Windows XP on the 8GB CompactFlash card. All works, but somewhere towards the end the machine would simply reboot and re-do the whole installation from the second boot (when you get the graphical UI). I tried a few different things, but nothing worked.
Then I popped in the Ubuntu Live CD, and that installed onto the CF card without any problem! When I booted into the installed Ubuntu, it correctly identified my display hardware and offered to install the restricted (non-Open Source) drivers. I did that, and after a reboot I had a glorious 1600x1200 screen. So: installation without a hitch, two reboots, everything works. Only a pity that the Linux drivers do not trigger the hardware accelleration when playing HD content -- so the video still stutters. I have to use the Windows drivers. :(

So I put in a harddisk that I still had lying around, and installed WinXP another time. The motherboard came with a driver DVD, so when I booted into WinXP proper, I popped that in the drive. Some automated tool popped up and I let it do its thing.
Except it didn't work. I had to manually kill off run-away processes, had nine reboots, and then still had to manually install the drivers for various things like the network card.
Windows "just works" -- my ass. It's come to the point where using Windows introduces lots of hassle -- especially when compared to Ubuntu. Unfortunately, I will have to keep using Windows on the MACH F, because of the hardware accelleration issue. (Though just now I found out that AMDATI also has a Catalyst driver for Linux which claims to provide hardware accel too -- gonna check that out!)

Also, we discovered that we don't have a way to hook this machine to our TV. So now our plans for getting a HD(-ready) LCD TV have been brought to the front. Funny that, how a single purchase sets off a chain of upgrades.

Edit: It seems that with a little bit of tweaking, the hardware accelleration does work under Ubuntu. Which means now I will have to decide whether to rewrite the MACH F software for Linux, or to just stick to Windows. I think I'll just use what we have now -- and leave the option of migrating to Ubuntu open for the future.
Tags: mach f

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