Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New SSD for desktop and "Clocksource tsc unstable" issue

Gotten a new SSD for my system - the Intel 320 120GB. Decided to reinstall my desktops, so I also spent time on looking for optimizations for my kubuntu (11.04) desktop. There's quite a number of posts out there on this topic, I found a SSD checklist pretty neat - but I lost the link (gah, combination of Blogger and my stupidity - I saved the draft with the link -> Blogger gave me a META error when I tried to publish the post -> I cut and pasted the content into a text editor, forgetting that it's plain text -> Saved the draft and lost the link. If only Blogger has a certain version control). Here's an alternative one. It even explains what you are actually doing too. I admit I cheated by using windows 7 to create the partitions - 1) going thru fdisk is a bit troublesome and requires calculation. 2) (kde) partition manager does not align the default starting cylinder at 64k. 3) gparted probably does the alignment correctly - but somehow not all the time for me. Time to be pragmatic.

As I'm dual booting, I installed Windows 7 first. After all the updates and stuff, it takes around 15 seconds to boot. There's also tweaks for Windows, such as turning off hibernation to save disk space on the tiny SSD. Great.

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Next, I installed the Kubuntu 11.04. However it seems to boot up slower than Windows by a lot, varying from 15s to a few minutes! It sucks to be not able to see the verbose booting (why did the developers take that option away? Let me know if you know the answer to do it - It used to be ALt-F2 I think?), booting with/without the splash and verbose option doesn't help too. Anyway, I ran dmesg and noticed this
[ 3.970543] generic-usb 0003:08BB:2706.0004: input,hidraw3: USB HID v1.00 Device [Burr-Brown from TI USB Audio DAC ] on usb-0000:00:12.0-3/input2
[ 207.671545] Clocksource tsc unstable (delta = -188978571100 ns)
Seems that the default clock source for the kernel is off. 200 seconds wait is really...wtf? I solved it by adding clocksource=hpet to the booting entry. It's a temporary fix. To make the fix permanent, change the entry in /etc/grub/default
GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash clocksource=hpet"
and then run grub-update to update the kernel listing.

Now it's much faster than before. It's probably a problem that existed earlier, yet I had never noticed.

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