PCI NIC order



  • So I use three Intel PCI NICs in order to give me four connections, including the onboard NIC.

    When I built my current pfSense box, I had issues getting it to recognize all of the NICs.  I had to swap around their order before it would see all of them.

    Now I'm building a new pfSense box, and instead of not seeing the NICs, the box won't boot if it doesn't like the order.  I was finally able to get it working and installed pfSense on my test bench.  Everything was working fine.

    But when I moved it to put it to use, it suddenly wouldn't boot.  Turns out it's unhappy with the NICs again.

    Anybody seen this happen before?  What causes it and is there any solution other than playing the shell game with the cards?



  • In what way is your system unhappy with the NICs? What is it doing that you don't expect? or not doing that you expect?

    I have seen two problems that might be like what you are seeing.

    • A USB NIC that sometimes wasn't seen on startup - system would enter assign interfaces dialog. I've stopped using that NIC.

    • A PCI NIC that occasionally isn't seen on startup system enters assign interfaces dialog. I usually apply a little pressure to the card and reboot and it generally completes the startup.



  • @wallabybob:

    In what way is your system unhappy with the NICs? What is it doing that you don't expect? or not doing that you expect?

    In the previous machine(dell pentium D), the system wouldn't recognize the card.  It'd boot, but the nic wouldn't show up.  In this machine(i3), it won't boot at all.

    I have seen two problems that might be like what you are seeing.

    • A USB NIC that sometimes wasn't seen on startup - system would enter assign interfaces dialog. I've stopped using that NIC.

    • A PCI NIC that occasionally isn't seen on startup system enters assign interfaces dialog. I usually apply a little pressure to the card and reboot and it generally completes the startup.

    I reseated all of the cards.  The only other thing plugged into the mobo is the hard drive, and I unplugged that while I was testing.

    Any two cards in any two slots and the machine boots.  Add the third card and it won't boot.  And it was working fine last weekend as I was able to get pfSense installed on it.



  • I'm wondering if it could be a similar issue to this?

    http://communities.intel.com/message/133736

    It seems a lot of people are reporting problems with the PCI due to the bridge to PCI-E instead of native support.

    The weirdest part is that it originally worked, but then stopped working.  I'm going to try and update the bios and see if that fixes it.



  • @Bai:

    In the previous machine(dell pentium D), the system wouldn't recognize the card.  It'd boot, but the nic wouldn't show up.

    Possibly the OS didn't have a driver that recognised that card. Or did it not show up in the BIOS listing of devices? Or did it not show up in a pciconf (or equivalent) listing?

    @Bai:

    Any two cards in any two slots and the machine boots.  Add the third card and it won't boot.  And it was working fine last weekend as I was able to get pfSense installed on it.

    Are these cards all the same?

    Is the third card always the same card?

    Wonder if your power supply is on the way out. On booting with two cards check the BIOS reported +5V and +3.3V. Are the readings very different when you boot with three cards?



  • @wallabybob:

    Possibly the OS didn't have a driver that recognised that card. Or did it not show up in the BIOS listing of devices? Or did it not show up in a pciconf (or equivalent) listing?

    It didn't show up anywhere.  Once I swapped the order of the cards they all showed up.

    @wallabybob:

    Are these cards all the same?

    Yep.  All three are Intel 1000GT PCI NICs.

    @wallabybob:

    Is the third card always the same card?

    No.  In fact, this time I marked them to be sure I could tell them apart.  I tried all three permutations of card and slot.  With all three cards in the machine, it wouldn't boot.  Which is weird, as the first time I did it, it worked, but then it stopped.

    @wallabybob:

    Wonder if your power supply is on the way out. On booting with two cards check the BIOS reported +5V and +3.3V. Are the readings very different when you boot with three cards?

    It's not the power supply.  Already ran a tester on it.  And the machine won't boot when I have the three cards in it, so I can't check the BIOS.  All that happens is the standby light on the mobo blinks instead of lighting steady.

    I called Intel and they replaced the board, but the new one is doing the exact same thing.  The memory, case, PSU and NICs were all pulled from working machines.  The CPU and mobo are the only new parts.



  • Are you by chance trying to run a PCI nic in a PCIx64 slot?

    I don't know what type of machine you are running this on (if you mentioned it I missed it - sorry)

    Do you have onboard-mobo video or add-in video card? In your Bios do your video settings look to the slot or place where your video is first?

    ((((for example on some Dell machines you can tell it to look to onboard first or default to PCI/PCIe first, or if there is no onboard video you can tell it to look at slots in order, usually starting with PCIx, then PCI then PCIe OR PCIe then PCI or PCIx, etc. etc.))))

    Make sure your system is looking in the right place for the right things. Perhaps its looking at a PCI slot for a video card? Perhaps its told that PCI slot xyz should have a FireWire installed??

    random thoughts. good luck.



  • @pf2.0nyc:

    Are you by chance trying to run a PCI nic in a PCIx64 slot?

    I don't know what type of machine you are running this on (if you mentioned it I missed it - sorry)

    Nope.  It's a brand new board.  DH67CL.

    Do you have onboard-mobo video or add-in video card? In your Bios do your video settings look to the slot or place where your video is first?

    ((((for example on some Dell machines you can tell it to look to onboard first or default to PCI/PCIe first, or if there is no onboard video you can tell it to look at slots in order, usually starting with PCIx, then PCI then PCIe OR PCIe then PCI or PCIx, etc. etc.))))

    Make sure your system is looking in the right place for the right things. Perhaps its looking at a PCI slot for a video card? Perhaps its told that PCI slot xyz should have a FireWire installed??

    random thoughts. good luck.

    I'm using the onboard video.  I didn't change any of the BIOS settings the first time I did it and it worked fine.  Then it stopped working, with no settings changes.

    So over the weekend, I tried a different power supply.  I'm using an Antec 430W PSU.  It's overkill for the machine as it only pulls 40W from the wall.  I tried an Antec 650W PSU and it worked with all three cards.  But the PSU tester says my PSU is fine.  So I'm not sure what the issue is.  The 430W was my old gaming machine PSU.  It ran fine for years.  I only replaced it because I got a new video card.



  • so a psu swap was all it took?



  • @pf2.0nyc:

    so a psu swap was all it took?

    Seems that way.  However, I'm trying to determine the cause of the issue.  The other PSU isn't mine and I have to give it back.  So I need to figure out why it works and mine doesn't.  I don't want to order a new one and still have the issue.



  • So replacing the power supply did let me boot the machine with all three NICs in it.  However, until I swapped the order of them, pfSense wouldn't see them at all.

    Anybody know why the order of PCI cards makes a difference?


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