New build - linux distros crashing in live usb environment

Quintus

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Hello everyone - I'm hoping for a little guidance on my new build as linux environments keep locking up and crashing within minutes of a live USB being booted into the desktop environment.

I have built a new computer with specs as below. The intention is to run a dual/triple boot environment with Win 10 pro and 1 or 2 linux variations with linux as the daily driver.

The issue I am encountering is that every time I load up a live USB linux distro I can make it to the desktop but within minutes the computer will freeze for half a second, cut to black and reboot. I have tried making live USBs with the newest (as of 3 days ago) builds of Pop OS! 20.10 (Nvidia driver), Linux Mint 20.1 Cinnamon, and Manjaro Gnome. Windows 10 Pro appears to be running unaffected and uninterrupted, having gamed a little.

I have noted out some of the things I have tried to troubleshoot below but before I "move fast and break things" I thought I'd reach out to see if there is anything obvious and simple I am not seeing or if there are some community known compatibility issues with any of the hardware I have put together.

Appreciate any steers on how what to consider next for trouble shooting, or even positive notes about hardware being compatible (so I can figure out whether anything needs to be replaced).

I have been using various distros of linux for my day to day for nearly a decade so not super enthused about having to default to windows for too much longer. Thanks in advance.

SPECS
CPU: Ryzen 5 5600x
Motherboard: MSI MAG x570 Tomahawk WiFi (flashed to BIOS version 7C84v153(Beta version))
RAM: 2x16GB Corsair Vengeance LPX DDR4 3600mhz C18 (part number CMK32GX4M2Z3600C18)
GFX card: Nvidia Geforce 9800 GT
Storage: M.2 500GB Western Digital Black NVMe; SATA 2TB Crucial SSD; SATA HDD 500GB samsung
Power Supply: 550w Seasonic Focus GX-550 (80 plus Gold)

BUILD STEPS
Some, hopefully helpful, notes on steps I took during build and initial set up.
  1. Flashed Bios with newest version from MSI website: 7C84v153(Beta version). This was required to get the Ryzen 5600x recognised and some rudimentary research suggested the newest Beta version was required to allow my RAM to run at 3600mhz
  2. CPU power also plugged into the motherboard.
  3. Turned XMP on for RAM settings at 3600mhz
  4. Installed Windows 10 pro (live USB created with rufus)
  5. Attempted to install from live USB the 3 linux distros mentioned above, all crash after a short time. Manjaro lasted the longest and Pop OS! the shortest. About 5 minutes max. I did successfully manage to do some partitioning with the Linux Mint live USB but because the drives are new, setting this up only took about 2 minutes to prepare and execute the commands. However it all crashed very shortly after I started the install process.
TROUBLESHOOT STEPS SO FAR
I have taken the below steps in an attempt to trouble shoot with no changes in the issue occurring.
  1. Turned off XMP (RAM runs at 2133mhz)
  2. XMP set on, but manual setting to RAM at 3200mhz (no other changes)
  3. run windows memory test - no errors reported
  4. Live USBs created through a mix of linux image writer, and balanEtcher in windows and work on my Thinkpad X1 Carbon 5th gen without crashing.
    • used 3 distros across 3 different USBs (2 are 16GB and the other is 4GB)

POINTS TO NOTE
  • Immediately at boot, BIOS complains about gfx card compatibility and forces Compatibility Support Module (CSM) mode to be on.
    • Gfx upgrade is planned once the shortage situation improves and I can get a one for RRP.
 


f33dm3bits

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Sounds more like your graphics card is causing the freezing, if it was an compatibility with your CPU your system wouldn't even boot and as you have mentioned you had to upgrade you bios in order to get your CPU to work. When you boot from the live usb try booting with the following boot parameters: nomodeset nouveau.modeset=0.
 

Vrai

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Some Linux kernel versions are known to have issues with the Ryzen 5.
I think it is the 5.4.* series of kernels but don't quote me on that.
May be worth looking into.
 

Quintus

New Member
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Thanks all for commenting so quickly.

I remade the linux mint live usb using the same iso file i had before and added the boot parameters as per f33dm3bits's comment. This booted successfully and appeared to stay stable without crashing. I opened up some youtube and had it on playback for about 10mins without incident - which was not possible previously.

the output of the lsmod commands in this boot were:
Code:
[email protected]:~$ lsmod | grep nvidia
[email protected]:~$ lsmod | grep nouveau
nouveau              1949696  0
mxm_wmi                16384  1 nouveau
video                  49152  1 nouveau
i2c_algo_bit           16384  1 nouveau
ttm                   106496  1 nouveau
drm_kms_helper        184320  1 nouveau
drm                   491520  3 drm_kms_helper,ttm,nouveau
wmi                    32768  3 wmi_bmof,mxm_wmi,nouveau
I also did the same command in the live USB boot environment without the additional boot parameters. output was

Code:
[email protected]:~$ lsmod | grep nvidia
[email protected]:~$ lsmod | grep nouveau
nouveau              1949696  11
mxm_wmi                16384  1 nouveau
video                  49152  1 nouveau
i2c_algo_bit           16384  1 nouveau
ttm                   106496  1 nouveau
drm_kms_helper        184320  1 nouveau
drm                   491520  7 drm_kms_helper,ttm,nouveau
wmi                    32768  3 wmi_bmof,mxm_wmi,nouveau
There were a few crashes in between but one of those times, strangely the mint environment seemed to be stable without the additional boot parameters so I just went ahead and tried an install, which worked without crashing. So i now have a Mint 20.1 install on the NVMe drive which seems to boot up normally without crashing.

I think re tried the Manjaro live USB and that booted and seemed stable without crashing but the same USB drive did crash only a few tries before.

I can't seem to explain why it no longer crashes, if it is is the graphics card my thinking is that it would crash consistently, or is that wrong? Otherwise could it be unstable RAM or an unstable BIOS build (the BIOS version is in Beta)?

I'll have to give the Pop OS! version another go and report back becuase that was the one that lasted the shortest before crashing. This is pretty bizarre and i'm not confident anything is fixed...

Thanks Vrai I will also look into the Kernel versions too in to check if that could be the cause - though think Manjaro is using a kernel past that version now

Thank you for the comments so far I will report back on the Pop OS! test a bit later.
 

Lord Boltar

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Mint and Pop OS are both Buntu based so they use Buntu kernels which is either 5.4 or it can use 5.8 if it is HWE type kernel and it has been upgraded.
The newest kernels have moved the video mode setting into the kernel. So all the programming of the hardware specific clock rates and registers on the video card happen in the kernel rather than in the X driver when the X server starts.. This makes it possible to have high resolution nice looking splash (boot) screens and flicker free transitions from boot splash to login screen. Unfortunately, on some cards this doesn't work properly and you end up with a black screen. Adding the nomodeset parameter instructs the kernel to not load video drivers and use BIOS modes instead until X is loaded. So usually if you have issues with graphics use the nomodeset to install the OS, then afterwards install the NVIDIA graphics driver.
 

Quintus

New Member
Credits
63
Mint and Pop OS are both Buntu based so they use Buntu kernels which is either 5.4 or it can use 5.8 if it is HWE type kernel and it has been upgraded.
The newest kernels have moved the video mode setting into the kernel. So all the programming of the hardware specific clock rates and registers on the video card happen in the kernel rather than in the X driver when the X server starts.. This makes it possible to have high resolution nice looking splash (boot) screens and flicker free transitions from boot splash to login screen. Unfortunately, on some cards this doesn't work properly and you end up with a black screen. Adding the nomodeset parameter instructs the kernel to not load video drivers and use BIOS modes instead until X is loaded. So usually if you have issues with graphics use the nomodeset to install the OS, then afterwards install the NVIDIA graphics driver.
This is a really helpful explanation thanks! Before making this thread I was not aware about the nomodeset parameter at all.
 

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